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  • Writer's picturePatrick Dawkins

Simple Tasks Can Save AFB Management Agency Big

On a dreary winters day, when beekeepers’ body and minds are both far from hive work, there is a quick and easy task that anyone in New Zealand with registered beehives can do to save the American foulbrood (AFB) Pest Management Plan Agency money, and thus increase the likelihood of keeping beekeeper levy costs down.

“Our apiary inspectors are spending a lot of time travelling to registered apiary sites during surveillance following an AFB report, only to find the hives are no longer there,” explains the Agency’s general manager Niha Long.

The AFB Management Agency is encouraging beekeepers to update their apiary register using HiveHub this winter, and deregister any vacant sites, to help reduce Agency inspection costs.

This is incurring the Agency – which is funded by beekeepers to assist in eliminating AFB from managed colonies – significant cost at present. Therefore, Long is encouraging beekeepers to log into HiveHub (hivehub.afb.org.nz) and review their list of apiaries and colonies.

“July will be the month to tackle this task if a beekeeper has not done it already with their Annual Disease Return, which many haven’t. With the new HiveHub platform, managing beekeeping admin  tasks are much easier than in years past. Updating registered apiaries and colonies will be a simple task for most beekeepers, which will assist the Management Agency in using levy payers’ funds wisely for conducting targeted inspections,” Long says.

Those beekeepers who do not use HiveHub can de-register apiaries using the online form available here.

With spring just around the corner, workloads in other areas of businesses will soon increase and so beekeepers are urged to get online and get the updates made as soon as possible.

“As we know, colony numbers are contracting in New Zealand, and many hives are changing hands, or no longer being managed at all. With that comes an increase in abandoned apiaries, a potential increase in AFB risk, but also a huge reduction in hive sites. We simply ask that when these apiary sites are no longer in use, they are removed from the HiveHub database as promptly as possible, for both the Agency and beekeepers’ benefit,” Long says.

The Agency has recently been promoting five priorities in their management, with more effective use of resources, amidst falling levy revenues, one of them.

“We are doing our best to strip back costs, while still committed to providing an important service to beekeepers, but there are always ways beekeepers can help us too and right now the easiest and most impactful way is by simply heading online to assess their HiveHub,” Long stresses.

Helpful tips for beekeepers:

  • Apiary registration demonstrates compliance with the AFB PMP. Under section 17 of the AFB PMP, apiary registration means that a beekeeper has registered a particular location as the site containing one or more hives (dead or alive) with the AFB Management Agency.

  • Apiary registration does not mean site ownership or exclusive access to that site.

  • There are no restrictions on the minimum distance two beekeepers can share an apiary with the caveat being this shared apiary must be registered under both beekeepers’ registration codes.

  • If a beekeeper no longer has bees, has blocked up and safely stored away all hives and hiveware from the site, then it is recommended that this site be deregistered.

  • Permanent apiaries must be deregistered immediately when they become vacant.

  • Seasonal apiaries are to be deregistered if they have not been used for 30 consecutive days in any year starting 1st of July.

  • Deregistering an apiary does not mean a beekeeper will lose access to that site.

  • Any apiary that is de-registered can easily be re-registered again, when needed with an email request to apairy@afb.org.nz or by calling an Apiary Coordinator. In some cases, an apiary inspector may be deployed to confirm a site is indeed vacant, as part of the deregistration process.

For more information related to updating apiaries, please contact the Management Agency Apiary Coordinators (0800 232 767) or email: apiary@afb.org.nz


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