A great message from our state bee inspector, Brooke Decker, about how to deal with the AFB cases in VT. Lots of good information here.
I appreciate that you all are taking this [news of AFB – https://www.vermontbeekeepers.org/2-uncategorised/935-american-foul-brood-confirmed-in-vermont] very seriously. With the announcement of confirmed AFB cases in the state, the calls and requests for inspections have increased. While I have been able to prioritize inspections thus far, I know there are many anxious beekeepers in the state at the moment.
This is where I see help from the local clubs coming in. If you are able to help your club members learn to identify AFB symptoms and utilize field tests when any suspect or questionable signs appear, this will greatly help us ALL prioritize the mitigation process.
I recommend the clubs [and individuals] purchase AFB and EFB field test kits. The [Vita Bee Health] company sells these in bulk – boxes of 40 for wholesale (https://www.vita-europe.com/beehealth/products/afb-diagnostic-test-kit/) – or they can be purchased individually through many of the bee supply companies.
Learning how to conduct the Holst Milk test would be helpful too.The field tests do not take place of sending a sample to the lab, but can be a useful tool to help determine urgency of the situation.
I also recommend these resources:
Reporting suspected or confirmed AFB cases to the state is required. It is important that we keep the communications professional and confidential. Announcements to the public follow protocols as to maintain anonymity of individuals. The goal is to stop the spread of AFB, not pit beekeepers against each other.
Remember to take photos of your inspections and test results. Send them to me if you see anything questionable.
Reminder: Register your colonies as per the state statute. Go to the VAAFM website Apiary page (https://agriculture.vermont.gov/public-health-agricultural-resource-management-division/apiary-program) for more info or contact:
Pollinator Health Specialist
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets