Apiculture survey – further increase in NZ’s bee colony losses underscores the need for attention

Apiculture New Zealand (ApiNZ) says a gradual rise in New Zealand’s bee colony loss rates highlights the need for ongoing attention to bee health issues.

The overall colony loss rate was 8.4 % in 2015, 9.6% in 2016 and 9.7% in 2017.

His organisation was concerned at the further increase in colony loss rates to 10.2% in 2018, said Barry Foster, chair of ApiNZ’s Science and Research Focus Group and a member of the NZ Colony Loss Survey advisory group. Continue reading

Agriculture Minister is disappointed in beekeepers’ lack of unity on levy

Minister of Agriculture Damien O’Connor says he is disappointed in the lack of unity between commercial beekeepers, as demonstrated by commercial beekeepers’ vote against an apiculture commodity levy.

The Minister met with Apiculture New Zealand leaders late last week and share their disappointment.

The levy would have enabled greater investment in the industry.
Continue reading

New information leads to change in mānuka honey definition

The Ministry for Primary Industries has reissued the General Requirements for Bee Products Export Notice.

The revised Notice adjusts the level of a chemical marker known as 2’-MAP from greater than or equal to 5 mg/kg, to greater than or equal to 1 mg/kg for the definition for multifloral mānuka honey. There is no change to the definition for monofloral mānuka honey, which remains at equal or greater than 5mg/kg for 2’-MAP. The implementation date of the Notice remains 5th February.

The change means that the legal claim challenging the definition by New Zealand Beekeeping has been resolved.

Bryan Wilson, the ministry’s  Deputy Director-General Regulation and Assurance, said in a media statement today (HERE):

“Late last week, as part of its legal claim, New Zealand Beekeeping provided additional information about the impact of the definition on multifloral honey. Also, we were presented with a summary of new analysed test results from an industry science group.

“This information showed that the definition for identifying multifloral mānuka honey was initially set too conservatively and would exclude legitimate multifloral honey,”

“We hope the industry will see this as a signal of MPI’s ongoing commitment to a collaborative science programme focused on continuous improvement to the science that supports the definition of mānuka honey.”

More information on the mānuka honey definition can be found (HERE) on the ministry’s  website.

Apiculture New Zealand has welcomed the ministry’s decision (HERE).

“We’re pleased that MPI has listened to industry and delivered a definition that ensures our consumers can continue to have access to good New Zealand multi-floral mānuka honey,” says Karin Kos, Chief Executive of Apiculture New Zealand.

“The definition also gives our industry certainty for the 2018 honey production season,” says Ms Kos.

Ms Kos said the ApiNZ-facilitated industry science work on the impact of the previous definition highlighted the value of sound scientific advice, and the importance of industry and government to keep talking to each other.

“While at times it has been a challenging process working through the definition, we have also made good progress in achieving a shared commitment to a collaborative science programme focused on continuous improvement through new science and technology,” says Ms Kos.

The industry and ministry science teams were meeting this week to get that programme under way, she said.