Irradiation of Beehives and Equipment

The Association will arrange irradiation of beehives and equipment at Steritech in Sydney. For many years, Steritech’s Gamma irradiation process has been used in Australia to help control American Foulbrood (AFB) and European Foulbrood (EFB). Irradiation eliminates diseases such as AFB & EFB. Bee boxes can be re-used straight after treatment. It is an affordable alternative to destruction of boxes and is approved by all State authorities. Many beekeepers treat bee boxes regularly as a preventative measure.

The following applies

  • The cost is $30 per box which covers irradiation plus GST & transport (if we have a full pallet). Smaller loads can be arranged but the transport cost will be greater.
  • We will only accept single boxes even though Steritech will now take doubles.
  • All boxes to be clean with no honey or insects. A clean up fee of $220 will apply to downtime associated with leakage of honey.
  • Double wrap each box with suitably heavy plastic or plastic bags. Cling wrap doesn’t stand up to the handling to which they are subject, and they come back torn and punctured.
  • Securely DOUBLE wrap each box. This means wrapping each box in a single layer of plastic, fully taping all the joints and then repeating the entire procedure again. Wrapping it in 2 layers but only taping the top layer doesn’t provide the security needed. Emlocks are not to be used as they upset the stacking. Cloth tape is fine.
  • Tightly wrap and tape to ensure contents don’t fall out. Keep the wrapping tight. This helps to prevent tears during transport and allows the boxes to be stacked more efficiently on the pallet. (Your finished box should look like a big plastic covered Xmas present).
    Use good quality tape and clean plastic to ensure good adhesion.
  • Each box MUST be less than 25kg, no exceptions.
  • EVERY box needs to be labelled with “Beekeepers Association of the ACT”, followed by the owners name, address and phone number. The label needs to be clearly visible and secured in a way that doesn’t get torn off during transport and handling
  • Contact:
  • Peter McKeahnie (0418 625 923) co-ordinates the collection and transport of bee boxes and equipment to Steritech in Sydney through a transport company in Queanbeyan.
  • Members with boxes to irradiate should ring Peter and let him know. Please complete this form to give to Peter: … %20NSW.pdf

When Peter has enough to make the transport worthwhile he will call you back and co-ordinate the collection. As Peter can only collect the boxes immediately prior to dispatch, it may be some time between when you call him and he has enough boxes organised to make up a load. To avoid wax moth/SHB infestation during this period, freeze the frames if possible before wrapping. Alternatively, only wrap the boxes just before dispatch so you can be sure no infestation is present. Peter will endeavour to give you a few days notice before dispatch.

Notes about American Foulbrood (AFB) – Check weak hives (from December 2012 newsletter)

Several cases of AFB have been identified recently. It is important for all beekeepers to check weak hives for the disease as it can be spread by bees from healthy hives robbing the honey from hives weakened by AFB. Each brood cell should be examined for perforations, dark colour or collapsing in the cell. The classic symptom of AFB is roping of these affected cells as shown in the photograph. Should AFB be confirmed, the bees should be killed and buried, and the equipment burned or irradiated.

  • If the equipment is to be burned, petrol can be used to kill the bees. Note that the burning of garden or other waste in urban areas is banned in the ACT. This includes burning waste in a backyard incinerator.
  • If the equipment is to be irradiated for future use, the bees should be killed by shaking into a tub of soapy water. Petrol will contaminate the equipment. Excellent videos with details and instructions have been prepared by NSW DPI officers. Please check them out in the training and education section of this website.