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john berry

Thank you for the AFB

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Be warned I am about to vent.

I was taking out the last of the strips today in my home apiary when I found two suspicious cells. It is normally perfectly clear when a hive has AFB but these cells were not quite typical and although they roped a little bit they were not as homogenised as AFB normally is. I managed to borrow a test kit and was surprised when it came up positive. Had to go through the whole hive to find a cell to test and only found four infected cells in total.If I had to assess this hive just based on my extensive experience with AFB I would have been concerned enough to quarantine it but it was different enough from normal AFB that I honestly was pretty certain it wasn't.

This hive has never left the property and is in paradise honey Polystyrene boxes boxes. It's the only one I have got  that is not in wood.

The restricted fire season started today so I need a permit. We had 20 mm of rain in the last 24 hours so tomorrow morning would be the time to burn it but you can't just contact a local fire officer any more, you have to go through a national permitting system with little or no flexibility and no doubt by the time I get a permit it will be dry and dangerous.

Tried to report the AFB online but apparently until I destroy it I can't register the find. I did note that my home site is in red so someone has had problems around me. My hives have been 100% clean for many years so I can be 99% certain that this AFB has come from someone not doing their job properly. I once again will have to pay the price for someone else's incompetence.

There has been talk lately that the AFB board has been coming down a bit hard but I for one fully support their stance.

A question. Has anyone ever killed a Polystyrene hive like this using petrol?. I am worried that the petrol will dissolve the polystyrene.

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9 minutes ago, john berry said:

A question. Has anyone ever killed a Polystyrene hive like this using petrol?. I am worried that the petrol will dissolve the polystyrene.

It'll melt it into a glutinous mass, unless you can maybe use a garden sprayer and just do the interior. re burning I'd do it and front up afterward if need be.

Maybe soak a rag  in a little bit of petrol stick it under the lid

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It’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission sometimes.. I’d have a night time blaze up and wake up with a clean slate. 

I Feel for ya and all the hassles that go along with it. 

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3 hours ago, john berry said:

My hives have been 100% clean for many years so I can be 99% certain that this AFB has come from someone not doing their job properly. I once again will have to pay the price for someone else's incompetence.

Sorry to hear.  When things go wrong it is human nature to find someone to blame, but I am not sure it is helpful to jump to the conclusion you have expressed.  AFB spores can be present and be spread for some time before symptoms show.  

 

A quote from the AFB website to support this:
"Symptoms of AFB can often take time to show

Just under half of the colonies developed disease symptoms within two months of being fed spores. However, approximately one-third of the colonies did not show any symptoms until three months or longer."

 

In reality your hive could have been infected and been infecting neighbour's hives for some months prior to you being able to detect the AFB, despite your vigilance.  This doesn't make you incompetent.  There is no certainty that the beekeeper whose hives infected your hives was incompetent, if it came from a managed hive.  I'm not saying they were not incompetent.  I am just saying that they may have been just as vigilant and competent as you. 

 

I know that doesn't make the disappointment of your situation go away.  Well done for spotting it and acting swiftly.  At the end of the day that is all any of us can do.

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Welcome to the forum SuperB. !

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9 hours ago, SuperB said:

Sorry to hear.  When things go wrong it is human nature to find someone to blame, but I am not sure it is helpful to jump to the conclusion you have expressed.  AFB spores can be present and be spread for some time before symptoms show.  

 

A quote from the AFB website to support this:
"Symptoms of AFB can often take time to show

Just under half of the colonies developed disease symptoms within two months of being fed spores. However, approximately one-third of the colonies did not show any symptoms until three months or longer."

 

In reality your hive could have been infected and been infecting neighbour's hives for some months prior to you being able to detect the AFB, despite your vigilance.  This doesn't make you incompetent.  There is no certainty that the beekeeper whose hives infected your hives was incompetent, if it came from a managed hive.  I'm not saying they were not incompetent.  I am just saying that they may have been just as vigilant and competent as you. 

 

I know that doesn't make the disappointment of your situation go away.  Well done for spotting it and acting swiftly.  At the end of the day that is all any of us can do.

The fact that johns apiary is in the red zone tells you someone within 3 kms has had at least 1 robbed out AFB case. 

IMO He has every right to blame his neighbour. 

 

Edited by nikki watts
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8 hours ago, SuperB said:

Sorry to hear.  When things go wrong it is human nature to find someone to blame, but I am not sure it is helpful to jump to the conclusion you have expressed.  AFB spores can be present and be spread for some time before symptoms show.  

 

A quote from the AFB website to support this:
"Symptoms of AFB can often take time to show

Just under half of the colonies developed disease symptoms within two months of being fed spores. However, approximately one-third of the colonies did not show any symptoms until three months or longer."

 

In reality your hive could have been infected and been infecting neighbour's hives for some months prior to you being able to detect the AFB, despite your vigilance.  This doesn't make you incompetent.  There is no certainty that the beekeeper whose hives infected your hives was incompetent, if it came from a managed hive.  I'm not saying they were not incompetent.  I am just saying that they may have been just as vigilant and competent as you. 

 

I know that doesn't make the disappointment of your situation go away.  Well done for spotting it and acting swiftly.  At the end of the day that is all any of us can do.

I have been finding, destroying, studying and educating about AFB for over 50 years. It is absolutely possible  that my hive got AFB from spores that have been kicking around in my hives for the last 40 years and that is why I stated that I was 99% certain. Research done by Dr Mark Goodwin  showed that bees going from hive to hive were not high risk when it came to  spreading AFB even when one infected hive was right beside a clean hive. The chances of  my hive getting AFB from bees drifting from another apiary would be theoretically possible but infinitesimal. There are lots of risk factors for spreading already existing AFB between your own hives but for clean hives to become infected they need to be exposed to an external source of infection and that is almost invariably a hive that has died of AFB and then been robbed out.

Dead AFB rob outs are unfortunately not that uncommon . They can be  a result of ignorance, Incompetence ,neglect or even deliberate intent . The problem has always been with us but with evermore beekeepers and beehives it is becoming rapidly worse.

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4 minutes ago, nikki watts said:

The fact that johns apiary is in the red zone tells you someone within 3 kms has had at least 1 robbed out AFB case. 

IMO He has every right to blame his neighbour. 

 

Red on Apiweb means that AFB has been found within 2km of the apiary, not a rob out. My understanding is that if a rob out is found then every beekeeper within 3km of that gets sent a letter stating this.

If AFB got reported properly by everyone I think most apiaries in the country would likely show up as red on Apiweb...

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It's raining today so would be perfect for burning but of course I have to wait for a permit from a soulless entity quite possibly living in another country. In the meantime I have solved the petrol problem by using carbyril . (Note to orchardists out there. It kills bees real quick). I have the hive sealed up in a bee proof shed and have dug over the ground where the hive was sitting. I know that it's not supposed to be a high risk factor but it's easy enough to do and any risk factor is too high.

At least I won't have to worry about spreading AFB on my hive tool. Being at home I thought I would put it on the gas barbecue. Just before I went to bed I remembered it and although I was sure I had turned it off I thought I'd better go and check.

It is well sterilised.

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I thought I had read in posts on the forum in years past, that fire ban rules were trumped by biosecurity rules so that in effect you have to just tell them that you ARE going to burn a hive, today. Does the AFBNPMP support that or can you be fined for lighting a fire in those circumstances?

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4 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

I thought I had read in posts on the forum in years past, that fire ban rules were trumped by biosecurity rules so that in effect you have to just tell them that you ARE going to burn a hive, today. Does the AFBNPMP support that or can you be fined for lighting a fire in those circumstances?

Common sense prevails here.

In a fire ban dont light fires, especially when alternative means of temporarily dealing with the AFB hive are available.

Secure the Hive, contain the infection and wait for a safe time to burn.
 


 

 

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45 minutes ago, Philbee said:

Common sense prevails here.

In a fire ban dont light fires, especially when alternative means of temporarily dealing with the AFB hive are available.

Secure the Hive, contain the infection and wait for a safe time to burn.
 


 

 

Common sense says to me burn the thing while it's raining and safe to do so and don't make any overworked underpaid misunderstood beaureacrat's phone ring unnecessarily. I'm sure I'm not the only one who consistently breaks laws without even thinking about it eg driving around at 104.5 kph 

or 25kph past a school bus...

Edited by yesbut
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Common sense is something that I have not seen mentioned in the rules and regulations of a government act. There has also been approximately zero reports of common sense with respect to MPI on this forum. I have a signed agreement with the AFBNPMP (DECA) that in my case says I'm allowed to move the hive to be burnt to a site of my choosing; as opposed to burning it in the backyard of a client. I have a couple of spots earmarked for this with loose agreements in place should it ever be required [crossing fingers and toes that it wont].  However, I don't have anything in my DECA that permits me to wait for a fire permit or to argue the toss if one is not given immediately. So if I'm left in breach of my DECA I have to phone up the AFBPMP and plead for them to use common sense (?). I think that would probably work, but it all takes time and time is money. Maybe I could apply for a new DECA with conditions surrounding fire permits included in it. I didn't give it thought before because I understood that biosecurity did trump fire reg's. I should hasten to add that if I was burning a hive I would be using common sense so risk of it spreading was non-existant. Unlike the fires around here causing mayhem at Guy Fawkes. Will be interested to know what other people put in their DECA..

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It's quite a few years since of had to get a fire permit and last time it was just a matter of talking to someone and explaining the problem and I was told that the permit would be in the post but go ahead and burn it right now. That is commonsense. It's raining today and would be perfect but no I have applied for a permit but and specifically forbidden from burning until such time as the permit arrives. They obviously know all about beehives because they are one of the multiple choice answers. If I had found the hive on Sunday I could have burned it with the controlled fire season coming in yesterday. Unfortunately town has moved out on two sides of me and with the black smoke from burning polystyrene boxes I'm sure someone would report me.

It's not that you can't get a permit as they normally grant them unless fire danger is extreme is just that you tend to miss out on the best time and best day . If fire danger is extreme there is normally no problem getting  a permit to safely store the AFB until such time as it can be burnt.

One of the problems with storing AFB hives is that when they have honey on them the petrol often dissolves some of the wax which means honey runs out on the floor over time. The hives can also become infected with wax moth and some sort of fruitfly which must be some risk for spreading infection. It may be that using an insecticide to kill the bees would alleviate a lot of those problems.

There has been talk for years of having centrally placed incinerators for AFB destruction which would solve a lot of problems but nothing has ever come of it.

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29 minutes ago, ChrisM said:

Common sense is something that I have not seen mentioned in the rules and regulations of a government act.

Commonsense costs jobs.

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36 minutes ago, kaihoka said:

Commonsense costs jobs.

Loose lips sinks ships :)

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1 hour ago, ChrisM said:

Common sense is something that I have not seen mentioned in the rules and regulations of a government act.

 

The intent of the 7 day burn rule  is to ensure that the Beekeeper does in fact burn the AFB gear and its done within what the rule makers deem to be a reasonable time frame.
7 days is a period that would usually allow the Beekeeper reasonable time to arrange their affairs so that the Job gets done and it also reflects to relative seriousness of the requirement.

The 7 day period is not related to some biological time bomb that is likely to explode on day 8 and spread Spores far and wide.

So if circumstances dictate that the 7 day rule is unreasonable but 21 days is reasonable, for example due to a fire ban, then there is a mechanism within the rules that can provide an extension of time.

After all, the time period is based on what is "reasonable".

 

The common sense aspect of refraining from lighting fires during a fire ban is actually more than just common sense.
When your Fire spreads out of control and in the worst case senerio kills the sleeping, hung over neighbor, bio security trumps nothing. 

 

 

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The 7 day rule applies only if you have no DECA. If you do have a DECA then the wording of the DECA applies and this could be whatever the beekeeper and the agency both agreed to sign up to; such as "a fire permit must be obtained during fire season and the hive is to be stored and then burnt according to fire permit conditions". That is not what my DECA says, but it seems a reasonable change (?). I don't actually disagree with anything you have written. However if it has to be burnt and the biosecurity rules prevail then the fire brigade can send out a truck and at a mutually agreed time (?) to keep an eye on things. It seems reasonable to have an agreed protocol between the Fire Service and the AFBNPMP so that we each don't need to invent our own deal. I'm not sure what the current vanilla flavour DECA baseline form says but in my one section 2.5 on page 3 of 6 does not mention fire permits and bans. Maybe the latest ones do (?).

Edited by ChrisM
typos

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Can someone help me and tell me what an AFB rob out looks like?  I'm sure all the honey is stripped, but would there still be some gunky brood?  Or would you be able to see scales in the base of cells?   And Yes I've has AFB, but never let it go so far as it being robbed out.  As for where it came from, I've never been sure, but I'm kind of with @SuperB , not pointing fingers down to Hawkes Bay mind you.  😂

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2 hours ago, CraBee said:

Can someone help me and tell me what an AFB rob out looks like?  I'm sure all the honey is stripped, but would there still be some gunky brood?  Or would you be able to see scales in the base of cells?   And Yes I've has AFB, but never let it go so far as it being robbed out.  As for where it came from, I've never been sure, but I'm kind of with @SuperB , not pointing fingers down to Hawkes Bay mind you.  😂

A rob out is when a hive has died of AFB and there are no stores left in the hive.  

Usually the cells are damaged as in a normal rob out.

Scale may or may not be in the frames, it depends on how long it has been dried for.  It takes a fair while for the grubs to descciate.

Yes, any dead grub will still be in the cells as they are stuck to the cell wall.  

There will usually be old capped cells with AFB larvae under the caps.  These later dry out (desiccate).

 

 

 

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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12 minutes ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

There will usually be old capped cells with AFB larvae under the caps.  These later dry out (desicate).

Could these reasonably be expected to show the vertical pupal tongue ?

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1 hour ago, yesbut said:

Could these reasonably be expected to show the vertical pupal tongue ?

Before they desicate, Yes they will show the pupal tongue.  However, once they desiccate the tongue usually disappears and scale is very difficult to see.

However, to make the scale easier to see, you can look from the top bar towards the lower lip of the cell.  You can then see the scale in the lower cell face/edge.

Also you can use an Ultraviolet light and this will then make the scale fluoresce.

We had a demo of this at our SNI Beekeeping meeting last week. 

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As often as not it's pretty obvious that a hive has died of AFB as there will be some infected brood left as well is other dead and dying hives in the apiary. Left long enough and ants and/or wax moth will clean it out and while you might not be able to confirm AFB visually you could make an educated guess by the number of infected hives in the area. These days I believe it is possible to take a swab to confirm the presence of AFB. I'm sure the AFB dogs would also react strongly. It was only a few years ago I found an entire apiary which  I believed was the source of a major outbreak in the Hastings area. There was basically nothing left but wood and debris so with the landowner's permission I took it on myself and burnt the lot.

Pupal Tongue while a definitive sign of AFB is certainly not found in every infected cell and can be really hard to find even in a  heavily infected hive. It is not something I ever look for to make a diagnosis. It's a nice confirmation but when you do see it its normally in heavily infected hives and you should already know what's going on.I haven't tried the UV light which sounds really interesting.

 

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Whenever I have a dead-out / robbed hive we just go through the standard assessment to identify the cause.  That includes a good look at the brood frames usually.  I've never seen any evidence of AFB in a dead-out / robbed hive and it is good to know that some evidence of AFB would remain in the comb.

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@john berry

 I have never seen AFB , I have my DECA and I look at my brood and stick a match in suspicious cells  .

But I am not 100% confident that I would not miss it if it was there .

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