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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 . 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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World-renowned beekeeping expert joins Vita

Internationally respected US beekeeping expert Jerry Hayes has been appointed vice president North America for Vita Bee Health to help beekeepers improve and maintain the health of their honey bees.

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.

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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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