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Byron Shire
March 2, 2021

Bentley bee-keeper fined for fatal disease

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A Bentley bee-keeper has been fined for failing to notify authorities about a deadly disease. Photo Pixabay.com
A Bentley bee-keeper has been fined for failing to notify authorities about a deadly disease. Photo Pixabay.com

A Bentley bee-keeper has been fined and ordered to pay $3200 in legal costs for failing to notify authorities hives at Fernside and Wollongbar were infected with the fatal disease American foulbrood.

When Geoffrey Manning was phone by Anne Webster about inspecting his hives at Fernside as part of a NSW Biosecurity and Food Safety compliance apiary operation to commence in April 2016, he told the senior inspector two of the three hives on the property has American foulbrood AFB.

‘Yes I should tell you that two of the three have AFB,’ the statement of facts before the court said.

‘So I have reported it. This is my reporting.’

‘How long ago did you look at them,’ Ms Webster asked.

‘A while ago,’ Mr Manning replied.

‘Days or weeks ago,’ Ms Webster asked.

‘I would have to be days ago, wouldn’t it,’ Mr Manning said.

The following day, April 20, three regulatory officers inspected five bee hives at the Fernside property and three were found to have ‘larvae disease consistent with American foulbrood.’

American foulbrood is regarded as the most serious disease of the Apiary Industry in Australia. It is a disease transmitted by honey, apiary products, implements and bees. It leads to the death of the hive and presents a serious risk to the hives of other bee keepers in the area.

As American foulbrood is a prescribed disease under the Apiaries Act, bee keepers are required to notify of its presence or suspected presence to an inspector, to enable measures to prevent its spread and eradicate it from apiaries.

The regulatory officers noticed scale was present on two hives at the Fernside property, which indicated AFB has been present and observable for more than 30 days.

After taking samples of the AFB, the officer inspected four of the eight bee hives on the Wollongbar property and found one to have the disease.

A check of the online indication record found Mr Manning had last notified of AFB in October 2015.

Following the inspections, regulatory officers issued Mr Manning with directions to depopulate the hives then deal with them by either burning the hives and burying the remains, or by irradiation treatment which destroys the AFB.

Mr Manning was the required to provide evidence of the destruction of the hives to the Department of Industry.

The statement of facts revealed Mr Manning had been issued with a written warning on September 9, 2008, for failing to comply with subsection 1, relating to notifying disease.

Mr Manning was issued with a $550 penalty notice on September 20, 2016, for failing to comply with clause 22, subsection (1) of the Apiaries Act of 1985 relating to notifying disease.

On Monday at Lismore Local Court Magistrate David Heilpern ordered Mr Manning to pay the Department of Industry’s legal costs of $3200 and fined him $200 with 50% moiety (of the fine) going to the Department of Primary Industries.


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2 COMMENTS

  1. From my reading of this article, Mr Manning is a repeat offender and should be forbidden to continue his bee-keeper business. The only alternative is that he should be inspected regularly at his own expense. His behaviour shows a flagrant disregard for his own bees as well as a total lack of concern for other bee-keepers in the area. Fines are inadequate in a case like this; serious action by authorities also seems to be in order.

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