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AFB control Then & Now


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16 minutes ago, Bikernz said:

I believe that we need to engage modern science and use lab techniques like qPCR testing based on a sample of bees.

What is the process of follow up to check that the qPCR testing is accurate?  

6 minutes ago, yesbut said:

The various AFB dogs around the place are one answer to unreliable slow humans, but no-one wants to pay for them.

R U referring to individual beekeepers paying for the AFB sniffer dog service in their outfit, or to something else?

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NucMan,   Your allegation that the Management Agency has not acted on the information you provided is not correct.   The Management Agency has followed up on the information you pr

My bubble is still intact @Dennis Crowley .....and yes , there are many operations that run a clean ship. What always amazes me is the  job ads running looking for beekeeping managers .... 'must

I read a newspaper article yesterday, with congratulations to Kiwis for having 'eliminated COVID-19', and it reminded me a lot of some events from 25 years ago...   NZ's AFB had been regulat

7 minutes ago, Maggie James said:

What is the process of follow up to check that the qPCR testing is accurate?  

R U referring to individual beekeepers paying for the AFB sniffer dog service in their outfit, or to something else?

I believe unsuccessful approaches have been made to various official entities about having the dogs worth recognised and money being made available to make more/better use of them. @jamesc or @Rene Gloor  may have better answers..

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The robbing of wets I referred to was a commercial who, after extracting honey, left all extracted boxes outside around the extraction plant standing on their ends for the bees to remove remaining honey - this was in an area with many hobby and commercial beeks, and a high level of AFB in the area.

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8 hours ago, Bikernz said:

. Traditional AFB inspections are still required but hopefully in the future, after reviewing a body of evidence, this new technique will become an approved alternative to visual inspections. It may also turn out that some other pathogens can be diagnosed at the same time providing critical information in a timely manner to the beekeeping operation.

i would hope that it never becomes an approved alternative to visual inspections, the only real strength of the AFB rules right now is that every hive has to receive visual inspection at a minimum of once a year. Definitely useful to have more indication tools in the toolbox though.

It would be great if other, complementary, steps became more common - whether they be hive sampling, running a dog through apiaries, etc.

 

as a possible approach: imagine an AP2 working with a dog-handler and running a verified indicator dog through a series of geographically close apiaries over the course of one evening, marking and recording the indicated hives/apiaries, and then using this to inform targeted visual inspection over the following day(s)

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@yesbut, @tommy dave .....(Ha , look at that, I did it again ) ..... As history relates, we approached @Rene Gloor a few years ago to investigate the possibility of using dogs to track down AFB.

A short recount of history so as not to  bore you all, but after years of paying an AFB levy and with little help from the levy takers in the reduction of our percentages we were looking for a plan B .....and happened to be  watching Border Patrol one night and wondered .....

 

What if  dogs could detect AFB ?

 

Life is full of What if's ..... and generally we ask the question after the event.

 

  The short is they can, and they can do it very well, and the rest is history. 

But ..... they are not a one hit wonder.

Eradication/elimination takes patient, persistence pressure. AFB, life Covid, is the unseen enemy, and like Covid,when  left unchecked, will have rampant and disastrous consequences.

 

The reason the dog idea 'never took off' all came down to legislative intransigence from the management agency ..... and lack of money.

 

Dogs are a very effective screening tool for all sorts of odours ,  and worked together with an AFB  AP2 in an organised approach, will, like Ashley Bloomfield and Jacinda's attack on Covid , be very successful.

AFB elimination won't happen in a one season, one dog visit  fragmented approach.

 

But like  Covid. with an industry 'buy in' of  team work, quarantine, testing and burning .....and yes, money,  I am certain we could change the game .

 

If we wanted to !!

 

In conjunction with Rene, we set the Dog program up to sort out our own problem.  It worked.  It was quite expensive, a fascinating learning curve and dropped our incidence dramatically.

There have been challenges ..... clusters of AFB that have surfaced  from other operators who  have reinfected neighbours .....

It was a shame the industry never bought in , as life today might be very subtle different for a lot of beekeepers. 

 

We still have the dogs.

Two are retired and live on the Sofa.

We have trainee dogs in kennels and a Dog Lady under training ....

 

But have moved on in our target odours  .....  cell phones and plastic are quite  big issues  for some people now ,and the powers that be who run those programs  where cell phones and plastic are a Nono  appreciate the usefullness of 'The Million Dollar Nose'  and aren't hamstrung by management asking for documentation and proof.

  

 

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9 hours ago, Maggie James said:

What is the process of follow up to check that the qPCR testing is accurate?  

R U referring to individual beekeepers paying for the AFB sniffer dog service in their outfit, or to something else?

There is work underway the validate the test accuracy but I am no expert on lab procedures. As I understand it checking new processes against existing standards is routine in a lab.

1 hour ago, tommy dave said:

i would hope that it never becomes an approved alternative to visual inspections, the only real strength of the AFB rules right now is that every hive has to receive visual inspection at a minimum of once a year. Definitely useful to have more indication tools in the toolbox though.

It would be great if other, complementary, steps became more common - whether they be hive sampling, running a dog through apiaries, etc.

 

as a possible approach: imagine an AP2 working with a dog-handler and running a verified indicator dog through a series of geographically close apiaries over the course of one evening, marking and recording the indicated hives/apiaries, and then using this to inform targeted visual inspection over the following day(s)

Good point. Regular inspections will still be the mainstay of managing apiaries. I was really just focussed on how to improve the specific AFB outcome. 

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17 hours ago, Bikernz said:

One of the weaknesses of the current approach to managing AFB, IMHO, is that we rely on humans to visually identify it. Scanning over brood frame after brood frame looking for even a single cell that has been infected. I know very well from previous experience in high volume electronic component manufacturing that people, no matter how well intentioned, are not reliable at this type of repetitive task. We are looking for needles in haystacks at reported incidence rates of ~0.3% (yes, I know there is probably an under-reporting issue too). I believe that we need to engage modern science and use lab techniques like qPCR testing based on a sample of bees. It is very sensitive and the machines that do this work don’t get tired, have bad days, etc.

 

The WDBA (Waikato Domestic Beekeepers Association) is about to start its third season of getting bee samples from members and having them tested in a lab. Not all members participate at this stage but with more work this will change - it is a long term project. Traditional AFB inspections are still required but hopefully in the future, after reviewing a body of evidence, this new technique will become an approved alternative to visual inspections. It may also turn out that some other pathogens can be diagnosed at the same time providing critical information in a timely manner to the beekeeping operation.

 

There is the task of collecting samples that may seem like a show-stopper but give it some thought. I recall that Randy Oliver took the cumbersome process of doing alcohol wash varroa mite counts and incrementally industrialised it so that it only took seconds to do.

And yet there are hundreds of thousands of hives that are disease free by the beek inspecting their hives properly by eye. Their is no need for these new fan-dangle gismoes .

Just beeks to do their bloody job properly. When you become reliant on outside help you tend to get slack in your own ability.

But I dont want to stop progress.

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Big problem with afb is no one acts on givin information ,i have sent many requests into afbpm they sent inspector (ap2) found a site with all rotten gear knocked around found one hive afb others suspected so destroyed (thank,you). But the rest of said beekeepers outfit was knocked over full sites deadout so the fix for this problem was give said beekeeper a warning to clean his #### up. Meanwhile i moved 300 hives around this guy for pollination ...wounder how my spring will go....

Afbpm needs more authority.  No diseased hives yet but i think there will be.

Annoys the #### out of me that a life time of paying afbpms first time i need them i get nowhere....?

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46 minutes ago, Nuc_man said:

Big problem with afb is no one acts on givin information ,i have sent many requests into afbpm they sent inspector (ap2) found a site with all rotten gear knocked around found one hive afb others suspected so destroyed (thank,you). But the rest of said beekeepers outfit was knocked over full sites deadout so the fix for this problem was give said beekeeper a warning to clean his #### up. Meanwhile i moved 300 hives around this guy for pollination ...wounder how my spring will go....

Afbpm needs more authority.  No diseased hives yet but i think there will be.

Annoys the #### out of me that a life time of paying afbpms first time i need them i get nowhere....?

Even worse when the authority tell the offending beekeeper they are having a full afb audit, then the beekeeper tells the agency who is allowed to check his hives and who is not This is what we are paying our fees for. Or the beekeeper who partially burns his afb hives with noi hole dug and bees robbing the half burnt gear 2 weeks later.

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16 hours ago, Trevor Gillbanks said:

I know this is an emotional topic, but please keep the language down.  This is he only warning I am going to give.

I am giving a general warning only as this subject is emotional.

Sorry just (Word bleeped out by moderator) me off.

I spent alot of time photos doing the ground work to make it easy.

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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15 hours ago, Nuc_man said:

Sorry just --------- me off.

I spent a lot of time photos doing the ground work to make it easy.

Aah there you are ..... still alive then !!

Edited by Trevor Gillbanks
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1 hour ago, Dennis Crowley said:

And yet there are hundreds of thousands of hives that are disease free by the beek inspecting their hives properly by eye. Their is no need for these new fan-dangle gismoes .

Just beeks to do their bloody job properly. When you become reliant on outside help you tend to get slack in your own ability.

But I dont want to stop progress.

The thing is ..... a sole operator should in theory have a very low incidence of AFB, as he is the only one looking in the bees and should  know his stuff.

The problem comes when you start to employ labour , and not all of those  labour units delving in the bees are as diligent or as experienced as the sole operator.

 

The bigger one gets, the more jobs get delegated .... and therein  lies the problem.

That was one of the big drivers when we started looking at dogs.

 

In Dog we trust.

 

 

4 minutes ago, Nuc_man said:

Arh yes last 500 boxs to go through plant lockdown was a solid month of getting it done , im 3 weeks from my 8 week lockdown ...cant wait 

Uhhuh .... think I'm gonna leave the last 1500 boxes on the hives and go on a cruise .....?

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7 minutes ago, jamesc said:

The thing is ..... a sole operator should in theory have a very low incidence of AFB, as he is the only one looking in the bees and should  know his stuff.

The problem comes when you start to employ labour , and not all of those  labour units delving in the bees are as diligent or as experienced as the sole operator.

 

The bigger one gets, the more jobs get delegated .... and therein  lies the problem.

That was one of the big drivers when we started looking at dogs.

 

In Dog we trust.

 

 

Uhhuh .... think I'm gonna leave the last 1500 boxes on the hives and go on a cruise .....?

When??? 3years time

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1 minute ago, jamesc said:

must be some cheap ones going shortly ..... all in one boat, locked down .... what could possibly go wrong ?

Dunno about cheap, but we're signed up for a week in Fiordland in October

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49 minutes ago, jamesc said:

must be some cheap ones going shortly ..... all in one boat, locked down .... what could possibly go wrong ?

Book a 2 week cruise and you might get 4.  That would be a bargain although the last 2 could be a bit boring.

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11 minutes ago, Hector Wong said:

Book a 2 week cruise and you might get 4.  That would be a bargain although the last 2 could be a bit boring.

Well, you just need to make sure that you have got a cabin not too cramped with a window and balcony, wifi, wine food  etc etc.  

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16 hours ago, jamesc said:

The problem comes when you start to employ labour , and not all of those  labour units delving in the bees are as diligent or as experienced as the sole operator.

Sorry to burst your bubble a bit, but there are several big businesses that I know who all employ many staff, and they don't have an AFB problem, they hammer the message into staff  the same expectation around AFB as they want.

17 hours ago, Nuc_man said:

Big problem with afb is no one acts on givin information ,i have sent many requests into afbpm they sent inspector (ap2) found a site with all rotten gear knocked around found one hive afb others suspected so destroyed (thank,you). But the rest of said beekeepers outfit was knocked over full sites deadout so the fix for this problem was give said beekeeper a warning to clean his #### up. Meanwhile i moved 300 hives around this guy for pollination ...wounder how my spring will go....

Afbpm needs more authority.  No diseased hives yet but i think there will be.

Annoys the #### out of me that a life time of paying afbpms first time i need them i get nowhere....?

Did they come and inspect the hives and dealt with the beekeeper. they not there to clean up beekeepers mess.

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