Honey bees are constantly attacked by bacteria, viruses, protozoa’s, fungi andthose exotic, pesky parasitic mites. Moreover, other insects attack bee equipment. Disease and pest control requires continuous watchfulness by the beekeeper. The bees live in a small, enclosed, moist, dark, and poorly ventilated environment which means diseases will be more common if not monitored closely.
So, in order to maintain a disease free hive, it is important that you know how to recognize healthy brood and bees. It may sound cliché, but prevention is definitely better than cure. Hygienic practices should be implemented. Avoid discarding comb and propolis or exchange combs in the apiary. Do not squash the bees whenever you are handling the colony. Avoid spilling sugar and syrup or manipulate the bees late in the season to maintain a clean hive .
Second-hand equipments usually contained a diseased colony. So it is a healthy practice not to use second-hand frames or combs. You should use different hive tools and gloves for each apiary. Combs should be sterilized with 80% acetic acid or PDB. Swarms should be quarantined at once and be checked for any diseases. Any foreign bee that visits the hive or a bee of unknown origin shouldn’t be fed.
In the event you are not sure about a certain disease, you should seek the advice on an experienced beekeeper or a Bee Disease Officer. They can take samples and examine them for certain diseases like acarine and nosema. You can also send samples to the National Bee Unit but it would require you to pay a certain amount.
In case Foul Brood is detected, it should be reported to the Bee Inspector or the National Beekeeping Unit and they will treat the disease for free.