BEEKEEPERS in Ross-shire are being warned to be vigilant following an outbreak of a deadly disease in a Highland apiary.
American Foulbrood (AFB), a disease affecting colonies of honeybees, has been found in an apiary near Inverness.
The disease was confirmed following laboratory diagnosis by Science and Advice for Scottish Agriculture (SASA).
Outbreaks of AFB have previously been reported and dealt with in this area over the last three years.
The AFB infected hive will be destroyed as there is no permitted treatment for the disease in the UK. There are no risks to public health from AFB and no implications for the quality and safety of honey.
The affected apiary is located near Inverness and the movement of bees and related equipment into or out of the affected apiary is prohibited.
Bee farmers and beekeepers are being urged to be vigilant for signs of the disease, to maintain good husbandry practices and to notify any suspicion of disease to BeesMailbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.
In order to assist Scottish Government Bee Inspectors to control this and other diseases, beekeepers are urged to register on BeeBase, the national bee database. This will give them access to up-to-date information on the control of AFB and bee related issues.
Beekeepers in the area of this outbreak who are not on BeeBase are requested to send their contact details to: BeesMailbox@scotland.gsi.gov.uk.
AFB, a notifiable disease, kills off bee larva, is highly contagious and difficult to eradicate. Unlike European Foulbrood, hives with AFB cannot be treated and must be destroyed.
Further information and details on how to register on BeeBase can be found at www.scotland.gov.uk/beehealth.