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New lower-cost Bee Gym Slim

Bee Gym Slim packBee Gym Slim, the enhanced and lower-cost design of the chemical-free varroa-grooming aid for honey bees, has been launched following much positive feedback from beekeepers about the original Bee Gym.

Now available through Vita Bee Health distributors, the new design of Bee Gym Slim is lower cost because it uses fewer parts and is more effective because multiple gyms can be easily inserted into hives.

The new Bee Gym Slim is available in packs of three grooming strips 170mm long, 45mmwide, <5mm high, and provides many more grooming points. The strips are placed on top of the brood frames, instead of on the floor (in contrast to the older version) and fit into bee space between brood boxes or are integrated with a queen excluder. In this position, there is a lot of bee traffic and therefore more opportunity for the bees to groom – and for the beekeeper to see the grooming in action. This positioning also enables the Bee Gym Slim to be easily removed and replaced for cleaning.

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Balancing diets for healthy bees

even if you cannot visit your bees so frequently

                                 VitaFeed Patty

            VitaFeed Power

For the 2020 season, honey bees can benefit from a range of Vita Bee Health feeds, all GMO-free, that enable feeding at almost any time of year.

The new VitaFeed Power and VitaFeed Patty feed supplements have been developed after research which has shown that if foraged pollen is low in protein, the colony suffers because foraging requirements increase disproportionately. If the pollen protein content drops from 30% top 20%, pollen consumption must increase by 50%. That extra pollen-foraging requirement can have very detrimental effects on colony development.

Paulo Mielgo, technical director at Vita Bee Health, explained, “These products aren’t simply feeds. They have been rigorously researched and tested to ensure that they perform to the highest specifications. We aren’t just selling feeds – we are selling research, experience and technology in the form of feeds.”

Studies in Italy and Greece in 2019 have shown that brood area can be increased by 25% when a combination of the new feeds is used in springtime. This results in healthier and more advanced colonies showing other all-round health benefits.

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Maintaining quality in the new beekeeping regulatory landscape

Motti Yakubovich

Motti Yakubovich, the new senior regulatory affairs and quality manager at Vita Bee Health, aims to ensure the maintenance of product quality and regulatory compliance at a time of change.

One of Motti’s first tasks when he joined the company last year was to help manage the successful technical transfer of Vita’s Apiguard production facilities from Hampshire to Italy. He has also played a key role in the ongoing task of making Vita’s operations and products Brexit-compliant.

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Vita Bee Health international photo competition winners 2019

Photo: Ian Gregory

The overall winner of 2019 Vita Bee Health photo competition is Ian Gregory for his image of a foraging honey bee with brimming pollen baskets.

Winning entries, selected by an international panel of judges, feature in the 2020 Vita Bee Health calendar, a pdf file of which can be downloaded free of charge via the Vita gallery.

Everyone whose photograph features in the calendar will receive a free limited edition of the printed desk calendar. Outright winner Ian Gregory also wins a cash prize.

The 2020 Vita Calendar includes photographs by Tessa Milton, Ian Gregory, Geoffrey Leister, Claire Heywood, Margaret Edge, Ann Chilcott, Kyle Riley, Susan Kimber, Kathleen Suddes and Mark Baker.

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Foulbrood test kits available again

Diagnostic kits to test honeybee colonies for American foulbrood (AFB) and European foulbrood (EFB) are again available from Vita Bee Health after a short disruption to supplies.

The Vita AFB and EFB diagnostic test kits enable beekeepers and bee inspectors to test for AFB and EFB in honeybee larvae and to obtain the results easily and immediately in the apiary. They are as simple to use as pregnancy test kits and are a low cost, fast and reliable way to test for foulbrood.

The instant results mean that if either foulbrood is detected, action can be taken immediately. If no foulbrood is detected, expensive and unnecessary action can be avoided.

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Canada welcomes return of Nosema treatment

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.

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Vita Bee Health Photo Competition 2019

Photo: Katrien Berckmoes

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 gallery@vita-europe.com. Photos may be on any relevant topic relating to honeybees and beekeeping.

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2018 Vita Bee Health Photo Competition

Christine Balshaw’s winning photo

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.

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ApiProtect — protecting bees from concerted Asian hornet attack

ApiProtect, a new type of Asian hornet trap, has been launched by Vita Bee Health to protect honey bees when they are under sustained attack.

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.”

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