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Bad buzz: Four beehives have been destroyed after becoming infected with bacterial disease, American foulbrood

By CASS MARRETT

Four Queenstown beehives have been destroyed after becoming infected with a fatal bacterial disease.

American foulbrood (AFB) was detected in the hives as part of a routine check by an inspector from the disease’s national management agency, which meant, legally, the hives had to be destroyed within seven days.

However, AFB national compliance manager Clifton King says the latest case has only affected one beekeeper.

The agency’s confident they’ve found the source of infection, but urges bee keepers to stay vigilant.

He says in the past year, five apiaries have been affected in areas around Queenstown Airport — between State Highway 6 and the Kawarau River — and south of the inlet to the Kawarau.

It’s most often spread by a beekeeper moving infected hive parts from one hive to another.

To help prevent spread, King says it’s important beekeepers register their hives with the management agency and check them at least twice a year.

cass.marrett@scene.co.nz