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Myrtle rust...anyone concerned?


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I came on here expecting to find a heap of conversation about this...especially as it can affect manuka....but nothing.

 

Anyone out there concerned that this combined with the manuka standards will really screw our industry?

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https://www.stuff.co.nz/environment/96634012/myrtle-rust-infestation-has-spread-to-otorohanga

I've just managed to get my first bush block for a new apiary (my current sites are clover). I was delighted to be able to venture into another blend of honey, only to find out that there could now be a possible spread of rust, which in turn, could mean aerial spraying. I haven't as yet looked in to what is being used to spray the rust with, but I bet your bottom dollar the spray won't be 'bee friendly'.

On the flip side though, a few years back there was the threat from the clover weevil. This is not a problem in my area now, and my bees are providing me with plenty of clover honey. Hopefully this rust can be nipped in the bud before it spreads too far.

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it a bit early to tell.

if it came in via wind then it will be infecting other plants else where. i doubt very much they can rid of it.

if it came in via a person eg nursery staff then it might be possible to get rid of it.

 

effects on manuka is unknown. aussie manuka seams to survive ok but nz manuka is anyones guess.

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You would think given the timeframe that MPI have had they would at least know what effect it has on New Zealand natives grown in Australia but I can't find anything. Last time manuka was attacked biologically it was by the deliberately introduced manuka blight and the manuka yielded no honey at all for the next three years. There is quite a lot of manuka planting planned throughout the country this winter with a lot of the seedlings coming from the affected area so I imagine that will have a huge impact if nothing else. I can't even find how long it takes to show up on an infected plant. I hope someone has that information but they sure aren't sharing it widely.

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God forbid that Maggie Barrie has anything more to do with it!

She has already hinted that it might go in the to 'hard basket' if it gets into conservation land.

What else are they meant to do? They can't go in and Slash and burn thousands of heatares of bush in the same way they couldn't slash and burn hundreds of heactares of kiwifruit as a result of PSA. Unless it can be contained to a few square kms it's a over red rover.

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God forbid that Maggie Barrie has anything more to do with it!

She has already hinted that it might go in the to 'hard basket' if it gets into conservation land.

DoC doesn't have enough funding to deal with all it's current issues. What do you expect the minister to say ?

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I guess I am not concerned because I think there is absolutely nothing we can do about it anyway. My mother always said only to worry about things you can change. If the rust flew thousands of km in the upper atmosphere it is certainly going to cover all of NZL. MPI did warn on the news in weeks prior when it was found on an island (Norfolk?) and said that it was inevitable it would get here one day. That 'day' arrived much sooner than anticipated, but the rest of it is just politics and posturing; of which I predict heaps. But we just have to see how it goes. At least this was NOT likely to have been an own goal, like PSA, Varroa or PMS. This time 'god got us' and that's life. Depending on how it goes, we have to be adaptable, flexible and laterally thinking to try and work our way around it. Most of these things seem to have a massive affect when they first arrive, then after a few years seem to get into some sort of balance. But what else can we do? Put a brave face on it and think about locations to open a beehive cafe selling coffee for $4 per cup with furniture made from boxes.. The only good news is that people pouring money into the Manuka bubble will definitely pause for a while as everyone goes into 'wait and see' mode. Other good news is that shares in Comvita are likely to take a sudden dip. Whilst I don't own any of those shares nor will I purchase any, I would say that for those inclined, [yesbut] that this could represent a very good buying opportunity and that it is likely that you could make a small fortune when they rebound; if you don't hold them for the long term. Comvita was already under a bit of pressure I think, but I don't believe the underlying business would be as badly affected as would the share price. I also think some of the olive tree extracts they market have merit.

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A quick look at how it spreads and operates suggest that there is little or no chance of stopping it but I do believe it's worth a quick try. I would be willing to bet money that if it does affect manuka then it will affect Northland and Northland cultivars a lot worse then stuff from further south. The Northland plants leaves are a lot softer and that along with warmth and humidity makes it a sitting duck. I did find a plan made in 2010 on how to cope with the threat including seeing what effect it has on New Zealand natives in places like Hawaii but I can't find any follow-up although it may have happened.

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I don't know all the details but I know that MPI initiated several projects around myrtle rust, several years ago. Part of the issue with finding out if NZ species are susceptible is of course not having the pathogen to work with - any no way were they going to bring it in for plant trials. Thus plants had to get sent off-shore . . and it'll take a while.

 

Once more, sadly this was always going to be a 'when' not 'if' thanks to the small spore blowing in the jetstream.

When Bob Dylan sang "Blowing in the Wind", he sure wasn't talking about a microscopic fungus

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