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11
8
Auckland
Experience
Marketer
Here in sunny Hawke's Bay we don't have to worry about selling this seasons Honey crop because there isn't any. It hasn't stopped raining for six months and a lot of hives are still being fed. That of course doesn't help us out of the current situation but a really bad crop throughout the whole country would at least use up some of the honey stocks.
Hard times for beekeepers were normal when I was growing up but it doesn't mean I like them. I am more concerned about the future of beekeeping because of varoa than economics but both of them are bad enough that I struggle to see things getting better for some time.
Co-op's might be the answer. They weren't in the past. Who knows they may be in the future.
It wasn't that many years ago that we were getting two dollars for clover and four dollars for manuka and we thought all our Christmases had come at once. Yes there has been a lot of inflation since then but increased costs coupled with lower production caused by overstocking and increasingly also by varoa damage mean that even if you adjusted those prices for inflation you probably couldn't live on it anymore. Expenses for honey packers have also increased astronomically most notably with all the stupid requirements MPI place on everybody .

A united industry body that fights back against stupid regulation would help as would a return to the days of owner operated producer\packers who actually have some knowledge about the beekeeping industry as well as some skin in the game and don't benefit from low honey prices.
There are lots of small things we could do in New Zealand to improve things but the reality is something needs to change overseas to make a big difference and that will probably happen at some stage but I don't know when. Taking fake honey out of the world market would instantly increase both prices and sales .
My advice to anybody either in beekeeping or wanting to get involved would be to go for it if you love bees and the lifestyle but for the next few years at least don't expect to become rich from it . If you want to get rich then find another job.
I sympathize with the comments but I have a more optimistic outlook for the industry. I see opportunity everywhere for good companies and brands. I see no value in a Coop. A raw material is only worth market value. It is worth the price that demand creates. A coop cannot change this position. I can also assure you that packers, with or without hives have skin in the game. Each part of the industry is dependent on the other.
 
5,728
6,282
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
I sympathize with the comments but I have a more optimistic outlook for the industry. I see opportunity everywhere for good companies and brands. I see no value in a Coop. A raw material is only worth market value. It is worth the price that demand creates. A coop cannot change this position. I can also assure you that packers, with or without hives have skin in the game. Each part of the industry is dependent on the other.
Oh ..... there you are Adam. Good to see you again.
Funnily enough, a man I know emailed me just the other day with some propositions you re putting forward.
I was gonna get in touch ....

I need a change of direction ..... 33 summers of lifting honey boxes and scooping the stuff out on a hive tool and taste testing under the veil .... I could tell a story and sell the stuff.
I'm totally disgruntled at the way the industry has a lack of cohesiveness ....

What say you and I have a chat .... then I'll jump on my two wheeled fleet wheeled Steed, fire up the 88 Mares and take our story to the world ?
This amazing product that has the ability to add a "Je ne sais crois" to yer favorite dish .... or slap it on an Ooops with the blow torch ..... or squeeze it into a disolvable pill popper to enthuse the gut bacteria to love the gazillions of pain killers people are taking a a day to mask the decay of collapsing bones.

As you say ...

Potential.

I'd do it for gas money and the odd allowance for a hot shower and soft bed on a rainy night!
 
11
8
Auckland
Experience
Marketer
Oh ..... there you are Adam. Good to see you again.
Funnily enough, a man I know emailed me just the other day with some propositions you re putting forward.
I was gonna get in touch ....

I need a change of direction ..... 33 summers of lifting honey boxes and scooping the stuff out on a hive tool and taste testing under the veil .... I could tell a story and sell the stuff.
I'm totally disgruntled at the way the industry has a lack of cohesiveness ....

What say you and I have a chat .... then I'll jump on my two wheeled fleet wheeled Steed, fire up the 88 Mares and take our story to the world ?
This amazing product that has the ability to add a "Je ne sais crois" to yer favorite dish .... or slap it on an Ooops with the blow torch ..... or squeeze it into a disolvable pill popper to enthuse the gut bacteria to love the gazillions of pain killers people are taking a a day to mask the decay of collapsing bones.

As you say ...

Potential.

I'd do it for gas money and the odd allowance for a hot shower and soft bed on a rainy night!
I say - Love to talk. Email me adam.boot@equilipse.co.nz
 
1,147
1,067
great barrier island
Experience
Semi Commercial
Harvest here in the top of the south will be down I’m sure.
like you @John B i hope it helps to clear out some stock.

we are hanging on by our fingernails with one of us taking on outside work which is helping.
There’s no honey to harvest for us. It started to rain in November and hasn’t stopped.
Most veggies in our garden aren’t getting pollinated and those that do aren’t ripening.
I agree that maybe it’s a good thing to have the crop fail, hopefully it will mean some of the honey In storage sells. All business have boom and bust cycles we just need to hang on until it picks up.
 
5,728
6,282
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Been taking honey off today.... pollination hives on the flatlands on a warm and humid day that needed quite a bit of rehydration therapy from the Doc's script.
We got a bit of honey.
Price is up a bit .... $6.50 for a nice light clover ....$6.50 for a nice brew of Rata, but good luck with that as the blossom never happened, unless you have a couple of tonne sitting in the shed, and then it might be worth a bit more.

I always enjoy reading The Advocate.
This month in particular about the Dogs.

Many of you will know that Richelle and Jesse James intiated the program quite a few years ago under the tutellage and direction of long time dog trainer renee Gloor.
So it was with interest that I read that the new team under Jason have ... discovered that the dogs don't lie .... but are still , 90k later .... still not certified .

Many days I do wonder ..... Beauracracy and political correctness has stiffled the
creativity that gave rise to industries coming out of the dark ages ..... and sent us all scurrying back up to the end of our gullies shouting ... "what the fk.... what the fk ..... lone Beans rattling around in an emty can of Watties best.
 
197
259
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
I always enjoy reading The Advocate.
This month in particular about the Dogs.

Many of you will know that Richelle and Jesse James intiated the program quite a few years ago under the tutellage and direction of long time dog trainer renee Gloor.
So it was with interest that I read that the new team under Jason have ... discovered that the dogs don't lie .... but are still , 90k later .... still not certified .

Many days I do wonder ..... Beauracracy and political correctness has stiffled the
creativity that gave rise to industries coming out of the dark ages ..... and sent us all scurrying back up to the end of our gullies shouting ... "what the fk.... what the fk ..... lone Beans rattling around in an emty can of Watties best.
I don't think the abstract of the paper published on the dogs said 'the dogs don't lie' James :)
More, that they could detect bacterial spores alone (ie no dead bee material) in a controlled, sterile bee-free experiment. Can they detect the spores in the presence of PMS and DWV-rotting bees? That's the next question . . ..
 
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NickWallingford

BOP Club
249
360
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
Any bkpr who would like to use an AFB-trained sniffer dog is able to do so. Any bkpr can allow another party to use an AFB-trained sniffer dog. If the dog indicates as 'positive', the bkpr can choose to either destroy the hive without further examination or the bkpr can inspect for visual signs of AFB. If any visual signs of AFB are found, the hive must be destroyed. If the dog says 'positive' and your eyes say no, you are not required by the PMP to destroy the hive.

All that can be done without reference to the PMP. No further research into sensitivity or specificity is required.

The further research would be needed if the results of the dog's work is to be taken at face value, without further visual confirmation. The Mgmt Agency would find it hard to argue to use this (or any other) 'new' method of AFB identification without that additional information.

But that additional work and expense is only needed if the intent is for the Mgmt Agency to use the capability of dogs without any visual inspection at all, or with the expectation that the bkpr would no longer need to do more/better inspections to identify AFB.

Identification and destruction of AFB infected hives is an important bkpr responsibility in the plan to eliminate AFB. Each bkpr - however many hives - must 'front up' to that obligation by either maintaining a DECA or by (paying?) an approved person to inspect the hive.

It is not the role of the Mgmt Agency to inspect hives to identify AFB. The Mgmt Agency is responsible for auditing the on-going progress of a bkpr to reduce that bkpr's own AFB level to zero. A more effective auditing system would not necessarily lead to a more likely AFB elimination scenario. On the contrary, it seems as if bkprs are wanting the Mgmt Agency to find their AFB for them... The Mgmt Agency will not eliminate AFB from NZ; only bkprs can do that.

So long as a bkpr meets the conditions of their DECA esp. in terms of nature/frequency of visual inspections, the bkpr can use a sniffer dog all they want, as I said at the beginning.

Dogs could be (are currently?) used by bkprs to identify AFB. No further research is needed, unless bkprs are asking for the Mgmt Agency to use dogs entirely to replace visual inspections.
 
5,728
6,282
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
Nothing is perfect in life John F .....
Sometimes scientists get caught up in the process and need to see a clear cut result that 2 plus 2 is four. But Nature sometimes says that 2 plus 2 can actually be four and a half, if you get my drift.
So it is with the dogs.
The dogs don't lie about the odour. The complicated bit comes when the handler has to decide which hive the dog indicated on, and that can have variables that are governed by wind, temperature and lie of the land.

So out in the bee yard in the still of a full moon evening the dogs are saying " Yes Boss, this smell is really ripe" ... and then it comes down to the skill of the handler to read the dog and ask it again ..... OK ..... where's the smell originating from , and are you sure.

I think I have often said, they are not the B and end all of AFB eradication, but they are an incredibly usefull tool is rapidly ascertaining if the operation has an issue, and are very good at picking up on pre clinical infections.
And this is where Beekeepers get a bit a sceptic, because the dog indicates and the bee keeper looks and finds nothing.
But if the bee keeper put that hive to one side and waited twelve months .... then I'd put a box of Speights on it that he would find something.

Don't get me wrong ..... science has a lot to offer society, but sometimes one has to go with the heart ..... and we have learnt that our dogs have a valuable contribution to make in reducing the incidence of AFB ..... if we want to.
My heart also tells me that it will be quite a few years before the Agency lets the dog lick its nose.
 
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3,532
6,610
Hawkes Bay
Experience
Commercial
Every dog and every handler is going to bring variability to how good a job they do finding AFB but then so does every beekeeper. I have briefly seen a dog working hives and I was very impressed. Frankly I don't see where the problem is and where the expense comes from . Organise to have a dog go round hives that have been inspected by an AP2 .
One . See if they miss any hives identified as clinical.
Two. Mark any other hives they identify as positive and do a PCR swab.In fact you could swab every hive.
Three. Accept that dogs can do the job.
No one is saying that hives will be destroyed just on the say-so of a dog and destruction would still only be after finding clinical AFB with a follow-up visual inspection but many beekeepers including myself would be quite prepared to destroy hives that are marked as positive .I think that dogs would be even more useful in identifying infected gear off the hives which has always been a major source of reinfection especially for those with ongoing problem.
One of the biggest problems with AFB control for the agency is knowing whether an AFB outbreak has been caused by the beekeeper them self or by there neighbours and a quick sniff around stored gear would quickly sort out the answer.
We know dogs work ., We know they are not the total answer to the problem ,
So what is the problem,
 

NickWallingford

BOP Club
249
360
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
We know dogs work ., We know they are not the total answer to the problem ,
So what is the problem,
I do not think that NZ bkprs would accept colony destruction on the basis of dog indicating only. Certainly not without pretty clear evidence to back it up. But that is not a problem, and only becomes one if bkprs are asking the Mgmt Agency to use dogs on their hives and gear. But you can allow a dog handler to go through your hives. You don't need Mgmt Agency approval, involvement or the rigour of scientific research. And ultimately, a massive amount of anecdotal evidence would be generated.

The ultimate measure of success? Your business' AFB levels should go down even faster than you have anticipated through your existing DECA conditions. If your AFB is going down or gone, the Mgmt Agency will not really be interested in you.

But let's leave the Mgmt Agency out of the issue of using dogs. If you are confident in the value of dogs to assist you in the identification of AFB infections - go for it. But let's leave the issues of auditing to the Mgmt Agency. The more bkprs who eliminate AFB in their own operations, the easier that job could become.
 
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197
259
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Nothing is perfect in life John F .....
Sometimes scientists get caught up in the process and need to see a clear cut result that 2 plus 2 is four. But Nature sometimes says that 2 plus 2 can actually be four and a half, if you get my drift.
Hmm, not sure on that James. I think Nature always says 2 plus 2 equals 4. Its the *beekeepers* that try to make it four and a half !

I don't doubt the dogs' sensitivity in finding AFB - I'm convinced they can. What I do have questions about is their specificity ie the ability to only detect AFB and not other hive issues.
 

Alastair

Founder Member
Platinum
8,508
9,745
Auckland
Experience
Semi Commercial
Just incase you are serious, I had thought that the concept of beekeepers adding 2 + 2 and coming up with 4 1/2, was said with an element of intended humor.

However, as the last few years have shown, it also has an element of truth.
 

Josh

Gold
1,030
747
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
They detect bombs, bowel cancer, hypoglycaemia, food, drugs etc

Of course we should use dogs for AFB. Obviously any indicated hive should be tested, then destroyed.

Eventually the positive predictive value will be known, and maybe the secondary testing might not be needed.

I do not understand the reluctance, other than people like to live in denial.
 
308
410
Bay of Plenty
Experience
Commercial
I do not understand the reluctance, other than people like to live in denial.
I don't see any reluctance; any beekeeper can pay for AFB dogs to check their hives; that has never been an issue. The cost may hinder some, or you have to go through the hives after a dog has pointed to, to check, when you could do that yourself anyway, so perhaps a perception of double the work.
I'm unsure what beeks want from the management around AFB dogs. Do you want the dogs to be allowed to be the definitive answer as to whether you burn a hive?
You could use them as part of your plan for your outfit, apart from your legal, physical manual visual inspection each yr. You choose how to inspect your hives, and nothing stops you from adding in dogs, PCR testing, along with your own eyes.
 
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Josh

Gold
1,030
747
Christchurch
Experience
Hobbyist
I don't see any reluctance; any beekeeper can pay for AFB dogs to check their hives; that has never been an issue. The cost may hinder some, or you have to go through the hives after a dog has pointed to, to check, when you could do that yourself anyway, so perhaps a perception of double the work.
I'm unsure what beeks want from the management around AFB dogs. Do you want the dogs to be allowed to be the definitive answer as to whether you burn a hive?
You could use them as part of your plan for your outfit, apart from your legal, physical manual visual inspection each yr. You choose how to inspect your hives, and nothing stops you from adding in dogs, PCR testing, along with your own eyes.

Of course there is reluctance. That’s why it’s a problem. There is a reluctance of those who should know better. And a reluctance for those who don’t know, to admit they don’t.

There should be dogs roaming the country, paid for by our AFB levy. The inspectors would only need to check on hives that are indicated, plus a random selection of the ones the dog leaves.

If a dog indicated on our hives ideally you’d then get a free test. But in the future you could argue for test @ your cost or destroy if they were shown to be good enough.

but in an ideal world there would also be a fund to reimburse those who have their hives destroyed. Removing another barrier to finding AFB
 
197
259
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Of course there is reluctance. That’s why it’s a problem. There is a reluctance of those who should know better. And a reluctance for those who don’t know, to admit they don’t.

There should be dogs roaming the country, paid for by our AFB levy. The inspectors would only need to check on hives that are indicated, plus a random selection of the ones the dog leaves.

If a dog indicated on our hives ideally you’d then get a free test. But in the future you could argue for test @ your cost or destroy if they were shown to be good enough.

but in an ideal world there would also be a fund to reimburse those who have their hives destroyed. Removing another barrier to finding AFB
Josh, I suggest you read the posts of Nick and Dennis more carefully. It is *not* the agency's job to find AFB - that was agreed upon by beekeepers when the plan was established I believe. The agency are there to ensure that beekeeper's are fulfilling their part of the agreement.
There are people who do not register their hives because its their hobby and no-one tells me what to do. Imagine their delight at being told 'and now we're bringing the dogs'.
Currently, the agency - or anyone - cannot legally bring dogs onto private land without permission to hunt for AFB. That is being added to the new plan being written.

And reimbursing for destroyed hives would have some issues. Times are tough in the industry but with the lower prices of hives, it would suggest that now is the time to check and destroy gear at it's lower value.
 
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