NZBeekeeping has launched a consultation for the AFB PMP 10 year review

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Morporks

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The NZBI discussion document refers to a "bargain that may never had been made explicit". It seems to be saying that beekeepers have agreed to find and destroy clinical cases of AFB without compensation. But that if other means - spore testing - were to be used, then compensation would have to be paid.

There is no connection whatsoever between compensation and the means by which AFB can be identified...
I think the point being made is that when the AFB PMP was thought up, the only practicable way to identify AFB was the use of the likes of the rope test, So only equipment with symptoms is destroyed

Lately there has been a push to use a cheapish PCR testing to identify spores and peer group pressure by some try to push for the destruction of hives based on this new test. It must be remembered that there is little if any scientific peer review on what finding spores in hive and honey equate to.
So a change to hive destruction based on PCR spore testing may result in large numbers of hives being burnt that dont show symptoms of AFB

If this change was to happen it would be a major change to the way the PMP works which could justify the payment of compensation

Some one did ask on this forum if the test could distinguish between viable DNA and non viable No answer was given by JohnF. This question is very important if you wax dip for example your AFB equipment as there will still be AFB DNA on the equipment.
It maybe that if spore testing is used to order destruction, clean equipment may be unnecessarily destroyed.
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
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Until a couple of years ago, AFB had been rising at a rate of 15% per year . . over the prior 5 years or so.
The ApiNZ conference room went very quiet.
That increase has been stopped.

As @John B mentions, looking for AFB in a quarantine apiary is difficult. For those that may have seen the Apiarist Advocate article from Frank Lindsay recently, he cites the research paper from the UK (ironically, the researcher is now in NZ) that modelled the spread of AFB and how it describes the low chance of finding the hives with clinical signs
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
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I think the point being made is that when the AFB PMP was thought up, the only practicable way to identify AFB was the use of the likes of the rope test, So only equipment with symptoms is destroyed

Lately there has been a push to use a cheapish PCR testing to identify spores and peer group pressure by some try to push for the destruction of hives based on this new test. It must be remembered that there is little if any scientific peer review on what finding spores in hive and honey equate to.
So a change to hive destruction based on PCR spore testing may result in large numbers of hives being burnt that dont show symptoms of AFB

If this change was to happen it would be a major change to the way the PMP works which could justify the payment of compensation

Some one did ask on this forum if the test could distinguish between viable DNA and non viable No answer was given by JohnF. This question is very important if you wax dip for example your AFB equipment as there will still be AFB DNA on the equipment.
It maybe that if spore testing is used to order destruction, clean equipment may be unnecessarily destroyed.

I'm not telling you anything new @Morporks - but by the time AFB is roping, its spread already. And yes, we are racing to get our new work published showing that high levels of AFB (vegetative and spores) detected at the entrance, correlates extremely well with clinical signs present - or within a short time in the future.
If we detect low levels of spores then this is not an issue - it is only when we reach a threshold of thousands of spores. It is possible to use PCR in a format to detect viable vs non-viable but this is more time-consuming (ie expensive). However, we can use the quantitative nature of the method to know that if we detect high levels of the pathogen then most of this will certainly be viable.
DNA is a food source (carbon) for other microbes and bacteria and - like varroa on a sticky board - don't always last long free in the environment
 

Alastair

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This compensation idea is one of the dumbest ideas yet.

Why? Because who is going to pay it? Why, other beekeepers of course. IE, the rest of us.

I'd be fine with it if the government chipped in, but as things stand right now the only source of funds would be beekeepers. And in my view the good beekeepers who keep their AFB low to zero are already subsidising the poor beekeepers on whom a lot of the money has to be spent. They should not be asked for even more.

A person having to pay for their own losses is the best incentive for the person to keep those losses as low as possible, and that incentive should not be removed.

The second issue is that payment of compensation could result in AFB farming, especially by those wanting out of the industry but can't find any buyers.
 
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Lately there has been a push to use a cheapish PCR testing to identify spores and peer group pressure by some try to push for the destruction of hives based on this new test. It must be remembered that there is little if any scientific peer review on what finding spores in hive and honey equate to.
So a change to hive destruction based on PCR spore testing may result in large numbers of hives being burnt that dont show symptoms of AFB
Roger being a little misleading here.
There are allsorts of ways others are trying to detect early signs of AFB in hives sub clinical and/or clinical PCr, dogs, etc. but none are at this stage the decision making as to when hives get burned in the first place.
As you know there is a process to go through firstly by physical signs seen in the hive/brood nest as it always has been.
Depending on the situation then there is a further potential for further action being taken as is allowed under the Bio-security act that this falls under.
Levy payers have certainly asked for more/other detection methods to be included and that is being progressed, but it all has to stack up science wise.
As to re-imbursement for destruction of illegal afb infected gear, not going to happen unless levy payers want to pay very very very did I say very expensive levy fees - that would send most to the wall.
But a very cheap match stick early on is a Beekeepers very best friend when they first see afb in their hives.
 
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Dennis. Have I got this right.
If clinical signs of AFB are found in a hive then its destruction is ordered under the AFB PMP.
If lots of hives are found and it is strongly suspected that stored gear is heavily infected then destruction of that stored gear is ordered under the bio security act.
Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to the destruction of heavily infected gear but it is quite a departure from what happened in the past when only clinically infected hives were destroyed.
 
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Dennis. Have I got this right.
If clinical signs of AFB are found in a hive then its destruction is ordered under the AFB PMP.
If lots of hives are found and it is strongly suspected that stored gear is heavily infected then destruction of that stored gear is ordered under the bio security act.
Don't get me wrong. I am not opposed to the destruction of heavily infected gear but it is quite a departure from what happened in the past when only clinically infected hives were destroyed.
You cant take anything in isolation, remember that a beekeepers DECA details how that particular beekeeper will deal with any afb fine in their outfit,
If a beekeeper has high numbers of afb and also has no system of tracking, separating and isolating infected gear as per their DECA/ or dose what their DECA says, and with diagnosis being able to detect that gear is infected then yes there is a possibility that there will be gear burnt as well, but if that same beekeeper can show a system where they can safely track, store, isolate and then deal with either by dipping or other means stopping the infected gear to go back on the hives, that would be treated differently.
There is no 1 system to suit all situations. each situation looked at according to the rules and what their deca says.
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
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Lately there has been a push to use a cheapish PCR testing to identify spores and peer group pressure by some try to push for the destruction of hives based on this new test. It must be remembered that there is little if any scientific peer review on what finding spores in hive and honey equate to.
So a change to hive destruction based on PCR spore testing may result in large numbers of hives being burnt that dont show symptoms of AFB
We can quantify the spores in a sample. We know the spore levels seen in ropy larvae. We see the spores in other materials at similar quantities and we know that the material is from a clinical (or soon to be clinical) hive.
So the quantification part is important. However, as we have contradicted numerous times, stated in talks and yet is still in the NZ Beekeeping document, AFB spores are *not* found 'almost everywhere'.
High numbers of spores are only found in clinical hives - or hives that are found to be clinical in the next inspection
 

NickWallingford

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I think the point being made is that when the AFB PMP was thought up, the only practicable way to identify AFB was the use of the likes of the rope test, So only equipment with symptoms is destroyed
When the PMP was created - middle late 1990s - we were all aware that the future advances in spore testing would lead to improvements in the identification of AFB at a stage less likely to lead to spread. As others have said, even before you find the first ropey cell, it may well have spread...

This from the NBA's 1997 application for a PMP:

Adult Bee and Honey Tests
It has been demonstrated that it is possible to test bees and honey to determine the presence of Bacillus larvae spores
in a colony (Hornitzky, 1988; Hornitzky and Karlovskis, 1989), and to determine the likelihood of that colony having
American foulbrood disease either now or in the future (Goodwin et al, 1993b). In most cases the testing procedures
appear to be more sensitive than visual examinations. The use of honey and bee testing could therefore be used to
enhance an elimination programme.

I find it amazing that the NZBI discussion paper refers to a "Main Point" of their proposed submission being:

5. Spore testing and other technology remains a beekeeper’s choice.

Someone said to me the other day "You know, I'd have to question the motives of a beekeeper who would be actively opposed to a means of better dealing with AFB..."
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
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Someone said to me the other day "You know, I'd have to question the motives of a beekeeper who would be actively opposed to a means of better dealing with AFB..."
Although, to be fair Nick, unless you do not believe that these are better means to dealing with it. And with methods like the Foster method using swabs, they are a tool in the toolbox - nothing replaces visual inspection. Its just that visual inspection is not the be-all and end-all.
 

NickWallingford

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Although, to be fair Nick, unless you do not believe that these are better means to dealing with it. And with methods like the Foster method using swabs, they are a tool in the toolbox - nothing replaces visual inspection. Its just that visual inspection is not the be-all and end-all.
I agree, but would just hope that bkprs recognise the toolbox potential of these methods. And acknowledge the rigour of peer review, rather than seemingly passing it all off as a passing fad or sycophantic fancy. Spore testing can readily audit whether adequate steps are being taken to deal to a disease outbreak.

The spore number differences involved are very much not small - the spore counts that should concern us all are readily differentiated from any 'background' numbers of AFB spores.

Spore counts were used primarily in a diagnostic role in years past, and the test was often a culturing process. With some of the results I am seeing in current research, spore testing for its predictive capability could be a real game changer if we are truly interested in eliminating AFB.
 
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Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
If I had a AFB outbreak that I was pretty sure was caused by my bees robbing someone else's then I think I would do a swab test and burn any hives that hives that had a high spore count and save myself a lot of hassle. I have a high degree of confidence in this new bit of science.
A beekeeper in the CleanHive project that has just finished, did just that John . . . if the spore levels came back at the unfortunately-high level then he knew it was either clinical or about to go clinical. He had purchased infected hives and spread the disease . . .but managed to clean it out of his operation within a season.
 


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