Project start: 22 September 2020
Project completed: 30 November 2022
MPI funding: $50,000
Industry funding: $45,000
Industry partner: Downunder Honey, K9 Search Medical Detection Training Centre, Massey University
This project succeeded in its aim to develop a scientific methodology for training detection dogs to reliably detect the infectious bacterial disease American Foulbrood (AFB) in beehives, by creating a ‘scent picture’ of the disease. The researchers found that dogs can reliably detect the presence of AFB spores at varying concentrations inside a sterile lab environment with the presence of beehive components. These results have the potential to change the way AFB is managed in New Zealand.
Training dogs to save the bees – YouTube (3:24 mins)
Media release: Training dogs to save the bees
Round comb honey production evaluation project
Project start: 30 October 2020
Project completed: 12 April 2022
MPI funding: $18,000
Industry funding: $27,000
Industry partner: Ceracell Honey Ltd
This project assessed whether feeding honey back to bees will increase the quality of honey into honeycomb sections. It resulted in some interesting insights into bee behaviour, and an improved understanding of feeding bees honey. The trial ultimately showed that this approach is not economical.
Varroa Elimination Unit (VEU)
Project start: 19 December 2019
Project completed: 15 December 2020
MPI funding: $59,000
Industry funding: $60,600
Industry partner: Cooling Solutions Ltd
This project trialled 14 Varroa elimination units to help protect bee colonies from Varroa infestations. The units used sensors to measure the amount of miticide (a fumigant used to kill Varroa mites) that circulates around the hive. While the trial did not improve the health of the beehives, the research furthered understanding of the types of fumigants that are most effective.