Honeybee producers are urged not to bring bees or hives into the Southern Cape.
This forms part of an effort to protect the region’s status as a disease-free zone.
Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities, explained that the fires which recently swept through the region destroyed close to 300 hives and large tracts of natural forage for bees.
“The Southern Cape, and specifically the Knysna area, is free of American Foulbrood (AFB) disease. People have been trying to rebuild the Southern Cape’s honeybee industry by donating bees or honey from other parts of the country, which could be from AFB contaminated areas. That is why we are appealing to people to avoid bringing honey or honeybees into the Southern Cape.”
AFB is caused by the spore- forming bacterium Paenibacillus larvae, and is the most widespread and destructive of the bee brood diseases. Larvae up to 3 days old become infected by ingesting spores that are present in their food. Spores germinate in the gut of the larva and the vegetative form begins to grow, taking its nourishment from the larva. Spores will not germinate in larvae over 3 days old. Bacterial growth causes the eventual death of the larva. The vegetative form of the bacterium will die but not before it produces many millions of spores. Each dead larva may contain as many as 100 million spores.
Disease spreads rapidly throughout the hive as the bees, attempting to remove the spore-laden dead larvae, contaminate brood food. Beekeepers also may spread disease by moving equipment (frames or supers) from contaminated hives to healthy ones. Therefore, honey from an unknown source should never be used as bee feed, and used beekeeping equipment should be assumed contaminated unless known to be otherwise.
Producers are also urged to ensure that their hives are registered.
For further information and suggestions, kindly contact:
- Eddie Hart, spokesperson for the Knysna Beekeepers Association: 082 573 1329 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Andre de Jager, President of the South Cape Beekeepers Association: 082 922 6756 or email@example.com
For media queries, kindly contact:
Spokesperson: Alan Winde, Minister of Economic Opportunities
Responsible for Tourism, Economic Development and Agriculture
Western Cape Government
142 Long Street, Cape Town