UPDATE: June 13, 2012: Confirmed AFB on Chestnut Street in Westbrook.
Please be vigilant!
American Foul Brood (AFB) has been sighted in South Portland, near the Cape Elizabeth Town Line.
Article from keepMEcurrent.com with more details: Bees Under Attack
Also, according to the Cumberland County Beekeepers, “a wild hive has lived in the barn at Jordan’s Farm (on Wells Road) in Cape Elizabeth for years. When the barn was being reconstructed this spring, the chance came to remove the hive. It had died. Examination of the comb shows American Foulbrood. Erin [Forbes] is sending a sample to the lab in Maryland for confirmation. We all need to continue being vigilant.”
If you think you see AFB in your colony, call a mentor from your bee club, one of our State’s Master Beekeepers, or the State Apiarist to help diagnose.
American foulbrood (AFB), caused by the spore- forming Paenibacillus larvae ssp. larvae (formerly classified as Bacillus larvae), is the most widespread and destructive of the bee brood diseases. Paenibacillus larvae is a rod-shaped bacterium, which is visible only under a high power microscope. Larvae up to 3 days old become infected by ingesting spores that are present in their food. Young larvae less than 24 hours old are most susceptible to infection. Spores germinate in the gut of the larva and the vegetative form of the bacteria begins to grow, taking its nourishment from the larva. Spores will not germinate in larvae over 3 days old. Infected larvae normally die after their cell is sealed. The vegetative form of the bacterium will die but not before it produces many millions of spores. Each dead larva may contain as many as 100 million spores. This disease only affects the bee larvae but is highly infectious and deadly to bee brood. Infected larvae darken and die.