View Poll Results: Do you want an Apiary Inspection Service?

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  • yes

    22 36.07%
  • no

    39 63.93%
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Results 101 to 116 of 116
  1. #101
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
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    havana fl
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    1,340

    Post

    So how does an inspector guarantee he is not spreading diseases from one hive to another or one yard to another? If you get AFB spores on your hands and your tools and on the steering wheel of your truck, bee suet, shoes, pens, inspection reports even the tires of your truck??? What if an inspector intentionally wants to spread disease to put a competitor out of business? After all, all is fair in love and business. When it comes to money, people do some of the worst things imaginable.
    Im really not that serious

  2. #102
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Post

    Thanks pj, that makes it clearer.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  3. #103
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Good questions mac. I'm glad you asked. Apiary Inspector Disease Syndrome is what Speedybee's article from way back in the early 1980s called it.

    I can tell you what precautions are taken here in NY to avoid the spread of AFB by Apiary Inspectors.

    Here, we wash our hands and hive tool and smoker after finding an AFB colony in a yard and after we finish inspecting an apiary. So, no spores on the steering wheel or other parts of the reports or truck.

    Think about what you are asking also. Where do bees get the AFB spores from? (retorical question to spur thinking on the part of the reader) Bees don't get AFB spores off of steering wheels, beesuits, shoes, pens, inspection reports or tires. They don't forage there.

    As easy as it appears for colonies to get AFB it is also quite hard. The right conditions have to be aligned. Presence of AFB spores in the brood food of the right age larvae in a non-hygenic colony of bees.

    I'm sure that there are plenty of you all that will take exception with that simplification, but there it is.

    It is certainly possible for someone to take AFB tainted honey and spread it around apiaries to try to put someone out of business or to provide themselves with more work. That person doesn't have to be an Apiary Inspector. Do you know anyone who has done that? Do you know OF anyone who has done that?

    In the realm of imagination, anything CAN happen. But does it and how often, really. Taking into account the total number of colonies, apiaries and beekeepers that have been inspected over the past 50 years, how many have been a negative experience for the beekeeper. I can tell you that most of my experiences have been positive ones. Not all, but most, more than 90%, I'd say. Maybe more.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  4. #104
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    3,401

    Post

    > So how does an inspector guarantee he is not
    > spreading diseases from one hive to another or
    > one yard to another?

    Funny story - years ago, I attended my first
    EAS meeting. I was hanging out at the apiary
    waiting for the start of one of the workshops,
    and saw a gentleman standing there, cleaning
    his hive tool with a paper towel.

    I complemented him on his nice shiny hive tool,
    and he instantly launched into a 5-minute tirade
    on how "YOU REALLY HAVE TO KEEP YOUR HIVE
    TOOL CLEAN TO KEEP FROM SPREADING AFB!!!
    "
    My head swam - the first person I meet, and he
    thinks he some sort of Navy Drill Instructor.
    So, I act like a good little midshipman, and
    await the end of his performance.

    After a bit, he runs out of steam, so I'm
    able to interject "Really, I do keep
    my hive tool clean, I have for years - I've
    just never seen anyone with a chromed hive
    tool before, and I thought it looked cool."

    It was Bill Troup, one of the MD State Bee
    Inspectors, and a person who bothered to
    take the EAS Master Beekeeper test, who
    was to lead the workshop. We are good
    friends now, but he still obsessively
    cleans his hive tool with rubbing alcohol,
    wears disposable gloves to keep his hands
    clean, and so on.

    All this is despite clear and compelling
    evidence from controlled studies that it
    takes a LOT more than a dirty hive tool
    or dirty hands to transfer AFB from one
    hive to another - you have to really work
    hard at it, doing things like moving frames
    or supers between an infected hive and an
    uninfected hive.

    So, even though it is overkill, most bee
    inspectors bend over backwards, even to
    the point of wearing surgeon's gloves,
    which are hot and uncomfortable.

  5. #105
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
    Location
    Huntington, West Virginia, USA
    Posts
    438

    Post

    I know Bill also, and that is a REALLY funny story, Jim. You nailed him. He is a great guy, but very obsessive about that hive tool. Thanks for sharing it. -Danno

  6. #106
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    24,473

    Post

    J F, your story reminds me of when I attened EAS at Lancaster, PA. There were 5 or 6 hives on hand for demonstration purposes. I was there when a beekeeper said to Jack Mathinious, NJ State Apiarist, that he thought that one of the hives had AFB. Jack went over to the hive, got down on his knees, stuck his nose near the entrance and took a deep breath and said, "Yes, you are right." I don't remember what happened next, but I remember that.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  7. #107
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Schenectady, NY, USA
    Posts
    254

    Post

    Mark invited me to comment on putting restrictions on inspections. You all need to know that Inspectors are under very strict rules that prevent them from telling other, privately or publically, information that they get as part of their position as inspectors with the NYS Dept. of Ag. and Markets.

    Three years ago, I think, I got a call from an inspector I had never heard of that he wanted to inspect some of my yards. He called our honey house in the evening...when we are not normally there, and left a message. I called back the next day, and the phone rang repeatly with no answering machine. Knowing Dept. policy was 'no contact, no inspection', I felt I had fulfilled my obligation and forgot the matter.

    At the time I was following a recommendation by the USDA foulbrood guru that we try ceasing terramyacin treatment...yard by yard.

    Several days later I was surprised to receive a notice that, contrary to NYS Inspection Guidelines, said inspector had gone into one of my yards without my consent and found AFB. I did two things (1) called Mungari, the guy in charge, and complained and (2) inspected the hive in question.

    Mungari apologized, said it would not happen again, etc. The hive in question was in one of the two yards that I had gone 'cold turkey' on the year before. No AFB in that year, but now it was clearly there. (I subsequently found out that it is normal for AFB to only show the 2nd year after stopping Terra. treatment.) It did, in fact, have AFB as did another hive in the yard (which the inspector had missed). The law is that the beekeeper is not to move the hives until the diagnosis is confirmed by a lab test (STUPID LAW). But I immediately moved both hives to a location where they were both burned.

    Now...Mungari had promised me that there would be no more inspections until I had been contacted and agreed, and understood that since my hives were supered for the flow that I would not agree until fall, when I had pulled honey supers. He put that in writing.

    Said inspector, and note that I am not using his name, either decided to ignore Mungari's instructions or never received those instructions, and proceeded to sneak into several more of my yards. (In one instance he presumably told the owners of the property he had my permission!) In one yard he 'thought' he saw lots more AFB and proceeded to mark the equipment with a permendent marker. With the same marker he also made notes about swarm cells, state of the queen, etc.

    I was furious. I found that he also left off excluders, put the queen above the excluder in at least one hive, etc. In addition, I could not find any AFB. Mungari was full of apologies and sounded very upset his instructions were not followed. THE AFB LAB TESTS CAME BACK 'NO DISEASE'. I was left with (1) a significant honey loss due to hive disturbance and (2) lots of equipment with inappropriate markings.

    I take pride in my hive appearances, and this marked stuff is still around, and will be until I bring it in for repainting!

    Others have had similar problems with this inspector. We (beekeepers in the area) do talk to each other and the word gets around. At least 2 others have also complained to Mungari, but the guy still has a job!

    So, as Mark says, we can say put limitations on Inspection and as long as this guy is around I have said 'no inspections' in my yards. And I know others who have done the same.

    Unfortunately, this is not the end of the story. I got this Inspector in difficulty with Mungari. In apparent retaliation he has been bad-mouthing me to all who mention my name. This past year he made the mistake of doing so to a member of the NYS Advisory Council, who reported him to Mungari (and later told me he did so). Did Mungari see this as a Conflict of Interest?

    Who, in their right mind, would want inspections when guys like this are allowed to run loose?
    Lloyd Spear, Owner of Ross Rounds, Inc. Manufacturers of round section comb equipment and Sundance Pollen Traps.

  8. #108
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    New York City
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    3,401

    Post

    > Others have had similar problems with this inspector

    Then the actual solution to the problem is NOT
    to place up-front structural restrictions on the
    inspectors, but to better support the State
    Apiarist, and lobby to get him the power to hire
    and fire at whim.

    Think about it - the State Apiarist was not a
    complete moron, like any manager, he KNEW he
    had a "problem employee", and he KNEW he was
    sitting on a time-bomb. No manager likes to
    be in that position, but when one works for
    a government agency, it is difficult to hire
    and fire based upon actual performance.

    The alternative solution may be to make all
    inspectors independent contractors, to allow
    the state apiarist to draft agreements with
    strict "performance" criteria, and short-fuse
    termination clauses.

    There will always be lunatics in beekeeping.
    The type of person who has an affinity for
    stinging insects is clearly not "normal" to
    start with. [img]smile.gif[/img] But there are ways to solve
    the problems, and address the valid concerns
    of beekeepers without eliminating all the
    SKILLED people from the poll of potential
    inspectors right off the bat.

    So, in short, the problem was not enough
    beekeepers watching the back of the State
    Apiarist, which is inexcusable. If my State
    Apiarist asked me for anything at all, I'd
    jump to it. Why? 'Cause I "owe" him.
    I don't have any idea what he's doing next
    week, but I "owe him" regardless.

  9. #109
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
    Posts
    3,355

    Post

    Lloyd, as you see from posts here and I expect in your dealings with other beekeepers these types of things are not isolated. This is the common concensus among vitrually all of the beekeepers I speak with. One strong supporter in particular is our past, now defunct club, president who was so supportive that he invited one of the now senior inspectors to a club meeting and subsequently gave the membership list to this inspector without consent of the membership. Despite this the clubs position was to support the program and I believe almost every member, including me, scheduled inspections. In the end, for a variety of reasons including inspectors not showing up for inspections as scheduled, the un-necessary destruction of all infected bees and equipment, alleged crushed queens, the tenor of some of the encounters, the support went south quickly. This past supporter who animatedly worked to gain support for inspection no longer allows inspection of his hives and is clear he does not support the inspection program in its' current set up, as is the same with most of the members.

    I give a standing ovation to whomever or what ever stepped in to bring the whole conflict of interest issue to the forefront. It will make inspections more difficult for now ( if that is possible) in the interim but it is forcing the department to do some introspection and hopefully make make some needed changes. If this does not come about on it's own I am confident beekeepers in the state will make it happen.

  10. #110
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Troupsburg, NY
    Posts
    4,082

    Post

    "Then the actual solution to the problem is NOT
    to place up-front structural restrictions on the
    inspectors, but to better support the State
    Apiarist, and lobby to get him the power to hire
    and fire at whim."

    I don't think we have a state apiarist. That is one of the many problems with the current program. I don't know what the solution for this persistant problem would be, but the current program is more of a problem than a solution, and would need drastic overhauls to be successful. There is also the past tensions with NY inspectors that will cause future problems until NY beekeeps develop trust of the new program. Joel brings up valid points about not having a pool of skilled inspectors to draw from, and with the elimitation of the commecial beekeeps from consideration for a job as an inspector, there is a large void of skilled inspectors acceptable for the available jobs. What NYS deems acceptable inspectors might not be what NYS beekeeps deem aceptable.
    "I reject your reality, and substitute my own." Adam Savage

  11. #111
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Minnesota, USA
    Posts
    307

    Post

    I can't say that I've read every word of every post in this thread, but I've come to a conclusion.

    Last week I received a letter from the MN Department of Agriculure asking my opinion on whether the Apiary program should be disbanded. I have decided to vote for disbanding it. I have no idea what this "vote" means. Probably nothing. But it's most interesting that there is discussion on simply repealing all the state regulations.

    My conclusion is that, in today's political environment of cutting costs, there is no chance that funding will be found to maintain a good program. The funds available can either be used to hire a very few good people or to hire a larger number of inexperienced ones. Neither of these alternatives serves either the commercial or hobby beekeeper. To me, this is a case of "do it right" or "don't do it at all". Since the former is not possible, I will vote for the latter.

    In the best of all worlds, a state apiary program could be a valuable asset, and I would support it. We are far from this "best of all worlds". I don't think that we can convince our state politicians that funding an apiary program is in the public interest, so let's face reality and give it up.

  12. #112
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    24,473

    Post

    Lloyd, the Apiary Inspectors in your area last year were Rip Bechmann, Bruce hauser and Allan Nirschl. Is the person who you refer to amongst those? From when you are talking about, the Inspector that you are refering to isn't working and hasn't been working for two years. Do you know his initials?

    On another note, but along these lines. My comments, at Joel's prompting, but I'm sure that he had no way of knowing that I would react that way, sorry Joel, were out of line, uncalled for and unprofessional of me. So, Mr. Lloyd Spear, I apologize for what I said and I hope you accept my apology in the spirit that it is given.

    Lloyd Spear has PMed me about this, but didn't dmand or ask for it. As he can confirm, if necessary.

    I am not doing this to try to save my job. Since I plan on keeping my bees, I don't see how I could be hired. Unless someone sees the light and changes policy. But with my attitude about folks who have rubbed me the wrong way, personally and professionally, maybe I am the wrong person for the job.

    But most importantly, Lloyd, I'm sorry and I'll try to keep my comments and opinions about you and others on a more mature and professional level.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  13. #113
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    Dec 2005
    Location
    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Joel, If Robert J. Mungari, Director of Plant Industry and Edward Rowley, Deputy Ethics Officer are to be believed, and I choose to believe them until shown otherwise, this descission isn't because of complaints.

    We, Apiary Inspectors, haven't received the "Approval of Outside Activity" form to fill out for some years now. Perhaps not since we came back to full force in 2000. Lloyd, do you remember filling one out?

    We used to get them every year or so, in March, from 1986 to 1995 anyway.

    The chain of events, in relation to this form, as far as I know, was in September word went out to Inspectors that if they owned bees they had to be on the list of apiaries, if they weren't. Any new yards had to be registered. So, we did.

    A while later the "Approval of Outside Activities" form came to us. It must have been dated October 4, 2005, since that is what was said in my letter that informed me of the dissapproval. So I must have sent mine in before the end of the month, since I went to Maryland to be with my Mother and Sister on Saturday October 1st.

    Now, on February 8th, I received this letter of disapproval, dated February 3, 2006. Four months later? Does it really take that long to make a descission like this? That long to get all of the opinions from the State's Ethics Commission? Apparently so. And I doubt that this was very high on the to do list, since we weren't working again until April or May.

    Anybody have any insight?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  14. #114
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Could the Conflict of Interest that this descission is based on be called "Corruption" as defined by state law?

    If so wouldn't those who have known of this Conflict of Interest be lible for disiplinary action? On the Conduct and Responsibility handout, under Code of Ethics it says, "You must fully comply with the intent of the State Code of Ethics and shall: .................
    4. Expose corruption if and when discovered."

    Wouldn't that encompass almost everyone connected with Apiary inspection at the Department level since 1950, when the program started, and up until now?

    There are plenty of people who know that we keep bees. And have known for years. So, shouldn't others be held responsible and to just as high a standard?
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

  15. #115
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Erin, NY /Florence SC
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    Mark, I don't know anywhere in the law where corruption is specifically defined. I do think it need more than just what has happened, probably much more. If it is not defined in either Penal or Executive law than the definition as standard in legal cases fall back on the common dictionary definitions. It would likely be in NYS Executive Law if it is anywhere. I will check on this tomorrow.

    I have met and spoken with Ed Rowley numerous times, he has been with Ag. & Mkts at least since 1984. I find him very straight forward and having a clear opinion on legal issues. He is the type of person you can call on the phone and ask questions.

    I don't know that Lloyd should name names, I don't know it matters. The particular inspector problems are a symptom of the department and not significant as to who is the problem or whether they are still inspectors or not.

  16. #116
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    Dec 2005
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    Brasher Falls, NY, USA
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    Oh, I agree about naming names. I know that these guys stand behind what they do and I'd be surprised if there is anything that they wouldn't admit to. this is not to say that what Lloyd said didn't happen. It wouldn't surprise me. I seem to remember some one telling us to try to make contact and then it's the beekeepers responsibility to get to us. I'm sure that that would be denyed, but that is not unusual either.

    I have talked to Ed Rowley a number of times lately too and found him as you said. He's been there since 1984? And he said that he had never seen these forms come across his desk. Hmm. Makes me wonder. Of course, perhaps it wasn't his area of pervue, early on.

    Thanks Joel.
    Mark Berninghausen "Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Zora Neale Hurston

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