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BBKA's 2016 Honey Survey shows honey bees overcame threats of summer starvation to produce an average 26lbs of honey per hive. The East remains England's most productive region.

Help Save The Honey Bee in Wilmslow!

Wilmslow Residents, The Honey Bee Needs YOU!

BeeEducated is holding a FREE training session on how you can do your bit to help honey bees and other polinators in our area!

Book your Free ticket now!

 

beesintheslot

Do you know the difference between a honey bee, bumble bee or wasp?
Did you know we are one of the reasons for the decline of honeybees?
Did you know local honey can prevent allergies?

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There will be a one-off event held at the church and local people can come and learn about the decline in honeybees.
Hopefully, we can all have an impact in reducing the decline of the bees.
If you are interested in bees, gardening or would like to be a beekeeper, or if you want to know how you can help the local honey bees, please do come along.
Make it a date in calendar.

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The session will cover ideas about how you can get involved.
You cannot be too old or too young to attend, you will enjoy the session and it’s free.
You will leave feeling motivated and empowered to help protect the honeybees in Wilmslow, you will learn about how little changes, such as growing a few plants in your garden, will save these tiny beautiful pollinators.
Menu
Reasons for the decline in bees
Impact on you and me
Hand pollination
How we can help them
How far can you go to help them
BEES NEED YOU. Because you need them.

The session will be led by Mr Ian Johnson; Apiary Manager at the BeeEducated group held in Wilmslow and will cover everything you need to know, to do your bit!

https://youtu.be/IoP2RQ_y0a8

Honeybee colony destroyed

American Foulbrood (AFB) was discovered in a colony in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. September saw the destruction of hives by being burned down to prevent the spores from escaping with a cost of over 150,000 bees. Honeyhill bee farm are counting the cost. The disease is carried upon the equipment the beekeeper uses and is transferred to other hives by poor hygiene and lackadaisical care.

The Scottish government have restricted the movement of bees and bee keeping equipment in the area in order to try and contain the outbreak. People are urged to not buy or use second hand equipment as the spores from AFB can survive for years, and enjoy the copious amounts of neglect heaped upon beekeeping by some less than caring bee keepers.

Yvonne Davidson, said “AFB was found at a remote apiary in Tarland. It has no association with Tarland Bee Group.”

The Scottish government acknowledge there is no direct risk to public health, but stepped short on acknowledging that the bees play a most significant part in food production and of the production of the wheat and oats used to make Whisky.

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Image 1 Asian Hornet Nest found near Tetbury

An Asian hornet nest (image 1) has been located and destroyed by experts in the Tetbury area.

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image 2, Asian Hornet Nest

The nest (image 2) was found at the top of a 55 foot tall conifer tree (image 3).

 

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tetbury-asian-hornets-nest-Image 3

Inspectors from the National Bee Unit are continuing to monitor the area for Asian hornets alongside local beekeepers. However to date, no live hornets have been seen since the nest was removed.

We urge anyone to report suspect Asian hornet sightings to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk.

Further guidance on the Asian hornet can be found on the Asian hornet pages of Beebase where you will find a very useful Asian hornet ID sheet sheet and Asian hornet poster which is available for identification purposes.

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/sep/20/threat-honeybees-asian-hornet-arrival-uk-confirmed-defra-invasive-species

 

Threat to honeybees as Asian hornet's arrival on UK mainland confirmed

Invasive species has been spotted in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire, with attempts under way to locate nests

The Asian hornet’s long-feared arrival on the UK mainland has been confirmed, government scientists have said, with ecologists warning of dire consequences for honeybees if the species is not swiftly eliminated.

The hornets eat honeybees and have become widespread in central and southern France, prompting warnings in recent years that they could arrive in the UK via potted plants from France.

While not considered a threat to humans, the arrival of the hornets add to the woes of Britain’s honeybees, which are vital for pollination of many crops but have been suffering declines for decades.

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said on Tuesday that it had a confirmed sighting of an Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire. Officials said efforts were already under way to destroy the invasive species, using cameras and traps to locate nests before attempting to kill them off with pesticides.

An asian hornets’ nest
An asian hornets’ nest. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Muller/AFP

Nicola Spence, Defra’s deputy director for plant and bee health, said: “We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.

“It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honeybee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.”

Matt Shardlow, the chief executive of the charity Buglife, said: “It’s really bad news. The ecological impact is that it potentially affects our ability to feed ourselves in the future.

“In terms of threats to people, as long as it doesn’t reach ridiculous levels of abundance, which it will struggle to do because there is not enough prey here for it, then it shouldn’t really add risk in terms of number of people who die from wasp stings.”

The hornets were first found in Jersey and Alderney over the summer, with beekeepers hoping they would be unable to cross the channel. But the confirmation that they have reached the mainland will put beekeepers on alert.

A spokeswoman for the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) said: “They will be a real threat to our ability to keep our colonies going. The first sighting is an important event for us, because we’ll have to start making traps.

“Asian hornets have a horrible habit of hanging around a hive entrance and then as soon as a bee comes out, they’ll bite their head off. A number of them will do that until all the bees are dead, and then go in and take their honey.”

Tim Lovett, director of public affairs at the BBKA, said the sighting was “not good news for honeybees”, adding: “What happens next in terms of containment measures will be vital and we look to Defra to implement the contingency plans to deal with this invasion of a non-native species.”

Defra’s science wing, Fera, says that the primary effect of the hornet’s predation is the death of adult worker honeybees, warning that “just a handful of hornets can destroy an entire … nest in a couple of hours”. While certain honeybees have defence strategies to reduce damage, including forming a mass of bees around the hornet, raising the temperature to a lethal 45C, Fera says the European honeybee is less effective at this “heat-balling”.

In terms of the risk to humans, Shardlow said: “This is a fairly big wasp. Generally the bigger they are, the less aggressive they are. There are no bigger threat to humans than the wasps we already have.”

One live hornet and one dead one were spotted by government experts but as yet no nests. The National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire is conducting DNA tests on the dead hornet in an attempt to discover how it arrived in the UK. Government experts believe the species will be unable to survive the colder winters in the north of the UK.

From the web today

Written by
Sarah Shearman : ideas@qz.com
September 29, 2016

Brexit has kicked the hornets’ nest.

Across Europe, populations of wild bees have been declining for the past decade. It’s estimated that 75% of food crops—including fruit, vegetable, seed, nut and oil plants—depend in part on bees and other animals to pollenate them, so the fallout from this mass death is potentially disastrous.

Climate change, habitat destruction, and disease have all played a part in this decline. But the link between bee deaths and a group of pesticides called neonicotinoids (nenonics, for short) is becoming more and more clear. Now, after leaving the EU, there is a chance that Britain could reintroduce these chemical concoctions back into its agricultural fray.

Neonics were introduced in the early 1990s to replace DDT, a more toxic chemical that was commonly used in farming. Because they are so effective at killing pests that could otherwise devastate crops, nenoics are now the most widely used pesticides in the world. But they affect insects they’re not meant to target, too. When bumblebees are exposed to neonics, their brains are affected, impairing their memory and ability to forage for pollen, as well as changing the ratio of males to females in a colony and sometimes even reducing the number of queens. This doesn’t bode well for Mother Nature’s delicate balance.

With mounting evidence that neonics cause harm to these very important insects, in 2013 the European Union put a moratorium in place, banning their use for two years. At the time, the UK opposed the ban, and Britain’s National Farmers’ Union (NFU) fought to lift it by arguing it is disastrous for rapeseed farmers, whose crops are used for cooking oil. Now that the two-year period is up, the EU is currently reviewing the latest evidence to assess whether the ban should be extended. It’s expected that it will.

Given the fierce opposition to the ban from the NFU and agrochemical lobby, environmentalists are concerned that the UK will abolish the ban on neonics when it leaves the EU. With three quarters of the world’s crops relying on natural pollination and wild bee communities contributing an average of over $3,000 per hectare to the production of crops, the reintroduction of neonics could have serious implications for the UK’s rural economy, food security, and global trade—and, of course, the bees.

Neonics can accumulate in the soil for years after use, showing up in the pollen and nectar of flowers growing in field margins, hedges, and water streams. Professor Dave Goulson, a biologist at Sussex University and founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, is one of the foremost scientists researching the effects of these pesticides on bee populations. His 2012 study on this subject helped pave the way for the EU moratorium on neonics. Since then, he says, evidence on how neonics pose a serious threat to bees has been mounting.

The most conclusive of these studies was published last year, by a group of Swedish scientists who tested the effects of neonics on bees in the field. Goulson’s more recent research examines how neonics can accumulate in the soil for years after use, showing up in the pollen and nectar of flowers growing in field margins, hedges, and water streams. “Evidence for them affecting bees, I think, is beyond reasonable doubt,” Goulson says.

Crops in the UK survived for years before the introduction of neonics, and they can continue to strive without them. After learning about the potential harm they cause bees and other insects, British arable farmer Peter Lundgren willingly stopped using the chemicals on his farm in Lincolnshire, northern England, around eight years ago.

“When I talk to groups of farmers who have had damage to crops by pests that would be controlled by neonicotinoids, they are open to alternatives,” he says. “I think they know essentially that neonicotinoids’s days are numbered.” Lundgren has been doing just fine without spraying his crops with the pesticides or buying treated seeds, carefully managing his wheat, rapeseed, and barley crops by using other insects and the occasional use of less-strong fertilizers to control pests. He now campaigns on the issue.

Still, the NFU is adamant that the ban is detrimental to farmers. It argues that there has been a “dramatic” increase cabbage-stem flea beetles since the EU introduced the ban in 2013 and claim that no form of pest control other than neonics can prevent this insect from damaging valuable rapeseed crop. “Our stance on neonicotinoids seed treatments remains the same in light of current evidence,” Emma Hamer, the NFU’s senior plant advisor, said in a statement sent to Quartz. “We believe the EU-wide moratorium is ill-informed—a knee-jerk reaction from the EU Commission that is over-precautionary.”

Bee prosperity aside, if the UK decides to reintroduce neonics once it leaves the EU, it could potentially affect Britain’s standing in the global economy.

The UK exports its food and drink to over 200 countries, accounting for a trade worth $23 billion in 2015. If the UK reintroduces neonics, countries where a ban is in place might refuse to import its agricultural produce.

France, which is among the largest importers of the UK’s agricultural produce, is moving towards introducing a total ban on neonics that goes beyond the EU’s ban on three kinds of the pesticide. The Canadian province of Ontario and the American state of Minnesota have also been suggesting a neonics ban. “As farmers we need to be careful—a bonfire of the regulations might mean that we end up in a position where we can’t trade with the rest of the world, let alone Europe,” Lundgren says.

With so many uncertainties over how, when, and even if the UK will leave the EU, at this point it is only possible to speculate over what Brexit could mean for bees. But with such bitter divides raging, it seems possible that the bees who had no say in the vote could be the ones forced to buzz off.

You can follow Sarah on Twitter at @Shearmans. We welcome your comments at ideas@qz.com.

What We Now Know – and Don’t Know — About Honeybees and Colony Collapse Disorder

Original work by By Robbie Shell. Printed by National Geographic.

nationalgeographic.com

Reproduced by Kizz Street

  1. First, a definition: Colony Collapse Disorder is a phenomenon that occurs when the majority of worker bees in a colony (hive) disappear, leaving behind a queen, food, nurse bees and baby bees. Without the mature worker bees to bring nectar and pollen back to the hive, it collapses (dies). CCD was first identified in 2006. Ever since, it has been a huge concern for the agricultural industry — which relies on bees to pollinate crops — and for commercial beekeepers, who earn most of their money renting out their bees to big farms around the country.

For example, California’s almond crop – estimated at somewhere around 800,000 acres – relies almost exclusively on billions of bees trucked in to pollinate almost 400 miles of almond groves stretched across the state’s Central Valley.

  1. Keep in mind that CCD does not have just one cause: Many factors contribute to its presence, but two major culprits seem to be: overuse of pesticides (see next paragraph), and attacks from parasites (especially the deadly varroa mites) and pests (such as small hive beetles and wax moths).
  2. The debate over what causes CCD frequently turns on the question of pesticides, or more specifically, insecticides, a type of pesticide designed to kill insects. Scientists are paying increasing attention to a group of insecticides called neonicotinoids (neonics, for short). The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is looking into whether and how they disrupt bees’ nervous systems. Neonics are manufactured by chemical companies and sold to farmers who use them to eradicate pests on cotton, citrus plants, wheat and corn, among other crops. Chemical companies say the risk from neonics is overstated, and that they are necessary to protect our food supply.

What many scientists, environmentalists, and organic beekeepers do agree on is that all the different insecticides and herbicides used on farms and in fields — as well as those sprayed in hives to fend off mites, fungi and other intruders — create what has been called a “toxic soup” of chemicals. Chronic exposure to these chemicals, say opponents of pesticide use, can make it difficult for bee colonies to breed and resist disease.

  1. Colony Collapse Disorder remains the subject of continually evolving new theories. Some scientists now suggest that climate change could throw off pollination schedules because warmer weather affects where plants grow and when they bloom. Bees may not be primed to meet the needs of these new schedules. Recent decisions by big agricultural producers to use all available soil for growing crops, thereby removing acres of land once filled with wildflowers and other sources of nutrition for bees, are cited as another potential contributor to CCD.

Then there are the spooky “ZomBees,” a term used to describe bees infected by parasitic “zombie flies.” Eggs laid by zombie flies in a bee’s abdomen hatch into larvae that eat away at the bee’s brain and wings. Disoriented by these attacks, the bees begin to behave in uncharacteristic ways. They leave their hives at night (which healthy bees rarely do), dance (not the helpful waggle kind), and then fall to the ground, crawling around blindly in circles until they die.

  1. Some interesting, and discouraging, numbers: The U.S. Agriculture Department’s (USDA) latest figures on honeybee mortality rates estimate that between April 2014 and April 2015, 42% of U.S. honeybee colonies died. This compares to 34% the preceding year. For the first time last year (2015), the number of honeybee deaths during the summer was greater than in the winter — not a good sign given that hives are expected to be stronger and healthier in warm weather, and more stressed in the cold months.

The total number of managed honeybee colonies has decreased from 5 million in the 1940s to 2.5 million today, according to the USDA.

I am fortunate to be able to spend the time needed to look after the assets of the Apiary at Wilmslow. Following a long discussion with Ian, the Apiary Manager, I am proposing the following changes to the way we do things.

Each hive will have its own bucket and hive tool and every hive will be marked to identify the parts within the hive. I won’t mark the frames, super or brood, as really they are consumables. I want each hive to have storage for the hive tool, bucket and ring binder. Knowing what assets we have, will enable me to prepare for the coming year as each hive will need some spares and some replacements.

Each public session I try to make sure we have foundation frames available, both super and brood, I carry a small tool set to enable repairs and replacement of nails and screws as needed. If you see a problem with the equipment or fabric of the hive you are working on, please let me know. Drop me a note, call me on the phone or what’s app me directly, I don’t mind.

By having all these spares, we hope to stay on top of cross contamination between hives.  Can I ask you all to look after the area surrounding your hive, pick up and remove waste paper, refresh and empty wasp traps and the like?

Please make sure your hive is on firm foundations and not rocking around. I hope we can provide enough tie down straps to protect them from bear attacks this winter. I am making sure all hives are on stands and above the ground to defend against dampness in the hives.

In the future, there will be spare hive maintenance stands. Lighter weight stands that you can place by the hive you are working on and rest there upon the lid from the hive and the attended supers.

I do not mind spending my time to make sure you have the equipment you need to look after the Apiary bees, in return, I ask you to let me know as soon as possible when a problem arises. Remember, I am not a Bee Expert, so please do try this at home.

 

Kizz Street

Asset Manager.

Assets@beeeducated.co.uk

A little over a week ago, we moved some bees that had been captured from a swarm into a new brood box. At the time, for expediency, we dropped the partially combed frames into the new brood box and then let them settle down. On top of the brood box we placed a super with frames (plus foundation) and on top of that, a feeder super.

Today, Saturday 6th Aug 2016, we did our first full hive inspection.

We still need to identify the queen and check the hive for general strength and quality. Most of the frames in the brood box did not have foundation and being a very warm late summer day, we worked away with a calm group of bees. Removing propolis as we went. Turning the frames this way and that trying to find the queen.

We had most of a comb drop and fall against the side of the hive ending up on the floor by the hive. Working a little quicker now, still trying to locate the queen we managed to drop a second comb onto the floor. So we had honey, frames and mashed up bees all over the place with a lot of the bees around the hive behaving in a very ticked off manner.

comb about to fall

We closed up the hive and managed to get a prepared frame with foundation in to replace one of the broken ones. Today we learned a lot of lessons.

1) When transferring bees to a new hive, have the frames fitted with foundation as it stops catastrophic episodes later.

2) Identify the queen as early as you can, mark her and possibly clip her wings.

3) Be prepared for such emergencies, have something aside for dropped material, water smoke etcetera.

4) Have a practiced plan in place so that when a hive inspection goes astray, it can be quickly and safely closed up disturbing the bees as little as is needed.

Today we learned a few lessons in real time, and the experience gained is invaluable.

In order to assist the colony to draw out the comb, we have been giving them sugar water for about three or four days, sadly they have drawn out comb and then filled it with faux honey. We have some evidence of larvae and eggs so we know the queen is about somewhere.

I will try and get a picture or two up to complete this entry.

 

Kizz and Fem.