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On the nz government teara website it says DWV was discovered in NZ in 2007.

 

Probably more as 'confirmed as being present in NZ via a specific DNA test' Frazz. On its own DWV is not such a major issue, it is more the issue of varroa being a dirty great hypodermic needle and essentially injecting the virus into the bees

 

 

DWV was almost certainly here before the testing was done in 2007. We were seeing deformed wings long before the carnica semen imports started in 2004. When the first varroa stepped ashore in 1999/2000, it was almost certainly carrying DWV.

 

Its possible that the first varroa was carrying DWV - I would not say 'almost certainly'. But I think that is what 'almost certainly' means anyway

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I see that the link to the submissions on the Risk Analysis(RA) for the Importation of Carnica semen from Germany and Austria was posted on this Forum.   Remember first that this was 2003, but it does

This image is from 2005 when I was at the F3 stage with the carnica semen importations.  This Queen is 87.5% carnica, and is sort of the bee I am headed back to with our new Kiwi Cross population that

Local selection of local bees leads to greater production, less costs, less losses and helps to retain genetic diversity and genetic improvements that have been bred by local beekeepers for generation

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On the nz government teara website it says DWV was discovered in NZ in 2007.

If it was being found in hives before then why was it not tested for as this would have been a new phenomenon and surely would have been of interest?

8. – Beekeeping – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand

 

I had never seen deformed wings until well after varroa arrived in the South Island,

 

If DWV arrived with varroa why did it take so long to show up in hives? I would have thought it would show up at the same time because that was when a lot of hives were getting high numbers of varroa.

 

I hope the government doesn't allow any more imports of honey bee genetics it's too big a dice to roll in my opinion.

 

@David Yanke It's very good to see you on the forum :)

The very first colonies that started to collapse near ground zero in April, 2000, had bees with deformed wings. At first we thought that the deformed wings resulted from mites literally chewing on the developing pupa, but we know know that damage to the wings is caused by the virus, not the mites-they were just the dirty hypodermic needle that spread the viruses. I don't know why the testing wasn't done until 2007, but if they had looked earlier, they would have found it.

 

Probably more as 'confirmed as being present in NZ via a specific DNA test' Frazz. On its own DWV is not such a major issue, it is more the issue of varroa being a dirty great hypodermic needle and essentially injecting the virus into the bees

 

 

 

Its possible that the first varroa was carrying DWV - I would not say 'almost certainly'. But I think that is what 'almost certainly' means anyway

 

Those first mites didn't arrive on their own, they were on the backs of bees- it was highly likely that those bees carried DWV

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The very first colonies that started to collapse near ground zero in April, 2000, had bees with deformed wings. At first we thought that the deformed wings resulted from mites literally chewing on the developing pupa, but we know know that damage to the wings is caused by the virus, not the mites-they were just the dirty hypodermic needle that spread the viruses. I don't know why the testing wasn't done until 2007, but if they had looked earlier, they would have found it.

 

 

Those first mites didn't arrive on their own, they were on the backs of bees- it was highly likely that those bees carried DWV

Back in 1988, when bee viruses didn't matter, Dr. Denis Anderson was helping me with the virus testing of the semen I was bringing in from the Western Australian Dept. of Agriculture Bee Breeding Program. When the semen was sampled, Denis found every virus that he was able to test for including Kashmir Bee Virus which W.A. claimed they were free of. The moral of that story is that if you don't look , you don't find- sometimes it is more convenient to not look.

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I guess if someone wants to lobby for Bee imports and is prepared to have their family name engraved in stone as to being responsible for not just any possible benefits but also for any resulting catastrophes and is willing to to have their children and subsequent descendants underwrite the risk of any catastrophe then they deserve a hearing at least.

Its not a risk I would take on those terms

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I guess if someone wants to lobby for Bee imports and is prepared to have their family name engraved in stone as to being responsible for not just any possible benefits but also for any resulting catastrophes and is willing to to have their children and subsequent descendants underwrite the risk of any catastrophe then they deserve a hearing at least.

Its not a risk I would take on those terms

 

I was with you until it became intergenerational!

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I was with you until it became intergenerational!

Extreme I agree.

However I would wager that if the same conditions had been placed on the Farmers who lobbied for and succeeded in importing mustelids which subsequently destroyed our populations of native birds, we would now have bird life that would be the envy of the world.

In the case of importing genetic material I would argue that the multi generational approach would be entirely appropriate

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I was with you until it became intergenerational!

 

@David Yanke I'm all for bringing in stock that results in "improvements" in our bees - that's the easy bit. On the other hand what are the risks in doing so, can those risks be managed as part of the testing process prior to importation? and what then is the probability / likelihood that additional diseases etc could still be imported despite the most thorough testing? Ta

 

Also, separately, why is that after 20 plus years of varroa that there does not appear to be a breeding program anywhere in the world that has produced a breed bees that can tolerate varroa, have a reasonable temperament, and collect honey at acceptable levels. Or do those bees exist somewhere?

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The very first colonies that started to collapse near ground zero in April, 2000, had bees with deformed wings. At first we thought that the deformed wings resulted from mites literally chewing on the developing pupae.... I don't know why the testing wasn't done until 2007, but if they had looked earlier, they would have found it.

 

 

I'm surprised that who ever it was that was looking at those first collapsing colonies didn't just google shriveled/deformed wings and come up with DWV as there are multiple pages saying that.

 

It would be very interesting to know why they ( whoever they are) didn't test until 2007, I guess we shouldn't be surprised though.

 

I don't see how the introduction of carniolan genetics has done anything to aid in nz bees tolerance of varroa and I wouldn't like to see any more importations of any bee semen or anything else.

 

We all know how well the import standard for kiwifruit pollen worked out, the same could happen to our bees.

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@David Yanke I'm all for bringing in stock that results in "improvements" in our bees - that's the easy bit. On the other hand what are the risks in doing so, can those risks be managed as part of the testing process prior to importation? and what then is the probability / likelihood that additional diseases etc could still be imported despite the most thorough testing? Ta

 

Also, separately, why is that after 20 plus years of varroa that there does not appear to be a breeding program anywhere in the world that has produced a breed bees that can tolerate varroa, have a reasonable temperament, and collect honey at acceptable levels. Or do those bees exist somewhere?

 

It has been over 30 years in Europe since varroa arrived, there are small populations here and there that can be managed without treatment, but the reason we don't have varroa proof bee widely available is because it is a very difficult thing to do, and the breeding work requires a lot of hard work and not a lot of financial return- it is a lot easier and more profitable to treat, produce honey, do pollination or whatever.

 

As for mitigating the risks involved with importing genetic material, we are not talking about importing live bees, we are talking most probably about semen importations. What badies are out there that you are afraid of that you think could sneak in with semen importations? I am afraid to tell you that we have almost everything they have. With semen the risks that need to be mitigated are exotic viruses(if there are any), and exotic genetic material(AHB and the Cape Honey Bee). We don't have to worry about exotic mites, or EFB because semen is not a vector. It would obviously up to those doing the new risk analysis to do a much more thorough job of investigating all possible risks, and then for those developing the Import Health Standard to mitigate those risks. It is not that difficult.

 

What I have never been able to understand is the double standard of Kiwi primary producers- we depend on open, fair access for our products in overseas markets, and for us as beekeepers we rely on other countries being fair with the Import Health requirements they place on our honey, other hive products, and live bees. What would happen if other countries we trade with were as totally risk adverse as some of you expect us to be over genetic material imports- we would have something to really worry about then.

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I'm surprised that who ever it was that was looking at those first collapsing colonies didn't just google shriveled/deformed wings and come up with DWV as there are multiple pages saying that.

 

It would be very interesting to know why they ( whoever they are) didn't test until 2007, I guess we shouldn't be surprised though.

 

I don't see how the introduction of carniolan genetics has done anything to aid in nz bees tolerance of varroa and I wouldn't like to see any more importations of any bee semen or anything else.

 

We all know how well the import standard for kiwifruit pollen worked out, the same could happen to our bees.

 

That was the year 2000, not 2017, what do you think we would have have found if we had googled deformed wings then? We figured it out what was really happening when the world figured what was really happening. We just accepted the obvious logic that a whole suite of viruses(including DWV) would have come in with the bees that brought varroa to our shores. As well, we didn't have an irrational anti-carniolan agenda, so were not driven to try and blame the importer those terrible, grey bees for the arrival of DWV.

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In the year 2000 the world had had varroa long enough to have also had plenty of DWV so I'm sure it would have come up in an internet search ?

Why was carniolan semen brought into the country in the first place?

What was reason behind it?

It was my understanding it was brought in because they were supposedly more tolerant to varroa and it was going to be NZ answer to breeding varroa tolerant bees?

 

I don't have an " irrational anti-carniolan agenda" and am not "driven to blame you for the arrival of DWV but in all that I have read no one has ruled out it coming in with the semen.

 

Even if DWV was here before the importation of semen I stand by my thoughts that carniolans have bought us no closer to varroa tolerance so what was the point.

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In the year 2000 the world had had varroa long enough to have also had plenty of DWV so I'm sure it would have come up in an internet search ?

Why was carniolan semen brought into the country in the first place?

What was reason behind it?

It was my understanding it was brought in because they were supposedly more tolerant to varroa and it was going to be NZ answer to breeding varroa tolerant bees?

 

I don't have an " irrational anti-carniolan agenda" and am not "driven to blame you for the arrival of DWV but in all that I have read no one has ruled out it coming in with the semen.

 

Even if DWV was here before the importation of semen I stand by my thoughts that carniolans have bought us no closer to varroa tolerance so what was the point.

There are a number of large very experienced commercial beekeepers in the Bay of Plenty (and no doubt elsewhere) who after years of personal experimentation exclusively use Carni genetics and describe Italians as Varroa magnets.

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That was the year 2000, not 2017, what do you think we would have have found if we had googled deformed wings then? We figured it out what was really happening when the world figured what was really happening. We just accepted the obvious logic that a whole suite of viruses(including DWV) would have come in with the bees that brought varroa to our shores. As well, we didn't have an irrational anti-carniolan agenda, so were not driven to try and blame the importer those terrible, grey bees for the arrival of DWV.

Does no one really know how varroa got here.?

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There are a number of large very experienced commercial beekeepers in the Bay of Plenty (and no doubt elsewhere) who after years of personal experimentation exclusively use Carni genetics and describe Italians as Varroa magnets.

 

That may be the case @Ted but I hear on this forum and elsewhere that in the North Island you are treating hives 3 times a year so what does that tell you about the tolerance of carniolans?

If those beekeepers using exclusively carnie genetics are still treating two or three times a year then where is the gain?

 

As I said before It was my understanding that carniolan semen was brought into the country because they were supposedly more tolerant to varroa. If that means they still have to be treated the same amount as Italians then what was the point?

 

If genetics of truely tolerant bees had been brought into NZ I would feel differently.

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There are a number of large very experienced commercial beekeepers in the Bay of Plenty (and no doubt elsewhere) who after years of personal experimentation exclusively use Carni genetics and describe Italians as Varroa magnets.

IMO its got to the stage where most of us use Carni genetics.

Each year I buy hundreds of cells from suppliers that have a yellower bee to mine.

This is because there is a constant drift to the dark bee and to maintain a reasonably balanced crossbred hive, yellow needs to be continually added.

Im actually happy with my cross bred bees.

 

There seems to be two motivations here.

One is about Varroa tolerance and the other about genetic diversity.

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That may be the case @Ted but I hear on this forum and elsewhere that in the North Island you are treating hives 3 times a year so what does that tell you about the tolerance of carniolans?

If those beekeepers using exclusively carnie genetics are still treating two or three times a year then where is the gain?

 

As I said before It was my understanding that carniolan semen was brought into the country because they were supposedly more tolerant to varroa. If that means they still have to be treated the same amount as Italians then what was the point?

 

If genetics of truely tolerant bees had been brought into NZ I would feel differently.

 

I brought the carnica material in to: 1) Increase the genetic diversity of NZ commercial bee stocks; 2) Increase the varroa tolerance; and 3) Give Beekeepers choice.

 

I only treat my closed breeding population once per, and have ever since it was established in 2006. If you are treating your yellow bees 3 times a year, then you need try something different, like the grey alternative!

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In the year 2000 the world had had varroa long enough to have also had plenty of DWV so I'm sure it would have come up in an internet search ?

@frazzledfozzle. I think you're slightly underestimating the speed with which our lives have changed thanks to the internet and google. You'll find the term "just google it" was not particularly prevalent in the year 2000 (the company Google was founded in 1998).

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I don't have an " irrational anti-carniolan agenda" and am not "driven to blame you for the arrival of DWV but in all that I have read no one has ruled out it coming in with the semen.

Cannot rule that some DWV came in with the semen no. But I am certain that DWV was in NZ prior to it. Studies around the world show that wherever there is varroa there is DWV. An epidemiological study carried out in Hawaii when varroa was establishing itself there demonstrated just how much impact the mite has on both the distribution and the amount of DWV present in beehives. If varroa is present DWV is guaranteed to be there. The only thing the Te Ara encyclopaedia page demonstrates is that we did not test for it before 2007.

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@frazzledfozzle. I think you're slightly underestimating the speed with which our lives have changed thanks to the internet and google. You'll find the term "just google it" was not particularly prevalent in the year 2000 (the company Google was founded in 1998).

 

The internet was up and running in the year 2000 and had been for a while :)

 

@Otto you may be certain that deformed wing virus was introduced with mites but as no testing was done we will never know.

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@Otto you may be certain that deformed wing virus was introduced with mites but as no testing was done we will never know.

 

What does it matter anyway? DWV would of likely came here sooner or later, just how all the other Varroa related viruses did. You can't tell me they all came over with that one importation of semen? Chances are, there has been more than one illegal importation of bees over the years.

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