The National Bee Unit (NBU) received news on 30/04/2018 of a suspected finding of Small hive beetle eggs in an imported consignment of bees (1000 queens) in France. The news has been widely shared across the UK’s beekeeping community.
A formal Communiqué de presse was issued by the Ministère de l’ Agriculture & ANSES on 4th May 2018 http://agriculture.gouv.fr/parasite-des-abeilles-aethina-tumida-suspicion-non-confirmee it explained how analyses carried out at the national reference of Sophia Antipolis laboratory is inconclusive and the available material will not allow further analysis.
The import was originally from Argentina and is said to have been widely distributed in France, further checks will be taking place during the season. There are currently no confirmed reports of Small hive beetle (Aethina tumida) in Argentina (source OIE) however the beetle has been found in other parts of South America.
The UK has received one import of 525 queens from Argentina this year. The NBU proactively took action to inspect the imported queens, Fera Science Ltd received the consignment samples for mandatory checks and no Aethina tumida were found to be present.
UK authorities remain active in preparing and monitoring for the Small hive beetle. Contingency training exercises have been run by the NBU to provide opportunities to test and improve protocols. Further information on Small hive beetle can be found in the NBU advisory leaflet.
As we approach the autumn season, you may be planning what to do in order to successfully over winter your colonies. Remember the start of the 2018 beekeeping year begins now and anything you do or do not do to your colonies will have repercussions on their ability to overwinter successfully, and on their subsequent performance in the following year. To help you out, we’ve put together a checklist of tasks to carry out before you ‘put your bees to bed’ for winter.
Good quality stocks of bees
Colonies which have poorly performed during the season e.g. the queen has had a bad laying pattern, or any colonies which are headed by queens older than say two years should ideally be replaced by a good quality and newly mated queen. This will set the colony in good stead for next year as young queens are more prolific and produce a strong population of honey bees necessary for the colony to successfully overwinter. Younger queens are also unlikely to be superseded in the spring at a time when the colony is more vulnerable and if the older queen is killed, it is unlikely that a replacement queen will be available to keep the colony going.
If, in the following year you wish to use any of the older queens for breeding purposes and want to graft from her young larvae, then removing her from the main colony and over-wintering her in a nuc will increase the likelihood of her surviving into the following spring.
At the beginning of the “Healthy Bees Plan” a series of Best Practice Factsheets were produced, and we think it’s an opportune time to dig the one out about “Obtaining Honey Bees” as a reminder of the sound advice it contains The fact sheet, along with all of the others can be found here.
When buying bees:
BeeBase will be undergoing planned essential maintenance during the week commencing 14th December 2015.
This should not affect your use of the website, but should you encounter any problems please contact firstname.lastname@example.org immediately.
Many beekeepers will be aware that apiaries across the UK are being plagued by wasps. Inspectors are finding some apiaries where small and weak colonies have already been killed and robbed out and continuing harrassment by the pest is leading to attrition in some of the stronger colonies. This problem is likely to continue through to October and without action, could lead to further colony losses. With the prospective high levels of wasp populations and the possibility of earlier wasp colony collapse, be on your guard and take preventative measures. Generally strong healthy colonies can defend themselves but smaller colonies, nuclei, etc., are at a higher risk of robbing. The presence of varroa mites, especially if mite populations are over the economic treatment threshold, also increases the risk. There are three elements of control that beekeepers can use: