CATCH THE BUZZ
Austrailan Bees Banned By APHIS
Maybe A Virus, Maybe Not
By Alan Harman
With little public fanfare, the
Minister Counselor (Agriculture) Simon Smalley at the Australian Embassy in Washington and a spokesman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (ASPHIS) both confirm the move made towards the end of last month.
Both say there is a “temporary suspension” of the imports, but the APHIS website has a one sentence reference that reads:
“Importation of honey bee queens and package bees from
But the halt is not because of the Asian bee incursion in northern
In a letter sent to AHIS official Wayne. F. Wehling and seen by Bee Culture, Australian world bee authority Dennis Anderson of the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization questions the decision, saying the virus has never been found in Australia.
“I wish to inform you that Slow Paralysis Virus has not been detected in or reported from
“In the latest publication on SPV by Miranda et al 2010 … it states on page 2525 that quote ‘SBPV appears to be extremely rare, having been identified positively only in Britain, Fiji and Western Samoa (Allen & Ball, 1996; Anderson, 1990; Carreck et al., 2010; Martin et al., 1998), despite being included in surveys of Australia (Hornitzky, 1987), New Zealand (Todd et al., 2007), Scandinavia (Nordstrom et al., 1999) and Poland (Topolska et al., 1995). Only in
Anderson, principal research scientist at the CSIRO, says he is confident
“This is also borne out be the fact that since imports of Australian bees into the
He says the only exception is Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV). However,
“If SPV was the primary reason for APHIS suspending imports of Australian honeybees into the
In another letter, also seen by Bee Culture, Tim Ryan of Biosecurity
“Your request for a copy of the letter from APHIS has come back to Biosecurity
“However, I can tell you that the letter states that suspension is ‘primarily due to slow paralysis virus’ but then goes on to mention other viruses- TSBV and BVX.
“It quotes the findings of the APHIS Pest Risk Assessment from earlier in the year as support for the suspension ‘until
“To me this leaves them a pretty wide operating scope outside SPV. In my interpretation the letter also precludes an increase in the export exclusion zone around the Asian bee area again quoting the ‘unknown’ distribution of SPV.”
Australian bee exporter Warren Taylor, one of the pioneers of the
“Somehow, somewhere it was reported that we had Slow Paralysis Virus which was incorrect,” he says in an email to Bee Culture. “I guess the ban is all political so USDA is now trying to find something else to hang their hat on.
“Our bees have been tested so frequently as they entered
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