tool to eliminate American Foulbrood gives hope

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NickWallingford

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Publicity relating to swab testing advances...

A new technology helping fight against a bee-killing disease is a "massive breakthrough", an Otago apiarist says.
New Zealand Alpine Honey owner and Project CleanHive chairman Peter Ward, of Hawea, said he ran about 5000 hives across Otago, Southland and the West Coast.
The operation was one of the biggest in the South Island.

 

yesbut

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You could offer a cheap pre-checking service James....get everyone to send their swabs to you for a preliminary sniff ? If a wagging tail or whatever, then forward to lab
 
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Like Peter says , this is exciting stuff ......science in action.
I wonder how far out we are from a commercial roll out , and the b ig question ....
What's it gonna cost ?
Yes, it is commercially available.
It's called the Foster method: American Foulbrood (AFB)
It doesnt replace visual inspections - its another tool in the toolbox.
Cost? Depends on the pool size but for screening suspect hives eg a quarantine apiary. . . a little over $11 a hive.
Hopefully this will decrease as we establish the ability for larger pools - but of course this will depend on prevalence in a certain apiary (otherwise all the pool come back positive)

There are other articles that have also come out at the same time eg
 
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NickWallingford

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Low positives would not be a reason for me to burn hives. I would however burn any hives that came back with spore counts high enough that they would probably become clinical cases in the future.
And a low positive result for an apiary, say, could be used as a trigger to change management slightly, like maybe ensure that the honey boxes go back onto the same hives, or at least within that same apiary. If there is AFB about, it is only by changing *something* that it can be reduced/eliminated. More/better inspections, restrict bee and equipment transfers when possible, ensure gear goes back to the same hive/apiary. I would like to hope that this tool for screening might provide a lot of opportunity for better practices relating to AFB, particularly sub-clinical cases.
 

yesbut

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What does the law say about a "positive swab" ? Does this mean the same as "if AFB is found" ? I'm not asking what would you do , I'm asking what the law says.
 
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Under the AFB PMS only an AP one can order the destruction of a hive and then only if it has clinical symptoms of AFB.
I believe the bio security act has been used recently to order the destruction of infected and possibly infected gear but I'm not a hundred percent clear on exactly how that works and whether it could also be applied to hives with high spore counts.
 
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This morning I got three notifications of AFB hives from Hive hub.
We don't have hives in the vicinity at the momment as we moved them all to the Dew back in February.

The interesting thing is that I went through the hives that came up from those sites in the autumn, and again last weekend ,,,,,, and found a plastering of AFB.
I am , of course, blameless.
I got infected by some casual.
Yeah right.

So we have a Mexican standoff.
And the AFB saga goes on.
Eradication is so hard.

Which got me to thinking how we can capitalise on the technology of Hivehub to make management decisions as to where we, as migratory beekeepers place hives during the season, bearing in mind that all of the hives went into pollination.
Perhaps a map of our area with Red Zones identified ...... and we can perhaps decline the contracts.
 
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And the really big question. Will people 🔥with a positive swab, but negative inspection?
Low positives would not be a reason for me to burn hives. I would however burn any hives that came back with spore counts high enough that they would probably become clinical cases in the future.
A match in time saves nine.

The question for all beekeepers is what we want to do? Do you want to eliminate the clinical signs of AFB? Or eradicate the bacteria permanently.
Eliminate means we may have low levels of the bacteria present but strategies mean it is kept low and we do not see clinical signs or spread.
In the case of the swabs, we can detect low levels that experience to date (4 years) tells us will not progress to clinical signs . . or even increase? This is at levels 1/100th the amount where we might be concerned.
We do and have detected preclinical hives where entrance spores are very high and yet the beekeeper did not see or missed clinical signs. Subseqent inspection found the clinical signs
 
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If I had a clinical AFB that was the first one detected in New Zealand for five years and some of the other hives were subclinical then I would burn the whole site but while I have inconsiderate neighbours donating spores without a second thought I don't really see the point unless the spore loading is high enough to become clinical in the future
 

NickWallingford

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If I had a clinical AFB that was the first one detected in New Zealand for five years ...
Now there's an interesting thought, John. How long will/would the NZ beekeeping industry still support the AFB PMP once AFB has been "eliminated"? It may well be that we will need to keep a minimal PMP in place, simply to keep AFB as a prohibited organism and from future importations?
 


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