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.
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.”
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 email@example.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.
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.
Groups of beekeepers are invited to apply for Vita’s 2017 award for honey bee health initiatives. The Vita Bee Health Initiatives Award highlights the vital work of voluntary beekeeping groups to combat the ongoing health threats to honeybees. Vita will help publicise their work for the benefit of other beekeepers.
Anyone can nominate a group. The entry form is short and straight-forward, the closing date is 31 July 2017 and results will be announced at Apimondia in September 2017.
The overall winner of the inaugural competition in 2015 was the Devon Apicultural Research Group in the UK. The group is researching the apparently increasing number of drone-laying queens. The project is ongoing and the drones are being examined with the help of a high quality microscope provided by Vita.