SHB Quarantine Infosheet

Quarantine Area established in Essex County and part of Chatham-Kent for small hive beetle affecting honey bees

The Ontario government is responding to the confirmed presence of small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) in Ontario. The small hive beetle is a new and emerging pest to honey bees in this province. The small hive beetle (or SHB) is not a threat to human health or food safety.

To date, small hive beetle has been found in Essex County. The Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs is establishing a Quarantine Area under the Bees Act to protect those parts of the province that are believed to be free from the presence of the small hive beetle.

Area covered

  • the entire County of Essex; and
  • the part of the Municipality of Chatham-Kent lying south-westward of a line made up of a Town Line Road, Pump Road and Merlin Road (also known as County Road 7), as if these roadways extended continuously from points of intersection with the shorelines of Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie (see map)

Note:   Please refer to the Declaration for the complete list of requirements.
Why is the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs establishing a Quarantine Area in southwestern Ontario?
The Quarantine Area has been established to protect those parts of the Province that are believed to be free from the presence of the small hive beetle (Aethina tumida), a new and emerging pest to honey bees that has recently been found in Ontario.

Currently, the small hive beetle has a localized distribution in Ontario. The Quarantine Area will contribute to preventing the spread of small hive beetle to other areas of Ontario.

What is a Quarantine Area?
The Quarantine Area is an established zone that places restrictions on the movement of bees or beekeeping equipment.

In this case, the bee is the common or European honey bee (Apis mellifera).

Beekeepers within the Quarantine Area are also required to participate in a surveillance program and to apply treatment if directed by the Provincial Apiarist. They must also follow biosecurity measures and report any cases of suspected findings.

What's the difference between a Quarantine Area and a quarantine? What happens to the honey bee colonies and equipment that are currently under quarantine within the Quarantine Area?

A quarantine is a specific order applied to a particular premises, animals or things by an inspector to prevent further spread or detect a hazard or concern. Quarantines remain in place until they are specifically removed by an inspector.

A quarantine area is an area specified by the Chief Veterinarian for Ontario in which additional efforts are made by industry and government to prevent further spread or detect the hazard of concern (in this case small hive beetle).

Both the individual quarantine orders and the declaration of quarantine area include specific conditions such as what it applies to, the boundaries, why it is being issued, and actions required, permitted or prohibited.

The establishment of the Quarantine Area does not release the quarantines that were imposed on a number of bee yards in the County of Essex since early September.

How long will this Quarantine Area be in place?
At this time it is too early to say how long the Quarantine Area will be in place. The order that establishes the Quarantine Area may be adjusted appropriately as new information becomes available.

What do beekeepers in the Quarantine Area need to do?
All beekeepers and owners or custodians of premises in the Quarantine Area who have honey bee yards, colonies or facilities where honey bees are produced or located or where honey is extracted are required to adhere to requirements of the declaration. All those affected should read the Declaration that establishes the Quarantine Area and be aware of its requirements.

In brief, all beekeepers in the Quarantine Area are required to take the following actions:

Surveillance, treatment and reporting

  •   Participate in a program for the monitoring and surveillance of small hive beetle, as directed by the Provincial Apiarist
  •   Apply treatment when small hive beetle is detected in their hives, as directed by the Provincial Apiarist
  •   Report to the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs any cases of suspected findings of small hive beetle within 24 hours of detection
     (1-877-424-1300 or ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca)

Movement of hives, bees and equipment

  • Refrain from moving any honey bee colonies or related beekeeping equipment within the Quarantine Area from any operation suspected or confirmed to be infested without the prior approval of the Provincial Apiarist;
  • Refrain from moving any hives, equipment, utensils, bee products or by-products, bees or any other biological material or equipment out of the Quarantine Area without the written approval of the Provincial Apiarist. (The only materials that may move out of the Quarantine Area are honey, mead or royal jelly that is in sealed containers, and heat rendered wax or propolis that is solid and free of debris and in sealed containers.)
  • Examine all colonies, apiaries and equipment for the presence of small hive beetle within 24 hours prior to movement between premises within the Quarantine Area;
  • Create and maintain complete written records of sales, purchases and the approved movement of any honey bee colonies or beekeeping equipment including:
    • names, contact numbers and business locations of persons concerned
    • description and number of colonies and equipment involved
    • dates of transactions.

Biosecurity

  • When visiting any apiary:
    • Inspect clothing, protective beekeeping clothing and veils upon leaving an apiary
    • Cleanse all footwear before wearing it at another apiary site
    • Disinfect all utensils used in the keeping of bees before using them at another site
  • When the presence of small hive beetle is suspected or confirmed by an inspector at a site:
    • Visit non-infested sites before visiting infested sites
    • Isolate, mark and restrict access to honey bee apiaries, colonies or related beekeeping equipment. Best practices include:
      • restrict contact of non-infested colonies with the apiary or colonies known to be infested;
      • isolate a yard or colony by actively restricting the movement of other colonies in the immediate area of this know infestation; and
      • indicate on the hive, with a waterproof sign, label or other type of marking when small hive beetle is present in a colony and has not already been identified by an inspector.

The declaration refers to fomites. What is a fomite and what are the best management practices for cleansing?
A fomite is an inanimate object that is capable of carrying or transmitting a disease or a biological, chemical, physical or radiological agent or factor that is a hazard. Fomites include:

  • Any clothing, footwear or equipment that may contain a disease or a biological, chemical, physical or radiological agent or factor that is a hazard or if it may come into contact with a hazard, or an animal that a hazard is affecting, or in which a hazard may be present

Depending on the type of fomite, there are a number of products and techniques that can be used to cleanse it. As biosecurity measures, honey bee beekeepers should follow some or all of these steps to clean a fomite and reduce the possibility of transmitting small hive beetle:

  • Visual inspection of a fomite for the presence of small hive beetle
  • Vvigorously brushing or scouring the surface of a fomite so that all infective material or material that may attract a small hive beetle is removed
  • Washing the fomite with a cleaning product (assuming that the product is safe when used in direct contact with a fomite that may come in direct contact with a food product)
  • Once any of the above has been done, freezing the fomite at -12°C for a minimum of 12 hours

If I don't have small hive beetle in my colonies, can I move them into, within, through or out of the Quarantine Area?
There is no restriction on moving honey bee colonies or bee equipment into the Quarantine Area.

There are restrictions on moving honey bee colonies or bee equipment within the Quarantine Area to help keep the small hive beetle infestations in the western part of the Quarantine Area. Everyone moving honey bee colonies and bee equipment into the Quarantine Area must be aware that this material must stay where it is in the Quarantine Area, until permission is granted to move them.

Beekeepers must have written permission from the Provincial Apiarist to move any honey bee colonies or bee equipment from any premises suspected or confirmed to be infested with SHB within the Quarantine Area. Bee colonies and equipment may be required to stay where they are in the Quarantine Area indefinitely.

There are also restrictions on moving honey bee colonies or bee equipment out of the Quarantine Area. Beekeepers must have written permission from the Provincial Apiarist to move any honey bee colonies or bee equipment outside of the Quarantine Area. Permission may be given only under circumstances where every risk of spreading small hive beetle outside of the Quarantine Area has been mitigated.

Additionally, there are restrictions on moving honey bee colonies or bee equipment through the Quarantine Area without the prior written approval by the Provincial Apiarist.

How do I obtain written approval from the Provincial Apiarist?

Written approval from the Provincial Apiarist may be granted through the Office of the Provincial Apiarist only after a thorough assessment of the potential risk of spreading small hive beetle by moving honey bee colonies or bee equipment.

To contact the office of the Provincial Apiarist, please phone 1-877-424-1300 or email: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca.

Who can report small hive beetle? Who has the authority to confirm the presence of small hive beetle?

Anyone may report the presence of SHB to OMAFRA where they have reason to suspect that there is positive case of SHB. This may include any life stage of the beetle or any damage to a honey bee colony or honey bee equipment that is specific to SHB (refer to the Small Hive Beetle Infosheet for pictures of the larval and adult stages of small hive beetle).

An OMAFRA inspector appointed under the Bees Act or the Provincial Apiarist has the authority to confirm SHB in a honey bee colony, site or region.

What's the protocol for the monitoring and surveillance of small hive beetle?
The protocol for the monitoring and surveillance of SHB will involve inspection of honey bee colonies, apiary and other sites for any life stage or symptom of SHB by Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs staff. The Ministry reserves the right to alter or expand the protocol.

Is the declaration of Quarantine Area legally binding for beekeepers in the Quarantine Area? Is there a penalty for a beekeeper who doesn't comply with any part of the declaration?
Yes, all beekeepers or anyone with beekeeping equipment must follow the requirements of the Declaration of Quarantine.

Compliance is important to prevent the spread of small hive beetle to other areas and protect Ontario's beekeeping industry.

Any person who contravenes any provision of the Bees Act, including a Declaration of Quarantine made under it, may be charged with an offence.

To report new findings of small hive beetle or if you have questions please contact the Agricultural Information Contact Centre at ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca or by calling 1-877-424-1300.

Resources:

OMAFRA Apiculture wegpage

Small hive beetle advisory

Small hive beetle infosheet

Small hive beetle treatment recommendations infosheet

 


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca
Author: Food Inspection Branch OMAFRA)
Creation Date: 07 March 2011
Last Reviewed: 07 March 2011