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Bee Health

The beekeeping sector is regulated by EU and national legislation. Under this legislation, bees are subject to veterinary inspection for certain notifiable pests and diseases. Currently these are American Foul Brood Disease (AFB), European Foul Brood Disease (EFB), Small Hive Beetle (SHB) and the Tropilaelaps mite. To ensure compliance with the legislation, the beekeeper is required to contact DAFM at beekeeping@agriculture.gov.ie and submit samples if any one of above mentioned notifiable pests or diseases are suspected or diagnosed. AFB and EFB frequently occur in Irish honey bee colonies and details on how to take a sample for AFB and EFB testing are given in the guidance document below. To date, SHB and Tropilaelaps spp. have not been reported in Ireland, however beekeepers need to remain vigilant and throughout the active season continuously monitor for both species. Information sheets and identification details for both species are given in the fact sheets below.

The Asian Hornet is not a notifiable pest, however it is a serious pest not only for honey bee colonies but also for all wild bee populations. It arrived in Europe in 2004, but since then has successfully reproduced in many European countries including the UK. DAFM has been continuously monitoring for this pest as part of a broader surveillance programme since 2016 and to date no sightings have been reported in Ireland. Beekeepers should also actively monitor their own area and locality for the Asian hornet, especially during the active season. The fact sheet below will assist beekeepers in the identification of this species. If  a sighting of the Asian hornet is suspected, please contact DAFM at beekeeping@agriculture.gov.ie and if possible include a photograph. All suspect specimens should be submitted to DAFM, Plant Health Laboratories for confirmation.

The DAFM Honey bee Health Surveillance Programme

The Honey bee Health Surveillance Programme has been developed to replace the Bee Disease Diagnostic Service but will continue to be financially supported and coordinated by DAFM. For the past number of years, Teagasc has provided the laboratory facilities needed for this diagnostic service, initially in Clonroche in Wexford and more recently in Oakpark, Carlow, however from April 2020 onwards, all samples will be analysed in DAFM, Plant Health Laboratories, Backweston Campus, Celbridge. It will continue to be a free service and since the early detection of pest and pathogens is key to maintaining healthy stocks and maximising honey production, beekeepers should use this service and all other available supports. All samples submitted for analysis should be accompanied with a completed sample submission form (see below). The Honey bee health Programme guidance form below outlines the importance of sampling and gives guidelines on when/how to sample bees and brood from the colony.

Map of Bee Diagnostic Service Results 

Updated 07.11.2019 Size 625x700

As multiple samples are often submitted by Beekeepers or Associations the points on the map indicate apiaries and are mapped to the nearest town. DAFM would like to acknowledge the vigilance of beekeepers and the collective effort of individuals and associations in submitting samples for analysis.    

Table of Bee Diagnostic Service Results

Updated 07.11.2019

Honey Bee Veterinary Medicines

Further information regarding honey bee health