Research Project Details

Project Details

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Use of sniffer dog in detection of American foul brood in beehives
Summary This project will involve having a dog trained to successfully detect the presence of American Foul Brood (AFB) in bee hives. AFB is a lethal bacterial disease that affects the brood of honey bees in the larval stage of development. The infected larvae die and decay in their cells, then form a scale that the bees cannot or will not remove, rendering the cell uninhabitable. This scale releases infectious spores that can then be transferred by bees, honey, hive material or beekeeping equipment. These spores are invisible to the naked eye. The decaying brood however has a unique odour. It is this odour that the dog will be trained to detect. The dog would be trained to search an apiary and indicate any hive that has the odour of AFB. The hive would then be inspected and samples taken for testing. This process would be far more economical because it could be done in a fraction of the time of visual inspection which involves looking for what could be just a single cell in an apiary. The average human inspector can inspect 45 hives per day, compared with sniffer dogs that can screen 100 hives in 45 minutes. AFB is usually not found until the infectious scale has formed because it is then that it looks the most different from European Foul Brood and Paenibacillis alvei. Not identifying AFB until this stage means that cross infection may have already occurred. If the dog can detect AFB in its early stages it would greatly reduce this crossinfection occuring. This would result in far less hives being destroyed.
Program Honey Bee
Research organisation The State of Queensland acting through the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries
Objective summary To have a quick, reliable way of detecting AFB that is user friendly and affordable.
Project Stage Closed
Project start date Wednesday, June 01, 2011
Project completion date Sunday, March 31, 2013
Journal articles from project Not Available
National priority Safeguarding Australia
Rural priority Biosecurity
RIRDC goal HBE-Reduce the incidence and impact of pests and diseases on the beekeeping and pollination services industries
Principal researcher Sharon de Wet
Research manager Dave Alden
Admin contact Paul Hickey