AFB

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My biggest disappointment with the management agency is that they allowed the use of top bar hives in New Zealand. I still believe that the law should be changed so that all hives must have frames and that the frames must be designed with the bee space in mind. I don't care what shape hives people have their bees in but they should all have removable frames and not sticks.
 
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My biggest disappointment with the management agency is that they allowed the use of top bar hives in New Zealand. I still believe that the law should be changed so that all hives must have frames and that the frames must be designed with the bee space in mind. I don't care what shape hives people have their bees in but they should all have removable frames and not sticks.
in that tone, one thing i dislike with the management agency is that the "rules" for afb are optional for organic beekeepers.
the last refresher course we took had "no feeding honey back to hives, unless your an organic beekeeper".
 

Alastair

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Is that a rule or a suggestion Tristan? I see no point to it, because organic beekeepers could feed organic sugar and thus remain organic without having to feed honey.
 
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My biggest disappointment with the management agency is that they allowed the use of top bar hives in New Zealand. I still believe that the law should be changed so that all hives must have frames and that the frames must be designed with the bee space in mind. I don't care what shape hives people have their bees in but they should all have removable frames and not sticks.
in that tone, one thing i dislike with the management agency is that the "rules" for afb are optional for organic beekeepers.
the last refresher course we took had "no feeding honey back to hives, unless your an organic beekeeper".
Perhaps these thoughts could be bought up in the next AFB review/survey
 

Alastair

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Top bar discussions and the legality of them was argued to death a few years ago.

Eventually the management agency put out a statement to clarify the issue and give a clear guideline. I do not have the exact wording, but the essence of it was that they decided to consider the word "frame", as a structure that would hold a comb. So the top bar would be considered a frame, and provided the comb could be readily removed for inspection, the management agency was fine with it. The comb did not have to be completely surrounded by the frame.

I see no reason why they would alter this position.
 
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Is that a rule or a suggestion Tristan? I see no point to it, because organic beekeepers could feed organic sugar and thus remain organic without having to feed honey.
depends a little bit on what you mean.
as far as organics go afaik some organics won't allow feeding of sugar. however, from back in the day, those sort of things varied depending on who you talked to and how much organic sugar cost.
so afb management appeared to have lowered the afb standards to allow them to feed back honey. which we all know is an absolutely fantastic way of spreading afb.
why they just don't leave honey on beats me. thats the simplest way to keep bees fed. we did that for years when clover wasn't worth taking off the hives.
 
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If feeding frames of honey back to bees was a major cause of AFB then there wouldn't be a hive left in New Zealand because they all would have been burnt years ago.. Feed honey taken off properly checked hives is less of a risk than feeding sugar. Feeding sugar especially with the hordes of neighbouring hives will always cause some robbing no matter how careful you are , and robbing is a great way to spread AFB.
 
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If feeding frames of honey back to bees was a major cause of AFB then there wouldn't be a hive left in New Zealand because they all would have been burnt years ago.
thats a bit silly. it doesn't "cause" afb, its just one method of spreading it.

Feed honey taken off properly checked hives
and thats the caveat. often those with afb problems are due to lack of properly checking hives. however its easy enough to miss especially with poor mite control which is common with organic mite treatments.

Feed honey taken off properly checked hives is less of a risk than feeding sugar. Feeding sugar especially with the hordes of neighbouring hives will always cause some robbing no matter how careful you are , and robbing is a great way to spread AFB.
i disagree a bit, simply because they are robbing sugar, not infected honey.
its not until they are robbing out weak hives, and most likely those hives are weak because they are dying from afb (not going to get afb from a hive dying of something else). which is going to happen regardless of how they are fed.

the simple thing, transferring of gear and especially feed, is a very good way to spread afb and turn a small problem into a big one.
add in the fact that so many organic beeks are beginners, and the afb course is given to beginners, its really bad form to be teaching them how to beekeep badly from day one. they simply do not have the inspection skills or the understanding and attitude towards afb.
 

Alastair

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Feeding sugar especially with the hordes of neighbouring hives will always cause some robbing no matter how careful you are , and robbing is a great way to spread AFB.

Hmm i don't think I could agree with that, I've fed sugar to a few thousand hives in my day and it is perfectly possible to do it without robbing.
 
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Canterbury
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depends a little bit on what you mean.
as far as organics go afaik some organics won't allow feeding of sugar. however, from back in the day, those sort of things varied depending on who you talked to and how much organic sugar cost.
so afb management appeared to have lowered the afb standards to allow them to feed back honey. which we all know is an absolutely fantastic way of spreading afb.
why they just don't leave honey on beats me. thats the simplest way to keep bees fed. we did that for years when clover wasn't worth taking off the hives.
A Standard is the minimum considered as acceptable. It doesn't mean best practice. It is illegal to feed honey from infected hives, but it is legal to feed honey.

I agree with you it is a high risk practice. If you have AFB in your operation you must not feed honey to your bees.
I know two previously certified organic beekeepers that ended up with high incidence of Afb partially because of this practice, but mostly because they always kept two full supers on and staff was too lazy to lift these boxes and inspect for AFB.
By the time they found disease it was already robbed out (this was pre-varroa)
 
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West Coast
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Is that a rule or a suggestion Tristan? I see no point to it, because organic beekeepers could feed organic sugar and thus remain organic without having to feed honey.
To feed organic sugar you had to give a reason as to why you did not save enough honey for the bees to feed on. I know this because I had so many discussions with the certifying agencies as to why I did not leave S.Rata on my hives for feed.May be things have changed
 
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You can control robbing from sugar feeding when you're doing it but feeding sugar stirs the hives up and if you go back the next day you will find the bees in an agitated state. When you have a neighbour with 140 hives two paddocks away then whichever one of you feeds sugar is going to stir things up and if one of you has an AFB problem chances are you will soon be sharing it.
 

James

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AFB..... the unseen enemy. No ,matter what you do to protect yourself, it's a big bad world out there and there is always a curved ball.
I was having a big think the other day as we were taking honey off. We had stripped the hives of honey over a month ago .... no disease.
This time around I found one hive with one cell ....
The yard of bees had had a big year. Came out of wintering sites and moved to apple pollination in South Canterbury, then went over to the coast to Kamahi, then up to Otira for Rata, then home to the dew. It was a very social year and they did a lot of miles.
We try our best with disease control and elimination, but at the end of the day, can only be as good as our neighbour ..... and some of our neighbours practices send shudders down my spine.
 
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8,202
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maungaturoto
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When you have a neighbour with 140 hives
well when you have "beeks" like that.......... :rolleyes:
one of the big causes of stirring hives up is time on site. with 140 hives your going to be there a long time feeding which will stir them up.

some of our storage sites/aeras may have 100+ hives but its in 4-5 sites and none in line of site of each other. its very quick to feed each group and its rare to see any robbing. most of this aera is all small sites. the farmers would be somewhat annoyed if we took over the few flat areas and covered it all with hives.
 
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1,088
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great barrier island
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How did this all end up Nikki?
it turns out there’s 24 registered beeks on great barrier, way more than I thought there would be !!
13% of all the registered hives were inspected, they found a few unregistered sites but no more infected hives. The other case turned out to be a false alarm.
The lab haven’t confirmed my AFB sample yet so i haven’t been issued an order to destroy anything else at this stage.

There is still no clear cause of the infection and I think most likely is a brood box that was put on the hive in summer (from another hive within the apiary) to take as a split later may have had spores which pushed this hive into clinical symptoms. but until the DNA results come in we can only guess.

Dwayne (afbpmp) and Johnny (ap2) also had to contend with lockdown in their last two days on the island. They were professional, friendly and helpful and i’m glad they came.
 

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