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Science and research in Apiculture


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With the rise of science-related questions and topics in our hobby & profession (varroa resistance, nosemas, pesticide issues), the Science & Research Focus group of Apiculture NZ (ApiNZ) is n

There is now a DNA test commercially available (disclaimer: its from our company). Not only are we offering the test for things like hiveware, bees etc but we have also added it to our kit range so th

That’s what been happening that the private sector has been using the dogs ever since we started training the first AFB Detector Dog for @jamesc in 2012!. We do know @Philbee that they are effective a

Well ..... I don't see many people posting here so maybe science and research is not at the forefront of peoples agenda.

So. Lets get the ball rolling.

 

We in The AFB Detectotor Dog program are  amongst one of several groups using different technology to make the control and eradication of Foulbrood a reality. We have the dogs and we know they are an effective tool. We have science based testing with swabs and cultures which  have the potential to determine positives and negatives. Lets marry the two and bring in  a regime which draws on the strength of science and the practicality of our four footed friends to  create a positive outcome for many bee operations who are pulling their hair out.

 

I don't understand why APINZ are so stuck in the mud at not embracing new technology ..... their thinking is that if everyone uses dogs then no one will visually check. And let's face it ,visually checking is a slow and time consuming process that also requires experience which no amount of DECA training can  furnish you with overnight. And as we all know, experienced labour is in very very short supply.

 

APINZ have a new broom at the head who is charged with bringing a new era of innovation and excitement to this growth industry. What a great feather to his cap it would be to  be able say he had been instrumental  in making a lot of bee keepers lives sweeter.  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by jamesc
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Unfortunately, we have privatised research in all agricultural fields. When Mark Goodwin spoke recently, he was doing research paid for and therefore results owned by the aussies for example, and Peter Nolans manuka work on UMF etc was sold by the governement of the day, not retained as our intellectual property. Researchers are not trained to find funding to stay employed, and should not be wasting time doing that. I started work in the DSIR (back on Noah's day) and then the powers that be were brighter and understood agriculture was our future, and knowledge as power to develop. The new head of the AFB pest management is speaking at events around the country at present, so I suggest everyone makes the effort to find out where and when he will be in your area by contacting him directly, and make the effort to attend, so that we bypass the corporatised rulers of Apiculture NZ. AFB dogs are definitely a major part of the AFB solution.

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1 hour ago, jamesc said:

I don't understand why APINZ are so stuck in the mud at not embracing new technology ..... their thinking is that if everyone uses dogs then no one will visually check.

Money,

There is no money or kudos  in dogs for them.

New Zealanders are great with dogs and just yesterday it spoke with a Beek who wants to train his hunting dogs on AFB.
Dogs will really take off as more come on line

 

 

Edited by Philbee
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anyone serious about eradication of afb would consider a dog program, (and some science to back it up would be great)

many of us fear an afb disaster brewing up, some experience it already.

i know it's the wrong thread, but can anyone tell me where and when the next DECA course/test is near coromandel. some hobbyist just asked me.

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1 hour ago, Philbee said:

Money,

There is no money or kudos  in dogs for them.

New Zealanders are great with dogs and just yesterday it spoke with a Beek who wants to train his hunting dogs on AFB.
Dogs will really take off as more come on line

 

 

We're not talking about money (not really). What we are talking about is APINZ embracing the idea . That does not cost money. That is left to private enterprise. 

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There are a number of science programs being undertaken at the moment around AFB. This is probably not a complete list but some of the ones include:

-          Massey University in Auckland are looking for viruses that infect bacteria such as AFB (bacteriophages). They aim to characterise any candidates found and see whether a cocktail of
            them might provide control.

-          The use of dogs as mentioned above. But yes, many have expressed desire for a trial. To be done in combination with other new detection methods being developed

-          DNA detection methods – rather than culturing for AFB (ie growing it on a petri dish), newer methods have been developed or are being developed that use qPCR to detect AFB and
           estimate the level.  Several  groups are working in this area and it has also been incorporated into the MPI Bee Pathogen program.

-         A Sustainable Farming Fund project in Otago/Southland to look at a combination of methods in detecting and reducing/eliminating AFB from the region.

 

No one detection method is perfect it seems – like varroa control  it will be an arsenal approach. We expect updates on a number of these approaches in the science forums of the upcoming Apiculture NZ conference in Blenhein in late July.

 

As mentioned at last year’s Apiculture conference, the AFB levy is tapped out. A number of suggestions were put forward to creating a new levy to fund new developments. As above, these current developments are being funded by others (mostly by NZ however). Any future commodity levy could also help fund the work involved.

 

The Beekeeper (April) magazine has a lot on AFB – recent finds, incidence levels and a report from Clifton (the new-ish compliance manager). Any suggestions on what else would be good to know about AFB in NZ for future journal articles ? [JM]

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3 hours ago, jamesc said:

APINZ have a new broom at the head who is charged with bringing a new era of innovation and excitement to this growth industry. What a great feather to his cap it would be to  be able say he had been instrumental  in making a lot of bee keepers lives sweeter.  

 

*cough* that would be *her* cap. But the chair of the AFB PMP Management Agency (John Hartnell) is male. We dont know whether he wears a cap though. . .

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1 hour ago, Philbee said:

Money,

There is no money or kudos  in dogs for them.

New Zealanders are great with dogs and just yesterday it spoke with a Beek who wants to train his hunting dogs on AFB.
Dogs will really take off as more come on line

 

 

Where is the kudos in having AFB ?

Right answer - wrong reason IMO. Funding is needed to test out the new methods coming on line - neither ApiNZ nor the AFB PMP have additional funds currently to develop this work. As @tom sayn said above "some science to back it up would be great". And that takes money  [JM]

 

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11 minutes ago, ApiNZ Science & Research said:

The Beekeeper (April) magazine has a lot on AFB – recent finds, incidence levels and a report from Clifton (the new-ish compliance manager). Any suggestions on what else would be good to know about AFB in NZ for future journal articles ? [JM]

i think keep up on the reports of recent finds and work thats been done.

people simply don't get to hear about the amount of work thats been done in the background. need to paint a realistic picture of whats happening out there.

there is a lot of people doing really good work and get no public recognition of it. 

the stories of finds and how they are dealt with can show the sort of problems that occur and lessons to be learnt from it.

the big thing is learning from the mistakes of others so everyone gets better.

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1 hour ago, kaihoka said:

Society seems to becoming so risk adverse in so many areas these days.

People would rather not put a foot anywhere than put a foot wrong.

It's such a shame .

Hmmmm ..... we must be the odd ones out then !

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1 hour ago, JohnF said:

There is now a DNA test commercially available

Did you find out during any of that work if NZ is home to ERIC I, ERIC II, or a mixture? Maybe you didn't need to know.

I can't remember why I wanted to know that but it was very important at the time...

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I can’t see the difference between one govt agency (nz customs) use of dogs as an indicator for fruit or cash or drugs and the use of dogs as an AFB indicator for closer human inspection.. they surely are both one in the same technique.. 

just a different work zone (airport/ beeyard) 

what costly science study would need to be performed before any acceptance of the dogs nasal ability? 

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1 hour ago, Stoney said:

I can’t see the difference between one govt agency (nz customs) use of dogs as an indicator for fruit or cash or drugs and the use of dogs as an AFB indicator for closer human inspection.. they surely are both one in the same technique.. 

just a different work zone (airport/ beeyard) 

what costly science study would need to be performed before any acceptance of the dogs nasal ability? 

We are in the process of trying arrange an trial with the AFB Management agency again as several times before. Not much look so far.

 

Again we are saying that the dogs are NOT perfect and certainly have some deficiencies however they are just another tools that can be used like the dogs at the airports - border  like @Stoney says.  We have done PCR testing with @JohnF Dnature.

The information with have colletected is invaluable together with the information we have since we started to train the first AFB Detector Dog. We want to do more trials however we have to  overcome another hurdle (not money) that has put in front of us.

I have worked for the MAF Detector Dog programme for 10 years as their trainer and a manger  and certainly can see how the AFB dogs can compliment the AP2 and Beekeeper in helping the detection of AFB

It’s the same at the airports. The x-ray machines and Biosecurity officers are not perfect either , neither are the dogs. However together they compliment each other and are a very effective detection tool. 

May one day it all will happen. Hopefully not before its too late. 

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3 hours ago, tristan said:

@JohnF hows the dna testing of resistant mites going?

 

*groan* badly . . and very well. Our new tests are looking very good . . .but the 'badly' part comes from not having had a chance to run the new tests across actual samples. Your varroa are actually being tested overseas Tristan

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2 hours ago, Dave Black said:

Did you find out during any of that work if NZ is home to ERIC I, ERIC II, or a mixture? Maybe you didn't need to know.

I can't remember why I wanted to know that but it was very important at the time...

 

Its a very good question and the ability to detect one or other will help with tracing possibly. Phil Lester at Victoria led some work in this area where (from memory) they found both ERIC genotypes. ERIC is just a method that tell the genetic strain of AFB (one lasts longer, is more virulent etc). Unfortunately its slow and requires culturing and isolation of pure AFB. . . .something we have on our list as well

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4 hours ago, ApiNZ Science & Research said:

There are a number of science programs being undertaken at the moment around AFB. This is probably not a complete list but some of the ones include:

-          Massey University in Auckland are looking for viruses that infect bacteria such as AFB (bacteriophages). They aim to characterise any candidates found and see whether a cocktail of
            them might provide control

 

I don’t understand why anyone would be looking at this in relation to controlling AFB .

Are you saying that in the future the focus / rules will change from eliminating AFB to controlling it ?

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1 hour ago, Stoney said:

I can’t see the difference between one govt agency (nz customs) use of dogs as an indicator for fruit or cash or drugs and the use of dogs as an AFB indicator for closer human inspection.. they surely are both one in the same technique.. 

just a different work zone (airport/ beeyard) 

what costly science study would need to be performed before any acceptance of the dogs nasal ability? 

 

I was going to suggest that this was one for @Rene Gloor but he's already replied.

To my mind the DNA test requires the same burden of proof as the dogs:

 

Namely both tests can potentially detect AFB before it shows clinical signs. But how do we know the dog/DNA has detected AFB when its not present? In that case, its different to the airport - either the apple is in your bag or its not. Even if the dog detects 'subclinical' apple (ie apple in there yesterday) then border control don't care. There's no apple now.

Whereas for AFB, is the detection clinical AFB? No? Is it going to develop into AFB in the future? Has the dog/DNA detected all the clinical (ie roping) cases in an apiary?

 

This is the sort of trial that needs to be done - and as Rene says, as part of a toolbox. Unfortunately its not going to be a quick trial. I don't think anyone is questioning the ability of dogs to detect odours

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