07 June 2013
A bee disease which can wipe out colonies has now been reduced so much in Jersey that restrictions on most beekeepers are to be lifted.
The restrictions came into place in June 2010 when tests confirmed the presence of the bacterial disease American foulbrood in Jersey, a destructive bee disease which investigation showed was widespread in the Island.
It is spread by beekeepers transferring infected material from one hive to another, not cleaning equipment between hives, bees robbing infected hives or drifting bees such as drones who may visit a number of hives. The only way to control it is to stop all movement of hives and equipment, and to destroy all infected combs and bees and to scorch or disinfect hives.
Worked with beekeepers to prevent disease spreading
When the restrictions came into effect, the States Vet and her team worked with beekeepers to identify and destroy infected hives and prevent the spread of the disease. All beekeepers had to register with the Environment Department. Any beekeeper who suspects American or European Foulbrood has to notify the department immediately.
This week Environment Minister, Deputy Rob Duhamel signed the Diseases of Animals (Bees) (Jersey) Order 2013, which lifts controls on beekeepers. The only exception concerns a small number of individual beekeepers who have hives where disease has been found this year and who continue to face restrictions.
New hive owners must register
The new order also requires beekeepers to tell the department if they find two particular pests and, at the request of Island beekeepers, it keeps in a requirement introduced under the 2010 restrictions that that anyone who owns a hive must register with the department if they haven’t already done so.
The department has sent information to all registered Island beekeepers and a notice will be published in the Jersey Evening Post.