Percentage of brood frames inspected

Pitfalls of taking shortcuts

There is always the temptation to decrease the number of brood frames inspected in a beehive when time is at a premium and other beekeeping management tasks have to be performed. However, the fewer frames that are inspected, the lower is the chance of finding an AFB infection. As well, the infection will almost certainly be more advanced before it is identified, increasing the chances that the AFB colony will be robbed.

If there is only one frame showing AFB symptoms in a hive with 12 frames of brood, there is a 75% chance of the infection being missed if only three frames of brood are checked (Table 4). Nevertheless, some beekeepers only ever inspect three brood frames per hive, and often only in the top super.

Brood Frames 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Frames Inspected
1  66 75 80 83 86 88 89 90 91 92
2  33 50  60  67 71 75 77 80 82  83
3  0  25  40  50  57 63  66 70 73  75
4  0  20  33  43 50 55 60 64  67
5  0  17  28 38 44 50 55  58
6  0  15  25  33 40 46  50
7  0  13  22 30 36  41
8  0  11 20 27  33
9  0  10 18  25
10  0  9  17
11  0  8
12  0

It takes about four times longer to disassemble a two-box hive and inspect all of the brood frames than to inspect three brood frames in the top box. However, this increase in labour is negligible compared with the time and expense required to simply get to the apiary. Since considerable effort is taken to visit each apiary, it makes sense to do a thorough and effective job once there.

There are good examples of beekeepers in New Zealand with above average levels of AFB in their hives significantly decreasing the incidence of AFB, by simply increasing the number of brood frames inspected in every hive.

When inspecting hives for AFB, all brood frames should be checked.

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.