Differential diagnosis

Other diseases can look like AFB

There are a number of problems affecting honey bee brood that have symptoms similar to AFB.

Diseases and conditions that can be mistaken for AFB include sacbrood, chalkbrood, parasitic mite syndrome and half-moon syndrome. This section describes the symptoms of these diseases and conditions, and explains how the symptoms differ from AFB.

Know the life stage of the honey bee

The first step is to become familiar with the life stages of a honey bee (Fig. 34–42) so that any abnormal symptoms will be recognised.

Effective differential diagnosis often relies on comparing a set of symptoms, rather than concentrating on a single symptom, and looking at a range of larvae and pupae in the hive.

If there is any question about the symptoms of a particular larva or pupa, the entire colony should always be checked for further symptoms. If a definitive symptom is found, the beekeeper should still confirm the diagnosis by searching for three or four more diseased larvae or pupae elsewhere in the hive.

Figure 34: A honey bee egg
Figure 35: A one day old larva
Figure 36: A three day old larva
Figure 37: A cell being sealed
Figure 38: A cell containing a prepupae (capping removed for photo)
Figure 39: A white eyed pupa (capping removed for photo)
Figure 34: A honey bee egg
Figure 42: An adult honey bee chewing an opening in the capping of its cell

Differences between common diseases

AFB Quiz
Take the AFB 5 minute quiz

How well do you know what you need to know about AFB and beekeeping? Take our short quiz and find out.

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.