October is AFB Awareness Month

Join in this important project

Get FREE equipment to help protect your bees

AFB Awareness Month POSTER.jpeg

Now's the time to inspect your hives for American Foulbrood Disease. Beekeeping organisations are asking all beekeepers to check their brood boxes and report back on what they find. This is an important campaign that will help protect bees across NSW now and in the future. Please get involved.

All ABA members will receive free equipment during this campaign to make it easier to identify, confirm and treat this devastating bee disease. So whether you are a beginner beekeeper or an experienced apiarist, don't miss this opportunity to learn more about AFB, get practical help, and arm yourself with tools to stop the spread of AFB.

What's the aim of the month? AFB affects - and kills - bees across Australia. It is a notifiable disease. That means you MUST alert the DPI within 24 hours if you find evidence of AFB or think your apiary has been infected. Many beekeepers find AFB tricky to identify. That's why this campaign is important.

Here are five steps:

Step 1. Learn how to fight AFB. 

Leading up to and during October, many ABA clubs will be running sessions about AFB, with talks, videos, and practical experience examining brood frames. It's easy to get involved.

Look out for posters at beekeeping suppliers, clubs and industry locations publicising the Awareness Month.

And check out the resources listed on the ABA website.

Step 2. Collect your free equipment. 

Free pack

Every ABA member will get a free AFB testing pack.  This contains:

  • microscope slides
  • a 'mailer' or case to use when sending a slide for analysis
  • a fact sheet on AFB
  • an instruction sheet on how to prepare a brood sample for analysis
  • a form for sending a brood sample to the diagnostic laboratory.  

Clubs are distributing the packs - if you haven't received your pack by early October, ask your club contact.

Free testing

As American Foulbrood is a notifiable disease, testing is free for registered beekeepers.

Free diagnostic kits

Clubs will also have on hand a small number of free diagnostic kits provided by the DPI that allow users to analyse suspicious brood samples themselves.

Free Steritech cartons

In addition, Steritech has donated 300 free 'bee cartons' (usually $3.85 each) to amateur beekeepers. These boxes make it easier to bundle up AFB infected materials for irradiation (a proven way to destroy AFB spores), and can be re-used up to 4 times.

To get your free cartons, take your infected equipment to Steritech in Wetherill Park, and quote the code 'DPI007'. Once the allocation of 300 cartons has been exhausted, cartons will cost $3.85 each.

Steritech in Sydney will charge $12.10 to irradiate each filled bee carton delivered to the facility in Wetherill Park.

Step 3. INSPECT your hives for AFB.

Check each side of every brood frame carefully.  Refer to the resources about AFB on our website or contact your club if you need extra support.


If you identify suspicious material, use the slides in your pack to send away a sample (testing for AFB is free). Inform the DPI immediately on 02 9741 4790 if you are confident you have discovered AFB. Destroy or treat infected equipment and frames.

Step 5. Record your results. 

It's important that we find out how many hives have been inspected - and what everyone found. Once you have checked your bees, make notes. Record keeping is mandatory under new biosecurity regulations.

Then complete this short ABA survey. We want to know either way - if your hives are infected or if they are clear.  The ABA will collate the results of amateur beekeepers across the state. Our findings will show how beekeepers are taking their biosecurity responsibilities seriously, help tackle the spread of AFB - and help to protect all our bees in the future.

Thank you for participating in AFB Awareness Month. We hope you learn a lot and find the equipment useful. Extra details and FAQs are listed on our website.

Don’t forget to send us your feedback!

P.S. If you have already inspected your bees for AFB this Spring, we still want to hear from you. Please fill in the survey so we can collate comprehensive data on AFB rates across the state.