A very effective treatment for Nosema, a deadly disease of honey bees, is now available again in Canada after intensive work by Vita Bee Health in conjunction with the Canadian Honey Council.
Fumagilin-B is a tried and tested preventative and curative antibiotic treatment for Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae. It first became available in the 1950s and was widely available in many countries until mid-2018, when the previous manufacturer, Medivet, ceased operations.
With the unavailability of fumagillin, beekeepers have been able to combat Nosema only by indirect methods such as protein feed supplements to boost immune defences, effective varroa control and regular comb changes. These are not always effective under harsh winter conditions. In Canada, because of the extreme low temperatures and long winters, the beehives have to be sealed and insulated from October to March – a long time for the bees to be confined and an ideal environment for Nosema to increase and spread through the colony. Canadian beekeepers were expecting severe winter colony losses if Fumagilin-B remained unavailable for this autumn/fall treatment season.
Now Canadian beekeepers again have access to fumagillin, manufactured in Canada and supplied by Vita Bee Health. The treatment should be administered with autumn/fall and spring feeds as necessary and, as ever, it is vital that beekeepers follow label directions precisely.
Rod Scarlett, executive director of the Canadian Honey Council, welcomed the news about the re-availability of Fumagillin-B saying, “If fumagillin wasn’t available, the consequences of Nosema infections would be dire. Many beekeepers think that without fumagillin we would expect over-wintering colony losses of 50% rather than 25%.”
Max Watkins, CEO of Vita Bee Health, said, “It’s been a long hard road to make Fumagillin-B available to beekeepers again and there’s still a lot of work to be done. We’re confident that we’re on our way to a sustainable supply of Fumagilin-B for Canada. The main reason that Fumagillin-B disappeared from the market place was the closure of the manufacturer when it faced a massive increase in the price of the active ingredient. Inevitably, Fumagilin-B is now more expensive than before, but beekeepers will quickly recognise that, set against colony losses, it is still a very cost-effective solution.”
Nosema apis and Nosema ceranae are parasitic microsporidian fungal pathogens. They can be identified only by microscopic analysis of the honey bee’s mid-gut. The spores multiply rapidly in the gut and can then spread throughout the colony. Nosema apis often leaves tell-tale signs of dysentery inside and more visibly on the outside of the hive (especially noticeable in spring), but the strain Nosema ceranae that originated in Asia often leaves no such traits. Research in Spain has shown that the disease can lead to a steady decline in bees over several months until the colony collapses. At that stage, other diseases such as chalkbrood and foulbrood may have become evident.
About Vita Bee Health
Vita Bee Health 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 control, foulbrood diagnostic kits and health-promoting feeds. Vita also supplies Asian hornet traps, Small Hive Beetle traps, a Bee Gym varroa grooming aid 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.
Stephen Fleming at Palam Communications
+44 (0) 1635 299116
The eighth annual Vita Bee Health international photo competition is now open for entries. The competition grows in stature each year with superb honey bee-related photographs from around the world.
The outright winner will receive a cash prize and eleven others will appear in the 2020 Vita Bee Health limited edition calendar and feature in Vita’s monthly email newsletters. All winners receive a copy of the sought-after calendar.
The deadline for entries is 25 October 2019. Entrants may submit up to four photos (at least 2 MB in size and preferably as attachments) by emailing them to email@example.com. Photos may be on any relevant topic relating to honeybees and beekeeping.
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 2020 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 honeybee-related photos now used by beekeeping lecturers and associations across the globe.
Sebastian Owen, Commercial Director at Vita Bee Health, said: “We always look forward to seeing this year’s selection of photographs – and we know that our network across the globe appreciates them too. Even since the competition began in 2011, the growth of interest in bees and beekeeping has been enormous. They are rarely out of the news, so we expect and hope that this year’s entries may include photographs from non-beekeepers. As ever, we especially want to encourage entries from young beekeepers and have a special prize for under-16s.”
Terms and Conditions of the 2019 Vita Photo Competition
The competition is open to any individual. Up to four photos (at least 2 MB 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 25 October 2019.
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.
The outright winner of 2018 Vita Bee Health photo competition is Christine Balshaw for her image of a worker honey bee, proboscis extended, drinking from a small pool of rainwater.
Winning entries, selected by an international panel of judges, have been featured in the 2019 Vita Bee Health calendar, a pdf file of which can be downloaded free of charge via the Vita gallery here.
ApiProtect is effective, non-toxic and economical. It has been tested widely in France to prove its effectiveness, and when used as instructed traps few or no non-target creatures. It is designed for conditions where the Asian hornet has become established and imposes existential threats to honey bee colonies.
Max Watkins, CEO of Vita Bee Health, explains, “When Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) start a concerted attack on a beehive, urgent action is essential to prevent the death of the entire honey bee colony. The hornet has been causing great damage with serious pollination implications throughout much of France. ApiProtect, developed by bee scientists, is a sticky board which when loaded with a suitable bait attracts Asian hornets to a trap from which they cannot escape.”
For almost four decades, Jerry Hayes has worked across the USA apicultural industry to promote sustainable beekeeping. As head apiarist of the State of Florida inspection service when Colony Collapse Disorder struck, he was on the front line helping Floridian beekeepers and their 300,000 plus colonies. For three decades, he has also been well-known and respected amongst beekeepers for his informative and entertaining column, The Classroom, for the American Bee Journal.
Jeremy Owen retires as a director of Vita, continues as CFO. Sebastian Owen become commercial director.
Entries are now being accepted for the seventh annual Vita Bee Health international photo competition.
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.
Amarinder Singh has been appointed regulatory and quality manager at Vita Bee Health.