Historic: 25 years of AFB control...

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OK, not really a cause for celebration, but at least one of acknowledgment of a ‘significant event’ for the New Zealand beekeeping industry. And a thank you to the people who developed the NBA's PMS back then.

It was 25 years ago today, 1 October 1998, that the Minister of Agriculture, John Luxton, recommended the making of the Order in Council that put the National American Foulbrood Strategy (now Plan) into force.

For nearly 10 years before that, the threat of the removal of the Apiaries Act had loomed over the industry. “User pays”, the reduction of Government services (we used to have a *magnificent* apicultural advisory service back then!), and the loss of the Hive Levy Act were all bad and challenging. But the fear of what the industry might look like without the protection of the Apiaries Act was probably the worst.

So here’s to the committee of the National Beekeepers’ Assn that so thoroughly communicated and informed the beekeepers - over nearly a decade! - in creating the PMS.

Beekeepers never wanted to create a Pest Management Strategy. We were virtually compelled to do so, in order to provide for any sort of meaningful and effective pest management programme for American foulbrood. The need for a PMP today is equally compelling, when the alternatives are realistically examined.

Here is the acknowledgement to the developers of the PMS, included with the proposal that led to the original PMS - complete with a typo in the final paragraph!


On behalf of the National Beekeepers’ Association, I would like to acknowledge the following people for assisting in the development of this Pest Management Strategy:

- Bruce Stevenson, Kerikeri; Graham Wilson, Pukekohe; Bryan Clements, Kihikihi; John Moffat, Nelson; Warren Hantz, Leeston; Richard Bensemann, Ashburton; Jan van Hoof, Geraldine; Peter Sales, Port Chalmers; and Allen McCaw, Milton; all members of our association who gave voluntarily of their time, experience and knowledge as members of the Disease Control Committee responsible for this strategy;

- Terry Gavin, Whangarei, and before him, Ian Berry, Havelock North; for being the chairpersons of this committee, and for providing the wise counsel and steady guidance which has been so important in the intervening years since the decision to create this strategy in 1993;

- Dr. Mark Goodwin, HortResearch, Ruakura; who acted as technical advisor to the committee, and who has done so much to increase our understanding of American foulbrood as a disease;

- Cliff Van Eaton, MAF Quality Management, Tauranga, who acted as primary consultant to the committee, and who has been responsible for putting the ideas of the committee into the words and phrases of this document, ensuring that they met the requirements of the Biosecurity Act.

To all of these people, a sincere vote a thanks. The beekeepers of New Zealand owe you a great debt, which I am sure they will repay in the future by eliminating American foulbrood from New Zealand beehives.

Nick Wallingford, President
National Beekeepers’ Association


Founder Member
Semi Commercial
Just to add a personal note to that, over the past few weeks I have received 3 notifications of AFB within 2 km's of one or more of my apiaries.

In each case this AFB was discovered by someone with a DECA doing the COI for someone who didn't have a DECA. So I can rest easy, or at least a bit more easy, knowing that this AFB has been discovered and dealt with.

Had this system not been in place, this AFB would almost certainly have gone undiscovered, got worse, infected more hives, and probably eventually mine.

This scenario happens over and over, beekeepers being protected, and most often they are completely unaware.