Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland

Honey bee larva disease found in West Lothian

A honey bee
Image caption Scotland's honey bee population dropped by a third in the winter of 2008-09

An outbreak of American Foulbrood, which kills off honey bee larva, has been discovered in West Lothian.

The disease was found at an apiary by a Scottish government bee inspector.

A 5km infected area has been declared around the apiary, which is located between Linlithgow and Kirkliston. Inspections will be carried out on other apiaries in the area.

The movement of bees and related equipment is prohibited, except under licence from the Scottish government.

There were outbreaks of American Foulbrood (AFB) and European Foulbrood (EFB) in Scotland in 2009.

In February this year an AFB outbreak was found in a hive in the Stranraer area.

The latest infected area extends from the Forth in the north to Uphall and Broxburn in the south, and from Linlithgow in the west to between Winchburgh and Kirkliston in the east.

A spokesman for the Scottish government said: "Hives with AFB must be destroyed as there is no known treatment. There are no risks to public health from AFB and no implications for the quality and safety of honey.

"AFB is highly contagious and difficult to eradicate."

Beekeepers are urged to check their hives and notify any suspicion of disease to BeesMailbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.

In June experts said three of the UK's 25 bumblebee species had gone extinct, while half had suffered declines of up to 70%.

Scottish Environment Secretary Richard Lochhead announced a 10-year strategy to help protect honey bees, after the population dropped by a third in the winter of 2008-09.

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