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Blog – bees, beekeeping & other sticky subjects

Wax moth control product to be superseded

Honeybee biting a wax moth

Developments are well underway to replace B401, the highly respected biological wax moth control product used by beekeepers, with a new and similar product B402. To comply with the new regulatory environment, B401 will not be available in the UK when current stocks run out. B402 is nearing completion of its development and is expected to go on sale in the USA later this year and, as soon as possible thereafter, in the UK.

Sebastian Owen, commercial director at Vita Bee Health, said, “It’s disappointing that we have had to stop supplying B401 at such short notice. The product has been on the market for many years approved under an older regulatory regime, but the changing regulatory environment requires us to submit data that is not feasible to collect at this time. We have therefore decided to focus on the development of a similar and equally effective product, B402. We expect this to be available in the USA later this year and are currently investigating the quickest regulatory routes to market for B402 in the UK.”

Like its forerunner, B402 is a preventative treatment to control wax moth. It is a biological product that is safe and environmentally friendly. Its application will be similar to that of B401 and, like its predecessor, will provide very high efficacy against wax moth.

Have your bees suffered from agro-chemicals?

Have your bees suffered from pesticides, herbicides or treatments? An initiative of the Apimondia working group is collecting information on a global scale about toxicity events and their effects on honey bee colonies.

Their short anonymous questionnaire focusing on specific toxicity events can be found here.

The Apimondia working group is called Adverse Effects of Agrochemicals and Bee Medicines on Bees and this research is led by Dr Fani Hatjina of the Hellenic Agriculture Organisation – Demeter – in Greece. Vita Bee Health regularly works with the organisation and recommends that any beekeeper whose honey bees have suffered the effects of pesticides, herbicides or treatments completes the survey.

International teen beekeeping successes

Young beekeeper of the year at the tenth International Meeting of Young Beekeepers in Slovakia was Martin Leahy of Scotland. In tests ranging from honey tasting to grafting larvae, the fifteen-year old beat competitors from 29 teams from all over the world.  Jan Materna of the Czech Republic and Asger Deyn of Denmark came second and third respectively.

In the national team competition, the Czech Republic came first, followed by Slovakia and Germany.

But it wasn’t all serious competition. International friendships, probably for life, were made and visits in and around Banská Bystrica showed just what a beautiful and hospitable country Slovakia is.

Competitors from two countries new to IMYB received special prizes from Vita Bee Health, which is an IMYB sponsor. Laura McDowell of Australia and Rana Behery of Egypt were presented with the fabulous Honey from the Earth by Eric Tourneret.

Next year IMYB will be held in Slovenia, the home of the Carniolan bee, Apis mellifera carniola. New countries wishing to enter should contact Jiri Piza.

 

 

Basingstoke Mayor finds a queen in town

Blandford & Sturminster BKA visit Photo: Zoe McLaren

On 13 July 2019, 18 members of the Blandford & Sturminster BKA (part of Dorset BKA) enjoyed a rare public visit to Vita Bee Health’s apiary in Basingstoke, UK. They were honoured to be joined by the Mayor of Basingstoke Councillor Diane Taylor, and her consort.  An additional special guest was a local boy with learning difficulties who is fascinated by bees.

In groups, visitors were shown the Vita apiary at a town allotment by Paulo Mielgo and learned about how two Basingstoke Beekeepers run it, the Vita trials there, and tips about the application of Vita’s products.  There was also an introduction to Vita’s local and international R&D activities followed by a stimulating Q&A session in Vita’s office.

Basingstoke’s mayor was very impressed by Vita’s activities and proud that such important pollinator work is taking place in her town. Finding a queen in Basingstoke, on her very first visit to an apiary, was a particular thrill!

Clearly Blandford & Sturminster BKA enjoyed their visit: “Very many thanks for a wonderful day. Everyone who came found it instructive, interesting and were most impressed with the very smooth organisation.” A visit such as this “makes me review what I do”.

Early signs of varroa – what happened next

Turlough, Vita Bee Health’s Guest Blogger, writes:

The CO2 varroa test

On 14 February 2019, I reported on the alarming discovery of a very early season heavy varroa drop-down rate (blogpost here).

Three colonies were immediately treated with Apistan and one was left for a short while to acquire a CO2 testing kit to gauge the level of infestation. That colony was then treated with Apistan.

So did the colonies recover?

They certainly did!

They produced a very good spring harvest and on 21 June they were again tested for varroa. The result — just one or two varroa per 200 nurse bees from each colony.

And to double-check, we gave two samples an alcohol wash as well (reluctantly because, unlike the CO2 test, the alcohol kills the bees). That revealed only one more varroa .

Clearly Apistan is still working well in this part of the world.

Research just published this week gives a clue as to why the colony was infested over winter after being remarkably clear of varroa in the autumn. Professor Tom Seeley and David Peck think that late surges in varroa result from healthy colonies robbing varroa-infested colonies and bringing the mites home as passengers.

 

 

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