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john berry

Hastings and area AFB outbreak

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There has been a major AFB outbreak in the greater Hastings area with numerous confirmed cases including several dead rob outs. Anyone with any hives in the orchard areas around the plains area should be very concerned including anyone who did pollination or those with mega dump sites along the river areas. In most cases I don't know the names of those involved but I do know that there are many beekeepers affected and at least three and probably considerably more sources of infection.

If you don't have time to learn how to look after your hives properly or enough time to look after your hives properly then you should get rid of them. AFB outbreaks are always caused by someone's ignorance or apathy. This outbreak affects many thousands of hives and potentially threatens the viability of pollination in the area..

I am no longer an AP 2 but I can of course inspect hives for anyone at their request. Due to time constraints my preferred option is for people to bring me a bee free frame of suspect brood for inspection which I am happy to do for free.

It's a nice weekend people, you have been warned, get out there and inspect them before you to become part of the problem.

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Hmmm ..... a symtomatic issue of population growth.

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10 minutes ago, jamesc said:

Hmmm ..... a symtomatic issue of population growth.

 

Very much so. 

 

We've been anticipating this for the last few years... well, it's here now.

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Dead rob outs (which most likely was the reason for the AFB spread)...

Sounds like somebody didnt take prober care of his bees...

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30 minutes ago, Christi An said:

Dead rob outs (which most likely was the reason for the AFB spread)...

Sounds like somebody didnt take prober care of his bees...

 

 I wish it was only one somebody, Christi.     I am sure there is more than one person at the root of this problem.

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22 hours ago, john berry said:

Anyone with any hives in the orchard areas around the plains area should be very concerned including anyone who did pollination or those with mega dump sites along the river areas

Is it possible to be more specific about the area? Heretaunga plains is massive and there are lots of rivers. 

 

I know this doesn't make a difference to the need for regular vigilance. Just wondering about whether to implement additional controls. 

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It is a widespread outbreak, Rob.   Several epicentres, which we're not going to identify individually, because they're only the start of the story at this point.    Consider all of your apiaries as being within the high risk area.

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14 minutes ago, deejaycee said:

Consider all of your apiaries as being within the high risk area.

That's perfect advice. Thanks. I did full checks before moving them and partial checks several times since. They'll get another full check towards the end of December as I take honey off. I'll keep them all at home this season and limit transfer of gear. 

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Sympathy you guys, reading between the lines sounds like the causes have been identified and being worked on, now you just got to clean up the mess which may be a several year process of extreme vigilance, by everyone.

 

Part of the area I'm in is just about clean now after several years of hard work, education, and very good cooperation and goodwill from 99% of beekeepers. Only issue now is some of the migratory hives, never quite know what they will show up with and there has been a few hives burned plus 2 small outbreaks (that I know of) but they been contained, I think.

 

EOD it's just a case of ongoing vigilance. My own hives are still being afb checked roughly 5 times a year.

 

There are plans nationally to increase afb monitoring plus put some other things in place to attempt to eliminate afb. But it will only happen if beekeepers allow the levy to be increased, which for beekeepers who have never had afb, they find it hard to see the need. But I'm really hoping it will happen, afb certainly cost me an arm and a leg over the years. That's in dollar terms, never mind the emotional stress.

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13 hours ago, Alastair said:

 

 

There are plans nationally to increase afb monitoring plus put some other things in place to attempt to eliminate afb. But it will only happen if beekeepers allow the levy to be increased, which for beekeepers who have never had afb, they find it hard to see the need. But I'm really hoping it will happen, afb certainly cost me an arm and a leg over the years. That's in dollar terms, never mind the emotional stress.

The levy should be increased, and repeat offenders should be fined. 

afb cost us a large fortune last season alone, cages were rattled and offenders hives were found robbed out, and not for the first time. 

My team burnt a whole site of 48 colonies in one session after the first 14 colonies were found infected during our first August brood check, and that was just the beginning. 

Is there a place for an independent AFB monitoring body with MANY inspectors on the road FULLTIME? 

Partially funded by beekeeper levys partially funded by fines and also by govt..? 

Some countries have systems that compensate the keeper for AFB losses... 

lots of ideas out there I'm sure... something has to change.

 

 

 

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Hmmmm .....:IMG_0383:    I have a feeling AFB is something we are going to have to learn to live with , as we do already. There has been such a growth of beehive numbers and new operators, who, while keen, lack the experience of identifying the very early  symptons. As they say, we learn through our mistakes, and as new operators make mistakes it costs neighbouring beehives and operators. Those guys will learn but by then the disease has moved on.

The quality of labour out there is a big spreader of disease.  FOE , the larger the operation becomes the higher the disease incidence. That's one of the joys of now being a hobbyist going into my 29 season  .... I get to look in every beehive every round .

 

The Dogs of course are a great tool, but are on holiday at this time of year as it is too warm at night for them to work effectively. For the likes of places that are hotspots of nectar flows where beekeepers flock like robbing bees there needs to be a bit of forward thinking. A permit or bill of health to move might be a start, rather like the truck loads of bees that move to California for the Almonds. But who pays ?

I believe that in Poland when AFB is discovered in an apiary the whole apiary has to be burned. I suspect here that would lead to under reporting.

 

Track and trace systems for honey boxes are another tool to limit the spread. All our boxes now have NAIT pins in them with thier unique number that gives us the ability to trace honey boxes months after they have come off an infected hive. It's a lot of work but has potential.

 

At the end of the day, as with any Gold Rush .... disease is  a fact of life.  For every one you burn have two spare to take it's place at the mother lode.

 

 

 

 

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5 minutes ago, jamesc said:

 

The Dogs of course are a great tool, but are on holiday at this time of year as it is too warm at night for them to work effectively.

 

 

 

This is news to me, James, and I had the dogs on my list as a potential strategy too.

 

Do the dogs just not cope in the heat, or can they not smell the disease, or  nail down the source of the smell with the warmer air temps?  Can they work later in the day?

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When it's warm at night and all the bees are hanging out the front door the dogs are not really inclined to get too close ..... on account of stings .

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Testing honey would be a massive motivator. Just like dairy and E. coli. 

 

Test positive and you must track’n’trace and destroy. Then be subject to more rigorous scrutiny/restrictions for a period of time. 

 

As a a hobbiest with my DECA, I do wonder about the sense of me testing myself. And maybe I should be subject to additional random/voluntary inspection by an experienced beek. 

 

Of of course all of these things take time & money. Our levies are so small, I’d pay more for more. 

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50 minutes ago, Josh said:

As a a hobbiest with my DECA, I do wonder about the sense of me testing myself.

Jeepers . We're doomed. Again.

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8 hours ago, Stoney said:

 offenders hives were found robbed out, and not for the first time. 

 

All my life, I've seen a very small number of beekeepers who spread disease to others, regularly. By sloppiness, or in extreme cases even crazy theories they have about just how they think the disease works or how they think to make bees resistant to it.

 

One of the new proposals is to grade all beekeepers from 1 to 4. 1 being a beekeeper who goes above and beyond normal good practise and has exceptionally good systems in place to prevent spread of afb. 2 is a person with good practise, 3 is someone who is reasonable but can be helped to improve in a few areas, 4 is someone who is a repeat offender for not dealing with afb properly when found, plus spreading it to others.

 

If this is instituted, it would mean that for the first time ever, beekeepers who are an ongoing problem and cost to others would be formally identified, and measures put in place to correct the problem. 

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8 hours ago, Stoney said:

The levy should be increased, and repeat offenders should be fined

I agree that the levies might be increased. Not sure how we would police the second bit. 

 

No one creates AFB. They all get it from somewhere. So the fact you have a case shouldn't be punishable. It's the quality of the response that beekeepers should be judged on. 

 

We need to dispel any notion that if you get AFB then you are a bad beekeeper. 

 

In theory, if all hives stayed put, then there would be little to no spread of AFB. Beehive sales, pollination and migratory beekeeping are the churn that keeps AFB moving around. Of those three I would say that small scale bee sales is the most risky.

 

There ought to be tighter control over who can sell bees and on the quality of the bees they sell.

 

The PMP mandates one thorough check per year in spring. That's not often enough. Add varroa stress to a garden ornament (legal) beehive and you could easily have a deadout between AFB checks. These are the unwilling incubators of AFB

 

The frequency of mandatory checks must be increased. 

 

But it's a fine balance. As the compliance cost of keeping bees goes up so too does the likelihood of unregistered, off the radar beehives. As an industry we need to be creative and find ways of eliminating AFB without resorting to punitive measures. 

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17 minutes ago, Rob Stockley said:

No one creates AFB. They all get it from somewhere. So the fact you have a case shouldn't be punishable. It's the quality of the response that beekeepers should be judged on. 

 

Absolutely nobody should be punished for getting afb. If that happened, I would have been punished myself several times in my life.

 

I am not privy to exactly what a person would do to get into catagory 4. But suspect things like knowingly selling infected equipment, or knowingly allowing infected hives to die and get robbed, might get someone into catagory 4. Another one might be when an inspector finds and marks an afb hive, then drives past 3 months later and sees it still sitting there. All these things go on, and at the moment nothing is done about it. 

Edited by Alastair

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20 minutes ago, Rob Stockley said:

 

In theory, if all hives stayed put, then there would be little to no spread of AFB. Beehive sales, pollination and migratory beekeeping are the churn that keeps AFB moving around. Of those three I would say that small scale bee sales is the most risky.

 

 

Respectfully, .... rubbish.

 

Spread of AFB is through not identifying and destroying the hives early enough, or through moving gear around an operation. 

 

Those things you have identified are casualties of a lack of identification and in no way unsafe in themselves.

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Rob I’m not for a moment suggesting punishing afb finds what I’m suggesting is punish the repeat offenders.. in our own case the Beekeepers are old school been around for ever and have slipped, lax on disease and probably poor eyesight and old ways. 

Allistair suggesting a grading system and in my view is a huge step forward and imagine it would run along the lines of the trucking companies, failed cof inspections and log book errors etc etc all go toward the ratings, the worst operators get hounded until they snap and move on. 

We need to slay the old Dinosaur system. 

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12 hours ago, deejaycee said:

 

Respectfully, .... rubbish.

 

Spread of AFB is through not identifying and destroying the hives early enough, or through moving gear around an operation. 

 

Those things you have identified are casualties of a lack of identification and in no way unsafe in themselves.

Respectfully, ... I think we're both right.

 

You've described how AFB spreads within an operation and to neighbouring sites. As the bees fly so to speak. Totally agree. If that was all we had to deal with then intensive localised controls could all but erradicate AFB in that local area. 

 

I'm referring to how, despite good local practices, an area gets AFB from beyond bee flight range.

 

I think that generally locals have the capacity to work well together on AFB matters. Their interests and motivations are loosely aligned.  But local endeavours may be frustrated by non-local influence.

 

We need to recognise these distinct problem areas and treat them differently if we are to succeed. 

Edited by Rob Stockley

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here;s an idea i've been mulling over for a while.

brainstorming on approaches to 'fix' afb problems has a lot of merit.

but threads and similar tend not to be the best (?) or most efficient ways to canvas loads of ideas and tangents.

 

I wonder what would happen if all regular posters on this forum took it upon themselves to find and discuss and listen about views on what could be done about afb with 2-3 non-forum members. Then wrote up all the ideas. There would likely be a lot of overlap, and even more likely be a few gems that would otherwise not have been put forward. Discussing with non- or ex-beekeepers would be useful as part of this.

 

thoughts? i'm sure that between us we could facilitate something like this, it's something i'd be prepared to put some time into. And free is cheaper than engaging a consultant who knows nothing about beekeepers to facilitate this on behalf - which i hope would be a price that would appeal to the likes of api-nz eh @Karin Kos

 

 

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12 hours ago, Stoney said:

Rob I’m not for a moment suggesting punishing afb finds what I’m suggesting is punish the repeat offenders.. in our own case the Beekeepers are old school been around for ever and have slipped, lax on disease and probably poor eyesight and old ways. 

Allistair suggesting a grading system and in my view is a huge step forward and imagine it would run along the lines of the trucking companies, failed cof inspections and log book errors etc etc all go toward the ratings, the worst operators get hounded until they snap and move on. 

We need to slay the old Dinosaur system. 

Do you think there should be an age limit on keeping bees .

Say restricted to under 65 because failing eye sight and all round frailty makes it harder for people to be competent beeks.

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30 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

Do you think there should be an age limit on keeping bees .

Say restricted to under 65 because failing eye sight and all round frailty makes it harder for people to be competent beeks.

No. Age is not an accurate predictor of poor eyesight and frailty. 

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