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NickWallingford

BOP Club
217
320
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
Clifton King, Manager of the AFB PMP, gave some interesting numbers recently when speaking at the ApiNZ conference in Chch.

He started with stating that something like 90% (or was it 95% - I didn't write that down) of hobbyist bkprs never encounter AFB in their hobbyist years.

But then he narrowed the focus, as the interest was in the 1000+ hive bkprs. And he said that something like 34% (again, I didn't write it down) of these commercial beekeepers have not reported, or had AFB found by the agency, in any of the previous 3 years.

Another way of saying that is that 34% of commercial beekeepers have eliminated AFB from their operations. It really does point to the fact that AFB can practically be eliminated by bkprs.

It is the mindset of those beekeepers, the mgmt practices that they use to remain both prepared and AFB-free, that was really the intent of the original pest management process. At at that time, something like 70% of bkprs supported the development of that strategy/plan.

I'd sure like to see more figures relating to the PMP. The numbers for those between very small hobbyists and 1000+ might be somewhat problematic in understanding. And, naturally, the overlay of local issues: hive density, historical AFB, robbed hives, etc, come into play.

But to know that one third of commercial bkprs have now eliminated AFB from their operations is a nice thing to be able to say...

I know we get to see maps of hot spots for AFB. How about a map of areas with the *least* incidence of AFB?
 
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maungaturoto
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i tend to roll my eyes at statements like that a bit because the devil is in the detail.
just because they didn't report it doesn't mean they didn't have it.
90% of hobbyist never find afb, yet the biggest areas for afb are the cities where its almost all hobbyists.

"commercial bkprs have now eliminated AFB from their operations", probably because it wasn't a problem to start with.
but also that certain companies never seam to report afb as much as the staff find it.

its a case of bad data in = bad data out. if you want good information to make decisions on you must have methods to makes sure the data is accurate and meaningful.
 
3,505
6,547
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
It's not eliminating the AFB that is a problem for me, but stopping people from giving it back again.
Unfortunately a lot of AFB is just a numbers game and if you have a lot of hives then given time you almost certain to get a visit from the robber fairy.
People with only a few hives are much less likely to get the visit but when they do it can turn out to be a real and ongoing mess for a while as they often don't have the best skills for dealing with it. Having said that I know plenty of commercial beekeepers who are also lacking in the skills needed.
These days when I run educational field days on disease control I have gone away from an emphasis on AFB to an emphasis on healthy brood because that is what most people will see the vast majority of the time. Knowing what brood should look like as the first and perhaps most important step in knowing what brood shouldn't look like.
 
272
381
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
Technically, We are always only 2 years away from Afb elimination.

We just need the beekeepers currently with afb to deal with it properly.
Find and Destroy infected hives and all contaminated gear. Stop creating more contaminated gear and infected hives.
Yes, at a cost of 40c box of matches per beekeeper.
But instead we pay $1million a year in levies and look to dogs, swabs, spores and blobs and never the act of doing the job of checking and destroying.
Wonder what inroads to market access for our honeys we could do with that $1mil
 
8,630
5,089
maungaturoto
Experience
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Technically, We are always only 2 years away from Afb elimination.

We just need the beekeepers currently with afb to deal with it properly.
Find and Destroy infected hives and all contaminated gear. Stop creating more contaminated gear and infected hives.
but reality is its not that simple.
most people do not really understand until after they have it. so one person spreads it to many, who miss it and spread it some more.
then add in the anti social beeks, the unregistered, the black/grey markets, there is a lot of room for disease to be spread.
so there is always a need for broad surveillance to keep on top of those.
 
173
233
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Yes, at a cost of 40c box of matches per beekeeper.
But instead we pay $1million a year in levies and look to dogs, swabs, spores and blobs and never the act of doing the job of checking and destroying.
Wonder what inroads to market access for our honeys we could do with that $1mil
Err, what are 'blobs' Dennis? At least in the reference here . . . !
Unfortunately your simple statement doesn't take into account human behaviours - namely denial, evasion, disbelief, arguement and hostility from beekeepers who refuse to believe they are donating all the AFB to an area
 
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Otto

Gold
98
232
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
Yes, at a cost of 40c box of matches per beekeeper.
But instead we pay $1million a year in levies and look to dogs, swabs, spores and blobs and never the act of doing the job of checking and destroying.
Wonder what inroads to market access for our honeys we could do with that $1mil
@Dennis Crowley
I find this statement from someone actually on the management agency board somewhat concerning. If you are unhappy with how our levy money is being spent surely you of all people are in a position to help change that?
As you well know the levy money is not collected for honey market research and suggesting this money could somehow make a difference there is a point someone on the management agency board should not be making.
 
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Josh

Gold
960
697
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
Technically, We are always only 2 years away from Afb elimination.

We just need the beekeepers currently with afb to deal with it properly.
Find and Destroy infected hives and all contaminated gear. Stop creating more contaminated gear and infected hives.

Simply look to COVID, influenza and STDs and you’ll see how futile this hope is…

But dreams are free
 
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maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
Simply look to COVID, influenza and STDs and you’ll see how futile this hope is…

But dreams are free
i don't think its that futile.
once you get the bulk dealt with, it stops the ping pong effect and the minority won't matter. if no one else spreads it the others won't get it and unknowingly spread it.
however cleaning up the reservoir of afb that's out there will take some time.
 
272
381
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
@Dennis Crowley
I find this statement from someone actually on the management agency board somewhat concerning. If you are unhappy with how our levy money is being spent surely you of all people are in a position to help change that?
As you well know the levy money is not collected for honey market research and suggesting this money could somehow make a difference there is a point someone on the management agency board should not be making.
Otto, I stand by my statement if beekeepers did their job as they are supposed to do and eradicate/ burn deal with AFB in their outfits we could be free from this in a very short space of time. But they choose not to and then go looking for other avenues to find AFB for them. I was not saying that the AFB money be spent on anything else than what it is used for. I was suggesting that if we rid of AFB then we as an industry could spend that amount of money on furthering income for beekeepers.
 
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Reactions: Bee Real and John B
173
233
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
But instead we pay $1million a year in levies and look to dogs, swabs, spores and blobs and never the act of doing the job of checking and destroying.
But they choose not to and then go looking for other avenues to find AFB for them.
So you think that those who don’t do visual inspections are turning to swabbing instead? If so, you’re sadly mistaken Dennis. Those that we know who have used the method, have used it to confirm inspections or dead-out gear.

The main offenders don’t believe they have AFB at all and or are picking it up from their neighbours. They don’t use *any* method - inspection, dogs or swabs.
I feel embarrassed to be telling you this, if the above is indeed your belief
 
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272
381
Bay of Plenty
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Commercial
So you think that those who don’t do visual inspections are turning to swabbing instead? If so, you’re sadly mistaken Dennis. Those that we know who have used the method, have used it to confirm inspections or dead-out gear.

The main offenders don’t believe they have AFB at all and or are picking it up from their neighbours. They don’t use *any* method - inspection, dogs or swabs.
I feel embarrassed to be telling you this, if the above is indeed your belief
No John, my thoughts r that whenever u in your hives u check for afb, those that do this n know what to look for tend to have no issue n keep on top of it. No cost to them, just part of good hive health management. Those that tend to look for other avenues of ‘help’ tend to either intentionally or not intentionally rely on those systems n less on their own ability n take the odd short cut, wether that b a round or two of not checking ‘ because I’ve used….. to check so I can relax this time’ it’s human nature. I’m not poo pooing other methods n if beeks want to spend the money on that, fill your boots. But the majority of commercial beeks out there rely on their own eyes n check n have no issue with afb
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,383
9,661
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Technically, We are always only 2 years away from Afb elimination.

We just need the beekeepers currently with afb to deal with it properly.

Simply look to COVID, influenza and STDs and you’ll see how futile this hope is…

But dreams are free

Realise that we did eradicate covid from our shores, without drugs, twice.

Pretty much by using the same method advocated for eradicating AFB. We could not burn the infected people so instead we quarantined them to prevent the spread, and used management techniques among the whole population to minimise spread from one to another if anyone got it.

100% effective.

However as we "opened up", and the inevitability of a constant and overwhelming stream of new infections entering the country became the reality, a political decision was made to move from eradication, to management of it.

I have met commercial beekeepers who just shrug and say we will never eradicate AFB. They have just decided to live with it and do little preventative measures beyond just burning it when they find it, and sometimes they don't even do that very well. They just see it as a cost of doing business. And it is those beekeepers who often have an ongoing problem that they never clean up totally, because of their lackadaisical attitude.

Me, I am convinced that if everyone did what they are supposed to do we could be free of AFB in 2 or 3 years, other than the occasional residual infections from abandoned deadouts and similar, which could then have more resources spent on hunting them down. I base that on personal experience seeing outbreaks brought under control and eliminated, if someone has a will to do it.

We eradicated covid, looking like we eradicated mycoplasma bovis (despite the naysayers who said it was impossible), we could do it with AFB. Just needs everyone to do their bit, which is the hard part,
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,383
9,661
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Thinking about it there is a kind of vicious cycle I have seen in action among some commercial beekeepers.

They are convinced they cannot eradicate AFB from their outfit because they keep finding new cases that pop up.

The new cases they don't understand make them give up and get slap dash. The slap dash cause new cases. Ad infinitum......

I have seen this quite a few times.
 
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8,630
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maungaturoto
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Thinking about it there is a kind of vicious cycle I have seen in action among some commercial beekeepers.

They are convinced they cannot eradicate AFB from their outfit because they keep finding new cases that pop up.

The new cases they don't understand make them give up and get slap dash. The slap dash cause new cases. Ad infinitum......

I have seen this quite a few times.
the more common version of this is they blame everyone else, but most of it is because they are spreading it amongst their own hives due to poor practises.
 
8,630
5,089
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
I would include constant high staff turnover and rigid time management under poor practises
however even those with good staff and management practise can still suffer from poor afb practises.
there is a ton of dirty shortcuts that beeks think are "acceptable". a lot of it comes down to what they where taught and old habits die hard.
 


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