The first-ever smartphone app about keeping healthy honeybees has been launched by Vita (Europe) Ltd, the world’s largest dedicated bee health company. The web app is free and gives beekeepers easy mobile access to information and photographs about honeybee disease identification and treatment.
University researchers have clearly demonstrated the success of Vita’s swarm lures and revealed a fascinating new aspect of honeybee biology.
Introduced in 2011, Vita’s Honeybee Swarm Attractant Wipes are a simple and low cost way of attracting of honeybee swarms to specific locations. They help beekeepers manage their bees, increase the prospects of bigger honey harvests and can help prevent swarms occupying inconvenient locations. The lures resemble cleansing wipes in sachets and are impregnated with natural oils.
The researchers showed that the Vita swarm lures are highly effective and succeeded in attracting between 60% and 90% of swarms in a test apiary of 40 healthy colonies. The lures were effective when placed just a few metres from the original colonies.
The researchers also discovered a fascinating difference in the behaviour of primary swarms (headed by an old queen) and secondary swarms (headed by one or more virgin queens). Secondary swarms were attracted to empty hives containing the lure and immediately started setting up a permanent nest. In contrast, the primary swarms were attracted to the lures pinned to the branches of trees and only then would they start looking for a permanent nest site.
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Vita (Europe) Limited has begun the pan-European registration process for HopGuard®, a varroa control treatment that uses natural food-based compounds and is suited for year-round use. The registration process for Europe is expected to be complete in early 2016 and beekeepers should then have a new, highly effective, versatile weapon against the varroa mite which has taken such a toll on honeybee colonies.
HopGuard will be the first registered varroa control treatment in Europe that can be used at any time of year, even during a honey flow. The food-grade ingredients, based on natural hop compounds, are entirely safe for bees, brood and humans, and have proven to be highly effective in controlling varroa mite populations.
The 2012 Vita Photo Competition has been won by Mark Gullick of the UK with his very atmospheric shot of foraging bees. Mark will receive a cash prize as well as sufficient Apiguard and Apistan, Vita’s world-leading varroa medicines, to treat 10 hives.
Other winners of a 2013 Vita Calendar and a box of Vita swarm lures for next season are:
Vita held its first “Hangout” yesterday to discuss the secrets of the honeybee bite.
The Hangout on Google+ is like a webcam conference call, but anyone can view it — either live as it happens or after the event. You can see the recorded version below. There were a few sound and vision issues, but the concept really worked and has huge potential for beekeepers.
In the Hangout about the honeybee bite, Claire Waring Editor of Bee Craft and Cassandra, an Italian beekeeper, were able to ask questions of two of the research team: Dr Max Watkins of Vita in the UK and Dr Alex Papachristoforou of the Thessaloniki University in Greece.
Vita is planning further hangouts – if you would like to take part, read on …
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