A rare bee disease has been detected on the north coast.
The Agri-Food and Biosciences Institute (AFBI) has identified European foulbrood in three apiaries in Portrush, Rasharkin and Donemana.
AFBI scientists detected the disease in samples of brood combs submitted by DARD Bee Health Inspectors from several weakened and dying bee colonies.
European foulbrood is a bacterial disease of the brood caused by Melissococcus plutonius. The term ‘foulbrood’ refers to dying and decaying bee larvae within brood combs. It is a serious and notifiable disease under the Bee Diseases and Pests Control Order (Northern Ireland) 2007.
Although widespread in Britain, relatively few instances of European foulbrood have been detected in Northern Ireland. In this instance, the infected hives have been destroyed and other hives within the affected apiaries detained.
If foulbrood is suspected, beekeepers must contact DARD or AFBI.