Checking dead hives
Does the dead hive contain AFB?
It is much harder to determine whether a dead hive has AFB than a live hive. A dead hive usually has dried remains of brood, often with chewed cappings. If the hive has recently died of AFB there will usually be enough disease symptoms still present to make a correct diagnosis, especially if pupal tongues are present.
Don't assume there is no AFB
If the hive died when it only had a few diseased larvae, they may be impossible to locate. Even testing a sample of brood in a laboratory may not provide a reliable answer. For the laboratory to provide a conclusive result, the piece of brood comb submitted needs to have contained one diseased larva.
Steps to take
If a visual or laboratory check provides a positive result, the hive should be burnt. If the diagnosis is negative, but there is a high level of AFB in the apiary, it is still probably a good idea to burn the dead hive in any case.
If the dead hive is not destroyed, the supers, floorboard and lid should be strapped together to ensure that the hive parts will not be distributed between a number of other hives. The hive should be restocked as a whole and no equipment should be removed until the new hive has filled a brood box and the brood properly checked for AFB.
Strap dead hives so that equipment is not removed before the hive has been restocked and checked for AFB
How well do you know what you need to know about AFB and beekeeping? Take our short quiz and find out.
Our videos cover everything from your legal obligations to how to recognise AFB, collecting cell and bee samples and more.
There’s a lot of good information here, telling you everything you need to know about recognising AFB: the visual symptoms, smell of AFB and more.
New Zealand beekeepers have a number of legal obligations that must be met regarding AFB disease. Read the shortened list in summary, here.
Most hives become infected because bees, honey or equipment have been put into a hive from another hive that is infected with AFB. Lower your chances of an AFB infection by reading this section.
Find out when the next AFB Recognition and Competency Courses, or Refresher Courses are available. These are held throughout the year in various New Zealand locations across the South Island and North Island.