The Federation of
Irish Beekeepers' Associations
It is the responsibility of every beekeeper to protect our honeybee - an essential pollinator of crops and wild plants. Bees are subject to certain diseases, both of the brood and of the adult and the beekeeper should be very vigilant to ensure that hygiene standards and good apiary management are maintained. There is the satisfaction of good animal husbandry knowing the bees are well fed, healthy and housed in dry hives safe from pests.
The beekeeper should send samples of bees - in the case of adult diseases, and comb - in the case of brood diseases, for disease diagnosis. This is the only reliable method of disease detection. Currently there is a five Euro fee (per sample) for this service. Cheques or postal order must be made payable to Teagasc. Send the samples to:
Bee Disease Diagnostic Service
Dr Mary F Coffey
Teagasc Oak Park Research Centre
In order to test for adult bee diseases, a sample of 30 bees is required. The sample can be collected in a match box by partly protruding the tray, holding it nearly flat over the bees, on the crown board or at the front entrance, and drawing it back with a sweeping movement. Bees can be killed by placing them in the freezer for 24 hours before posting. Label each sample showing apiary, hive number together with your name and address. On no account should plastic containers be used as the bees decompose rapidly in these containers.
If the beekeeper suspects any of the brood diseases are present in the hives then, the full frame containing suspect brood from the hives should be sent also in a paper container. The sample should contain sealed, dead and/or discoloured brood if possible. It would assist diagnosis if the cappings were not damaged (ie squashed in the post).
To conclude, the beekeeper should keep up to date with new developments especially in the control of varroa and when necessary treat with an approved product at the proper rate and for the appropriate time.