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AFB Info and Testing

  • Caused by: Bacillus larvae
  • Spore-forming bacterium
  • Highly contagious
  • Brood Disease


American Foulbrood (AFB) is an infectious brood disease caused by the spore-forming bacterium Bacillus larvae. It is the most widespread and destructive of the brood diseases, afflicting queen, drone, and worker larvae alike. Adult bees, however, are not affected by AFB.

Bacillus larvae occurs in two forms: vegetative (rod-shaped bacterial cells) and spores. Only the spore stage is infectious to honey bees. The spores germinate into the vegetative stage soon after they enter the larval gut and continue to multiply until larval death. American foulbrood spores are highly-resistant to desiccation, heat, and chemical disinfectants. These spores can remain virulent for more than forty years in combs and honey.

USDA ARS Bee Research  http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/Services.htm?modecode=12-75-05-00
"Bee Disease Diagnosis Service" for beekeepers across the U.S. There is no charge for this service.
Samples received of adult bees and beeswax comb (with and without bee brood) are examined for bacterial, fungal and protozoan diseases as well as for two species of parasitic mites and other pests associated with honey bees (i.e., small hive beetle, Aethina tumida).
When requested, samples are cultured to test for sensitivity to the antibiotics Terramycin and Tylan
 
Disease & Pest Information  http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=2851
 
Disease Diagnosis Service  http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7473
 
How to Submit Samples  http://www.ars.usda.gov/Services/docs.htm?docid=7472
 
Mid-Atlantic Apiculture Research and Extension Consortium  PDF Document on Bee Diseases http://maarec.cas.psu.edu/PDFs/Diseases_of_Honey_Bees_PM.pdf