American foulbrood in New Zealand

Objectives of the management plan

The primary objective during the first five-year term of the AFB NPMS was to reduce the incidence of AFB in managed colonies by an average of 10% each year. The objective in the second (five-year) term is to reduce the reported incidence of the disease to below 0.1% by the end of the term.

The plan ahead

The AFB NPMS seeks to eliminate AFB by using the following means:

  • A set of legal responsibilities on the part of all beekeepers. These responsibilities include:
    • registration of all apiaries
    • reporting of cases of AFB to the Management Agency (both when found and on an annual basis)
      destruction of all cases of AFB
  • Disease Elimination Conformity Agreements (DECA). A DECA is a document that provides beekeepers with a means to commit to a personal plan to eliminate AFB from their beehives, and to make changes to the plan if disease levels do not decrease:
    • Certificates of Inspection (C of I) to ensure that all beehives belonging to beekeepers without a DECA also receive an adequate level of inspection for AFB
    • A course on AFB recognition and destruction, and a competency test, to ensure that all beekeepers carrying out inspections have a demonstrated ability to diagnose AFB
    • Audits of DECA and C of I, using both physical inspections and AFB spore tests, to ensure compliance with the provisions of the strategy, and to detect any new outbreaks of the disease
    • Counselling of beekeepers with AFB problems
    • Ongoing educational programmes in AFB recognition and destruction, using the network of NBA branches throughout New Zealand
    • Provision of a free testing service for suspect AFB larvae.