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2015 Vita Bee Health Initiative Award Winners

vitalogoThe Pinnacle Winner of the first Vita Honeybee Health Initiative Award is a research project run by the UK Devon Apicultural Research Group potentially involving hundreds of beekeepers as well as professional scientists investigating honeybee queen fertility.

Seven Distinction Winners have also been announced with a wide range of projects including group bee disease identification, a children’s project and a bee wellness programme.

Announcing the winners, Jeremy Owen, a director at Vita (Europe) Ltd, said: “In this inaugural International Vita Honeybee Health Initiative Awards, we have been very impressed by the variety and quality of the entries. So much so that we decided to create a second level of awards, Distinction Winners, to enable us to give support to a larger number of projects than we initially planned.

“We warmly thank and congratulate all entrants and look forward to holding the Awards event again to coincide with Apimondia 2017 in Turkey.”

The overall winner, the UK Devon Apicultural Research Group, has conducted research into the apparently increasing number of drone-laying queens. They have involved a group of scientists and potentially 900 beekeepers in their county. Following the preliminary study in 2012 that showed how amateur beekeepers and professional scientists can work together, they are now considering further research to test the hypothesis that the queen’s spermatheca can be damaged by a virus possibly being sexually transmitted.

There seven Distinction Winners are:

Bristol Branch of the Avon Beekeepers Association, UK has drawn up plans to develop an ambitious new sustainable meeting and training base for new and existing beekeepers as well as the general public to replace expensive hired premises. www.BristolBeekeepers.org.uk

Calgary and District Beekeepers Association continual multi-faceted Integrated Pest Management programme includes talks, inspections, mentoring and online communications. The aim is to educate new and experienced beekeepers and community members about bee health especially to improve over-wintering survival rates. They say that the Calgary area has had one of the best overwintering rates in Alberta despite very harsh wintering conditions.

Delco Worker Bees, Delaware, Pa, USA. This is a new project involving and training seven children (aged 8-12) in beekeeping. The project aims to be self-funding through honey sales in three years.

Manx Bee Improvement Group, Isle of Man, is seeking breeding improvements of the Manx dark honeybee in Varroa-free and foulbrood-free Isle of Man. Having successfully fought for import controls, the group is working to improve the Manx bee in terms of health and docility.

Montgomery Beekeeping Association, Pa, USA provides reasonably priced gamma irradiation at a commercial establishment for beehives and equipment to combat AFB. It’s a multi-state initiative, already used by 100 beekeepers and run by volunteers. The programme was initially assisted and verified by Penn State University and they now plan to extend their reach.

NY Bee Wellness, Rochester, NY, USA is a comprehensive Bee Wellness programme for new and small-scale beekeepers. It includes workshops, a dedicated website, and surveys, and has trained 100 trainers to teach at the local club level for the benefit of over 1200 beekeepers. The project began with funding from the USDA and honey producers after the loss of the New York state inspection program and is now volunteer-run.

Wokingham Beekeeping Association, Berkshire, UK runs frequent events and a comprehensive programme focusing on bee diseases identification and control including microscopy workshops, apiary safaris, kit-cleaning sessions and the training of “first responders”.

The winners will receive microscopes or cash alternatives.

Notes To Editors

Vita (Europe) Limited is a mite control and honeybee health specialist. It is the world’s largest dedicated supplier of honeybee health products to the honey and pollination industries. With a rigorous and ethical approach to research and development into honeybee health, Vita has no commercial interests in crop pesticides or crop breeding that may be harmful to honeybees.

Vita researches, develops, and manufactures a range of honeybee health products. Its headquarters are in the UK, it has offices in Italy, France and Russia, and partners across the globe. These products are marketed internationally through a network of 60 distributors in 50 countries.

Vita’s honeybee health product range includes anti-varroa acaricides – Apistan® (outside the USA/Canada) and Apiguard® – chalkbrood and wax moth controlsfoulbrood diagnostic kits and health-promoting feeds. Vita also supplies Asian hornet traps , Small Hive Beetle traps and swarm lures. Vita products have been registered by more than 60 veterinary authorities.

Vita promotes sustainable beekeeping through Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Its treatments are designed to inhibit the build-up of resistance and wherever possible contain natural compounds and biological controls that are benign to all but the target pests.

Vita invests a very high proportion of its turnover in research and development. Research partners include universities such as Thessaloniki, Cardiff, Milan, Udine and Naples and institutes such as the FERA Laboratories in the UK and the USDA in America. Vita’s innovative research and development work has been recognised by and has received support from the UK Government.

As a result of its primary research of natural control agents, Vita is currently engaged in new projects exploring mite control in the agriculture, veterinary, and horticulture industries as well as public health and human allergen control.

See www.vita-europe.com for more information and a web app which can be accessed at www.healthybeeguide.com.

Follow Vita as “Vita (Europe) Ltd” on Facebook and Google+ and as @vitaeuropeltd on Twitter.

Media Enquiries
Stephen Fleming at Palam Communications
+44 (0) 1635 299116
s.fleming@palam.co.uk

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