Beekeepers within three kilometres of a Blairgowrie hive infected with American Foulbrood have been advised to step up their biosecurity against the disease.

The infected hive was discovered by Scottish Government bee inspectors during the exercise of their inspection duties, with the disease being confirmed by SASA on ThursdayMay 19. This is the first finding of AFB in Scotland this year.

The beekeeper concerned has been informed of the finding and is cooperating with ScotGov's bee health inspectors.

AFB is a notifiable disease, under The Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Scotland) Order 2007, that affects colonies of honeybees. The infected hive will be destroyed as there is no permitted treatment for the disease in the UK.

Beekeepers in the vicinity will be alerted via BeeBase and encouraged to increase their biosecurity. Disease trends of the disease through the years are also publicly available through the BeeBase website.

In 2021, there were 10 honey bee colonies confirmed positive for AFB in Scotland, in 10 different apiaries and belonging to three different beekeepers.

Chief Veterinary Officer for Scotland Sheila Voas said: “The finding of AFB is disappointing, however it is a timely reminder that beekeepers should remain vigilant for signs of the disease at all times and it emphasizes the important work of the Scottish Government Bee Health Team.

Read more: C'mon the bees! Scotland works for pollinators

“As determined by legislation, appropriate action will be taken. There is no treatment permitted in the UK for AFB and therefore the bees, combs or bee products from the hive are required to be destroyed (by burning) whilst the hive, debris from the hive and any appliances or other things liable to spread the disease will be served with a notice requiring either treatment (sterilization) or destruction.

“The movement of bees and related equipment into, or out of, the affected apiary will be under specific controls supervised by Scottish Government Bee Inspectors and will include enhanced biosecurity measures and increased vigilance in the area," said Ms Voas.

“I would reiterate that while this is disappointing, there are no risks to public health from AFB and no implications for the quality and safety of Scottish honey.”