With the help of local beekeepers, Vita (Europe) Ltd has opened a test apiary near its Basingstoke headquarters to complement its other test apiaries across the world.
The apiary, on a large allotment (community garden plots for fruit and vegetables) within easy foraging distance of Vita’s offices, will be managed by some beekeepers from Basingstoke and Paulo Mielgo, Vita’s technical manager.
The Basingstoke beekeepers, who are experienced in allotment beekeeping, have constructed an apiary perimeter fence, for security and to ensure that the bees fly well above head height on foraging trips, as well as a small apiary shed to hold beekeeping essentials.
Beekeepers are invited to apply for Vita’s 2017 award for honey bee health initiatives.
A new feed for honey bees from honey bee health specialist Vita (Europe) Ltd will help boost colony health and increase honey production. VitaFeed Nutri is a rigorously tested, GMO-free nutritional supplement that can be used at almost any time of year to promote controlled colony growth.
Packed with easily digestible proteins, VitaFeed Nutri can make up for nutritional deficiencies in honey bees’ diet, thereby stimulating egg-laying, extending bees’ lifespans and ultimately increasing honey production.
Dr Max Watkins, technical director of Vita (Europe), explained “Honey bees need protein, but not all pollen has the same protein content. VitaFeed Nutri ensures that bees have sufficient protein to enable healthier colony development and thereby increased honey production. The year-round suitability and simplicity of applying the feed in syrup make it an ideal product for any beekeeper wanting to keep healthier and more productive bees.”
A New Year resolution for bees – use the Gym!
Bee Gym helps bees control their number-one enemy, the varroa mite
The Bee Gym provides a low-cost, chemical-free and sustainable way of helping honeybees groom themselves to get rid of varroa mites.
The Bee Gym is a simple device that is placed inside any hive to encourage bees to groom varroa mites off their bodies. It has wires, flippers and scrapers on its small (11 cm by 11 cm) plastic frame that bees voluntarily rub their backs and abdomens against to groom themselves of varroa mites. The mites then fall through a normal varroa mesh floor onto a sticky insert or to the ground from where the varroa mites cannot jump back into the hive. The sticky insert should be regularly refreshed and the Gym should regularly be cleaned with washing soda.
The latest threat to honeybees, the Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is the focus of the latest in series of free and downloadable infographics from Vita (Europe) Ltd.
This third infographic from Vita gives at-a-glance information about the Asian hornet, a growing threat as it expands across western Europe.
Sebastian Owen of Vita (Europe) Ltd said, “The aim of the infographic is to inform beekeepers about the Asian hornet’s life cycle, what to look out for and how to help honey bees defend against it. It’s a free resource for beekeepers and others to download and disseminate.”
Previous Vita infographics have focused on swarming and varroa. These can also be downloaded for free from the Vita gallery which also has lots of other useful images, videos and tips. See www.vita-europe.com/gallery
The overall winner of Vita’s 2016 international photo competition is Lester Quayle with his image of industrious housekeeping honey bees. May Smith is the under-16 winner for her striking photograph of a pollen-carrying honey bee just landed on a brood frame.
Entries will appear in the limited edition 2016 Vita Calendar distributed to Vita’s global network and the winners. Some of the photos are below and a pdf file of the full calendar is available for free download to users of the Vita Gallery www.vita-europe.com/gallery.
The 2017 Vita Calendar monthly line-up is:
Vita has donated eight ApiShield Asian hornet traps to a group of Gloucestershire beekeepers to help establish how far the latest threat to honey bees has spread in Britain.
Vita’s ApiShield traps replace existing hive floors and attract hornets, wasps and even robber bees in by side entrances where they become trapped under a wire mesh and cannot exit through the cone entrances. Meanwhile, the honeybee colony uses and protects the front entrance to the hive. Beekeepers can periodically inspect the traps to see if any Asian hornets have been caught.
Peter Lead of the Stroud Beekeepers’ Association said: “We have installed two ApiShield traps in our Association apiary and are distributing the others for use in the area. Last year, our Association apiary was plagued by a lot of wasps and, even after a few days, the ApiShields have already trapped a substantial number. There is no sign of the Asian hornet yet, but we are inspecting regularly. I particularly like the Vita hornet trap because, unlike bait lures, it is not adding an additional enticement for wasps and hornets to enter the apiary.”
VitaFeed Gold, Vita (Europe) Ltd’s product to stimulate the development of honey bee colonies, will no longer be available in the UK and Germany for economic reasons. It is still available in many other countries.
A recent decision by the British Veterinary Medical Directorate means that VitaFeed Gold must undergo the full regulatory process. While Vita is very supportive of regulatory controls of products and treatments for bees, the cost of the documentation and research required to gain regulatory approval for this particular product is uneconomic.
Technical Director, Dr Max Watkins explained: “Sadly, we have had to take a decision to cease sales of VitaFeed Gold in the UK for economic reasons. While the product has been very successful in strengthening honey bee colonies and is praised by many beekeepers, the cost of putting it through the regulatory process would mean that we would have to raise the product price to levels which we believe would not be acceptable to beekeepers. With regret, we have therefore decided to withdraw the product from the UK market. It is however available in many other countries.”
All other Vita products, including Apiguard and Apistan varroa treatments, remain unaffected because they already have regulatory approval where required.
Apiguard, the organically-approved varroa control treatment from Vita (Europe) Ltd, has just been approved for use in Australia. It is the first varroa control product to be approved by the Australian authorities.
Based on thymol and delivered in a slow-release gel, Apiguard is extremely easy to use and very effective in controlling varroa populations. It is a proven worldwide success, has been through a rigorous authorisation process and is successfully used in up to 60 countries across the globe.
In the second of a series of infographics, Vita has released a free, downloadable Varroa Infographic.