Hello Everyone -
I appreciate that you all are taking this very seriously. Being the only inspector in VT currently (hiring freeze due to Covid) and with the announcement of AFB - the calls and requests for inspections have increased greatly. 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 familiarize yourselves with 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 to purchase AFB and EFB Field test kits- The company will sell these in bulk- boxes of 40- for wholesale- I think $6 vs $15 retail- https://www.vita-europe.com/beehealth/products/afb-diagnostic-test-kit/.
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: https://pollinators.msu.edu/resources/beekeepers/diagnosing-and-treating-american-foulbrood-in-honey-bee-colonies/ and https://extension.psu.edu/honey-bee-diseases-american-foulbrood.
It is important to me as well that we keep the communications confidential - The last thing we need right now, is to pit beekeepers against beekeepers, this is not the goal. The goal is to stop the spread of AFB. When I mentioned confidentiality - I mean maintaining professionality and anonymity of the situation among beekeepers outside of the situation. Obviously reporting suspect or confirmed AFB cases to the state is required - but we don’t need gossip - in general it is unhelpful. Getting AFB in your colonies is devastating, and can feel embarrassing - We don’t want to make anyone feel targeted.
Remember to take photos of your inspections and test results, send them to me if you see anything questionable.
Thank you all Brooke
Reminder: registration of all honeybee colonies is required by state statute and is currently open for the 2020 season- Go to the VAAFM website Apiary page for more info or contact:
Pollinator Health Specialist
Vermont Agency of Agriculture, Food and Markets