Mystery bee disease ravages North Island

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Grant

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A mystery disease is reportedly currently ravaging parts of the North Island bee population with reports of up to 80% death rates in some hives.
It is understood the problem is widespread throughout much of the North Island, with beekeepers as far south as Wellington reporting issues - although most appear to be in Waikato, Bay of Plenty and central North Island regions.
Apiarists are unsure of the exact cause or extent of the problem, but possible scenarios being discussed include resistant varroa mites, increased wasp predation or a disease that started in the kiwifruit pollination industry.
The huge bee death rates were confirmed by NZ Beekeepers Inc president Jane Lorimer.
She told Rural News that the full impact of the problem would not be known until spring.

 
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I talked to a long time commercial beekeeper yesterday who had lost half of his hives. Our losses are no where near that bad but are the worst that they have ever been.
I dont think that there is any real mystery just bad reinvasion and treatments that are not quite as good as they used to be.

Going to be interesting to see what the season brings for the industary
 

Grant

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It would be my guess that Jane does not know the inner workings of Api so it would be correct to say she does not know if api has had a conversation with MPI.
The article says this: She says Apiculture NZ is aware of the issue, but did not know if it had advised MPI and other sector bodies of the potential looming problem.
 
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whats the details? symptoms, whats left. treatment types and timings etc.
I dont know all the details but understand that mite levels rapidly increased not long after using synthetic treatments in spring and early autumn which would suggest either less than ideal kill from the chemical or way higher reinvasion. He operates in a high hive density area.
 
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Alastair

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Pretty sure it is mite related.

I would have been one of those high loss beekeepers had I not noticed when removing the bayvarol strips last autumn that many of the hives were still crawling with mites.

I had to do several weeks extra work re treating nearly all hives with Apivar, and repairing near dead hives with brood from less bad hives.

Even with that, some hives were not saveable due to not enough good hives to stretch resources from, so my losses are a lot higher than normal. I haven't started the spring round yet so not sure just how bad, but have done a drive by of a few sites and looking like maybe 10% or possibly 15% or so dead. Luckily that will be easily put right, but had I not noticed the issue last autumn there would have been well over 50% loss, possibly much worse.

It also says something about some NZ beekeepers, that they have lost as much as 80% of their hives but the cause of death is a mystery. The article says maybe mites, maybe something else. You would think any competent beekeeper could autopsy some hives and if it's mites, be able to diagnose that. And also, that the issue was not noticed until after the hives were dead.
 
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I dont know all the details but understand that mite levels rapidly increased not long after using synthetic treatments in spring and early autumn which would suggest either less than ideal kill from the chemical or way higher reinvasion. He operates in a high hive density area.

not knowing details is the bigger issue.
its like the Coromandel thing some years back. originally all that was made public was one person lost hives cause unknown.
people are not upfront with details so its hard to get any useful information.
 
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The article says this: She says Apiculture NZ is aware of the issue, but did not know if it had advised MPI and other sector bodies of the potential looming problem.
This article is about a month or more old, yes and yes to those questions. When questioned about a new disease Jane says the reporter misquoted her, Kiwi fruit pollination is also used as an possibility, asked Zespri if they had any new sprays/biologicals/systems etc that they used this season that was different, they had not, and to be fair if it was the reason you'd be hearing more angst.
Beeks have just got caught out for whatever reason, varroa doesn't stay static as much as we'd like it to. We just have to keep getting smarter at this
 
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Climate change ..... warmest winter on record .....no winter brood shut down, but beekeepers took a break on the Gold Coast ?
I thought the phone might have started ringing by now with people looking for a few Nucs, but all quiet on that front too.
 

Alastair

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Been wondering if it is a corporate disease.

There is no doubt there was a problem with some but not all bayvarol treated hives last autumn.

However a smaller one man beekeeper who takes a detailed interest in his or her hives would have most likely noticed this in time.

What I can imagine happening in a bigger outfit with one season workers, is boss goes "go and take the strips out". Guys jump in the truck and being under constant time pressure, rip out the strips shut the hives and return to base. Big mite numbers not noticed.

That, or the strips were not even removed, the hives not even looked at.
 
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Been wondering if it is a corporate disease.
without any real info its hard to even guess.

my suspicion is beeks have walked away from hives and let them die. that can get mite numbers to jump up out of sequence.
or short cut treatment to save $$$. probably more beeks putting hives into pollination to make a $ which spreads issues (which john B mentioned a while back)
especially for early kiwi the timing is pretty good to cause mites to get up to damaging amounts before autumn treatment comes around.

but until you can prise the info out of those on the coal face, its only guess work.
 
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