VIGILANCE is being urged by Airedale Beekeepers Association after an outbreak of a highly-infectious honeybee disease.

Three instances of American Foulbrood (AFB) have been reported this spring in the Micklethwaite area.

The bacterial disease is spread by bees coming into contact with honey products, usually imported ones.

It is not dangerous to humans and doesn't affect honey quality, but it kills bee larvae and requires the immediate destruction of affected hives to prevent further spread.

Association chairman, Sue Chatfield, said: "AFB is a devastating disease for honey bees and one that is so serious the Government bee inspector will impose quarantine and require all affected colonies to be destroyed.

"The public can help by being aware of the potential for AFB to spread through bees coming into contact with commercial honey products.

"Bees are highly attracted to the smell of honey – even indoors – and people can assist by ensuring they don't leave any honey uncovered, particularly during warm weather."