The ApiWellbeing project began 1 July 2019 and will finish 30 June 2022. The project has 3 aims:
- Develop new molecular tests for pests and diseases.
- DNA sequence Paenibacillus larvae (American foulbrood).
- Establish a national collection of bees and data.
We've collected and frozen over 130,000 whole bees from all around New Zealand. The collection also contains DNA and RNA extracted from these bees. Data includes disease levels and how the beekeeper was managing the apiary where the sample was collected. These samples will be available for other future researchers.
The new molecular tests for pests and diseases from New Zealand and overseas include:
- sacbrood virus
- deformed wing virus B (also known as Varroa destructor virus 1)
- Moku virus
- Israeli acute paralysis virus
- acute bee paralysis virus.
This work will help us identify pests and diseases that people may find in bees. It will also help us to be sure New Zealand is free from organisms that we think aren't found here. As well as this, we will be able to determine how widespread pests and diseases are in New Zealand hives.
How the project works
We will sequence the DNA of American foulbrood (AFB). This will let us see if there are different disease types, and how clusters of disease may be linked. This information will support The Management Agency in helping beekeepers work towards eliminating American foulbrood in New Zealand.
We will also establish a national collection of bees and data. This will give us a number of opportunities:
- Check the results of the Bee Pathogen Programme, and compare those results with other research.
- Monitor whether new bee pathogens are in New Zealand. This will give us valuable information during a biosecurity incursion investigation or response.
- Allow for other research in the future. This could include studies on bee genetics or tests for chemical residues.
ApiWellbeing also includes the production of resources and guidelines for beekeepers.
Who is involved
The study involves:
- Biosecurity New Zealand
- The Management Agency
- authorised apiary inspectors
- apiary owners who have agreed to be part of the research.
The ApiWellbeing project follows on from the successful Bee Pathogen Programme, which ran from 2016 to 2019. This programme was the largest and most detailed study of honey bee health ever undertaken in New Zealand. It involved:
- inspecting for disease twice a year on 480 hives around the country
- the collection of 130,000 honey bees in 300 samples.
The pest and pathogen findings from this programme shaped the focus of the ApiWellbeing project. This project is funded by the Ministry for Primary Industries and supported by the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan (The Management Agency).
Bee Pathogen Programme research results
Keeping up to date on the project
ApiWellbeing's research will be published on this webpage and on The Management Agency's website.
Who to contact
If you have questions about the ApiWellbeing project, email firstname.lastname@example.org