Here are six easy ways to reduce the threat of exotic and established pests affecting your livelihood. Each of these practices should be embedded in the everyday management of an apiary as it makes good business sense to reduce the risk of spreading pests. Don’t put your livelihood and the honey bee industry at risk by neglecting honey bee biosecurity.
Beekeepers have an important role to play in protecting honey bees
and the entire honey bee industry from biosecurity threats.
1. Be aware of biosecurity threats
You and your workers should be familiar with the most important exotic and established honey bee pest threats. Conduct a biosecurity induction session with staff to explain required hygiene practices for people, equipment and vehicles in an apiary.
2. Use pest-free honey bee stock and apiary equipment
Ensure all queen bees, packaged bees and apiary equipment are from trusted sources, pest-free and preferably certified. Keep good records of apiary inputs.
3. Keep it clean
Practicing good sanitation and hygiene will help prevent the entry, establishment and movement of pests within and between apiaries. Workers, visitors, vehicles and equipment can spread pests, so make sure they are clean before entering and leaving the apiary.
4. Check your apiary
Monitor your hives and the health of honey bee brood frequently. Report any new or unusual events and pests. Keep written and photographic records of all unusual observations. Constant vigilance is vital for the early detection of any exotic pest threat.
5. Abide by the law
Respect and be aware of the federal and state laws and regulations established to protect the honey bee industry, US agriculture and the local region.
6. Report anything unusual
If you suspect a new pest – report it immediately to the corresponding authorities.
What is biosecurity?
Biosecurity is the protection of livelihoods, lifestyles and the natural environment, all of which could be harmed by the introduction of new pests, or through the impact of pests already established in the United States. Biosecurity is a national priority, implemented off-shore, at the border or in an apiary. Biosecurity is essential for a successful beekeeping business. Freedom from pests is a vital part of the future profitability and
sustainability of US’s honey bee industry. Biosecurity preserves existing
trade opportunities and suppors new market negotiations.
What is honey bee biosecurity?
Honey bee biosecurity is a set of measures designed to protect your honey bees from the entry and spread of pests. Honey bee biosecurity is the responsibility of every beekeeper and every person visiting or working in an apiary. Implementing honey bee biosecurity is essential for every beekeeper business. If an exotic or endemic pest establishes in an
apiary, business costs will increase (for monitoring, hive management,
additional chemical use and labour), productivity will decrease (yield and/or colony performance) and markets may be lost. The health of the honey bee industry also ensures the continued success of many other plant industries that rely on honey bees for pollination. Early detection and immediate reporting increases the chance of an effective and efficient eradication.
The biosecurity measures of an individual beekeeper can be enhanced by
collaborating with others in a particular region. Through this collaborative
approach, biosecurity threats to all apiaries in a region can be minimised.
Promotion of honey bee biosecurity at the regional level can be enhanced through the engagement of the community and by understanding the area’s vulnerability, and the potential source and nature of threats. Neighbouring apiaries (managed or abandoned), feral colonies and/or unregistered hives are examples of potential biosecurity threats. Regional biosecurity efforts are strengthened by identifying what resources and expertise are available,
and by having a commitment from stakeholders to implement biosecurity
measures and surveillance programs. Implementation of honey bee biosecurity strategies underpins regional biosecurity, which in turn underpins national biosecurity