New AFB Levy

Changes to the AFB Levy

The Government has notified changes to the AFB levy on 19 March 2020 following extensive consultation by the Management Agency with beekeepers in 2018 and 2019.

The new levy funding will enable the Management Agency to provide additional services to protect beehives from AFB.

The 2020 AFB levy is set at $40 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.35 ($1.55 including GST) per bee colony owned by each beekeeper as at 31 March 2020.

A beehive with two brood boxes and several honey supers represents a substantial investment for every beekeeper, and it is crucial that the American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan is adequately resourced to protect beekeepers’ beehives from AFB.

Elimination of AFB from managed colonies in New Zealand requires that all beekeepers comply with their legal obligations to eliminate AFB. The majority of beekeepers have met and continue to meet their AFB elimination obligations. However, these beekeepers have not enjoyed the full benefit of their efforts, as the beehives owned by a minority of beekeepers that do not comply with the American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan rules have continued to be a constant source of re-infection for their beehives.

The previous levy did not provide enough funding to adequately monitor and audit beekeeper AFB elimination performance. As a consequence, most non-compliant beekeepers have yet to be identified and they have continued to engage in beekeeping practices that spread AFB.

The new levy is expected to raise an additional $500,000 in 2020. This represents one third of the maximum allowable increase in levy. It will enable the Management Agency to double the number of apiaries inspected in 2020/21 from 1,200 to 2,400. These inspections will be focussed in regions with clusters of reported AFB and will better enable the Management Agency to identify infected apiaries owned by non-compliant beekeepers.

The new levy funding will enable the Management Agency to increase the number of honey samples tested for AFB in 2020/21 from 60 to 500. The honey samples will be collected from commercial beekeeping operations that report little, if any cases of AFB each year. Negative honey test results will verify that these beekeepers genuinely have very low levels of AFB in their beehives. However positive honey test results will suggest that the beekeeper may be failing to report their cases of AFB, and their apiaries will become a priority for inspection.

The Management Agency will use the additional levy funding to employ a second Operations Manager (AP1) to manage the additional inspection workload and ensure that the non-compliances identified are followed up. Each Operations Manager will be responsible for a separate region of the country. This will provide greater capacity to focus on the AFB elimination needs of each region.

The new levy funding will also enable the existing ApiWeb/Apiary database system to be replaced in Spring 2020 with a modern fit for purpose system. The new system is expected to reduce beekeeper effort required to register apiaries, notify cases of AFB, file Annual Disease Returns and complete Certificates of Inspection. The new system will also include a phone app that will enable beekeepers to register apiaries and notify cases of AFB while they are working in the field. The phone app will also enable beekeepers to easily report apiaries that are suspected of being unregistered or other cases of non-compliance to the Management Agency for investigation.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much is the new AFB levy?

The rate of levy for 2020 is $40 ($46 including GST) per beekeeper and $1.35 ($1.55 including GST) per bee colony owned by each beekeeper as at 31 March 2020.

What is a bee colony?

The Management Agency will send levy invoices out mid-April based upon the number of honey bee colonies recorded in ApiWeb/Apiary Database as at 31 March 2020. The invoice will contain instructions on how to pay the levy by the due date of 1 June 2020.

How can I ensure that I am levied for the correct number of bee colonies?

Act early, log into ApiWeb and check that the number of bee colonies recorded in each apiary are correct, if not make corrections as required on or before 31 March 2020. Or phone AsureQuality on 0508 00 11 22 and speak to an Apiary Registrar who will help you update your colony information.

What should I do if I am levied for the wrong number of bee colonies?

In mid-April AsureQuality will send out a Colony Return form as part of your Annual Disease Return form. You can either:

  1. Login to ApiWeb,
    1. check that the number of honey bee colonies recorded on each apiary are correct and make corrections as required, then
    2. submit your Colony Return via ApiWeb, then
    3. send an email to levies@afb.org.nz advising that you require a revised invoice as per the updated Colony Return submitted. An amended invoice will be sent to you once the Colony Return has been processed.

OR

  1. Complete and return your Colony Return form AND send an email to levies@afb.org.nz advising that you require a revised invoice as per the updated Colony Return submitted. An amended invoice will be sent to you once your Colony Return has been processed.

What is a Colony Return?

A Colony Return is a statutory return required for levy collection purposes.

The form of the Colony Return is the same as the honey bee colony part of the Annual Disease Return. This provides you with the convenience of being able to complete your Colony Return as part of completing your Annual Disease Return.

AsureQuality will send out Colony Return forms as part of your Annual Disease Return forms in mid-April. Beekeepers can submit their Colony Return via ApiWeb.

All beekeepers are legally required to declare the number of bee colonies they own on 31 March each year.

What safeguards are being implemented to ensure that all beekeepers pay their fair share of funding for the National American Foulbrood Pest Management Plan?

All beekeepers are required to make a Colony Return for levy collection purposes. Making a false Colony Return and/or entering false bee colony information into ApiWeb is an offence under the Biosecurity Act 1993, and substantial penalties apply that are many times greater than paying the correct levy.

The Management Agency will be monitoring bee colony numbers recorded in ApiWeb during the autumn and will audit beekeepers that have unusually large reductions in colony numbers.

Levy consultation

Previous levy consultation

Access to the 2019 AFB levy consultation can be found here.

Access to the 2018 AFB levy consultation can be found here.

AFB Quiz
Take the AFB 5 minute quiz

How well do you know what you need to know about AFB and beekeeping? Take our short quiz and find out.

AFB Videos
Videos

Our videos cover everything from your legal obligations to how to recognise AFB, collecting cell and bee samples and more.

AFB Symptoms
Symptoms

There’s a lot of good information here, telling you everything you need to know about recognising AFB: the visual symptoms, smell of AFB and more.

AFB Inspection and Diagnosis
Inspection and Diagnosis

Successfully eliminate AFB by telling the difference between symptoms of AFB and other brood diseases in the hive. We tell you the best methods for inspecting your hives.

AFB Law
The Law

New Zealand beekeepers have a number of legal obligations that must be met regarding AFB disease. Read the shortened list in summary, here.

AFB Elimination
Elimination

Most hives become infected because bees, honey or equipment have been put into a hive from another hive that is infected with AFB. Lower your chances of an  AFB infection by reading this section.

AFB Course Info
AFB Recognition Course Info

Find out when the next AFB Recognition and Competency Courses, or Refresher Courses are available. These are held throughout the year in various New Zealand locations across the South Island and North Island.

The AFB App

Follow the link below to open the App. Once open to save to your device you need to bookmark the URL on your phone so you can find it easily again. Please click here to open.