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Thread: AFB in South Aberdeenshire

  1. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Greengage View Post
    When the Bee pest Ireland bill was passed in 1908 there was a fine of 5 that equates to 540 in todays money, (according to google calculator)There is no penalty today, Nor is there anyone to Know. Now before you start telling me its the law and you should and must do this I know, but there are lots of Keepers of bees who are outside all regulation, Neither members of clubs or affiliated to organisations. Because we have no Inspection I doubt if lots would know what to look for, I know keepers of bees who still cannot see eggs or tell the differance between queens and drones.
    http://hansard.millbanksystems.com/l...t-ireland-bill
    I am mentoring - sorry .. helping out in problems when she rings me- one lady who is in the position GG describes. Not registered, not a member...and lost three hives over the past three winters. The current one is her fourth...

  2. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Calluna4u View Post
    The EFB alert for South Queensferry is a single outlier, and very light too, at one of my poly apiaries in the Mid and West Lothian range. We have several cases, but. as usual, they are very much centred on Broxburn. Its always centred there for some reason.
    Thanks for the openness in regards to this. It can be very alarming to see multiple nbu emails coming in with no context.

    Do you think there is a typhoid Mary hive not linked to you in the area? Or could it be cross contamination from equipment or other source. It would be good to identify the problem and remove it for future years.
    Do you think you have a higher number of cases due to the level of inspection and staff experience? Are hobbyists missing signs of efb?

    Apologies for the number of questions.



    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by alclosier View Post
    Thanks for the openness in regards to this. It can be very alarming to see multiple nbu emails coming in with no context.

    Do you think there is a typhoid Mary hive not linked to you in the area? Or could it be cross contamination from equipment or other source. It would be good to identify the problem and remove it for future years.
    Do you think you have a higher number of cases due to the level of inspection and staff experience? Are hobbyists missing signs of efb?

    Apologies for the number of questions.
    No problem with the questions. I strongly believe in the openness bit anyway. People end up with foulbroods generally through no fault of their own though obviously this is not always the case, and stigmatising such people does not good at all, and drives secrecy, which in turn causes people both to be ignorant of the risks in their area and/or to be suspicious of others.

    To be honest the driving force in the EFB infection in our bees is most probably based n the equipment itself. Sub clinical levels are probably present that only show up at times of stress or various types. Taking out the infected colonies keeps a lid on it but I fully expect to be dealing with sporadic EFB for the rest of my life now. It will probably decline a lot further from the current situation, but it is now in the area and I don't expect it to be actually eradicated.

    I have a few suspected mechanisms for this, and the main one to me is the extracting room. With the number of colonies we have, pushing up towards 3000, it is actually impossible to keep individual hive equipment and to wash down and sterilise the system after every colony's honey.

    Having said that we are now in a situation where our rates of infection are below the national average, from a very serious position back in 2009. It is a long term project to deal with this, but we are doing our best, and so far as we know we have not caused transmission of the disease onwards to neighbouring hives in the 7 years since this issue reared its head. There was a serious, deep seated, and 'probably' long term issue in our home range here, and we were recipients of that probably about three or four years prior to the 2009 diagnosis.

    So, accepting that it is at least 80% likely that the issue lies within our own unit there remains the 'Typhoid Mary' scenario as a possibility, although again it may be that the ORIGIN of the issue in the Lothians lies with ourselves.

    Prior to knowing what was going on we were heavily involved in migratory operations into the Mid and West Lothian areas. We started going there in 1992 in a big way after buying out part of the holding of a deceased commercial beekeeper active in the area for many years. In the period just before the findings we had an apiary of bees stolen near Broxburn, and event covered in the press at the time. The beekeeper was for sure local to the area, as they revisited the site more than once to steal other gear, such as supers and excluders that they would be needing for the bees they stole (Langstroth hives....so the need for odds and end made me think they were probably not a Langstroth keeper). We eventually moved the bees to another spot to get them away from the thief. The team drove the bees about 5 miles west from there and returned for the pallets.......they guy had been back in between and snaffled half of the pallets and the bait hive that was to go home with the team. Subsequently it was found that the rest of this group in fact had EFB infected colonies in it. So.... where did the stolen and never found hives go? Are they lying in a wood nearby rotten with EFB and of course, having been nefariously obtained they aint going to register them or volunteer to have them inspected.

    The higher number of cases this year.....and we are not talking a big increase......is down, in my opinion to two things. Firstly we have about 25% more bees on the ground this year. Secondly, winter cull often takes care of the less healthy, whereas this year, especially in the poly unit, there was virtually no 'winter cull' at all. The year with the big drop in cases in Scotland as a whole was the year after heavy winter losses. There were simply far fewer bees that spring.

    We chop out all comb that is from infected colonies and sterilise all the frames and boxes. The Smith unit, which was where it arose first, is now virtually clear of EFB, but almost all deep and shallow comb has been renewed in that time. In the wooden Langstroths its only the odd sporadic. In the local poly unit it is currently an issue, despite that being practically clear at the official start of the outbreak. Our poly units in Aberdeenshire and England remain clear of the issue.

    My key staff are now all very good at finding the issue and are digging it out at low levels, so your suggestion about the level of expertise being behind the rise may have a small significance.

    Amateurs? Well I doubt most would pick up an early stage infection. There has been little or no transfer into the amateur sector anyway, where AFB seems to be more of an issue. I have hosted a few training evenings for the amateur sector to see and observe active EFB and learn about it, in our hospital apiary in Perthshire where the infected hives go to be shook swarmed in conjunction with Steve Sunderland and Gavin Ramsay, but last years event was very poorly attended and I doubt that it will be repeated this year. I suspect that its flogging a dead horse in many cases trying to get folk to pay attention to this. Mental block is a thing too. Graeme Sharp said at an early stage in this event that people don't see foulbrood because they dont want to see it, and will rationalise it as anything else. In our case we thought it was parasitic mite syndrome, and actually it was both, as we also had an issue with varroa control at the time.

    Hope this deals with some of the questions.

    Murray

  4. #14

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    With reference to previous post, I could also point out that we get our main flush of symptomatic cases in spring and early summer. This is when we catch all the colonies which have developed active EFB since the previous summer. Once we have rooted those out we find relatively few. After the bees go to the heather we do not go into the nest for a full examination until the season is over, by which time most are brood free. Thus its spring before we catch up with the new cases.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Greengage's Avatar
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    Calluna4u that was very informative and interesting to read, I have said to some of the lads over here I would'nt mind visiting an Apiary to see either AFB or EFB just to see what I should be looking for but you would think I had suggested committing some serious crime no one wanted to know and I got some strange looks. Best of luck and hope all works out for you.

  6. #16
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    EFB on the rise in Austria again too I see.
    We are just advised to keep refreshing the old comb in the hives to avoid it. - If you hold the enpty frame up to the sky and can't see your hand - it shouldn't be in the hive- is the rule of thumb.
    Also wax for old combs should just be used for candles.
    Tho there is a very interesting fellow in my area that used to own a chain of brothels in Hamburg, he has a system for heating the wax beyond 100C to kill of AFB and EFB in the process for making foundation. I think the biggest difference between Germany and Austria is education - in Germany there is a huge amount going on in the clubs. The guys giving talks usually get paid for it too.

    br
    Calum

    PS Callum4u what do you recommend for sterilising large numbers of frames?
    Last edited by Calum; 20-06-2016 at 11:46 AM.

  7. #17
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    Cracking set of questions and answers.

    Murray, it seems possible that a good number of your positives come from brood frame extractions after the heather and not knowing which colonies went symptomatic in the brood while on the heather. Is this the explanation for some guys having a sharp rise in cases in some years - spreading of infection during extraction of uninspected brood combs in the previous season? Do all the commercial operators go into the brood frames for heather honey and if not do those who don't have better EFB control? Wouldn't it be sensible to do brood disease inspection in late July/August to try to reduce incidence?

    The cluster of cases in the Broxburn area is just crying out for someone to do bee lining to track down the colonies in the area. Who knows, they might even be Langs on pallets.

  8. #18

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    Murray thanks for the detailed reply.

    Sent from my Nexus 5X using Tapatalk

  9. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Cracking set of questions and answers.

    Murray, it seems possible that a good number of your positives come from brood frame extractions after the heather and not knowing which colonies went symptomatic in the brood while on the heather. Is this the explanation for some guys having a sharp rise in cases in some years - spreading of infection during extraction of uninspected brood combs in the previous season? Do all the commercial operators go into the brood frames for heather honey and if not do those who don't have better EFB control? Wouldn't it be sensible to do brood disease inspection in late July/August to try to reduce incidence?

    The cluster of cases in the Broxburn area is just crying out for someone to do bee lining to track down the colonies in the area. Who knows, they might even be Langs on pallets.
    There is only one issue, at least with the symptomatics from each spring, that goes somewhat against your theory. The bees are not on combs that have been through the extracting room, at least not in the previous season. However there is some degree of merit in your proposition if you talk over a multi year basis. Old EFB is easily detected though, and each year a HANDFULL of boxes come through that have indications that EFB has been in the colony it came from (never more than about 5 boxes btw, out of over 4000) and these are crushed and then the frames boiled in caustic soda, the boxes sterilised too.

    We do extract brood combs, yes, but that is mainly because we go onto a free run system prior to heather time, removing the excluders and letting the queen motor ahead, so any comb in the hive may be a brood comb, and upper level deep boxes are the place most of our honey comes from and also where the brood extension happens (about now actually....we are already about 30% through removing the excluders). Two enterprises I now of do not take from the brood area, and they have persistent EFB issues as well.

    We do not like brood examination on the heather. The risk of queen loss is severe, which sets off swarming and casting, and the likelihood of her being replaced successfully is pretty well nil. From past experience of continuing examinations into the heather period the loss from the consequences of interference is greater than the number of recently symptomatic colonies we would catch. The black bees have often shut down brood rearing by not far into August too, so diagnosis might become an issue surprisingly early. Once the drones are out (which is sometimes as early as mid July on the moors) they are best left as alone as can be managed.


    However, on to the BIGGER news.

    On Sunday 19th June we detected a single colony with *AFB* near Dunecht. Samples were taken and in consultation with Steve Sunderland the colony was destroyed by burning. The infection was confirmed by the lab yesterday. No other colonies were seen to have an issue. These bees are in a unit that up to now has always been clear, and in several seasons have never left Aberdeenshire. Inverurie area for winter and spring, Dinnet/Logie Coldstone area for heather, and back again. For now it seems to have been locally acquired, and I suggest most probably at heather time last year but we may never know . All nearby should be especially vigilant as other colonies may be affected too.

  10. #20

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    Just posting this here due to the Aberdeenshire connection.

    Thank you all for a nice visit to our queen unit yesterday. Very happy with how it went and there were lots of intelligent questions. I got my wrists slapped by Jolanta for something I did there as it was not the best idea (but I was in blissful ignorance at the time NOT to choose hives 12 and 13 to open as they had been thoroughly stirred up about an hour before ... lol)...... those in attendance will know what I mean....the two cell builders were not of her choosing and she wants them removed asap anyway as, although they are not breeders their temperament is not the best.....which was obvious. However in general the afternoon went well.

    Weather not the best though, thundery weather followed by a downpour. Thanks for the cakes....and one person left their shoes behind........so whoever arrived back in Aberdeenshire still in their bee boots now knows where their shoes are. If someone gets in touch we will post them up.

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