There are rumours circulating about outbreaks of EFB and AFB in Northern Ireland. Included below is a response from Thomas Williamson, Senior Bee Inspector
“There have been no confirmed cases of EFB to date in Northern Ireland . I did hear this report recently and took some steps to try and find out what caused it and to advise it wasn’t the case.
Bees were brought here from England after which the source Apiary in England was found to have EFB and we were informed about this. An Inspection was carried out on the imported bees but no evidence was found of EFB. Because EFB can be masked or hidden to a certain extent depending on the circumstances in the hive we plan to carry out a further inspection in the spring of 2012.
AFB has been an issue for beekeepers in the Clough, Dundrum and Newcastle areas this year and DARD’s bee inspectors have been dealing with these outbreaks. I believe that a combination of these facts may have given rise to this story or at least to one version that I heard.
Reported EFB +ve samples have been increasing in the ROI over recent years with some of these outbreaks quite close to N. Ireland . Demand for bees has been strong in recent years and this has resulted in the trade of bees in both directions across the Irish Sea . This can only increase the risks of this disease being brought/found here and beekeepers need to be very vigilant when they consider such movements of bees.
If new beekeepers purchase bees and don’t suspect that they have a disease it could easily become established. This has been the case with AFB in recent years and remains the risk with EFB. I would ask that you would advise your members of the position to date and if we can take something positive from this it is that beekeepers should remain vigilant and ensure that when they are moving bees that they are healthy.
Hope that this clarifies the situation”
Senior Bee Inspector
DARD Quality Assurance Branch