Aggressive state intervention is needed to fight American foulbrood disease in the Western Cape as “jobs and food security are at stake”‚ the Congress of the People (Cope) said.
Mike Miles‚ chairman of the SA Bee Industry Organisation‚ said: “It is a crisis. There is no known cure for the brood. It is the Aids of honeybees.”
“Fruit trees are now beginning to flower and farmers will soon need bees for the successful pollination of trees in their orchards and vegetables on their farms‚” Cope’s Dennis Bloem said on Monday.
“If the bees are endangered pollination will fail. That is a disaster government must prevent.”
While Riaan van Zyl said the department of agriculture‚ forestry and fisheries was investigating and would draw up an action plan‚ Bloem called for more urgent intervention‚ saying it “must send out inspectors in numbers to examine beehives and to destroy by fire those that are infected”.
“If left unchecked‚ the larvae in bee colonies will ingest the bacteria and die‚” Bloem said.
“Worse still‚ the bacteria will leave behind millions of infected spores that will contaminate the hive and the honey. Other bees will then become infected when they feed on the honey or come to clean the hive.”