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Discussion Starter #1
Since the Apiary Inspectors of America reported that 33% of known managed colonies died last winter, in the U.S., why is their main focus on AFB? Is it because it is easy to detect by eye?

What is the breakdown of percentages of those 33% that died from AFB? According to Nic Calderone of Cornell University, only a small percentage of that 33% died from CCD related causes. So what did the other portion die from?

Since varroa, probably, have killed more colonies over the last 20 years than AFB has over the last 50 years, shouldn't the inspectors be more or equally concerned about varroa?

And then there is nosema, which it seems, combined w/ varroa, is a prime suspect in the causation of CCD. It is at least a vector for virus to be able to do it's job.

Why isn't that more part of the inspection picture?

When Apiary Inspectors inspect in NY, they look at a percentage of the colonies in the yard. They inspect those colonies for AFB. It may be 10%. The percentage varies, depending on that years policy. They also, during the last couple of years, take a composite sample, from a number of hives in the yard, for nosema testing.

Other potential problems are noted also, such as whether any fireants were noticed in or near the yard.

Very little, if any notation of or information about problems in the hives are noted on the reports or on the hives. I have been verbally notified about a cpl of hives in one yard that were queenless or drone layer, but neither hive was distinguished as such by any indicator. So I had to find it myself, which I did. And would have done during the next visit if the inspector hadn't notified me. So, what was the point of him going there or not?

Almost no Extension work is done by Apiary Inspectors in NY. They aren't supposed to by NYS Bee Laws and they aren't trained to. If any is done it is on the Inspectors own initiative.

Apiary Inspection was defunded this year because of State budget problems and lack of beekeeper support. I don't know what will happen as far as Interstate Transport. In the past, when this situation occured, a cpl of people were employed for a short period to do Interstate Transport Inspections. We'll see.
 

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Alotof the above problems, are not visble to the naked eye and take lab work to determine. While my inspectors inFL will note andtellm ofany varroa ect ABF IS VERY EASILY SPREAD, hives are ruined(need to be burned) and can not only kill bees but runinthe hives. THe mere fact that it is so easily spread from beekeeper to beekeeper makes it necessary to control.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
I agree, it is necassary to control AFB. But isn't it under control? What are the AFB disease rates in FL? The last report here in NY was that they were less than 4% of the inspected colonies and it may have been less than that, I don't recall accurately?

Yet 33% mortality is not uncommon and even higher is not uncommon as numbers of colonies winter killed.

That's a big difference. 4% AFB infected versus 33% dead.

I think AFB is under control. Which doesn't mean that it shouldn't be ignored as part of Apiary Inspection, just that otherareas should be more important. Such as beekeeper education. education of diseases and pests and how to best address them. Ontario, Canada has a Best Practices Educational focus to their Apiary Inspection Service. I wish that were true of more Inspection Services.

Just so everyone reading this knows, I worked for NYS Ag&Mkts as an Apiary Inspector from 1986 until 2006 (?, maybe it was '05). Five of those seasons were 12 weeks or less, just to certify migratory beekeepers for Interstate Transport, 1995 to 2000. I have seen alot during those years.

One thing I saw when I was in FL, which I am sure is not the norm, was an Inspector who came to see some beekeepers who I was staying w/. He was there to do an Inspection so he could issue them their permits. He was going to go to the field on his own. Nothing wrong w/ that. Beekeepers often have better things to do than supervise an Apiary Inspector at his work.

What struck me funny, being an Inspector myself, was that the guy had no smoker, hive tool or veil. Just the empty ed of his pickup truck and almost nothing in his cab.

Most beekeepers that I know, me included, just want the permit and don't want another person going into their colonies. I/they feel as though I/they are doing a good enuf job at keeping diseased colonies identified and destroyed. I don't treat, I burn.

TJ in Maine really likes an inspector that I know because everything that inspector reports is what TJ finds to be true too. But I know how the guy does his inspection. That's another story.
 

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I think part of the reason NY bee inspectors do not talk about noseam or varroa is because...
1. alot of beeks feel they do not have varroa, are they, the beeks are more ready to blame CCD or pesticide poison, or blame winter death on the lack of the bees being able to access all the food for some reason or other rather that look at the real problem
2. If a bee inspector was to point out varroa, inevitably the inspector would point out available treatments and treatments that work. With the diversity in the beek community, no treatment vs off label treatments, alternate methods, it can get an inspector in alot of hot water from the beek not willing to use the perscribed treatment methods.
3. AFB is more "visable" and in truth there is only one way to deal with the problem...burning. And here the inspector has the control to say "burn it"! And the beek has to comply.
4. Viruses are harder to prove with an on site inspection. And really, only DWV is really visible. The rest show themselves in poor doing hives, which again, alot of beeks do not recognize this as a reason hives can do poorly. They are willing to sink in just about every available antidote to save that hive, only for it to die in the winter months.


I am saddened that this is where your inspectors are at in terms of only looking at AFB.
I the praire provinces we are very lucky to have our inspectors and provincial bee guys who really are on top of things. If they find DWV or if they see mites, man you get the down low of what the outcome is if you do not get it right.
We as beeks have the option of getting the yards tested for Varroa, trachea and nosema. And alot of us do get the testing done. With the results back in a timely fashion. The cost for all three tests is $25.00, per sample. A sample is a cross section of all your hives. This year I chose to get a cross sample from each yard...what a varriation between yards.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I think part of the reason NY bee inspectors do not talk about noseam or varroa is because...
1. alot of beeks feel they do not have varroa,

This year I chose to get a cross sample from each yard...what a varriation between yards.
I don't know anyone who thinks that way.

I had two yards sampled for nosema this past year too. one came back "No nosema found." the second one came back "2.5 million spores per bee". Three miles apart and they had all been to the orchards at the same time, had all riden north on the same semi, had all been in the same loading yard before getting on the semi. Why the difference? jerry hayes said that the difference could have been because one was taken in the morning when fewer bees were flying and the other in the afternoon when more bees were flying.

Usless examination and testing, imo. Ontario does it in the field, at the Apiary.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Interesting. I am learning towards this direction, and would like to hear more about your philosophy.

Is this about culling, instead of propping up the weak, or more about limiting spread of disease?
Here's my rationale. I could spend X dollars on chemicals to treat for AFB and spend money applying it propholactically and by doing so increase the resistance to terramycin of the AFB itself. And I would most likely still have some AFB cases in my outfit.

Or I could kill and destroy the ones that show AFB and thereby get rid of the poor hygene bee stock in my apiaries.

So, having 6 or 8 hives to burn each year is the path that I follow. Would I have saved any of those colonies and hives if I had treated w/ TM or Tylosin? How many? Six or eight out of 600 is still quite a small number, even compared w/ the state average of 4% of all colonies inspected in NYS last year.
 

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I believe apiary inspections were originally required for the sole purpose of AFB. That is what inspectors have been taught to look for. Remember, these are government agencies. It's a lot easier for them to get funding by providing records of damages AFB caused years ago, and warning how it could happen again if they don't get paid to look for it. It's a lot harder to show economic damages from other diseases/pests, and be able to attribute it exactly to that disease/pest. Crying wold, I mean AFB, is what keeps the inspectors in a job.

Here, it costs $5 to register a beeyard, regardless of the number of hives in the yard. Our local inspector gets to set his own hours, and gets paid $18 an hour to look inspect hives. Needless to say, he wants to look at every hive in the yard to milk the job out as long as he can. It took him 3 hours to inspect (and talk your ear off) the 15 hives I have registered.

According to him, he has only found one case of AFB in however many years he has been inspecting. Even then, he thought it was AFB, but he wasn't sure. He had to take a sample and get it tested to be certain the hive had AFB.

Our inspector looks for egga/larvae to confirm you have a queen, and he will pull a few drone brood looking for varroa. (but rarely can find a varroa.)

I think the inspector might be good for beginners, but I'm not convinced he is good for much past that level.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Here, it costs $5 to register a beeyard, regardless of the number of hives in the yard. Our local inspector gets to set his own hours, and gets paid $18 an hour to look inspect hives. Needless to say, he wants to look at every hive in the yard to milk the job out as long as he can. It took him 3 hours to inspect (and talk your ear off) the 15 hives I have registered.

According to him, he has only found one case of AFB in however many years he has been inspecting. Even then, he thought it was AFB, but he wasn't sure. He had to take a sample and get it tested to be certain the hive had AFB.

I think the inspector might be good for beginners, but I'm not convinced he is good for much past that level.

I went to school in Ohio, at the Ag Tech Institute, Wooster. I did an internship during the summer as an Apiary Inspector in Holmes County. I don't recall the pay. I didn't see one case of AFB. I wish I had. It would have been educational.

So, is the inspector you talk about a State Inspector or a County Inspector? At $18.00/hr, I would guess a State Inspector. Though I don't know.

I don't know what you mean by sets his own hours. That's what I did. Started work when I wanted to. Did what was required to get the job done. Little actual supervision. My supervisor lived hundreds of miles away.

I would want to inspect all of the hives in a yard. I would want all of my hives in a yard to be inspected. Otherwise, what's the point. I have had enuf times where I followed the protocol of inspecting 10% or 50% and then missing the foulbrood. Besides, if I drive out to your bee yard, wouldn't it be more efficient mileage wise to look at all of them?

I checked an apiary, one time, and did the 50% inspection, like I was told to. I did the first half of the yard. Took the report to the beekeeper, instead of mailing it like usual. I was driving by their house anyway. The Mrs. was livid when I reported to her how good they looked. "You didn't see the foulbrood!! Three hives in the back row have foulbrood!! You didn't even do an inspection, did you?!!" I went back and inspected the rest of the yard, took samples (standard operating procedure, cya verification), wrote and issued the quarantine.

So, whereas I believe that alot of the inspection service can and should concentrate more efforts into detection of other pathogens TOO, education should be very important too.

Apiary Inspection Services did stem from massive epidemic occurances of AFB back in the 1930s and 40s. Back when The Industry was more wide spread and prevelant. 300 hive yards were not uncommon along the Hudson River in NY. Wax production was very important. Especially when WW2 came along. Beekeepers got deferments. That's when subsidies started, to keep beekeepers in business, making wax and honey too.

So, there are reasons for Inspection Services and Government Subsidies, but times and conditions change and I think that other things should change too.
 

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So, is the inspector you talk about a State Inspector or a County Inspector? At $18.00/hr, I would guess a State Inspector. Though I don't know.

It's a County Inspector. He told me his Mom used to be the inspector, and got $11.00 an hour. Then his brother was inspector for a couple years, and his brother got the County Commisioners to bump it up to $13.00 an hour. Then when the price of gas went up a couple years ago, the inspector said he went to the Commissioners and they gave him a $5.00 an hour raise up to $18.00 an hour.

I don't know what you mean by sets his own hours. That's what I did. Started work when I wanted to. Did what was required to get the job done. Little actual supervision. My supervisor lived hundreds of miles away.

There are roughly 40 registered yards in the county. Last year, the largest registered yard was 17 hives, and only a half dozen locations with more than 10 hives. The Inspector only goes out to inspect in perfect weather, if he has the time on weekends. He just bills the County Commissioners for the hours he works. Last year, at a late summer bee club meeting, the inspector said he still hadn't been able to inspect all the registered yards, but he was going to try to get to every yard to inspect.

Our inspector doesn't keep bees either.

From what I understand, the State Inspector got cut back to part time, so they only want to work part time...if you know what I mean.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
There are roughly 40 registered yards in the county. Last year, the largest registered yard was 17 hives, and only a half dozen locations with more than 10 hives. The Inspector only goes out to inspect in perfect weather, if he has the time on weekends. He just bills the County Commissioners for the hours he works. Last year, at a late summer bee club meeting, the inspector said he still hadn't been able to inspect all the registered yards, but he was going to try to get to every yard to inspect.

Our inspector doesn't keep bees either.

From what I understand, the State Inspector got cut back to part time, so they only want to work part time...if you know what I mean.
I don't really understand what you expect from someone who is doing what this guy appears to be doing. Yeah, imo, $18.00/hr is good pay and maybe too much for the job, but is anyone else willing to do it. maybe you should go to the Commissioner and try for the job.

I agree, he should be able to do the job and get it done. But what is his incentive to do it quickly and on other than nice days?

When I was in OH the State Inspectors worked Apiary Inspection through the summer months, along w/ other duties, and then inspected other things through the winter, like grain silos.

"so they only want to work part time... if you know what I mean." No, I don't know what you mean. What do you mean?
 

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Discussion Starter #14
What I'm trying to say is that AFB should not be ignored, but it also shouldn't be the primary focus of an Inspection Service or Program. All the diseases and pests should be addressed in an inspection and in a timely fashion, such as field testing for nosema and sampling for varroa.

Also, imo, extension beekeeping should be part of every Inspectors education and work load. Inspectors should be well versed on all of the latest disease and pest management techniques. They should be able to answer question intelligently and completely. They should also be available to any local bee club to talk about diseases and pests of honey bees and about the inspection program itself. Or, the State Apiculturalist should do this, to present a consistent message about disease and pest control.

Beekeeper education is the best defence against pests and diseases of honey bees.

I understand the rationale that says that all beekeepers, no matter the size of the operation, one to 100,000 cols, must be treated the same, equally or equitably, whichever, but I also believe, and statistical analysis will back me up, that since diseases are found most prevelant in the smaller operations and in the smaller yards, then more attention should be paid, by Apiary Inspection, to the hobby and sideline beekeepers.

Commercial beekeepers have a real monetary investment in keeping healthy bees and beehives. So, being a source of diseases is not financially beneficial to the commercial beekeeper. So, being as hard as it is to make a living at keeping bees is, we have to stay more aware of what is going on in our hives disease and pest wise, or we will go out of business.

This is not as much a problem, the investment and the potential loss, for the sideline beekeeper and even less for the hobby beekeepers and beehavers.
 

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The "Bull of the Woods" has reported for years that the abandoned hobby hives that fail from AFB are the largest source of infection.

I agree, put the emphasis where it belongs. A commercial operation has much more at stake(livelihood), than the possibly less informed hobbyist who is just in it for fun.

It is quite possible that AFB gets the most attention because it is much easier to identify than the microsporidia or viruses, although the effects of the latter may be much more profound.

Roland
 

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But what is his incentive to do it quickly and on other than nice days?

Perhaps that's the problem. He's paid with taxpayer dollars, doesn't have active supervision, and is able to milk out jobs.

I'd think $18.00 an hour would be an incentive to making sure the job gets done efficiently and in a timely manner.

"so they only want to work part time... if you know what I mean." No, I don't know what you mean. What do you mean?

If you need the State Inspector to do something, it isn't a priority for them. They will get around to it, when they get around to it, if they get around to it.

If you want to sell bees, you are required to have the State Inspector inspect your stuff. The County Inspector is not authorized to do this inspection. There is only one State Inspector to inspect anyone in the state who wants to sell bees, in addition to their other duties.

Eventually I want to sell nucs, so I had checked to see what all I was required to do. As it was explained to me, I needed to have the State Inspector inspect my bees and nucs, but since they got cut to part time pay, they are only working part time. (meaning good luck at getting the State Inspector to come out and inspect me so I can legally sell nucs....but they would have had time to do it if they were still getting full time pay.)

I did hear (hearsay) that if the State Inspector is too busy to inspect me, they can authorize the County Inspector to give me the inspection to sell bees. (but he's lucky if he can get regular inspections done) :doh:

I understand the rationale that says that all beekeepers, no matter the size of the operation, one to 100,000 cols, must be treated the same, equally or equitably, whichever, but I also believe, and statistical analysis will back me up, that since diseases are found most prevelant in the smaller operations and in the smaller yards, then more attention should be paid, by Apiary Inspection, to the hobby and sideline beekeepers.

Now that I think about it, what is the point of the inspections? You are required to register your beeyards, but they can't require you to allow them to inspect you. If you give no consent for inspections, they aren't allowed to inspect.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
If you want to sell bees, you are required to have the State Inspector inspect your stuff.

If you give no consent for inspections, they aren't allowed to inspect.
I'm sure that you are a law abiding personand wouldn't do anything illegal, but what happens if you sell bees in Ohio w/out an inspection?

Consent to inspect. Do you know where that came from? Somebody sued the State of Ohio. Probably for trespassing, illegal search, and distruction of personal property. Soon after I left Ohio, back in 1986, so this happened in '87 or '88 I think, an Inspector went into a beekeepers hive w/out permission, found AFB and burned it w/out permission or notification. That's how I remember it, so I'm sure that parts of that aren't accurate, but the end result is the same. Inspection in OH almost was completely done away w/ and all inspection services had to make sure that they were more careful and thorough about how things were done.
 

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I'm sure that you are a law abiding personand wouldn't do anything illegal, but what happens if you sell bees in Ohio w/out an inspection?

C
With only one inspector, I don't see how it would be possible to enforce a reg like that. Here in NC the state is divided into several regions with an inspector for each. The only penalty I am aware of is one should not say "My bees are state inspected" - also you don't get an annual inspection certificate.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Things have changed in OH, since I was living there, but at that time, 1984 to 1986, there were 8 state inspectors and 88 county inspectors. There are probably fewer now.

In NY there may be zero this year. I haven't heard otherwise.
 

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I'm sure that you are a law abiding personand wouldn't do anything illegal, but what happens if you sell bees in Ohio w/out an inspection?

I don't know. Everything is legal until you get caught. ;)

but at that time, 1984 to 1986, there were 8 state inspectors and 88 county inspectors. There are probably fewer now.

It is my understanding that there is one part time State Inspector, and ??? county inspectors. I have heard hearsay of some county inspectors covering two counties.
 
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