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Vita Bee Health Global Honeybee Health Experts

Blog – bees, beekeeping & other sticky subjects

Full force spring

No prizes for guessing what pollen this is disappearing into the hive to feed the brood!
(But you can guess in the comments section anyway!)

With temperatures at last becoming spring-like, a second full inspection of the bees has become possible in Hampshire, southern England. All the colonies look healthy and varroa mites aren’t obvious — but some are bound to be there. The colonies, regularly treated in alternate years with Apistan and Apiguard, were treated last season with Apistan since there is as yet no obvious sign of resistant mites in these colonies.

All the colonies came through winter, so there has been an embarrassment of riches 😉 To cut down a little, one colony was given to another local beekeeper and one was united with another existing colony because although it was very healthy, it was just a little too defensive for so early in the year.  Today, the united colony under a new queen was in perfect temper. It never ceases to amaze me how quickly a queen exerts her influence on thousands of bees!

The united colony is of course bursting with activity and was the only one to show new comb building. This has been the slowest spring in my beekeeping career!

Vita’s guest beekeeper blogger

Seeing varroa early this year?

The parasitic varroa mite up close.

We are hearing and seeing some reports of apparently high levels of varroa early this season, so here are a few management options that we hope will help.

If you are already seeing varroa, it is important to monitor carefully and be ready to act quickly to ensure the colony’s strength and survival through the season ahead.

Firstly, check if there is a daily drop of varroa mites – what you are seeing could just be debris that has built up over the winter.

If there are varroa falling at this early stage, we recommend:
1) feeding your colonies with Vita Feed Green, which will give them a good boost to strengthen the colony and can help with varroa
2) a full six-week treatment with Apistan which can, if necessary, be left on during the honey flow and when supers are present.

Green or Gold?

Spring is late in many parts of Northern Europe. A horse chestnut tree bursting into leaf not blossom on 23 April 2013.

As spring starts to reach Northern Europe rather slowly, you may be wondering if you should give your bees a boost.

There’s a quick rule of thumb as to whether to feed with Vita Feed Green or Vita Feed Gold at this stage of the season:

if you see crawling bees, they might have Nosema, so VF Gold could be worth trying.

If not VF Green should give them a boost.

Let’s hope the weather continues to comply!

Setting up at BBKA Convention

Setting up

Jon and Jeremy setting up the Vita Stand at the BBKA Convention this morning. Drop by to hear what’s new, have a chat and receive a free poster and newsletter.

Meet Vita at the BBKA Spring Convention this weekend

If you are going to the BBKA Spring Convention this weekend in Shropshire, UK, be sure to visit the Vita stand where you can meet four of the Vita team: Dr Max Watkins, Jeremy Owen, Seb Owen and Jon Stacey and catch up on the latest Vita developments:

And bring your smartphone for a nice surprise.

Jon, Seb, Jeremy & Max - outside Vita's offices on a rare sunny spring day! They all plan to be at the BBKA Spring Convention.

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