Marking hives with AFB

Best practice in marking hives

Whenever an AFB hive is found, it should be marked in an appropriate way so that it can be located again when it comes time to destroy the colony. A crayon or indelible pen should be kept in the beekeeping vehicle for this purpose.

Pitfalls of incorrectly marked hives

Scratching an “X” on the surface of a box is not recommended, since the marking may not be obvious, either at night when the hive is to be closed, or when the box is being handled by staff members. Most beekeepers can tell stories about AFB hives that were found, but not marked adequately. As a result, the whole apiary had to be inspected again when it came time to destroy the infected hive.

In one very frustrating case, a hive was found with just one AFB-infected larva. A piece of wood was placed on the top of the hive to mark it. The hive was in an apiary of 25 hives. When the beekeeper returned to the apiary to kill the hive, the wood had disappeared and the beekeeper could not remember which hive it was. It was too late in the day to do an immediate inspection, so the apiary had to be visited and inspected again the following day. Unfortunately no AFB larvae could be found. It was only after three further inspections of the whole apiary over the following three weeks that the hive was finally found and destroyed.

The best approach is to mark each piece of hive woodenware, that is likely to be salvaged, with the word “AFB” written in large letters. The mark should be big enough to be obvious, and bold enough so that it will last until the equipment is sterilised or burnt. It is also a good idea to mark two adjacent sides of all boxes, so that the mark can be more readily identified if the boxes are placed in a stack.

A crayon or indelible pen should be used to mark the lid and all boxes when an AFB hive is found.

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.