Viral disease Thai Sacbrood again active in honey bee colonies

A Horticulture Department official showing a honey bee colony, affected by Thai Sacbrood, at Beluvai near Moodbidri on Tuesday.— Photo: H.S. Manjunath  

Thai Sacbrood, a viral disease affecting honey bee colonies and which was dormant in Dakshina Kannada for the past four years, has struck the district on a wider scale, according to bee keepers and Horticulture Department officials.

Balakrishna Bhat, a bee keeping demonstrator in the Department of Horticulture, Mangaluru, said that the disease had hit bee colonies in all taluks.

The disease kills bees when they are larvae and hence there is no multiplication of bee colonies.

The solution to control the spread of the disease is to remove those honey combs, containing the dead larvae, and burn them, he said.

Ramakrishna Shenoy, a bee keeper from Beluvai in Mangaluru taluk, said that there was a lull in the spread of disease for the past four-and-a-half years.

Mr. Shenoy added that though he had 20 honey boxes, there were bee colonies in only eight of them. The colonies did not multiply due to the disease, he added. Puttanna Gowda, a bee keeper of Sullia who has 500 boxes, said that honey boxes should be kept at a reasonable distance from each other to prevent the disease from spreading. In addition, it was also important to remove the disease-hit honey combs from the boxes.

He said that he had only 250 colonies about five months ago and now the colonies have developed as he practised a good disease management.

He said that winter was felt only in January in this season. Due to the late flowering of plants, honey production might also be hit. Hence production depended both on the management of the disease and the flowering of trees and plants.

According to Mr. Bhat, there are about 17,000 bee keepers in Dakshina Kannada. The price of fresh honey produced in the district ranged from Rs. 320 to Rs. 500 per kg.

The viral disease had hit the bee colonies on a vast scale in the entire coastal belt in the State in 1992 wiping out the colonies.

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Printable version | Oct 14, 2021 9:06:05 AM |

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