The club apiary management team have formulated basic rules to prevent spread of fatal and debilitating honey bee diseases. All and every user is asked to strictly adhere to these rules. They are not onerous but have been implemented to avoid careless and unnecessary transmission of bee diseases and pests.
What to do and what not to do
Here are common sense rules we suggest you also apply at home:
- don’t bring to or take away gear from the Jerrabomberra Wetlands Apiary: no hive tools, no bees – including swarms – or other gear such as gloves and smokers;
- bring a bee suit or veil but make sure it has been laundered and is clean;
- do not swap hive gear: lids, bases, frames, excluders, feeders and supers between hives. Hive components are marked and kept with hives to reduce risk of disease spread; and
- use a clean hive tool for each hive inspection, one per colony. Clean hive tools after each apiary session with methylated spirits or by scrubbing tools with hot soapy water.
What the club does
To complement these practical measures the apiary management team:
- conducts of full seasonal hive inspections of all colonies for diseases and pests shaking off bees from all brood frames to closely inspect for signs of brood diseases. We note unusual symptoms such as dwindling bee numbers and crawling bees at hive entrances and the presence of wax moth, beetles, ants, mice…;
- traps small hive beetle and controls wax moth;
- adopts a sign out-sign in system for the likes of demonstration hives used by the club at fairs and events such as the Canberra Show. These are recorded, signed and dated after consultation with the club apiary management team;
- avoids transfer of gear between colonies except when needed, for example to requeen colonies and only after hives have been shown to be AFB and EFB free;
- avoids movement of hive gear and bees within the apiary except to replace failed colonies. All permanent colonies and boxes have a distinctive colony number (J01-J20) to avoid risk of cross-infection;
- retains gear including feeders and queen excluders with parent colonies: marked gear and supers can be removed for pest-free on-site storage but must be returned to the same colony;
- banss transfer of any gear or bees between sentinel colonies (frames and hive materials marked a distinctive purple colour) and club hives (marked a deep sky blue);
- immediately reports notifiable diseases as prescribed by the ACT Beekeeping Code of Practice and takes immediate steps to sterilise or to safely dispose of infected gear;
- traps small hive beetles;
- irradiates any seriously infected gear and removes old combs on a rotational basis to minimise disease loads;
- optimises individual colony condition to ensure that colonies are not robbed out and requeens colonies with poor temperament to enhances safety and to encourage regular colony inspection; and
- makes on-site hive paper records and maintains a full electronic record of individual colony inspections.