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Honey bee health free smartphone app update

The free Vita Bee Health honey bee health smartphone web app has just been updated and refreshed. Ideal for use in the apiary, the app helps beekeepers to quickly identify any health issues in their colonies.

The web app, suitable for nearly all smartphones and tablet devices, can be accessed free from www.healthybeeguide.com.

Detailed photographs show the visible symptoms of the main bee diseases and pests so that beekeepers concerned by what they see during a colony inspection can immediately check them on the app. Typical effects of the varroa mite, European and American foulbrood (EFB and EFB), Nosema, chalkbrood, wax moth, tracheal mites and viruses can be viewed within a few clicks. Keys to the identification of the Asian hornet and small hive beetle are also included.

Amongst the many app features, beekeepers can read about the treatment options, where to obtain treatments, and if and to whom they should report serious diseases and pests.

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Vita Photo Competition Winners 2017

Photo: Leka Huie

An international panel has selected the bees and beekeeping photographs for the 2018 Vita Calendar and voted for Leka Huie from Hong Kong as the overall winner for his colourful action photo of a honey bee in-flight approaching a flower.

Entries will appear in the limited edition 2018 Vita Calendar distributed to Vita’s global network and the competition 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/beehealth/gallery.

The 2018 Vita Calendar monthly line-up of winning photographs is:

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ApiShield defence against the Asian hornet

ApiShield Asian hornet trap

Following a sighting of an Asian hornet and the discovery of a nest in Devon, England, this week, British beekeepers are being urged to be on the alert for the invasive and destructive insect. ApiShield, an easily fitted and low-maintenance trap from Vita Bee Health, not only protects honey bee colonies from Asian hornet attack, but it also acts as an early warning of the Asian hornet’s arrival in an area.

The Asian hornet is native to China but arrived in a pottery consignment in Bordeaux, France in 2004. Since then the Asian hornets have spread at about 75 km per year across Europe, killing off many honey bee colonies and other native insect pollinators which have no defences to cope with the new predator.

ApiShield, Vita’s patented Asian hornet trap, has been rigorously tested in France and Greece and fools hornets and wasps attacking honey bee colonies into using unguarded underfloor ‘entrances’ not used by the colony’s honey bees. Beekeepers simply inspect the trapped dead and dying predators and look particularly for the Asian hornet.

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After 20 years, it’s Vita Bee Health

On its twentieth anniversary, the honey bee operations of Vita (Europe) Ltd will be known as Vita Bee Health. The new name – with new logo – emphasises the company’s ongoing commitment to beekeeping and healthy honey bee populations.

Launched in 1997 with a single product, Vita is now the world’s leading dedicated honeybee health specialist with a range of products, subsidiaries in Italy and Russia, and an extensive global distribution network.

Jeremy Owen, sales director, recalled: “Back in 1997, some thought that setting up a company dedicated to honeybee health with only one product – Apistan – was, to put it politely, a considerable risk.  However, my fellow director, Max Watkins, and I felt strongly that there was a need for healthy honey bees that would not be diminishing. Beekeepers were very supportive of our aims and, I’m grateful to say, still are.”

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Vita’s 2017 International Photo Competition

Last year’s winning photograph by Lester Quayle

Send us your best honey bee-related photographs to enter the sixth annual Vita international photo competition. The overall winner receives a cash prize and eleven others will appear in the Vita 2018 limited edition calendar and feature in Vita’s monthly email newsletters. All winners receive a copy of the calendar.

The deadline for entries is 22 October 2017. Entrants may submit up to four photos (preferably each 1-2 MB in size) by emailing them to gallery@vita-europe.com. Photos can be on any relevant topic relating to honeybees and beekeeping. Please ensure that photos are of high enough resolution for printing. The competition will be judged by an international panel of beekeeping specialists and suppliers.

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Test apiary on Vita’s doorstep

The test apiary in a secluded part of the allotment

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.

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VitaFeed Nutri boosts honey bee health and production

VitaFeed Nutri Label ExcerptA 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.”

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Bee Gym varroa grooming aid

A New Year resolution for bees – use the Gym!

Bee Gym helps bees control their number-one enemy, the varroa mite

BeeGymBeekeepers can help their bees control their greatest enemy, the varroa mite, by giving them a Bee Gym, supplied by honey bee health specialists Vita (Europe) Ltd.

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.

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