Improved identification of pests and diseases, and a centralised national collection for bee biosecurity.

About the project

The ApiWellbeing project follows on from the successful Bee Pathogen Programme, which ran from 2016 to 2019. ApiWellbeing is funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries Operational Research. The work is supported by The Management Agency of the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan (The Management Agency).

ApiWellbeing includes work to develop new molecular tests for pests and diseases from New Zealand and overseas. These include:

  • sacbrood virus
  • cloudy wing virus
  • varroa destructor virus
  • Moku virus
  • Israeli acute paralysis virus
  • acute bee paralysis virus
  • chalkbrood fungus (Ascosphaera apis).

This work will help us identify pests and diseases that people may find in bees. It will also help us to be sure New Zealand is free from organisms that we think aren't found here. As well as this, we will be able to determine how widespread pests and diseases are in New Zealand hives.

We will sequence the DNA of Paenibacillus larvae (American foulbrood). This will let us see if there are different disease types, and how clusters of disease may be linked.

ApiWellbeing includes the production of resources and guidelines for beekeepers. This will present our research results in a form that is suitable for use by the industry.

We will also establish a national collection of bees and data. This will give us a number of opportunities:

  • It will let us check the results of the Bee Pathogen Programme, and compare those results with other research.
  • We will be able to see whether new bee pathogens are in New Zealand. This will give us valuable information during a biosecurity incursion investigation or response.
  • It will be available for other research in the future. This could include studies on bee genetics or tests for chemical residues.

Who is involved?

The study involves:

  • Biosecurity New Zealand
  • The American Foulbrood Pest Management Agency
  • authorised apiary inspectors
  • apiary owners who have agreed to be part of the research.

Biosecurity New Zealand and The Management Agency are working together to learn more about American foulbrood in New Zealand.

Biosecurity New Zealand is part of the Ministry for Primary Industries. This is the government agency that works to keep pests and diseases out of New Zealand. It is also responsible for eradicating or managing the impact of pests and diseases that are already here.

The Management Agency helps beekeepers work towards eliminating American foulbrood in New Zealand.

Keeping up to date on the project

ApiWellbeing's research will be published on this webpage, in an open-access journal, and on The Management Agency's website.

The Management Agency

Who to contact

If you have questions, email info@mpi.govt.nz

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