Honey bees and beekeeping

Bee pests and diseases

Alert

American foulbrood (AFB) disease has been found in the Northern Territory.

If you suspect your hives are infected, you must call Biosecurity on 1800 084 881 or email quarantine@nt.gov.au.

Read more about AFB.

There are many harmful bees and bee pests which could seriously damage the Northern Territory (NT) honey bee industry.

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Notifiable honey bee pests and diseases in the NT include:

Emergency

  • Infestation of bees with Tropilaelaps clareae or T. mercedesae (Tropilaelaps mite)
  • Infestation of bees with Varroa destructor (Varroosis) or V. jacobsoni

Exotic

  • Infestation of bees with Acarapis woodi (Acariasis tracheal mite)

Endemic

  • Infection of bees with Melissococcus plutonius (European foulbrood)
  • Infection of bees with Paenibacillus larvae (American foulbrood)
  • Infection of bees with Braula fly (Braula caeca)
  • Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida)

If you suspect or confirm an endemic, emergency or exotic bee pest or disease, you must report it as soon as possible.

Call Animal Biosecurity on 1800 675 888 or your local veterinary or livestock biosecurity officer.

Exotic diseases are notifiable diseases originating outside Australia and are usually not known to be present in Australia.

Exotic honey bee pests and diseases include:

  • African honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata)
  • Africanized honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata (hybrid))
  • Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis)
  • Deformed wing virus (Deformed wing virus (Iflavirus))
  • Hornets (Vespa spp. (exotic species))
  • Large hive beetle (Hoplostoma fuligineus)
  • Slow paralysis virus (Slow paralysis virus (Iflavirus))

Endemic diseases are notifiable diseases present in Australia. They may or may not be present in the NT.

Endemic honey bee diseases include:

  • Asian honeybee (Apis cerana)
  • Black queen cell virus (Cripavirus)
  • Chalkbrood disease (Ascosphaera apis)
  • Greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella)
  • Lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella)
  • Nosemosis (Nosema apis and N. ceranae)
  • Sacbrood disease (Sacbrood virus (Iflavirus))

Plant Health Australia co-ordinates the National Bee Pest Surveillance Program. It is an early-warning system to detect new occurrences of exotic bee pests. This includes pest bees.

The program monitors locations considered to be the most likely entry points for pests. For more information, go to the Plant Health Australia website.

Other endemic and exotic pests important to the honey bee industry are listed below:

  • Endemic pests
    • Black queen cell virus (Cripavirus)
    • Chalkbrood disease (Ascosphaera apis)
    • Greater wax moth (Galleria mellonella)
    • Lesser wax moth (Achroia grisella)
    • Nosemosis (Nosema apis and N. ceranae)
    • Sacbrood disease (Sacbrood virus (Iflavirus))
  • Exotic pests
    • African honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata)
    • Africanized honey bee (Apis mellifera scutellata (hybrid))
    • Cape honey bee (Apis mellifera capensis)
    • Deformed wing virus (Deformed wing virus (Iflavirus))
    • Hornets (Vespa spp. (exotic species))
    • Large hive beetle (Hoplostoma fuligineus)
    • Slow paralysis virus (Slow paralysis virus (Iflavirus))

All suspect bee pests and diseases should be reported for investigation.

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Last updated: 29 September 2020

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