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Don Mac

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Don Mac last won the day on January 13

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About Don Mac

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  1. Kaihoka. It was not ramarama, it was NZ Myrtle, Rohutu Lophomyrtus obcordata http://nzpcn.org.nz/flora_details.aspx?ID=943 Note it is now identified as a threatened species. The observation is most recent, 9th March and 10 to 25 infected plants were noted. https://inaturalist.nz/observations/21107914 The observer was well qualified to make the observation - Alex Fergus His job; Ecology technician (field botanist mostly) at Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research, Is this site near you?
  2. I agree Stoney. All stakeholders will wish to be involved. My concern is that many may not know the seriousness of threat myrtle rust presents to the myrtacae species. No country has eradicated myrtle rust. It has economically wiped out significant species around the world until they have found short term solutions. This is not scare mongering it is a fact. Smart land managers maximising farm income will want to consider all strengths, weaknesses and threats to their new investments.
  3. I do not like cold calling phone calls from folk I have no connection to. So I feel exactly like Trevor - my privacy has been invaded. This also happens with some privacy invaded emails I get more of today. Today I recieved two emails from beekeepersagainstapitax@gmail.com The email is not signed by any individual, probably sent by a gutless shame faced individual who will not stand up. But is prepared to criticise those who have stood up and worked for this cause for sometime. What I liked was the postal address given - Beekeepers Against Api Tax The Queen Bee The Beehive Wellington, Wellington 6011 New Zealand I think emails like this are also an invasion of privacy. Why did they put New Zealand on the address - there must be a lot of AFB levy payers from overseas I can conclude.
  4. Do not be surprised to learn Frazzled that there is no systematic surveying or monitoring programme under way for myrtle rust in NZ. This may well change over the coming months. From my data base, which is not systematic, just collecting information; Ramarama has been the most susceptible species. Pohutukawa has been infected with confirmed myrtle rust. Some of the first sites in the Bay of Plenty and in Northland were infected pohutukawa. The first Manuka infection was identified in a nursery in Taranaki. Plant & Food have been running a large programme in Australia in exposing manuka families (there is no genotyping of strains of manuka yet) to MR over the past 12 months. They have measuring the resistance to MR for both stem and leaf infections - note it also infects flowers. The Australia strain of MR is the same we have in NZ. Rata - I have no reports on Rata to date. Suggest you look at the observations on I Naturalist - note there are few observers. https://inaturalist.nz/observations?place_id=6803&taxon_id=549208 Learn how to identify MR with this on line course - http://myrtlerust.org.nz/ A big problem is lack of interest by NZers. In January Manaaki Whenua reported 100 queries about MR, only got 9 in February. The problem is growing but the interest of NZers in what is happening is declining. Perhaps they realise it will not go away! Some beekeeper funding would have been very helpful to bring to the table - but that is not going to happen.
  5. Might not need to spray the manuka @Nab. The way myrtle rust is gathering steam, it will wipeout the manuka for you. Attended last week's MR stakeholders meeting and NZ has to do alot to slow its spread. Australia has had two myrtacae species go extinct and a third is on its way due to this fungus. Australia has identified 350 susceptible species, NZ has identified 28 species. No family of NZ manuka has shown 100% resistance to myrtle rust in Australian based testing. It appears well established in the South Island, in forest south of Farewell Spit. Main species being affected is Ramarama. NZ has not invested in any research into Botany especially our native species in recent years. There is still very little known about native plant phenology versus MR life cycle. Here we are extracting manuka honey with very little scientific knowledge about the very ecosystem we are working in. It is showing the classic biosecurity incursion growth curve for NZ. Showing up in spread areas and increasing it's presence. It is going to take a number of research teams working on many facets of this disease to find a solution to protect our unique position plus a lot of money and time. Want to know more then start living on this website - http://www.myrtlerust.org.nz/ And if you see something suspicous, photo it and send it to INaturalist - https://inaturalist.nz/ Life is tough and maybe tougher for many beekeepers. So I am not surprised to hear some folk will bail out of this industry.
  6. Thank you for sharing this with the forum Dave. My knowledge and some limited experience with entomopathogenic fungi in beehives, includes beauvaria bassiana, lecancillium lecanni and metarhizium. The major problem was keeping the fungi active and alive inside the hive as the thermal death temperature for the fungi was normally just below the temperature of the hive. Back about 2008 (thereabouts) Plant & Food found this out when they tried to develop metarhizium for varroa control and they could not get it to survive in the hive. The fungi killed varroa and was safe to bees (when tested outside the hive - it showed promise) but the fungi could not be kept alive and therefore active once introduced to the hive. https://www.sciencelearn.org.nz/resources/2453-fighting-a-little-bee-mite I am aware of attempts to introduce the other entomopathogenic fungi and they have failed when introduced to the hive. Temperature and the humidity in the hive appear to be the limiting factor. To be successful in controlling varroa with an entomopathogenic fungi you need to accomplish two things; 1) keep the fungi alive in the hive for a few days at least so it can grow and multiply. 2) in order to grow and multiply the fungal spores needs to attach to the varroa, infect it and then grow and release more spores. Some photos of beauvaria bassiana infecting cicada here. http://www.terrain.net.nz/friends-of-te-henui-group/fungi-te-henui/parasitic-fungi.html My thinking is that it will be effective on adult varroa only and unlikely to infect larvae. These fungi are used in horticultural covered crops in NZ and the secret to their success is maintaining humidity to enable the entomopathogenic fungi to grow through the crop. Glasshouses can closely control humidity and temperature to ensure success. Growers spray the fungi spores throughout the whole crop so the spores come into contact with the target insects - they stick to the insect, then pentrate the cuticle and then grow, the insect dies and they then release more spores. It has occurred to me that in North America that their hives may have a lower interior temperature during winter than ours do in NZ and Australia - but not sure about this. The paper you shared gave me two new insights. a) the ability to now GC-MS analyse the cuticular hydrocarbons (CHCs) of fungus-exposed versus unexposed bees. b) that even naturally occurring fungus can affect bees behaviour, especially leading to drift. Thank you for sharing this paper.
  7. CBank - very good question. I agree that there would be real stink if someone did offer "honey hinted oxalic acid". There are two issues in the Food Safety Document Maximum Residues for Agricultural Compounds and they do require clarification from MPI Food Safety in my opinion. There is no MRL listed for oxalic acid, so the default limit would be 0.1mg/kg. See page 4. This is in .Part 6 of the Food Regulations 2015 (the regulations) But it is listed as having an exemption in Appendix 3 of the same document. Now I have not seen any residue data showing the levels of oxalic acid that have been detected in honey. If I had access to residue data the questions I would ask: is the default level being exceeded by some types of OA treatment or not? We also have to consider that oxalic acid is a common naturally occurring plant based product and if you seek on google you will find many foods contain oxalic acid. Rhubarb leaves have such high levels they are considered toxic to eat, hence we eat only the stem. But it appears in a single serving we can eat 100mg - 900 mg / serving in beet greens, rhubarb stems, spinach,nuts and other foods safely and our body can synthesize it. Like much of what we eat we consume some bad actors with the good ones - which means there is no perfectly safe diet. I am not aware of any evidence that OA levels are excessively high in honey or have caused a problem anywhere overseas. So that is an answer which is not conclusive.......but we just do not know. My advice do not put any honey in the OA jar or the OA/glycerine pot without thorough cleaning.
  8. If you can find out the herbicide they are spraying, can you also check what they are adding to the spray tank. I would be interested in knowing if they are using any organo silicone surfactants because that would definitely knock the bees out. Based on GWA activity in Franklin, bees are already harvesting with the wasps GWA honeydew. So if middle of day spraying is occurring then local beekeepers may get their foraging bees knocked out.
  9. Traceability The Minister of Primary Industries at a recent conference gave Beekeepers the choice. Track and trace the bees or the bee hive. The major reason was Biosecurity but also Food Safety. There have been a number of significant incidents where traceability has assisted MPI. The best example; A farmer used endosulfan on cattle as an insecticide - South Korean residue testing of meat picked it up and the farmer was successfully prosecuted. Two years ago a Swiss researcher using honey samples (4 from NZ) which showed neonicotinoid residues in the honey. 3 samples came from the Canterbury foothills, but there was no data on where those hives had been used. No credibility in that study. Traceability is going to be significantly more important and many Commercials are already doing extensive tracking of their hive equipment and crops of honey. Barcoding and RF ID of hive equipment is a good example. I can see where a mango icecream maker or juice maker can have clear traceability back to the grower. He has the grower fruit tray identification and he can record that against the mango ice cream batch number. Tracking complete. As for what the Aussies actually do I cannot comment on that.
  10. I am now very certain Frazzled is anti 'corporate beekeeping', but I am not sure how they have it defined. Secondly they have not been following what is happening and has always happened in other primary industries. If any Beekeeper moves from a hobbiest to a sole trader or partnership to a registered company, are they not beoming a corporate? NZ has a growing number of hobby beekeepers - who are a great bunch and cooperate together. Overseas ownership has been a partner in NZ since we knocked down the bush and started pasture farming, whether it was banks, buyers of wool, meat, flax, seed, grain and timber etc. When I worked at the Freezing Works in the 70s the big ones were owned by Vestey's, CWS and Borthwicks - all UK based corporates. The NZer's took them over and many went bust or closed them down - Waitaki. Tomoana, Longburn as examples. The grape & wine industry around Marlborough is majority overseas owned. Most of our pine forests are overseas owned today. Overseas participation is to be expected in our Beekeeping industry as it is a growth industry and it will continue. Api NZ does care about the small Beekeeper, even the hobbiest. That is why they actively engage in submissions against certain pesticide use, set up Beekeeping training prgrammes (all beekeepers want new young knowledgable staff), biosecurity watchdog activity, understand changes to the Food Act, bee research, introduction of controls that will support all beekeepers (the intro of a predator for GWA). Above all Api NZ requires new folk who are knowledgable and ready to make change in this industry. Preferably young, visionary, motivated to succeed and well qualified. Our future is not going to be old grey haired codgers like me. It will be determined by young new beekeepers who will shape the idnsurties future. We need Research & Science to support those changes and that has to be funded. Therefore it is going to be a small cost for all commercial beekeepers.
  11. Frederick, I like your positive approach for setting the NZ Apiculture industry for the future. Thinking beyond self and being positive about making change in the future. I was also interested to read you are not a member of any organisation - Api NZ, SNI or Beekeeping NZ. But you were prepared to pay the levy and work for a united organisation. What intrigues me is that there are a number of Beekeepers who are members of multiple organisations. This was the case with the NBA and BIG before they formed Apiculture NZ. Two present exec members of Beekeeping NZ who were life members of NBA and retained that with Api NZ were present and took part at the last Apiculture NZ AGM. Beekeepers can be an argumentive lot but it is interesting to note that many support both organisations. Frederick your call for beekeepers to vote YES and get beekeepers to work for change the majority consider desirable is excellent.
  12. @john berry you are absolutely correct - discussing price and buyers can get you into serious trouble, especially in a Public Forum. Suggest a sober read of what happed to our largest Stock Agents business on price agreements at livestock sale yards. https://www.stuff.co.nz/business/farming/98196336/elders-ordered-to-pay-200000-over-price-fixing-for-livestock-tagging
  13. It is a disappointing circumstance when an industry does not understand its own market due to a lack of information. We cannot discuss price because that could lead to price fixing, but we should be able to understand the following; how much honey of each type we produce; where that honey is produced and if it goes to export or local trade; how it is sold in bulk or packaged; where it is sold; Has the NZ honey market reached saturation yet? I bet 76% of NZ supermarket shoppers never include a jar of honey in every shop. No where in this thread has any of the above been discussed. The only lament being repeated is the drop in the price and the lack of buyers. So has honey reached its peak as a luxury product and now the hype is over is it trying to find its new commodity level (I hate that word commodity) Today the ABC published this article on how Australian produced Mango's went from being a luxury product to being indispensable in the Australian diet (76% of all Australians buy Mangos). How many NZer's buy honey in the weekly shop? https://www.abc.net.au/news/2019-02-10/nt-mangoes-from-luxury-to-staple/10756318?section=good-news I believe Avocadoes in NZ are undergoing the same transformation, with a huge boost in hectares planted. No one is talking oversupply. So what do Beekeepers need; a long term sustainable business model to ensure profitability which all beekeepers can follow; products defined and differentiated to give consumer choice; traceability - we talk about it but is it a reality yet; - Australia packs 10 milllion trays of mangoes, every tray traceable back to the tree it was grown on! product safety - free of Tutin and other plant based toxins; free of pesticide residues; - everything that demonstrates it is pure and natural; Some open and transparent market information; NZ honey becomes the product of choice for use as a sweetner, spread and culinary use; the preferred product of NZers. (should be a no brainer as honey is not a permitted import, but watch out if the Government decides to let it in, then we will see some marketing competition). Many years ago NZ did not import lamb, mutton, beef, pork, apples, kiwifruit, grapes or stone fruit. Today we import all those products. Has the NZ consumer noticed the change? I have only seen recent comments about pork imports - swine fever biosecurity concerns - which are valid. I do not want to see honey imports because of diseases that could adversely affect on our bees. So we have a closed market for NZ beekeepers and no one likes it because they do not like the price. But as beekeepers have we failed to make NZ honey the product of choice for use as a sweetner, spread and culinary use; the preferred product of NZers We need to make NZ honey a staple product that no consumer or chef cannot do without.
  14. You have me very confused Frazzled. Are you calling for legislation to manage hive overcrowding? And are you the same person who said in a post on 27th January in the thread "Are you a member of APINZ?' "Apart from that Im just so sick and tired of working my ring out to hand over most of my money to pen pushers, whether that the IRD , ACC , the labs for all the testing, OSH and all there requirements , MPI and all their fees and Levy’s Im just over being robbed blind So I’m feeling very negative right now." My concern is that you have no idea what side of the hive you should stand. And you would feel a lot better to not make any contribution to our society other than by criticism. The Beekeeping Industry has always supported the small guy. There are many Beekeepers who originally started as hobby beekeepers. And over time they have successfully risen through the industry. But there are also corporates and large family owned corporates, that have also been very successful over a number of generations. This is very common in other sectors of NZ's primary industry. We can as an industry be free loaders on others - an excellent example is the work Barry Foster and Dr John McLean (both members of Api NZ Science and Research Focus Group) have done on organising the opportunity to import and test a predator for Giant Willow Aphid. Of the groups involved (Zespri, Pip Fruit, Regional Councils etc) Beekeeping is the only one not making a financial contribution to this research as we do not have a levy. This research only benefits those who harvest willow nectar and pollen. The other option is to leverage the funding from a levy so that the Beekeepers can conduct more research in other areas. Lets start thinking about what we can do as an industry rather than ranting about our personal preferences. I am certain that with us all working together we can improve this industry.
  15. It is interesting that you both have identified what is happening in the marine environment @Philbee and @kaihoka The paper identifies the risks to freshwater invertebrates such as dragon flies and damsel flies, which both have a significant part of their larvae stage in freshwater. We worry about the oceans warming up but forget about the heating effect on our shallow freshwater bodies. I think we need to stop using pesticides as prophylactic treatments. That is using seed coating insecticides when there is no evidence of pest pressure. In our homes today we used insecticide control dispensers when mosquitoes or flies are not present - is this necessary. https://www.mitre10.co.nz/shop/expra-expra-multifit-insect-control-dispenser-with-refill-305g/p/118744 Oh and beekeepers apply varroacides as prophylactic treatments as well. Life has been made easy by the use of pesticides, but without insects our life may not last long in the future. The answer is not easy, I do not have it yet.....but we need a rethink and reset for our grandchildren's future to be assured.
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