Funding the Plan

A Pest Management Plan Funded Entirely by the Beekeeping Industry

American foulbrood (AFB) is the most serious disease affecting honey bees in New Zealand. AFB infects honey bee larvae causing the larvae to die. Each infected larvae produces 2.5 billion spores. These in turn infect other honey bee larvae until the hive collapses and dies.

There is no cure for American foulbrood. Spores from infected hives are very resistant and can survive for over 35 years.

AFB is predominantly spread from hive to hive through beekeeping practices including the exchange of brood, honey, pollen and hive parts between hives, or allowing the hive to become weak so that it is robbed by strong hives nearby.

American foulbrood is readily controlled by regular hive inspection, destruction of diseased hives by burning, and limiting the exchange of brood, honey, pollen and hive parts between hives. These disease control practices are most effective when consistently implemented by all beekeepers in a region/country – as this will ensure that no beekeepers hives are acting as a reservoir of infection for neighbouring hives.

In 1997 New Zealand’s beekeepers agreed to regulations in the form of the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan to ensure that all beekeepers had legal obligations to control AFB. Monitoring and auditing beekeeper compliance with these regulations is funded through a compulsory levy set at $15.17 per apiary and $20.00 per beekeeper. This funding is used to protect beekeepers hives from AFB by:

  • Ensuring that beekeepers are aware of their responsibilities to control AFB,
  • Providing information and advice on how to control AFB, and
  • Inspecting hives in AFB ‘hotspots’ to identify and destroy hives that may be responsible for infecting neighbouring hives.


A description of how levy funding is spent is detailed below:

Identifying and registering apiaries – $141,000

  • Administration of Annual Disease Returns
  • Two aerial surveillance flights

Monitoring and auditing beekeeper AFB elimination – $434,000

  • AP2 inspection of 2% of apiaries
  • Testing 60 RMP honey samples
  • Administration of Certificates of Inspection
  • Agreeing Disease Elimination Conformity Agreements
  • AFB Counselling
  • Laboratory testing of suspect AFB samples

Cross-programme support – $30,000

  • Apiary Database/ApiWeb application
  • Review of Levy Order
  • Research

Governance, management administration and communications – $401,000

  • Governance
  • Management and Administration
  • Accounting, audit, legal, insurance and banking
  • Management Agency Office and telecommunications
  • Communications, including April and October issues of The New Zealand Beekeeper journal
  • Levy Collection

Total      $1,006,000

The Levy Order 2003

A copy of the Order (Reprinted as at 18 September 2012) can be found here.

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.