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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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Spring has sprung, and my phone is ringing daily with enquiries from people wanting to learn about beekeeping, so it must be time to run our annual beginners course again.


Run over six weeks commencing 26 September, Tuesday evenings, 7-9pm, and we'll also fit in at least one apiary visit on a weekend as weather allows.


We'll cover everything you need to know to keep a beehive happy and healthy throughout the year, including hive style options, health and disease management, legalities, honey production and much more.


Whether you've already got a hive and just want to beef up or are just thinking about taking the plunge, come along and have some fun.

All hive types and methodologies/philosophies covered.... Theoretical, legal and practical.


Contact me (Deanna) to register - phone home evenings (06) 876 8852.


Registration required.


Cost: $50 per person/family.
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We have a famous blogger/ Youtuber in our midst

Trevor Gilbanks didn't intend for his recent trip to the United States to be about bees.

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This winter a report in the New Zealand Journal of Ecology reported on an emerging technique used to measure biodiversity in ecosystems, the use of DNA ‘barcoding’ or  ‘metabarcoding’. A specific region of DNA in a gene can be used to identify an organism, euphemistically referred to as it’s ‘barcode’. ‘Meta’ barcoding takes environmental bulk samples, or pooled collections of organisms (from something like an insect trap), amplifies the specific regions we are interested in, analyses the sequences in the DNA, and compares the result to a reference database of ‘barcodes’ to identify what’s there. This has now become pretty mainstream work in ecology, it’s fast, and relatively inexpensive ($200-$500 a sample I’m told, have you thought about it @JohnF?) New Zealand scientists have used the method to look at bacteria in geothermal vents, and microbial communities in grassland, pasture, vineyards, and forests, just as an example. The Journal was discussing the methodology and standards and its value in supporting the National Framework for assessing biodiversity in New Zealand.

But this is a Beekeeping forum you say; So what!

Well, in 2012 a report in PLOS One described a project by Natasha de Vere barcoding flowing plants and conifers in Wales, 1143 species. This year another paper described her follow-up which placed bee hives in the National Botanic Garden of Wales and used metabarcoding to look at pollen and nectar collection; what species appeared in the diet, where they came from, and when they appeared. The data could be used to produce exactly the kind table Trees for Bees ( @Linda Newstrom-Lloyd) recommend for identifying periods of pollen dearth, honey flows, and so on in our own bees.
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We had such a good time last year, we're doing it again this year. Meet us at John's for a discussion and (weather permitting) hive inspections.


We'll have an emphasis on identifying a healthy hive and brood, and identification and appropriate action for diseases.


It's a great skill refresher and brain-wake up after winter, and perfect timing to get us thinking as we work hives through the spring build up.


Bring:

Your lunch and a drink.

CLEAN beekeeping suit. (a few loan suits available for newbeeks)

Enthusiasm.

Frames for disease identification if you have any - MUST BE WELL WRAPPED AND BEEPROOF.
...
DON"T bring:

any comb, hive boxes or hive components on the back of your truck. Seriously. We're getting together to talk about bee health people - make sure you're walking the talk by keeping your gear to your own bees.


All beekeepers and aspiring beekeeper welcome. If you don't know who John is or where to go, please call Deanna Corbett for details - 06 8768852 or 027 244 1751. (Email reminder will also be sent to the Buzzsheet list within the next 36 hours, which will include full address details).


Look forward to seeing you there!
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At the Kumeu meeting on the 19th August Analytica has a session on testing honey and a small part was about Tutin in honey. An example was given of a drum with a level of.50 = really toxic. Someone asked if it could be fed back to the bees. Apart from the answer of not feeding extracted honey back to any and all of your hives, @Mark Goodwin (nice to meet you Mark) said to all in attendance that Tutin honey is actually toxic to the bees.

You learn something new every day. So in a drought situation and the presence of Tutin and lace wing the risk of losing hive population to toxic honey is very real.
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At conference we were informed that there would be a process of chemical markers first, and that they had started with 12 and reduced that down to 5, "some" which showed it was manuka and "some" showed it was not. So a 2 - 3 split for it is/isn't manuka. MPI have also indicated that MG and DHA will not be indicators, neither will leptosperin. I'm not aware of them having named any markers so far, or given any information (testing methods, amounts in nectar/honey, variance over time/temperature/acidity/moisture etc).
 
This was to be followed by DNA analysis using quantitative PCR, primarily to identify the L.scoparium/K. ericoides split because somewhere, what was commonly known as manuka honey in New Zealand (L.scoparium and K.ericoides honey) was no longer. The first paper I have seen on this technique applied to honey (although to be fair I haven't been looking closely) is this one: Using DNA Metabarcoding to Identify the Floral Composition of Honey: A New Tool for Investigating Honey Bee Foraging Preferences. The title says it all. i.e. new / experimental, and the outcome in the paper is not quite what one expects when we talk of DNA i.e. black/white, pass/fail. I'm also not sure how the new 10 Kunzea species and soon to be 5 new NZ Leptospermum species will work with this. In 1983 Leptospermum ericoides was changed to Kunzea ericoides, and now has been changed to 10 species of Kunzea in 2014. Now that Leptospermum scoparium is rumoured to be changed to 5 species of Leptospermum, will the "true" manuka please stand up? PCR works by introducing a primer into the mix with a section of target DNA one is looking for. Will this DNA primer be unique to all the 5 NZ Leptospermums and none of the 83 Australian ones (with the exception of L. scoparium from Australia)?
 
These are two techniques that are not routinely used anywhere in the World for characterising honey in a standard. This is a concern. However, in a previous post I pointed out most manuka with a UMF 10 rating or less has little chance of being manuka honey under the new standard if MPI get it right with meeting the "wholly or mainly" threshhold. Seems like fertile ground for many "discussions".
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I see that the link to the submissions on the Risk Analysis(RA) for the Importation of Carnica semen from Germany and Austria was posted on this Forum.   Remember first that this was 2003, but it does show that the Risk  Analysis was thorough, and detailed. At the time, I thought that the Import Health Standard(IHS) that resulted from this RA was fair,  mitigated the risks we faced to an acceptable level , and it was workable.  By workable, I mean that it allow for  the importation  on a scale necessary to insure that  a closed population of carnica type bees could be established then maintained and improved for at least a decade.  I sourced the semen from 3 Institutes(2 in Germany and one in Austria).  All 3 Institutes ran breeding programs concentrating on Improving Varroa Tolernance(Remember they had been working with Varroa for 16 years before Varroa arrived here in 2000).  All the mating were controlled using Instrumental Insemination.
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