Cleaning equipment

Figure 57: Flame sterilising a hive tool

A beekeeper’s gloves, hive tool and smoker are unlikely to carry sufficiently large numbers of spores to be a major factor in the spread of AFB. Nevertheless, when an AFB hive is found, precautions should be taken to ensure that equipment will not be a risk.

Beekeepers have traditionally used a range of products including soaps, detergents and methylated spirits or kerosene to sterilise gloves and smokers. Some of these may physically remove AFB spores, but trials have shown that none of these substances are able to kill them.

When AFB is found, a sensible approach to cleaning beekeeping equipment is as follows:

  • Scrape excess propolis and wax off the wooden parts of the smoker bellows with a hive tool
  • Scrub the outside of gloves with soapy water. The soap will not destroy spores on the gloves, but it will help to remove materials such as wax, propolis and honey that might contain significant concentrations of spores
  • Scrub the bellows and base of smoker in the same soapy water
  • Scrape all propolis off the hive tool
  • Scorch the hive tool by putting it into the smoker and pumping on the bellows to produce a flame (Fig. 57)
AFB Quiz
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AFB Videos

Our videos cover everything from your legal obligations to how to recognise AFB, collecting cell and bee samples and more.

AFB Symptoms

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.

AFB Inspection and Diagnosis
Inspection and Diagnosis

Successfully eliminate AFB by telling the difference between symptoms of AFB and other brood diseases in the hive. We tell you the best methods for inspecting your hives.

The Law

New Zealand beekeepers have a number of legal obligations that must be met regarding AFB disease. Read the shortened list in summary, here.

AFB Elimination

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.

AFB Course Info
AFB Recognition Course Info

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.

The AFB App

Follow the link below to open the App. Once open to save to your device you need to bookmark the URL on your phone so you can find it easily again. Please click here to open.