"High-risk beekeeping operations" - take three...

NickWallingford

BOP Club
Messages
92
Location
Tauranga
Experience
Retired
The November summary minutes of the AFB PMP Mgmt Committee had the following:

"At the time the 2020/21 budget was set it was assumed that the High Risk Beekeeping operations identified would own an average of several hundred beehives each. However, since June 2020 all of the High Risk Beekeepers identified owned less than 100 beehives."

That is more in keeping with the expectations from the past, when it was always felt that both hobbyists and commercial beekeepers were less of an AFB outbreak risk than the side-line beekeeper with, say, 50 or 75 hives. Pressures of time, changes in interest, changes in returns, etc - all of those could lead to outbreaks for someone who did not depend on beekeeping for a substantial part of their livelihood.

I've always hoped that hobbyists, driven by serious interest in their bees, might deal responsibly with a diseased hive. And if they do have an outbreak, it is confined to a small number of hives, generally.
 
Messages
8,288
Location
maungaturoto
Experience
Commercial
absolutely. semi-commercial has always been high risk beekeeping, especially when they are beginners.
lack of ability and knowledge combined with enough hives to cause big problems. add in time pressure from doing two jobs.

true hobbyists (not the fashion accessory flakes) have the passion and drive to look after their bees well.
 
Messages
5,234
Location
canterbury
Experience
Commercial
I like the new Hive Hub AFB notification system
I got a notification this morning, but unlike previous notes, it actaully listed the physical address of the yards affected, so I did'nt have to wonder where the heck MAF ID 218, 306, 125 and 342 were.
They were actually very close to home.
Half an hour later I got a TXt from me mate who has a bee yard just around the hill..... and had found a burner.

Hive tools at dawn.

Who infected who ?I gotta a lot of time for my neighbour.

We pulled all our bees out of the valley over twelve weeks ago. Funnily enough, as we were taking honey off six weeks ago we found a burner that came from the valley.
Funnily enough too ..... several years ago we pulled all the bees out of the Whitecliffs valley . Its a great spring build up area, but we were plagued with AFB and were always burning hives ..... and got tired of digging holes.

Perhaps the motherload still lurks in one of the many lifestyle sections, because as we all know, we are never the root cause.
 
Messages
66
Location
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Interesting to talk with a large commercial beekeeper last night who fears that feral hives (however temporary) are a cause of one apiary getting a few burners every few years. Given the tools that are now available (and being developed) then genomic tracing (as being done with COVID) would be interesting to track these infections in a given apiary ie is it being reinfected from the same source . . .or different sources?
 
Messages
13
Location
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
Interesting to talk with a large commercial beekeeper last night who fears that feral hives (however temporary) are a cause of one apiary getting a few burners every few years. Given the tools that are now available (and being developed) then genomic tracing (as being done with COVID) would be interesting to track these infections in a given apiary ie is it being reinfected from the same source . . .or different sources?
Suspect the same source would be quite likely. The source being ferals seems less likely to me. Would be a fun project.
 
Messages
3,238
Location
Hawksbay
Experience
Commercial
Interesting to talk with a large commercial beekeeper last night who fears that feral hives (however temporary) are a cause of one apiary getting a few burners every few years. Given the tools that are now available (and being developed) then genomic tracing (as being done with COVID) would be interesting to track these infections in a given apiary ie is it being reinfected from the same source . . .or different sources?
I have found that the vast majority of AFB even in recurring cases comes from neighbouring beekeepers rather than feral hives but there are a couple of areas in Hawke's Bay that if you keep hives near them you will get AFB every few years. One of these areas has been like that for 50 years that I know of. In these cases I think it probably is feral hives that die from AFB and get robbed out and then get a new swarm in them a year or two later and so the cycle continues.
I strongly suspect that when a hive in an apiary finds a honey source such as a dead AFB hive drifting bees going into the wrong hive spread the information of its location around the apiary. Feral hives being generally further apart have little or no drift and so are considerably less likely to find the source and become infected. I once did an inspection where I think 13/14 hives in an apiary were infected and we found the source of the infection in a neighbouring apiary. I also found three bee trees within hundred and 50 m of the 13 infected hives and managed to get samples from each tree and they were clean.
 
Messages
21
Location
Canterbury
Experience
Hobbyist
Interesting to talk with a large commercial beekeeper last night who fears that feral hives (however temporary) are a cause of one apiary getting a few burners every few years.
I think a feral beekeeper near him is the most likely source. Second choice would be an abandoned infected apiary and the least likely source a feral colony.
 
Messages
66
Location
Gisborne Tairawhiti
Experience
Researcher
Suspect the same source would be quite likely. The source being ferals seems less likely to me. Would be a fun project.
I should have said it better Otto - and what we *actually* discussed, which was
it probably is feral hives that die from AFB and get robbed out and then get a new swarm in them a year or two later and so the cycle continues.
Yup, what @John B said..And especially with the cases every few years, not every year
 
Messages
13
Location
Dunedin
Experience
Semi Commercial
I have found that the vast majority of AFB even in recurring cases comes from neighbouring beekeepers rather than feral hives but there are a couple of areas in Hawke's Bay that if you keep hives near them you will get AFB every few years. One of these areas has been like that for 50 years that I know of. In these cases I think it probably is feral hives that die from AFB and get robbed out and then get a new swarm in them a year or two later and so the cycle continues.
I strongly suspect that when a hive in an apiary finds a honey source such as a dead AFB hive drifting bees going into the wrong hive spread the information of its location around the apiary. Feral hives being generally further apart have little or no drift and so are considerably less likely to find the source and become infected. I once did an inspection where I think 13/14 hives in an apiary were infected and we found the source of the infection in a neighbouring apiary. I also found three bee trees within hundred and 50 m of the 13 infected hives and managed to get samples from each tree and they were clean.
I talked to a older retired beekeeper here a while back and he had experienced the same in one particular area. No other beekeepers around (back then anyway), yet AFB would always crop up. It is a spot where there are likely very limited places for feral colonies to call home so could see the same cavity getting colonized by a swarm time and again.
 
Messages
7
Location
Kirwee
Experience
Commercial
Canterbury has the unenviable title of the highest AFB counts for the country. I don't know if I have a answer but there's been a huge number of new beeks pop up. Both hobby and small startups. A few years ago there was a commercial beek with a very bad AFB issue. There's been knock on affects since then they had yards all over the place pluss they where selling nucs to new beeks ect. There's been a other operations with large AFB issues as well since then.
Now I believe some of the problems stem from inexperienced bees finding dead hives with mites and missing AFB infected cells and calling it pms splitting hives and removing one of the splits to a new yard. The other one is taking the honey supers off even honey from the brood nest of a AFB hive but when that hive is found the supers are in a shed already contaminated. Another is hobby farming that have hives that "die of the cold each winter but don't worry a swarm will fix that no worries " the next is the broken beek with unregistered sites no money to waste on doing the rounds ect. The last I hope is not happening yet but I believe will.
That was my 2c
 

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