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Dave Black

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Dave Black last won the day on July 16

Dave Black had the most liked content!

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About Dave Black

  • Rank
    Guard Bee


  • DECA Holder
  • Beekeeping Experience
    Hobby Beekeeper


  • Location
    Bay of Plenty

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  1. By rejuvenating the world’s oldest alcoholic drink, the founder of Lone Bee Mead hopes to breathe new life into our regions. “The demand for honey is already high but if we can create the world’s best mead, demand will go up, which means more opportunities and more employment.” His vision is for meaderies to pop up in honey areas, serving local food to complement different meads and making the regions a drawcard for tourists and New Zealanders alike. Read at the Spinoff... https://thespinoff.co.nz/food/beverage/11-09-2018/in-our-hour-of-mead-the-happy-return-of-an-ancient-beverage/
  2. Dave Black


    Registered for use here (ACVM register)
  3. Dave Black

    Viruses, RNA, and Honey bees

    For most of us viruses are confusing. Many people are unable to distinguish between viruses and bacteria and expect them to be much the same kind of thing, which they are not. Viruses don’t fit easily in to the various categories of living things we are used to dealing with, and actually whether they even are living organisms is arguable, and how they came to be still more controversial. Which is why there is never a clear answer about how we might kill a harmful virus. Viruses are not cells and can’t reproduce on their own, and some see them merely as parcels of genetic material (most often RNA) that have just gone rogue, a molecular accident. To coin a phrase ‘bad news in a protein coat’, although, not all viruses are harmful. For others they are an extreme simplification evolved from ancient living cells. At the moment, the former guess seems the more likely. Part of the reason for that is a growing understanding about how cells communicate. While we have known for a long time the cells can secrete chemicals, it’s only in the last ten years or so that scientists have realised that they do much more. Cells produce small ‘packages’ of molecules, including the RNA that can be translated into proteins or which affect gene expression, in great quantities all the time, and in every body fluid they have tested. These packages are produced as ‘bud’s from the cell wall, or from within the cell contents and released through the cell wall, and many of them are uncannily like viruses in size and structure. Not un-naturally this has led to speculation that maybe extra-cellular vesicles and viruses were two extremes on the same continuum. The evidence that ‘messenger’ fragments of RNA in extra-cellular vesicles are a form of communication is substantial, and we are beginning to realise how widespread this is, finding it throughout animal and plant kingdoms. What is also becoming clear that part of this communication is involved in the on-going ‘war’ between infectious viral agents and their hosts, facilitating or defending against invasion. Viral RNA communicated to another organism in an extra-cellular vesicle can pre-emptively prepare a response, a non-infectious vesicle-virus ‘inoculating’ a host against the infectious ‘real thing’. Scientists have also found instances where host genetic material and viral genetic material have become intertwined over millennia, not just as junk or contamination, but conferring new functions on the host. Viruses seem to provide a ‘library’ of genetic material, freely used by all other organisms. Instances of RNA ‘interference’ (iRNA) in honey bee biology have popped up in recent years. It has been suggested that iRNA (or gene ‘silencing’) has a role in determining honey bee castes (worker vs queen) and other epigenetic effects, and that a honey bee virus (IAPV, once talked about as a candidate for causing CCD) can be treated with iRNA from the right dsRNA fed in syrup. An iRNA treatment for varroa mites is the subject of a US patent*. iRNA is now known to be an important response to control viral infections in many insects, not just bees. What the latest paper from Maori et al (who hold the RNA/varroa patent) suggests is that social honey bees have the ability to pass an acquired immune response to each other and to larvae while food sharing, providing long-term, intergenerational, colony level protection circumventing a non-existent hereditary mechanism and boosting a naturally depauperate immune response. “It is generally agreed that RNAi evolved as a defense mechanism against selfish nucleic acids and further diversified to regulate endogenous gene expression. The presence of differential naturally occurring RNA among worker and royal jellies points towards a potential effect of transmissible RNA on genome function in recipient bees. Indeed, supplementing jelly with endogenous or exogenous miRNAs that are naturally enriched in worker jelly affected gene expression as well as developmental and morphological characters of newly emerged workers and queens. We speculate that bee to-larva RNA transfer could also play a role in epigenetic dynamics among honey bees…” Esther Nolte-‘t Hoen, Tom Cremer, Robert C. Gallo, and Leonid B. Margolis (2016). Extracellular vesicles and viruses: Are they close relatives? PNAS August 16, 2016 vol. 113 no. 33 9155–9161. www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.1605146113 Knip M, Constantin ME, Thordal-Christensen H (2014). Trans-kingdom Cross-Talk: Small RNAs on the Move. PLoS Genet 10(9): e1004602. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004602 Zhu, K., Liu, M., Fu, Z., Zhou, Z., Kong, Y., Liang, H., Lin, Z., Luo, J., Zheng, H., Wan, P., et al. (2017). Plant microRNAs in larval food regulate honeybee caste development. PLoS Genet. 13, e1006946. Garbian, Y., Maori, E., Kalev, H., Shafir, S., and Sela, I. (2012). Bidirectional transfer of RNAi between honey bee and Varroa destructor: Varroa gene silencing reduces Varroa population. PLoS Pathog. 8, e1003035. Eyal Maori, Yael Garbian, Vered Kunik, Rita Mozes-Koch, Osnat Malka, Haim Kalev, Niv Sabath, Ilan Sela and Sharoni Shafir, A transmissible RNA pathway in honey bees (2018). bioRxiv preprint, doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.1101/299800. * https://patentimages.storage.googleapis.com/e5/73/68/9da2474916fe03/US8962584.pdf
  4. Dave Black

    Crime Prevention

    Random but interesting interview on RNZ with Dr Justing Kurland about novel crime prevention methods, with fleeting reference to hive theft in New Zealand. About 17min in all. https://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/2018659021/targeting-golden-hives-of-criminal-activity
  5. Dave Black

    August 2018 Apiary Diary

    Just so you know, the amount of oxalic, in anything's leaves, varies with season, variety, and geography. You might have to give them all the same leaf.
  6. Dave Black

    MPI Apicultural Monitoring Report

    @nikki watts not the questionnaire, the finished document, to know what the information is used for.
  7. Dave Black

    MPI Apicultural Monitoring Report

    @Gino de Graaf @nikki watts You know we publish all these on the Forum don't you? Have done for years. There will be a contact on the document(s)
  8. Dave Black

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    and we should give up Google's search engine, Microsoft's Windows, and Facebook, and a host of other things that we have let become global corporate monopolies. Unfortunately Google have us by the short and curlies so most of us pay the fee and hope something will change, one day. There is no other way.
  9. Dave Black

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    So here we go, my words, and the Plan's, in italics, This is what I understand... The funding proposal is predicated on disease elimination, and this needs to be done now because; “American Foulbrood free status would make it very hard to justify honey imports into New Zealand….our trading partners have the potential to use AFB spores as a market access regulatory tool [and we can only]… eradicate the clinical signs of American Foulbrood here before European Foulbrood arrives in New Zealand.” The capability of the management system is being increased because the value lost to the disease is now much greater, and by integrating things like Tutin tests and Harvest Declarations in one system overall cost should be reduced and it’s possible - easier - to ‘cross-check’ compliance. “…the industry is now far bigger, far more complex, and far more important to New Zealand than when the American Foulbrood National Pest Management Plan was established… The American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan Board believes the industry should take this opportunity to link the needs relating to food security and traceability with a single national database upgrade.” So the reason the cost is increasing is because the intention is to do things we have never done before, and to be able to deal with things we can’t really anticipate. The levy enacted in 2003 was directly proportional to the number of beekeeping operations and their size; as new entrants appeared they were changed the going rate to administer the system in place. The enlargement of the industry is not important; it’s that our ambitions for the industry are changing. The Board acknowledged that the levy can’t fund the whole cost (especially if it includes eradication and hidden complexity). “The Levy Order is our major source of income; it is insufficient and does not deliver the money needed to achieve the targets set now or eradication in the future… Other beneficiaries, associated industries, and Government are not contributing in proportion to the benefits they receive… Getting the resources to reform the system, however, cannot wait… so cost sharing arrangements and other sources of funding will be investigated as a matter of urgency.” So what is being done to supplement the levy with other income streams from the industry and why does the proposal’s budget not include this value? “Since 1998 the underlying management systems for American Foulbrood have been improved, but an outdated funding system has meant that these could not keep up with what was required… What will we do? Future proof the Levy Order provision to deliver the money needed to reach our outcomes while fairly apportioning costs amongst all beekeepers.” However, the levy structure is not being changed; it isn’t more or less ‘fair’, the charges are just being increased. What will be done to ‘future proof’ the Levy Order? The enabling technology for the new requirements is a new version of ApiWeb, not entirely for the benefit of beekeepers, but to benefit the industry as a whole. “The expectation is that the re-build cost will be shared between the AFB NPMP, AsureQuality and the Ministry for Primary Industries, how cost share sits has yet to be determined.” Is the expectation being met? It isn’t just beekeepers that will gain from the new ApiWeb why should they be responsible for wholly funding the exercise? “The Apiweb system has reached a critical point, it is not compatible with all modern technology platforms, and this potentially compromises the accuracy of the data, and the interactive ability of those who wish to use the system… New information technology systems that allow feeds to harvest declaration reports and tutin test results with a cross benefit of automation to meet the traceability needs of the Ministry for Primary Industries.” ApiWeb is seen as part of the new ‘active enforcement’ regime, which will include the ability to manage the data from “more regular audits (and possibly instant fines). Audits may be physical inspections, bee samples, detector dogs or future new technology…analysis of honey samples sent in for tutin… international compliance testing… sample bees from all apiaries annually using qPCR technology... and integrate harvest declaration data…“ To me ApiWeb sounds to be critical to the success of the whole enterprise, and that’s a worry. It is scoped as an internet-based cloud computing interface to the Agency with interactive graphical mapping (GIS) and connections to other database systems. It is not currently being procured, has no implementation date, and the cost is unknown. Last month software developers were reporting Google was increasing the price it charges for using its APIs for Maps by as much as 1400%, and was serving low resolution, old maps in some instances. I’ve heard of cost increases quoted at up to $200,000 a year (USD). Google has a near total monopoly and has made it really clear it intends to monitize Maps. Did I say I was worried about this? How far has ApiWeb progressed? It needs some serious Project Management, vigilant financial control, and top-notch IT partners. Not surprisingly, the Plan sounds a little hazy when it comes to monitoring and accountability. “The success of this Plan will be measured by, “ timely implementation… [and] a reduction in the measured incidence of Foulbrood in apiaries.” The Management Board review annually is own performance with respect to the Plan or Operational Policy, and ApiNZ (The ‘Agency’) can sack the Board (individually or collectively) if ‘critical performance criteria’ are not met. Specifically, the only key performance indicator I can find is to “Reduce the measured incidence of clinical American Foulbrood to below 0.1% (from 0.32%) by 31 December 2022.” (The intermediate outcome; the ultimate outcome is elimination by 2030).
  10. Dave Black

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    This is indeed a discussion on a forum and the result it produces , rather than a call to arms, is an understanding of the proposal so that decision whether to protest or not has some rationale.
  11. Dave Black

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    I’ve been reading around this matter for the last few days. It certainly is not the case that this levy proposal has been developed in a vacuum as I have previously suggested, nor I seems to me do the provisions of the NPMP Order as it is now apply to the request. The key to understanding this proposal is the ApiNZ’s American Foulbrood 5-Year Strategy, 2017 to 2022, Version 3.7 (This seems to be the latest edition, a Draft, at AFB.org). It is this document, developed with assistance from ApiNZ and MPI, that creates the levy proposal, and that forms the review of the NPMP I’ve been looking for, but it appears there must be a later version. It would have been useful if the Management Agency’s proposal had referred to it. The five year Plan appears to be a response to the shortcomings of the 1998 Order, prior to its expiry in 2023, and to the Biosecurity Law Reform Act 2012. New Zealand Beekeeping Inc have not supported the 5 year Plan, saying “New Zealand Beekeeping Members are concerned that the proposed draft 5 year plan is unnecessary and disruptive to the ongoing control of AFB” so I guess they can’t support the levy either. Quite how all this could come together given law now in force is not clear to me, surely everything has to be changed in the right order? The levy proposal seem to put the cart before the horse.
  12. Dave Black

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    I’ve had a look at the Powerpoint provided. It doesn’t add much to the published proposal. To me, the touted ‘five-fold increase’ is nonsense then, based on a dreamt up prediction rather than the facts (Slide 4). That’s not credible. Relative to the start point of the NPMP (1998) the rate of infection remains lower, and relative to the lowest ever rate achieved in 2012 it’s not quite doubled, but it’s fair to say it has been increasing, on average, since then. The infection rate is still well below one half of one percent, at probably roughly 0.35% of hives. Not a picture of abject failure. While I don’t deny there could be an issue here, the way this has been presented just made me doubt the integrity of the rest of the proposal, and I'm trying to be polite. If the NPMP is due for review in 2023 (and costs $250,000) presumably the Management Agency have that in mind already, and you would expect, are budgeting for it. It won’t be done over a cup of coffee. In 2023, when the review amends the Plan, could that not re-write the budget needed for whatever the ‘new’ Plan is? Why are we in the position now of trying to enact a plan there is no budget to support? Wouldn’t you review the plan and its cost together? If we don’t we could still be faced with an under-resourced (or, as a bad, an over-resourced) Plan.
  13. Dave Black

    AFB Proposed Levy Increase

    So what is their position with respect to the NPMP levy?
  14. Dave Black

    MPI found negligent on Kiwifruit PSA incursion

    @CraBeeAnything is possible, but GIA and joint responsibility make it less likely. The law has been changed now. The Stewart Island oyster farmers probably have a case. Mycoplasma - I think not.
  15. Dave Black

    MPI found negligent on Kiwifruit PSA incursion

    Can you give an example? At the core of this case was the ancient idea that 'the King could do no wrong', an idea which we no longer tolerate. While it is right that people working for the state have some protection from liability nowadays we expect the State itself to be accountable and fix things it gets wrong. For the first time in New Zealand the judge has upheld the primacy of your Bill of Rights to confirm you have the right to ensure the State exercises its duty to act responsibly. In this case MAF (as it was) did not, and the State is acting to limit its liability.