Beekeepers in the southeast have been urged to be on the lookout for American Foul Brood (AFB) disease after an affected hive was identified in Waterford.
A notifiable disease, AFB is a bacterial infection which kills the hive's young bees. The disease is highly contagious and affected hives have to be burned or otherwise destroyed in order to prevent its spread.
The Irish Beekeepers Associations confirmed that AFB had been identified in an old hive of wild bees which was being removed from a house in the southeast.
Brendan Murray of the Irish Beekeepers Associations explained that AFB spores can remain viable for up to 50 years, as they are remarkably resistant to heat and cold. As there is no treatment for the condition, the only way of eliminating the disease is to destroy affected hives.
"There's no alternative but to kill all the bees and burn the frames. It is suggested that you can re-use the boxes after charring with a blow torch, but to be safe, it's probably best to burn everything," Mr Murray said.
Controlling this latest outbreak of AFB could be particularly difficult, Mr Murray maintained, because it is wild bees that are infected.
There could be a lot of infection for 20 miles around the site near Portlaw where ithe AFB was discovered, Mr Murray said.
He urged bee keepers in Waterford, south Tipperary and Kilkenny to be vigilant. He added that the Honey Bee Health Protection Programme at the Department of Agriculture's Backweston Laboratory Complex in Dublin should be contacted if further suspected outbreaks are identified.