Author Archives: Stephen Fleming

  • What is the secret of sunflowers?

    Despite their relatively poor protein contribution to a bees’ diet, could sunflowers be helping bees fight varroa?

  • Those invading hornets

    Various hornets have been invading different parts of the world. Here are a few of teh ones of concern.

  • Canadian beekeepers have new treatment to counter recent high winter colony losses

    Last winter, Canadian honey bee colony losses in many areas often exceeded 50%, affecting honey production and honeybee supply for crop pollination across the country. Several factors have been implicated in the honeybee colony losses, the most serious reported being a failure to control the parasitic varroa mite, Varroa destructor. Nosema, other bee diseases and severe winter conditions are also in the mix.

    Following huge Canadian honeybee losses last winter and spring, a product to combat two major honeybee diseases has been revitalized and reintroduced to market by honeybee health specialists Vita Bee Health. By helping to stem the losses of honeybee colonies, the treatment, OxyTet-62.5, will also be of huge benefit to Canadian agriculture which is so dependent upon healthy and plentiful pollinators.


  • Vita Bee Health’s 2022 photo competition

    Vita Bee Health, about to celebrate its silver anniversary, is calling for entries to its annual international photo competition. Winning entries appear in the sought-after limited-edition calendar, which is sent to the Vita distribution network across the world. The closing date is 31 October 2022, but enties are now being accepted.

    Photo: Ainars Millers

    The outright winner of the competition receives a cash prize, and the photographs of eleven other winners will also appear in the 2023 Vita Bee Health calendar and feature in Vita’s monthly email newsletters. All winners receive a copy of the desk calendar.

    Photographs should relate to any aspect of honey bees and beekeeping. Those which reflect a particular month or season are particularly welcome.

    Entrants may submit up to four photos (at least 2MB in size and preferably as attachments) by emailing them to .

    The deadline for entries is 31 October 2022.

    Sebastian Owen, commercial director at Vita Bee Health, said: “We never fail to be delighted by the entries to our competition from across the world. Despite all the challenges faced by honey bees and their keepers, the hobby and occupation are coping well as the photo entries show. The resulting and sought-after limited-edition calendars go to the competition winners and to our global distribution network, where we know they take pride of place on desks. ”

    The competition will be judged by an international panel of beekeeping specialists and suppliers.

    The outright winner of the competition will receive a €100 cash prize. Runners-up will receive a copy of the limited-edition Vita 2023 Calendar. There is also a special prize for the winner of the under-16s category.

    All suitable entries will be added to the Vita Gallery, a free online resource of hundreds of honey bee-related photos now used by beekeeping lecturers and associations across the globe.

    Terms and Conditions of the 2022 Vita Photo Competition

    The competition is open to any individual. Up to four photos (at least 2MB each in size) relating to honeybees or beekeeping may be submitted. Please include your name, postcode (or equivalent) and country in your email. You may also include captions for your photographs if you wish.

    The deadline for entries to the competition is 31 October 2022.

    Entrants must certify that the image/s they are submitting is their own work and that they own the copyright. It is the responsibility of each entrant to ensure that any images they submit have been taken with the permission of the subject and do not infringe the copyright of any third party or any laws. In providing images for the competition, each entrant agrees that Vita can put it in the online Vita Gallery for others to use and in the Vita Calendar and to use it for marketing purposes.

    Wherever used, Vita will endeavour to credit the contributor.

    Postal addresses will be required from winners and runners up, these addresses will only be used to post the calendars and/or prizes. For the cash prize, bank transfer details will also be required at the appropriate time.

    The judges’ decision will be final.

  • Causes of high Canadian winter losses

    Losses of 50% have been reported by some beekeepers in the key beekeeping province of Alberta and up to 90% in Manitoba. What’s the cause?

  • HiveGate, a wasp-protection entrance with far-reaching benefits

    A simple, low-cost adjustment to any honey bee hive entrance helps bees protect against wasps (yellow jackets), robber bees and other would-be intruders. By creating a tunnel from the entrance of the hive to beneath the cluster, HiveGate not only confuses intruders, it also seems to help bees to regulate the temperature and humidity of their nest much more precisely, thereby potentially boosting their health and productivity.

    Wasp being attacked at HiveGate entrance protecting colony


  • Rescued

    A colony, partially underground in the base of a willow tree, is rescued and rehoused