Dear Members,

Beekeeping is often more art than science. It is important with beekeeping not to do things by rote, but to pay attention to the weather, the forage available, and the condition of your bees.

 

So, although according to old beekeeper lore, you can do your first inspection when the flowering currant is out, unless temperatures are also above 15degrees C, don’t disturb them. If you do, the bees metabolic rate increases and they will consume more of what may still be scarce resources in the hive. Remember, many of the bees in the colony are the old winter bees who have less strength and energy so although the Blackthorn and other early plum and cherry blossom is out, if these bees have to fly any distance in cool temperatures they will not be able to take full advantage of this forage and may die in the attempt.

April is a good time to be thinking about disease, and of course the dreaded Asian Hornet. The Asian Hornet queens are emerging and establishing their initial colonies and it is now that if they can be detected, we can try to keep this destructive pest out of Britain. Please keep alert and communicate with non-beekeepers the importance of identifying and reporting this hornet.

The Zoom talk in March by Kirsty Stanton brought to our attention again the importance of monitoring our bees for disease. Checking for varroa in the Spring is an important part of this monitoring, so remember to put your inserts (smeared with vaseline to create a sticky film) under the hive and then use the calculation found on BeeBase to determine the level of varroa in your hive to guide you in what action to take to reduce the varroa load on your bees.

There is a lot of interest in scientific and beekeeping circles about how best to promote our bees natural defence against varroa. Leading lights like Tom Seeley and his ‘Darwinian Beekeeping’ blog and Professor Steve Martin’s work on Natural Varroa-Resistant Honey bees. give ideas on this If you are interested in this approach, do obtain a copy of Steven Martin’s booklet from BBKA which is being sold at a knockdown price of £4.00.

It makes for interesting reading and gives some ideas about how you can determine whether your bees are beginning to develop these characteristics.

Kirsty talked about the various viral infections bees are affected by, but particularly Chronic Bee Paralysis (CBPV) which is on the increase in the UK. As we are all very aware now from our exposure to Covid, this virus increases in crowded conditions - when the bees build up in the hive and when we have a large number of hives in an Apiary. For many of us it is not practical to spread our hives out, but Tom Seeley is convinced because bees in the wild spread themselves out by at least 30metres and often much more, that our practice of keeping bees in close proximity has a negative effect on their health.

Perhaps this is something we need to think about, but also as we have had impressed on us because of our experience with Covid, we need to be particularly aware of good hygiene in the Apiary and now is a good time to get your hives onto clean flamed floors and to think about replacing frames to give the bees as healthy an environment as we can.

Do consider joining us for our next Zoom meeting where we will find out something about how bees and bee products can keep us all healthy!

Regards, and stay safe and well,

Margaret Holdsworth


BeeBase

Beebase News Web feed
  • LAST CHANCE: to answer our survey on how training and information sources for beekeepers and bee farmers can be improved
    20 April 2021
    With thanks to those of you who have already responded. For those of who haven’t yet had chance to answer the survey there is still time but it closes tomorrow. For further details please see below.

    Gyda diolch i'r rhai ohonoch sydd eisoes wedi ymateb. I'r rhai nad ydynt wedi cael cyfle eto i ateb yr arolwg mae amser o hyd ond mae'n cau yfory. Am fanylion pellach gweler isod.

    Defra and the Welsh Government want to ensure that beekeepers and bee farmers have access to training and information that can help them implement effective biosecurity and maintain good standards of husbandry, so as to minimise pest and disease risks and improve the sustainability of honeybee populations.

    A short questionnaire is available for current beekeepers, people who have recently stopped keeping bees as well as bee farmers to give their views and opinions on the type, accessibility and range of training and information available and how it could be improved. It should take no more than 15 minutes.

    Please go to https://eu5se.voxco.com/S2/87/healthy_bees/ to complete the survey by 21 April.

    Defnyddiwch y ddolen hon i gwblhau'r arolwg erbyn 21/04/2021.
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies
    19 April 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a number of Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in the following areas South Kent & East Sussex, South West Devon and South East Wales

    If you are interested in applying for the job, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs.


  • Reporting Varroa
    12 April 2021
    Amendments to the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006, the Bees Diseases and Pest Control (Scotland) Order 2007 and the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) Order 2006 come into force on the 21st of April 2021 requiring all beekeepers and/or officials in GB to report the presence of Varroa in any of the hives that they manage. This amendment will allow Great Britain to comply with the Animal Health Law which is necessary for future working relationships with the European Union.

    To make this simple, a tick box will be introduced to BeeBase, the voluntary register for beekeepers managed by the National Bee Unit. This will be the easiest way to report Varroa but an alternative mechanism will be provided for those who do not wish to register on the BeeBase system. Details of this alternative system will be provided after 21st April. If Scottish Beekeepers wish to, they can report varroa by contacting the Scottish Bee Health Inspectors (BeesMailbox@gov.scot).

    Although Varroa is known to be widespread, it continues to be one of the most serious pests faced by beekeepers. Reporting Varroa will contribute to the overall pest and disease surveillance work of the National Bee Unit and the Scottish Bee Health Inspectorate. We are grateful for your assistance with this new simple measure.

    No action will be required until after 21st April.