AFB stats - by bkpr

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178
241
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
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
That’s too funny Dennis. You say ‘no John’ and then expand your answer to come across as ‘that’s exactly what I mean John’

Similar to ‘I’m not poo pooing other methods’ and then ‘fill your boots’.

I’ll say it again, we see those who have AFB issues are not turning to DNA metbods as alternative method. We go to great lengths to say any other surveillance method is not a replacement for visual inspections.
 
178
241
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
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.
There have been discussions on here before and the consensus was ‘no compensation’ for those who have AFB in their operation. But with the likely success in the M. bovis eradication, it does make you wonder.
But bees fly and too often it’s the neighbours’ hives who act as the sentinels to detect infected operations
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,419
9,684
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Very quick and rough calculation. 900,000 hives in the country, 0.2% infections ( it will be more cos we know many of them do not get reported) but let's be conservative and base on that, would be 1,800 hives. Value of hives is all over the place right now but let's say a conservative $200.00 per hive. Cost is $360,000.00 annually.

Of course that is a very rough estimate and the real cost could be several multiples higher.

Then there is the time we have to spend looking for it and the inconvenience of dealing with infected hives. I'm going to say the all up genuine cost of AFB, both reported and not reported, is well in the millions.

On top of that is hive levies. But realize if there were no hive levies and no AFBPMP, AFB would skyrocket (yes it would, which we know by the number of diseased hives found by AP2's, and the number of outbreaks nipped in the bud before they happened by AP2's), and the cost of finding and burning extra hives would see a very big increase, were we not funding this program.
 
178
241
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Well, I think it was estimated at nearly $3 million . . . back in 1996?
Also take into account lost honey of those hives (ok, may or may not sell today) but also lost pollination hives.
that 3 mill was 5 or 6 percent of the gross industry worth over 20 years ago. Apply that 6% now and . . . you’re over 20 million.
How’s that for farfetched . . ?
 
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32
35
UK
Experience
International
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.
If only that could be the case.
We have had a zero tolerance to AFB in the UK for many decades, which is a legally notifiable disease; with colonies destroyed by burning in a pit if ever they are discovered with it. However we still see a few colonies per year get it. The spores of AFB can lie dormant for years.

It has to be said that bio-security in the UK is hopeless in general and some AFB could have come from imported honey. However, even with good bio-security as you have, elimination is unlikely in NZ, however desirable. A significant reduction is possible over a 5 year period, perhaps?
 
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8,649
5,113
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
While individual spores can lie dormant for years, there must be *massive* quantities of them to create an AFB infected hive. Beekeepers, transferring bees and equipment from an infected hive to a clean hive, are the primary vector for the spread of AFB.
and one of the big problems we will face more of is infected gear thats been in storage for years getting sold off and reused.

remember the case i wrote about on the old forum where someone put hives over the fence from us, almost all their hives died. 4 years later that person as a couple of pallets of supers (no lids or bases) up for sale. ie they had taken the honey off, extracted it. burnt the hives and sold off the supers.

at the moment we have plenty of people selling up, or failing, and getting rid of the old gear.
 
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8,649
5,113
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
It would make good sense to incorporate such as the Forster Test into a purchasing regime. "Back in the old days" there was not much in the way that you could to to avoid buying infected gear. Now there is...
trouble is they often sell the beginners who don't know about afb let alone testing for it.

the problem is there is a reservoir of disease being stored in sheds/garages/backyards around the country. finding those and cleaning them up is the challenge. many of those will sit there until someone has to move house, do a clean out, get short on money, and will sell them off.
 
397
293
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
It would make good sense to incorporate such as the Forster Test into a purchasing regime. "Back in the old days" there was not much in the way that you could to to avoid buying infected gear. Now there is...
It makes sense to buy of reputable people with good disease history. I don't want to have to fork out for a Foster test every time I sell stuff. I have gradually sold gear and hives over the over last eight years, and I have never had anyone come back to me reporting AFB from my gear.

Beekeepers who retire often have a lot of gear, and different types, and gradually downsize. It doesn't always get sold in one lot.
 
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Mummzie

Staff member
1,246
1,130
Tasman
Experience
Hobbyist
It makes sense to buy of reputable people with good disease history
but that's every beekeeper...........(.according to them.) If a newbee asked you to name disreputable beekeepers...........would you?

Cars cant be legally sold without a current WOF. If there was a requirement that the test was done- very shortly all that diseased gear could be removed from the system.
Lets face the fact cleaning out AFB is going to cost someone. Preventative measures are better value than reactive.
 
397
293
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
If a newbee asked you to name disreputable beekeepers...........would you?
If a new person asked me in person whom to buy from, I would recommend someone.
If there was a requirement that the test was done- very shortly all that diseased gear could be removed from the system.
Often old diseased gear sits in sheds for years, and therein lies a big problem. Also, with any reputable test there generally appears to be an error margin
 
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49
65
Canterbury
Experience
Hobbyist
It is easy to eliminate the last infected hive in the field, but is much harder to eliminate the last piece of afb contaminated gear on storage at the beekeeper’s shed. Unfortunately, in many cases, either denial or procrastination prevails over good judgement...
 
397
293
Mid Canterbury
Experience
Semi Commercial
Sometimes wood ware for a variety of reasons ends up being stored I was the apiary specific "victim" for a number of seasons of gear from a deceased estate; of which local beekeepers were unaware of. I have also been told by two beekeepers in different parts of the Sth Is their outbreaks were eventually traced back to containers of honey in old kitchens of disbanded houses - bee hives and woodward aren't the only spreader of AFB.

Just because a hive or honey on diagnostics shows AFB, it does not necessarily mean that the hive will exhibit AFB in the field, or that stored wood ware will show positive. Once, and only once, did I have a very low AFB count on a honey sample from one hive and the hive never exhibited field signs of AFB.

Also, with every diagnostic test there is an error of margin.

It is good to see that research in the Foster test involved MPI, scientists and beekeepers. I note that it is a test for use at the hive entrance, and I understand costs $80 per test (don't know if this is GST incl), and that up to 12 hives can be tested with the one kit.

If this test were to become mandatory, who would pay - the seller or buyer? If you buy/sell one hive that's an extra $80, 12 hives an extra $80, 1000 hives (you do the math) is a major expense.

I am not decrying the PCR Foster test. I think it is another valuable tool in the AFB kit, but I think incorporating this into a purchasing regime would create another layer of difficult to implement expensive bureaucracy. We could end of up with numerous abandoned hives from one end of the country to the other, and then there is the stored wood ware. I can see it as a valuable tool for the AFB PMP and could potentially do away with some of the AP2 army, thereby saving the Agency megabucks.

I am certainly open to other logical thoughts, but for today therein endeth my epistle.
 
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NickWallingford

BOP Club
229
338
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
the problem is there is a reservoir of disease being stored in sheds/garages/backyards around the country. finding those and cleaning them up is the challenge. many of those will sit there until someone has to move house, do a clean out, get short on money, and will sell them off.
When the PMP was being developed, we anticipated that the 'final bastion of AFB spores' might be in the feral bee population, and were considering special efforts should we ever reach that spot. Remember, this was pre-varroa. Feral colonies are no where near the potential problem that they were back then.
 
178
241
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Sometimes wood ware for a variety of reasons ends up being stored I was the apiary specific "victim" for a number of seasons of gear from a deceased estate; of which local beekeepers were unaware of. I have also been told by two beekeepers in different parts of the Sth Is their outbreaks were eventually traced back to containers of honey in old kitchens of disbanded houses - bee hives and woodward aren't the only spreader of AFB.

Just because a hive or honey on diagnostics shows AFB, it does not necessarily mean that the hive will exhibit AFB in the field, or that stored wood ware will show positive. Once, and only once, did I have a very low AFB count on a honey sample from one hive and the hive never exhibited field signs of AFB.
Yes, hive samples with a low level of spores do not come down with clinical signs -that's where the quantitation is very important.

Also, with every diagnostic test there is an error of margin.
This is true. Unfortunately the margin of error in many beekeepers is larger it seems !

It is good to see that research in the Foster test involved MPI, scientists and beekeepers. I note that it is a test for use at the hive entrance, and I understand costs $80 per test (don't know if this is GST incl), and that up to 12 hives can be tested with the one kit.
Like tutin pooling, compositing comes with additional costs - each swab goes into its own 'sample' so that if needed, the composite can be broken down to find a clinical hive. So for 12 hives you're looking at about $12 per hive. But if its a 'reputable beekeeper with good disease history' then you could go to larger composites perhaps. Say, 20 or 24 hives. But if a certain spore level found, will you burn all 24 ??

Testing is only one piece of it - will beekeepers act on any unfavourable results?
 


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