Dear Members,

As the festive season approaches, hopefully those among you who make mead will raise a glass without needing to wait for a sting, as Brother Adam (of Buckfast bees) recommended. The old beekeepers used to give their bees a Christmas present of fondant, but hopefully you ensured your bees were well fed in the Autumn as they are best not disturbed at the moment!

Read more: December 2020

Dear Members,

With the wet weather we have been experiencing, give a thought to your bees and make sure that they are not sitting in a damp or frost pocket and that hives are weather proofed. Remember that bees can withstand cold temperatures and can deal with heat, but damp is a killer. Bees can ventilate the hive or warm it up, but they can’t deal with damp, mouldy conditions.

Read more: November 2020

Dear Members,

Active beekeeping is coming to an end this month as we ensure that our bees are ready for winter; most importantly, do they have sufficient stores to get them through our prolonged and sometimes very wet winters, and have we completed varroa treatments to reduce the impact of varroa on those bees having to survive the next six months.

Read more: October 2020

Dear Members,

You may have noticed a lot of butterflies around this summer. It is a delight to see them flitting from flower to flower with their splendid colours on view, but it also reminds me that as the butterflies are prospering, so of course are moths, and wax moths among them.

Read more: September 2020

BeeBase

Beebase News Web feed
  • COVID-19 and Beekeeping update
    11 January 2021
    This is a re-issue of the guidance provided in October 2020:

    Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk
    For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
    For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot
  • Starvation and Varroa Alert
    04 December 2020
    Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.

    Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.

    For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

    It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again. This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.

    Please monitor mite levels and treat accordingly.

    For further information, please see the’ Managing Varroa’ Advisory leaflet on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167
  • Julian Parker – Head of APHA’s National Bee Unit.
    23 November 2020
    Following a recent recruitment process Julian Parker has been appointed as Head of the National Bee Unit (NBU) within Defra’s Animal and Plant Health Agency. Within the NBU Julian has previously been Acting Head as well as National Bee Inspector and before that Regional Bee Inspector for Southern and South East Regions. Julian has over 12 years operational experience with the NBU including leading outbreak situations. Julian is also well known in the wider beekeeping community and his expertise is highly respected across Defra and Welsh Government as well as with Bee Health stakeholders. He has also played a key role in the review of the 2020 Healthy Bees Plan and will now play a significant role in delivering the Healthy Bee Plan 2030. Many congratulations Julian.