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NickWallingford

Minimising impact of AFB: 'quarantines'...

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OK, I've been out of touch with the bee industry for about 20 years.  And, yes, things are quite different.  But at least I could (mostly from the outside) see how some of the changes have come about.  I must say, the sheer scale of the increase in beekeeper and hive numbers is the most remarkable for me...

 

So one thing I'd like to 'catch up on' is asking what sort of conscious management decision to restrict equipment interchange - based on your hives' AFB history, knowledge of the areas, current hot spots, etc - to restrict the spread of AFB within your own hives.

 

But what I would like to hear is some of the current practices, and the rationale for choosing to use them in your own situation.  When we talked about it nearly 30 years ago, beekeepers felt it was too cumbersome and unnecessary.  But I'd think now there might be some innovative ways of ensuring some sort of quarantine - by hives, apiary, area, etc. - and systems to get the equipment back to whatever degree of confidence you are after re: this aspect of your own AFB management plan.

 

So what are you doing and why?

 

 

 

 

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28 minutes ago, NickWallingford said:

OK, I've been out of touch with the bee industry for about 20 years.  And, yes, things are quite different.  But at least I could (mostly from the outside) see how some of the changes have come about.  I must say, the sheer scale of the increase in beekeeper and hive numbers is the most remarkable for me...

 

So one thing I'd like to 'catch up on' is asking what sort of conscious management decision to restrict equipment interchange - based on your hives' AFB history, knowledge of the areas, current hot spots, etc - to restrict the spread of AFB within your own hives.

 

But what I would like to hear is some of the current practices, and the rationale for choosing to use them in your own situation.  When we talked about it nearly 30 years ago, beekeepers felt it was too cumbersome and unnecessary.  But I'd think now there might be some innovative ways of ensuring some sort of quarantine - by hives, apiary, area, etc. - and systems to get the equipment back to whatever degree of confidence you are after re: this aspect of your own AFB management plan.

 

So what are you doing and why?

 

 

 

 

I don't quarantine any thing if I find AFB. I haven't done for many years.

I found yrs ago when working for others, that when they stored boxes and other gear to paraffin dip at a later date, they seem to never really get on top of the problem, all ways a few hives each year showing signs of AFB.

When we started to pick the hive up when found with AFB and burn it that day or within the next couple, we got on top of the issue and have had yrs with no symptoms.

 

 

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Back in 2014 i had a major outbreak, which coincided with making a lot of increase and nucs up from seemingly clear hives so I ended up with AFB popping up all over the place, one day alone I burned 17 hives. Soul destroying, i came within a hairs breath of quitting bees.

 

So I went hard core quarantine. Numbered every single box, and harvested the honey on site with one of those scraper things that were in vogue back then, every frame and box went back onto the same hive nothing was interchanged. I didn't even take boxes away from the sites, hives were wintered in some cases 4 or 5 high.

 

Each hive had a full AFB check 5 times per year. The cost of this whole thing was enormous. Hired Jameses sniffer dog. Even with all that, AFB kept popping up it is amazing how long it can be dormant in a hive. I ran hives as near starvation as I could in early spring to try to get them to consume all old honey.

 

It took 2 more years to totally eliminate it. Have not had a case now for 3 years.

 

If i had not gone hard, i would probably still have the disease.

 

That is why i am a strong supporter of the current AFBPMP regimen. As one who has been burned, and badly, I know the value, and protection, I am getting from my levy money.

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27 minutes ago, Dennis Crowley said:

When we started to pick the hive up when found with AFB and burn it that day or within the next couple, we got on top of the issue and have had yrs with no symptoms.

 

Sorry, Dennis, I didn't express it clearly.  By quarantine, I was meaning to refer to practices to return the same gear to the same hive (or same apiary, or same unit of a business, etc).

 

So generally involving some sort of marking system, some method of storing so you can get at the ones you want, etc.

 

So with a history of no AFB in your own outfit, the decision might be "don't bother to mark anything".  No nearby outbreaks that might indicate that marking one apiary's honey supers to go back to that apiary might be useful?

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for the odd afb hive that shows up, just burn asap.

hives are not usually in quarantine but those hives generally don't get moved or if they have to be, they don't get mixed with others. its usually easy enough to store the gear off that site separately.

however when its a lot of hives, then it quarantined to the site. the gear that comes off the site goes back on it.

i've had it where 3 years later its poped back up.

 

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We 've had an issue this year that I think stemmed from an issue last year.

We all like to point the finger , so I will ! 

Last summer we had bees in the Greendale Hot zone where  large number of one operators hives were burnt.

All those bees went up to the Dew in late January .... where more disaster fell as the O/A treatment of choice failed to control the mite, but that is another story.

 

This past spring we amalgamated the survivor hives and packed the dead broods up on pallets and stuck them in the shed. We then set to splitting to repopulate as many hives as we could.

Of the live hives left, we picked up very few AFB in the spring.

 

This autumn check we had a plastering with over twenty burners.  It doesn't sound a lot in an operation of 1500, but considering we were down to almost zero three years ago, it's a big jump.

With the AFB dogs retired from unemployment  and old age we were a bit lax in finding replacements as we  thought we had sorted the problem. 

 

So, we are back to square one, so to speak. 

 

Detector Dog Chief has been returned to us from the coast and is  undergoing refresher training.

We have several truckloads of pallets of the dead brood boxes earmarked for melt down as I am not brave enough to put them out again.

All the honey boxes from yards that had positive AFB in the autumn check when we took off honey dew have been wrapped and are destined for melt down.

Next spring , as we make up duds we will follow a pallet quarantine.  NO brood swapped between pallets.

DD Chief will have another good look around in a month or so.

Yards that are free of AFB will be used for nucs.

 

The X factor is all the honey boxes in the shed that never went out last season .

We've tried quarantining honey boxes and putting them back on the yards they came off, but it needs a really slick tracking system.

 We'll probably run the dog around them before they go out ..... pity we can't  irradiate them !

 

 

 

 

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I can and do put apiarys into a quarantine system in which I can identify that hives either to an apiary or having come from that apiary. I have never done quarantine on my own honey boxes but I have many times used a gear quarantine when taking over someone else's hives, normally just for the first season.

When it comes to finding AFB in newly purchased hives I have found over the years that it is least likely to show up in early spring and very likely to turn up during a dearth period in late spring followed by a splattering when taking off honey in autumn. When purchasing hives I used to be really keen to change everything over to decent standard gear but found it was much better to just run the  hives on their own rubbish for the first 12 months. 

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