Australian Bees banned from US

Discussion in 'General Beekeeping' started by camero7, Sep 24, 2010.

  1. camero7

    camero7 Member

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    From Kim Flottum:

    CATCH THE BUZZ
    Australian Bees Supposedly Banned From U.S.
    An Editorial:
    The Almond Board today sent the message below to their handlers. We do not yet have confirmation from USDA APHIS and are awaiting official word. But if honey bee importation from Australia is halted, as we have felt it should be from the beginning, the push for bees from somewhere else will intensify. Mention has been made of bees from Mexico or from Canada. The negotiations and dealing to make either of those work will be interesting to watch.

    If African bees from Mexico are allowed to come to the U.S., will they cause problems in orchards? Will they come as colonies and return, or as packages and simply stay here like the bees from OZ?

    Would Canada allow U. S. bees to venture north, as honey producers, pollinators or simply as queens in return for the chance at California’s Gold? Would they bring colonies down early in the season…like next month…to overwinter in preparation for spring?

    But would any of them actually want to come to Almond country and take the CCD gamble?
    But the biggest question of all...Will there be enough U.S. bees next spring to meet the needs of the Almond Industry?

    These scenarios bring out the good, the bad and the ugly side of all of this. Please stay tuned, the outcome will affect your beekeeping and honey packing business this season.

    From The Almond Board to their Handlers:
    We received a heads up that USDA’s Animal Plant and Health Inspection Service (APHIS) will be halting the importation of all honey bees from Australia. The ban will take effect the date the Federal Register Notice appears, which should be in the next 2 weeks.

    APHIS reconsidered the potential risk that imported Australian honey bees may pose of introducing new pests and diseases to honey bees in the U.S. Based on the continuing spread of a non-native bee (Apis cerana) in Australia and the uncertainties about what new viral diseases it may be spreading among bee populations in Australia, APHIS believes honey bee imports from Australia pose an unacceptable risk of introducing new diseases in the United States.
     
  2. Ducks®™

    Ducks®™ New Member

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    Thanks for posting good info for sure.
     

  3. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    snip..
    But the biggest question of all...Will there be enough U.S. bees next spring to meet the needs of the Almond Industry?

    tecumseh:
    I would call this the biggest near term economic pusher of all. Without some movement I would suspect to see wild movements in almond pollination rents and lawyers lined up like vultures over a road kill for any unsuspecting beekeeper who doesn't perform exactly to contract. Reduce to an economic equation... larger dollars equates to larger risk.
     
  4. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    WOW... Australian imports used to cover 20% of the bees for almond pollination. There's no way there's an additional 500,000 colonies this year as the average age in the beekeeping community keeps inching higher and more and more of those beekeepers hang up their veils for retirement if not pushed out by all the diseases. We're still losing colonies in this country, not gaining them... and that was with the +500,000 colonies/yr. imports from Australia. What happens in a couple of years when we're down below 1 million colonies in this country?
     
  5. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    bens writes:
    What happens in a couple of years when we're down below 1 million colonies in this country?

    tecumseh:
    most of us will be eating potatoes.
     
  6. cow pollinater

    cow pollinater New Member

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    I don't see that happening. The number of established beekeepers is declining but hives per beekeeper average is going up. I also know that there are hundreds of beekeepers who have fifty or so hives that don't claim to be beekeepers but want to be in the future. I know of about eight young guys seriously considering commercial beekeeping as a viable living in the future... It's coming back. :thumbsup:
     
  7. wfuavenger

    wfuavenger New Member

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    I agree with the Cerana issue. If we got those bees into the mix here in the States, we would have some serious issues with viable productive hives.
     
  8. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    cow pollinater writes:
    The number of established beekeepers is declining but hives per beekeeper average is going up.

    tecumseh:
    that is how the math works out when you have folks bailing out of the industry (likely more related to age of the operator than any other variable... at least that is what I would suspect) and no new folks entering the industry. who ever is left buys up their former competition production capability in some hope that more numbers will reduce fixed cost/unit and thereby raise profits. could happen... but then again as a industry beekeeping may be head for the same dust bin as buggy whip makers.
     
  9. indypartridge

    indypartridge New Member

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    I don't agree with your numbers.

    First, last year with the water restrictions and dropping price of almonds, there was a decline in acres pollinated, and for the first time in many years there was a surplus of bees. Pollinators that went to Cali without firm contracts ended up losing a lot of money.

    Second, almond growers have been reducing the number of colonies per acre. Used to be 2 colonies, but now many are averaging between 1.5 and 1.8.

    At a peak of 725,000 acres with 2 colonies per acre, that's 1.45 million colonies needed. 20% of 1.45 million is 'only' 290,000 colonies, not 500,000. So, if growers drop their colonies per acre to 1.6 instead of 2, they can make up for the shortfall in bees even if U.S.-supplied colonies remains static.

    I've haven't read much on the outlook for next season, but I don't think the loss of Australian bees will be that significant.
     
  10. tecumseh

    tecumseh New Member

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    indy writes:
    I've haven't read much on the outlook for next season, but I don't think the loss of Australian bees will be that significant.

    tecumseh:
    in a tight market with little economic incentive for entry anything that effect total numbers by 20% is almost assured to dramatically effect price. drastically I would suggest.

    water is always a concern throughout the west and this winter's snow pack will tell us as to whether there will be more or less of that.

    how many bee the almond folks use per acre is likely more closely associated with the Expected Price of Almonds than anything else. the micro economic data of the MARGINAL pounds of almonds produced per hive is robust enough and the almond producers sophisticated enough that this equation is what drives the hive's used per acre.

    anyone who goes to California without a contract for at least a portion of their hives should expect to loose lots of money. that is an extremely foolish and/or risky thing to do.
     
  11. Bens-Bees

    Bens-Bees New Member

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    I heard they were 200,000 colonies short... where did you hear there was a surplus? Or are you talking about 2009? Yeah there was a surplus in 2009, and it was due more to their water issues than the bee population.

    Pollinators that go to Cali without firm contracts always end up losing a lot of money because growers know that their transportation costs for the beekeeper are already a sunk cost at the point of negotiation. That's never a good position for a beekeeper to be in.

    That may not be by choice.

    .

    They might be able to do that the first year, but US colonies haven't been remaining static, the only reason they've been remaining relatively static is due to the import of those extra colonies. Without those imports the loss rate will become very evident very quickly.