Beware of the bears!
In a winter walking trip in the Rodopi mountains in South Bulgaria, Liz & Bob Jack came across many beehives at the edges of the forests, just outside the villages. Common to all were solar powered electric fences to keep the bears away. Life is much simpler in London!
Beekeeping and the Law
Andrew Beer, a beekeeper and retired lawyer, gave a very informative talk to NLB in October on the legal aspects of beekeeping. He has kindly given us a summary of his talk which can be seen or downloaded by clicking on Beekeeping and the Law.
Latest hygiene requirements for honey sellers
Please click on latest hygiene requirements at 31 July 2014 if you sell honey.
What is a BEE GYM?
Answer: a simple technical means of reducing the varroa count which NLB member Stuart Roweth has been developing for a few years. It is a small flat device approx. 4x4 ins placed in the centre of the mesh floor whereby bees crawl between tight threads or over scrapers and can remove varroa clinging to them. Bees learn to scrape themselves. Some NLB members volunteered to trial Bee Gyms last year, with success.
For more information with a short video go to www.beegym.co.uk
BEEKEEPER'S NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS
The following ideas for improving beekeeping in 2013 emerged from a Middlesex Federation workshop group.
Improve knowledge by:
Improve elimination of Varroa by:
Ways to eliminate Varroa:
Improve interaction between natural beekeeping and traditional beekeeping:
LATEST NEWS ON ASIAN HORNET and a TRAP FOR IT
Click on Asian hornet fact sheet for information on Asian Hornets and a trap for them. This factsheet can also be found on the BeeBase website in the advisory leaflets list.
Alan Byham, the SE Regional Bee Inspector, would like to encourage beekeepers to use this trap, particularly those who live in high risk areas for Asian Hornet, such as along transport corridors as in Kent, or along the south coast. This can be a cheap and effective way of monitoring for the arrival of Asian Hornets.
If any Asian Hornet queens are caught this should be reported immediately using the link in the factsheet.
MEMBER'S VIDEO ON SWARM COLLECTION
Simon Orchard, an NLB member, has produced an excellent video in 2 parts on the method he used to collect his first swarm from a nursery school in Shepherds Bush.
BEE SCIENTISTS AIM TO FORCE VARROA MITES TO SELF-DESTRUCT
UK Scientists may be able to halt global honey bee losses by forcing the deadly Varroa mite, lethal in the freezing weather, to self destruct.
The blood-sucking Varroa is the biggest killer of honey bees world wide, having developed resistance to beekeepers’ medication. It is particularly destructive in winter as depleted colonies do not have enough bees huddling together to keep warm.
Now, researchers from the Government’s National Bee Unit and the University of Aberdeen have worked out how to ‘silence’ natural functions in the mites’ genes to make them self destruct.
Dr Alan Bowman from the University of Aberdeen said: “Introducing harmless genetic material encourages the mites’ own immune response to prevent their genes from expressing natural functions. This could make them self destruct.
The beauty of this approach is that it is really specific and targets the mites without harming the bees or, indeed, any other animal.”
Dr Giles Budge from the National Bee Unit, part of the Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA), said: “This cutting edge treatment is environmentally friendly and poses no threat to the bees. With appropriate support from industry and a rigorous approval process, chemical-free medicines could be available in five to ten years.”
Environment Minister Lord Henley said: “Bees are essential to putting food on our table and worth £200 million to Britain every year through pollinating our crops. This excellent work by UK scientists will keep our hives healthy and bees buzzing.”
David Rea, chairman of Sidcup Beekeepers (www.ruxleybeekeepers.org.uk) said: "Dealing with Varroa is one of the most difficult problems for modern beekeepers, as we all dislike using chemicals unless absolutely necessary. The club has gained many new members recently, all of whom are keen to 'do their bit' in helping honey bees. Our training courses and the practical tuition at the club devote a lot of time to coping with such parasites, so this research break-through may be very welcome."
The process uses the Nobel Prize-winning theory ‘RNA interference’, which controls the flow of genetic information. So far the ‘silencing’ has worked with a neutral Varroa gene, which has no significant effect on the mite. Scientists now need to target a gene with the specific characteristics that are perfect to force the Varroa to self destruct.
Tests by other scientists have shown the treatment can be added to hives in bee feed. The bees move it into food for their young, where the Varroa hides.
The full report is available at full report
RESEARCH SHOW HONEY IS GOOD FOR HANGOVERS
The following article by Richard Alleyne, Science Correspondent, appeared in The Daily Telegraph on 24 Dec 2010.
"If you are planning to over-indulge at Christmas it would be a good idea to stock up on honey as well as alcohol.
Scientists claim the natural sweetner is a great way to help the body deal with the toxic effects of a hangover.
The Royal Society of Chemistry claims that fructose in honey - also found in golden syrup - is essential to help the body break down alcohol into harmless by-products. The reason hangovers are so painful is that alcohol is first broken down into acetaldehyde, a substance which is toxic to the body, claimed Dr John Elmsley of the Royal Society.
This is then converted - using fructose - into acetic acid which is then burned during the body's normal metabolic process and breathed out of the body as carbon dioxide.
Serving honey on toast adds potassium and sodium to the meal which also helps the body cope with the alcohol."