Midnite Bee-Beekeeper's: Tips TIPS  
Disease Control & Procedures

Regulated pests shall be:

a . American Foulbrood (Bacillus larvae)

b. European Foulbrood (Melissococcus pluton)

c .Varroa mite (Varroa jacobsoni)

d. Tropilaelaps mite (Tropilaelaps clareae)

e.Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera scutellata)

Non-regulated pests shall include, but not be limited to:

a. Nosema disease (Nosema apis)

b.Chalkbrood (Ascosphaera apis)

c. Stonebrood (Aspergillus flavus)

d. Honeybee Tracheal Mite (Acarapis woodi)

e. Bee lice (Braula coeca)

f. Sacbrood (f ilterable virus)

g.Honeybee paralysis (filterable virus)

h. External mites such as:

Acarapis dorsalis

Acarapis externus

Non-parasitic mites such as:

Mellitiphis alvearius

Neocypholaelaps indica

.Honeybees may not be maintained in any hive other than a modern movable frame hive which permits the thorough examination of every comb in order to detect the presence of disease.

Whenever the movable frame requirements are not met, the state apiary inspector shall notify the owner of the condition in writing.

All honeybees infected with regulated honeybee diseases and parasites, together with the equipment contaminated by any such disease or parasite, are declared to be a danger to spreading these diseases or parasites.

All honeybees and equipment which are suspected by the Commissioner to be infected or infested with a regulated disease or parasite shall be quarantined in a location and manner stipulated by the Commissioner.

The presence of a regulated disease or parasite shall be confirmed using a suitable method and qualified agency authorized by the Commissioner.

Upon confirmation, the beekeeper shall be notified by -the state bee inspector and allowed 7 days to eliminate the disease in a manner prescribed by the Commissioner. (V. Chapter 525. Disease Control. C. Procedure for Abatement.)

If no corrective action is taken within 7 days, the infected or infested colonies shall be abated by a bee inspector according to: V. Chapter 525. Disease Control. C. Procedures for Abatement of Regulated Diseases.


I . It is unlawful for any person to knowingly own or possess honeybees having any regulated disease or parasite or bee equipment and appliances contaminated by any -such disease or parasite.

2. It is unlawful to sell, barter or give away bees, equipment or appliances from any apiary without a certificate of inspection from a qualified bee inspector.

Procedures for Abatement of Regulated Pests

American Foulbrood

a.The beekeeper, with the approval of the inspector, may select one of the four procedures outlined below for abatement of American Foulbrood.

b.The diseased honeybees and equipment may be abated by either the bee inspector or beekeeper, with the supervision and approval of the inspector.

Procedure 1 - Burning

(1)Destroy the contaminated honeybees with an insecticide such as resmethrin according to label instructions or by pouring I cup of petroleum into a colony with closed entrances.

(2)Burn the infected hives and equipment, including honeybees, honey, frames, supers, bottoms, and lids, to ash ina hole not less than 18 inches deep. Cover the ash remains with at least 6 inches of soil.

Procedure 2 - Scorching

1.The scorching procedure must be carried out on calm days and away from buildings.

2.Destroy the honeybees and burn the frames, inner cover and queen excluders, as specified by Procedure 1.

(3)Stack the supers no more than five high, upside down, on a bottom board.

(4)Pour one cup of a 1:1 (diesel:Kerosene) mix on the bottom board and ignite the mix, creating a "chimney fire". Alternatively, 3-4 crumpled sheets of newspaper may be used as a fuel source.

(5) The fire must completely fill the area inside the supers; it should burn for approximately one-half minute.

(6)To extinguish the fire, place a tight fitting cover on top of the stack , to smother the flames.

(7) I When the flames die out, the stack of hive bodies may be pushed over and any remaining fire extinguished with water.

(8)Paint the inside of the outer cover with the fuel mix and ignite it.

(9)After the equipment has cooled, examine it to be sure that all of the interior areas are charred.

(10)If any areas were missed, use a butane torch to scorch any uncharred areas.

(11)With a clean hive tool, scrape off the charred wood. The equipment may now be reused.

(12)A butane or propane torch may be used instead of a chimney fire to char the hive bodies, covers, and buttom boards.

Procedure 3 - Lye Bath

(1)Lye solutions are caustic and can cause severe burns. Before using lye, read the label carefully and observe all precautions.

(2)Destroy the honeybees and cut the honeycomb and burn in a pit according to Procedure 1.

(3)Mix a lye bath consisting of 1 lb. lye:10 gallons water in a 55 gallon drum or other suitable container. Mix enough of the lye solution so the infected equipment will be completely immersed.

(4)Boil the infected equipment for not less than 20 minutes.

(5)After boiling for 20 minutes, remove the equipment and rinse with water. The lye bath should remove all of the paint on the hive bodies.

(6)The solution must be strengthened periodically in order to co mpensate for evaporation and the reduction of lye in solution. In general, the solution should be strengthened hourly or when the removal of wax and paint from beekeeping equipment becomes more difficult.

Procedure 4 - Ethylene Oxide Fumigation

(1)If a fumigation chamber is available and the owner/operator of the equipment agrees to pay the fees involved, all contaminated hive equipment may be re-used after fumigation.

(2)All honey must be extracted prior to fumigation.

(3)The contaminated equipment must be fumigated according to ethylene oxide label instructions and OSHA Safety and Health Standards (Occupational Safety and Health Administration, 29 CFR 1910.1000).

(4)An ethylene oxide test strip and barley seed test must be used in connection with the fumigated equipment in order to indicate effectiveness.

(5)All fumigated equipment will be branded ' with the initials "ETO" and the year by the chamber operator.

(6)Records will be kept of each load number, the type of beekeeping equipment, and the owner of the fumigated equipment.

(7)After each load is fumigated, the beekeeper must be advised of the germination test results and instructed as to when the equipment may be re-used.

European Foulbrood

a. Colonies with European Foulbrood shall be treated with oxytetracycline according to label instructions.

b.Requeening or the caging of the queen is recommended in addition to medication for severe cases of EFB.

C.Equipment may be sterilized in a manner similar to abatenient procedures for American Foulbrood (V. C. I.).

Asiatic Mites (Varroa jacobsoni and Tropilaelaps clareae)

a.If an infestation of asiatic mites is discovered'within the State of Maine, the problem will be resolved according to USDA criteria.

b.Registered acaracides used according to label directions, cultural practices, and/or fumigation of honeybees and equipment may be employed by the Department as a control measure for these mites if there are no federal regulations.

Africanized honeybees (Apis mellifera scutellata)

a.Infestations of African honeybees w ill be identified by a method prescribed by the Commissioner, such as; DALY'S Morphometric Analysis, FABIS I, FABIS 11 (Fast Africanized Bee Identification System).

b.Incipient infestations of Africanized honeybees. will be resolved according to USDA regulations if in effect.

c. If no Federal regulations are in effect, colonies of honeybees with a high probability of being "Africanized" will be:

(1) Quarantined.

(2)Requeened with stock containing European germplasm.

(3)Resampled after the first generation of European offspring has emerged.

(4)If the subsequent sampling reveals honeybees with a high probability of being "European", the quarantine will be lifted.

(5)Colonies of honeybees identified as "Africanized" that exhibit extreme aggressive behavior will be exterminated if the requeening process fails or the public is at risk.



The State Apiarist and part-time bee inspectors employed by the Commissioner shall make such inspections of the apiaries or hive locations throughout the State as the Commissioner deems necessary to determine the presence of regulated honeybee diseases or parasites. 11 .: -

.Inspectors shall, so far as practicable, inspect or cause to be inspected at least once each year any or all apiaries within the State of Maine.

Inspectors may enter at all reasonable times, upon the premises of any keeper of bees or hive .locations and make the examination of such bees, equipment and appliances found on the premises as he may deem necessary to determine the presence of contagious or infectious diseases or parasites.

Method of Inspection

Inspection shall include lifting brood-containing frames from the colony and examining the brood on both sides of the frame for evidence of disease.

2.Adult and immature honeybees will be sampled for regulated parasitic.mites according to the most current sampling technique described by USDA/ARS or USDA/APHIS

Marking of Colonies

Upon finding a colony to be diseased with American Foulbrood in any degree, the inspector shall plainly mark on each hive body, super, and cover of such diseased colony, the letters "AFB" preceded by a numeral indicating the total number of hive bodies and supers occupied by the diseased colony, followed by the da-te and the initials of the inspector.

The entrances of such diseased colonies will be reduced and cracks between supers will be taped to prevent robbing and further spread of disease.

Colonies sampled for mites will be marked as above, and include the sample number so hives can be identified after laboratory analysis.

Quarantine of Apiaries with Regulated Diseases and Parsites

I . Whenever an inspector finds that American Foulbrood disease or mite infestation exists in more than 1 percent of the colonies in any apiary, he shall quarantine the apiary by giving,written notice to the owner or operator.

2.When such notice has been given as provided above, it shall be unlawful for the owner or operator or any other person to move the apiary, or any part thereof, until the disease has been eradicated and written permission has been received from the inspector.

3.When in the opinion of the inspector the disease has been eradicated, he shall issue a written permit releasing the apiary.

Inspection Certificates

1.Any inspector shall, within 30 days after examination, issue certificates that the honeybee equipment and appliances are apparently free from regulated diseases and parasites and contamination if so found.

The certificates shall be filed as follows:

One copy to the Commissioner; one copy to the owner; and one copy to the inspector's files.

Protection From Damage

A. Disturbing Honeybees on Another's Land

1.No person may enter upon the land of another for the purpose of capturing, destroying or interfering with a colony or swarm of honeybees or removing honey, except by the consent of the owner of the land.

B. Damage to Hives From Bears

1.Any licensed beekeeper or his designee may obtain a permit from the Commissioner of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife or his agents to protect hives from damage by bears.


A violation of Section III. Licensing Requirements, IV. Importation Requirements, or VI. Inspection is a civil violation for which a forfeiture of not less than $1 nor more than $50 shall be adjudged for each colony in violation of these sections.