Guernsey

Warning given about bee disease in islands

Beekeepers in the Bailiwick of Guernsey have been warned not to import bees or bee equipment to avoid the spread of a disease.

American Foulbrood disease, which can devastate colonies by killing larvae, has been found in two Jersey hives.

A Commerce and Employment spokesperson said all beekeepers should routinely inspect their hives and must report any suspected cases to the department.

Further advice can be obtained from the Guernsey Beekeepers' Association.

Alf Salmon, who acts as a bee inspector in Guernsey on behalf of the association, said infected hives have a "very nasty characteristic smell of fish".

Infection can be spread by moving infected hives and equipment or from contaminated honey, which was the cause of the last outbreak in Guernsey about 40 years ago.

The Commerce and Employment Department said it also wanted to remind beekeepers that it is illegal to import used bee hives and second hand equipment. It said only new bee hives and equipment were allowed into the island and imports of colonies were strictly controlled.

The department is discussing whether it should compile an official register of beekeeping, but currently advises islanders join the Guernsey Beekeepers' Association, whose membership list can be used if colony inspections do become necessary in the future.

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