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Wyo Ag Dept.: Bee brood disease found in Wyoming apiary

Beekeeper removing honeycomb from beehive. (Shutterstock)

CHEYENNE, Wyo. — American foulbrood AFB is a devastating honeybee brood disease and was recently confirmed in a hive in Lincoln County, Wyoming.

American foulbrood is an infectious, notifiable, bacterial brood disease that weakens and kills honeybee colonies. Early detection of the disease is important because routine apiary management and interchange of hive components can easily spread the disease to healthy bee colonies.

“AFB has only been confirmed in one hive in the State of Wyoming but we’d like all of our beekeepers to be proactive when it comes to this disease because of how easily it can spread,” said Slade Franklin, manager of the Technical Services Division of the Wyoming Department of Agriculture. “We don’t anticipate more cases as of now but it has also been found in surrounding states so this is a good opportunity and reminder for producers and hobbyists to keep a close eye on their hives for the health of their bees.”

The Wyoming Department of Agriculture has reached out to registered apiaries within 7 miles of the location AFB was found, but suggests all apiary managers and hobbyists across the state inspect their hives to look for symptoms of the disease.

Symptoms include:

  • Sealed brood cells that have become discolored and sunken
  • Punctures in brood capping
  • Dead larvae that are dark brown/black and sticky/ropy in consistency
  • Black scale that is a brittle incrustation that adheres tightly to the cell wall or flat on the floor of the brood cell, and/or a foul odor

Upon inspecting hives, if keepers have concerns about a possible AFB case, they are urged to contact the WDA or submit samples to the USDA Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, by following the procedures outlined on https://www.ars.usda.gov/northeast‐area/beltsville‐md-barc/beltsville‐agricultural‐research‐center/bee‐research‐laboratory/docs/bee‐disease‐diagnosis‐service/. The testing service is provided by the USDA at no charge.

For information, contact the Wyoming Department of Agriculture at 307-777-7321 or agrtshelpdesk@wyo.gov.