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maungaturoto
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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.
the price of new replacement gear hasn't really changed a lot so it doesn't make much difference when you do it.
buying 2nd hand gear always becomes more risky during tough times.

reimbursement can encourage spreading. if having afb makes you money then they will make sure they get afb. eg in tough times someone wanting to downsize and can't sell hives would infect their hives to be able to get a pay out. ditto with any old gear thats about to go on the burn pile anyway.
that would encourage storing of infected material to be used in those situations.
 
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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.
JohnF I suggest you read my post more carefully.

Simply, the plan started in 1998 hasn’t worked. New ideas are needed.

Having re-read the proposals… mixed feelings. Which is reflected by all the posts above. It reads like it’s 80% of the way there. A lot of rehashed old ideas, which didn’t work the first time.

I couldn’t tell if they’ve abandoned the “quarantine” for 2 years. And if they’re going to stop sparing hives in the same apiary as the infected cases (assuming they’re worked & spread by the same beekeepers). Maybe someone else on here can enlighten me.

The dog thing seemed a bit wishy washy. I don’t think I have AFB (🤞 knock on wood). But if i was approached to have mine tested by a dog, absolutely they can.
 
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NickWallingford

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Simply, the plan started in 1998 hasn’t worked. New ideas are needed.
The concept of making an external agent (Dept of Agric, Min of Agriculture, PMP Mgmt Agency) ultimately responsible for the identification and destruction of AFB is not a new idea. Nor is it one that has ever shown any particular degree of success, and certainly not as a cost effective way of doing it. Here's a quote from 1939 that sounds sort of naive now:

"The General Executive wishes it emphatically stated here that the responsibility for the control of disease rests with the Department of Agriculture and the Department has so far failed to control disease."

Bkprs are the ones who should, and mostly do, find the AFB in their hives, hopefully much more often than an AP2 might. Bkprs are responsible for the spread of AFB within their outfit, and they are responsible for spreading AFB to neighbouring beekeepers through poor practices.

The Mgmt Agency is there to ensure that bkprs have 'the tools' to fulfill their AFB obligations, and that bkprs are using their DECAs effectively to manage AFB identification and control.

Yes, new ideas are always needed. The use of both dogs and qPCR, integrated into an inspection programme, are two good examples. Either are now available for bkprs to use, and they can and should lead to a reduction of AFB in an outfit if used effectively. But to bring the Mgmt Agency into it could be both arduous and expensive.
 
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The concept of making an external agent (Dept of Agric, Min of Agriculture, PMP Mgmt Agency) ultimately responsible for the identification and destruction of AFB is not a new idea. Nor is it one that has ever shown any particular degree of success, and certainly not as a cost effective way of doing it. Here's a quote from 1939 that sounds sort of naive now:



Bkprs are the ones who should, and mostly do, find the AFB in their hives, hopefully much more often than an AP2 might. Bkprs are responsible for the spread of AFB within their outfit, and they are responsible for spreading AFB to neighbouring beekeepers through poor practices.

The Mgmt Agency is there to ensure that bkprs have 'the tools' to fulfill their AFB obligations, and that bkprs are using their DECAs effectively to manage AFB identification and control.

Yes, new ideas are always needed. The use of both dogs and qPCR, integrated into an inspection programme, are two good examples. Either are now available for bkprs to use, and they can and should lead to a reduction of AFB in an outfit if used effectively. But to bring the Mgmt Agency into it could be both arduous and expensive.
if i remember right mark goodwin wrote a bit about that.
under the old system afb rates where going up. many beeks adopted an attitude of "its govt job to sort, so why should i bother" which lead to people ignoring afb.

beeks are responsible for finding and dealing with their own afb, but mgmt agency is there to make sure that all beeks are doing their part. any tools that make that easier, quicker and cheaper should be employed. for eg dogs don't need to find every case of afb in beeks hives, but rather find enough to show the beek is not doing their job properly.
 
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I agree that paying compensation would encourage some people to encourage AFB in tough times. As for the dogs what a lot of us would like the agency to do is to use Dogs for the initial AFB check which is currently done by AP2's. I have done a bit of this work in the past and when there are just one or two hives then the economics of using a dog would be doubtful but when you have yards of 40 Plus hives there use becomes a lot more viable . I fully agree it is the beekeepers job to find and control AFB but it is the management agency's job to find those beekeepers that aren't doing the job. A lot of inspection work is checking hives that are clean and well looked after and all you find out from checking those 40 hives is that there isn't a problem which the dog could do a lot quicker with no disturbance to the hives.
While on the subject of saving time and money, if the agency is not responsible for finding AFB then why do they do a full brood inspection which is not only disruptive to the hive but takes a long time while checking a frame or two in every brood box and still find the vast majority of infections and you have to remember that a few days after you inspect a hive it can still come down with AFB. One of the results of this full brood inspection policy is that a lot of the large corporate type beekeepers just get left alone because is just not practical check all the hives. I'm sure some of them have very good AFB policies but I know some of them don't and lie through their back teeth when it comes to reporting AFB. Hopefully random honey sampling will finally catch up with some these beehavers .
Fair enough there might need to be some changes in the law to enable dogs to be used as of right by the agency but surely it wouldn't cost much to run some initial trials which would just require the permission of the beekeepers and landowners most of whom would hopefully be more than happy to give permission.
I have nothing to hide and if something is hidden I want it found.
 
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the price of new replacement gear hasn't really changed a lot so it doesn't make much difference when you do it.
True Tristan - but many might be only looking at the value of hives with no intention of replacing, as they downsize
JohnF I suggest you read my post more carefully.

Simply, the plan started in 1998 hasn’t worked. New ideas are needed.
Your post didn't refer to the plan - it said dogs should be roaming the country, paid for by the levy. Did I miss something in the post?
To keep going back to 1996 or 1998 or whenever it was does get tiresome - much of the agency work was farmed out to others in the earlier times and its only in more recent years (since 2017 or so) that the work is now by the agency.
Work that people have mentioned (eg increased honey testing) is indeed being done. Larger companies are seeing the financial costs of having spores in their honey and are motivated to deal with increasing rates within their operation.

My view is that the dogs find AFB - but at the moment, they also find hives with issues. I would be keen to see how dogs trained solely on spores perform among hives. But I don't believe its the agency's job to pay for the research.
 

NickWallingford

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Any bkpr can currently allow a dog and handler to work through their hives - so long as they have the permission of the landowner. The bkpr can choose to act immediately on the findings of the dog, or the bkpr can carry out further visual inspections and/or qPCR testing before making the decision to destroy a hive infected with AFB.

The Mgmt Agency (AP2s) cannot currently allow a dog and handler to accompany them onto a property to inspect for AFB unless they have both the landowner's and the bkprs' permission. The Mgmt Agency would still not be able to destroy a hive on the dog's indication only; confirmation would be required.

The proposed changes to the AFB PMP are not extensive. Simply put, the PMP is requesting the inclusion of S.115 of the Biosecurity Act powers. That section doesn't say anything about how the dogs might be used; simply that the dog could accompany someone who is lawfully carrying out the work of the PMP.

Assuming the proposed changes to the PMP are accepted, they will allow an AP2 to potentially use a dog in the screening process for auditing a bkpr's AFB situation. But even then, I would expect the Mgmt Agency might need/wish to have some degree of scientific confidence that the inclusion of a dog, even as an 'advisor' only, would not mess with the integrity of the current auditing system.

But the only situation when the full set of 'further research' would be absolutely required would be to allow the Mgmt Agency to act on the dog's indications with no further confirmation.
 
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Mummzie

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Even when the detail is sorted about dog access etc, what is the cost of the dogs?
We are used to seeing the dogs used at the border, and police work- but at no point is there any (direct) cost to us- the individual, so how much would this discussion change with that information.
How many trained dogs are there in NZ for a beek to use?
At hobby level, would a dog ever be affordable?

I see the dogs as a specialist tool- one integrated into an auditing role.
 
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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.
The thing is ..... perhaps we need to rename the AFB Management Agency..... Waka Export Buzz .... or something.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I do remember going to meetings years ago and the talk was always about eradication and how the agency would be the Waka to guide the process. It was also set up to meet export criteria put on honey by overseas countries .

The agency is like a brake on the process of control and eradication.
The secret to controlling AFB is to cleanse the operation of the pre clinical afb ..... the spores lurking in old combs and dead outs that died during the winter and get made up again in the spring.
Dogs are very good at picking up the pre clinicals, and by not embracing the magic of the Dog Nose they are limiting the ability of beekeepers to fight and control the depressing disease.

Our dog program has wound down ..... mainly because the industry has no money to pay the handler for inspections.
Our dog team has retired and are living the good life.

And interestingly enough, our incidence of AFB is on the rise again.

Coincidence or what ??
 
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The thing is ..... perhaps we need to rename the AFB Management Agency..... Waka Export Buzz .... or something.
Correct me if I am wrong, but I do remember going to meetings years ago and the talk was always about eradication and how the agency would be the Waka to guide the process. It was also set up to meet export criteria put on honey by overseas countries .

The agency is like a brake on the process of control and eradication.
The secret to controlling AFB is to cleanse the operation of the pre clinical afb ..... the spores lurking in old combs and dead outs that died during the winter and get made up again in the spring.
Dogs are very good at picking up the pre clinicals, and by not embracing the magic of the Dog Nose they are limiting the ability of beekeepers to fight and control the depressing disease.

Our dog program has wound down ..... mainly because the industry has no money to pay the handler for inspections.
Our dog team has retired and are living the good life.

And interestingly enough, our incidence of AFB is on the rise again.

Coincidence or what ??
Beekeepers must see the value in using dogs; perhaps some don't.
I won't use dogs because I don't see the value in my business. For the last 25+ yrs, my hives have been in kiwi pollination, with the most significant concentration of hives in spring and then on manuka in some of the most hive over-populated areas in summer; my home sites sit amongst the red flag areas; all other times. I don't have an AFB problem and haven't done for over 15+ yrs. I only trust my eyes and the eyes of any worker I train. We are in the hives regularly, and any hint or sniff of a problem, hives were loaded onto the truck then and there and dealt with by fire back at base. There would be 80% of beekeepers who like me and have no problem, or at least are on top of their problem, done without dogs.
I can see the value in dogs for some, but that's their management plan, not mine.
Do you think your rising issue with AFB, since you no longer use the dogs, is 1. an issue of ( and I have mentioned this before generally) that relying on dogs or other (insert whatever test)..... subconsciously you slack off, 2. enough staff to check hives on a regular time frame, 3. you pick it up from others?
 
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Yerah Nah ... we are always in the hives, looking, looking .... Its always easy to blame someone else .....I don't know where it comes from, but this year seems to be above average.
 
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Yerah Nah ... we are always in the hives, looking, looking .... Its always easy to blame someone else .....I don't know where it comes from, but this year seems to be above average.
I have no problem blaming others if we can 'hand on heart' say we doing everything we can to keep our hives clean.
 

Alastair

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I'm very careful with the blame game. Tell you a true story happened a few months ago.

I'm working my apiary which can be seen from the road. I see a car stop, a guy gets out and jumps the fence and heads my way. Looking angry and acting aggressive. Conversation goes -
HIM - have you had AFB?
ME - Yes
Him - Well you've given it to my hive
ME - Can't have. I've had AFB in other places but not here, ever.
HIM - Well there's no other beekeepers around here.
ME - When did you get the AFB?
HIM - I only had the hive 2 months then it got low in bees, had it checked and it had AFB
ME - If it was that bad after 2 months it probably had AFB when you got it
HIM - No. My mate I bought it from said it didn't have AFB and the AFB would have come from a commercial beekeeper because they are bad news for AFB. You are commercial, right?
ME - Sort of, I'm a retired commercial beekeeper.
HIM - So, it was you. I can tell you don't look after them properly anyway.
(won't go into the diatribe about why he thought that 🙄)......
a bit later ME - are you registered?
HIM - Registered? What's that?

Won't bore you all with the rest of it but the guy was an aggressive moron who bought the hive from someone who wasn't registered and sound like pretty much knew jack about bees.

However he was pretty ready to pin blame.

At the end he refused to tell me who the mate was who sold him the hive, jumped in his car and vanished. Wouldn't tell me where he lives either. If he gets another hive he will be a problem.
 
8,871
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couple of years ago we only had 8 out of 1300 in th ewhole season. This year we've had 12 already and still got to go through another 800 hves taking honey off.
how many is not a big deal as such, what really matters is where and how was it spread.
eg 8 in one yard is most likely from an infected yard down the road thats died. thats very very easy to happen to anyone.
but 8 random hives in 8 different yards with no obvious connection poses questions.
this is where keeping track of hives, eg coming out of pollination, is important and especially hives moved to make up numbers in yards.

the thing to keep on top of is making sure your not spreading it around your own hives.
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
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Different beekeepers also seem to have differing tolerances to AFB levels in operations ie for some then 1 hive is one too many . .while some accept a certain (variable!) percentage as a cost of running bees.

I have no problem blaming others if we can 'hand on heart' say we doing everything we can to keep our hives clean.

And for some, 'hand on heart' *everything* is eyes, dogs and *other test inserted*. Those working with other methods go to great lengths to say they should not replace visual inspections.
 


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