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Vita’s swarm lures give new insight on honeybee behaviour

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.

Vita swarm lure in action for secondary swarms in a hive and prime swarms on a branch

Vita swarm lure in action for secondary swarms in a hive and prime swarms on a branch

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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2012 Vita Photo competition: the winners

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.

Photo: Mark Gullick

Other winners of a 2013 Vita Calendar and a box of Vita swarm lures for next season are:

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Vita’s first hangout

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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Secrets of the honeybee bite revealed

A previously unknown honeybee defence weapon against varroa and a potential new natural anaesthetic for humans

Researchers have discovered that honeybees can bite as well as sting and that the bite contains a natural anaesthetic. The anaesthetic may not only help honeybees fend off pests such as wax moth and the parasitic varroa mite, but it also has great potential for use in human medicine.

The surprise findings discovered by a team of researchers from Greek and French organisations in collaboration with Vita (Europe) Ltd, the UK-based honeybee health specialist, will cause a complete re-thinking of honeybee defence mechanisms and could lead to the production of a natural, low toxicity local anaesthetic for humans and animals.
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Vita’s new online videos show that treating honeybees for varroa is easy

Vita videos now online

Vita videos now online

A new series of online video clips just launched by Vita (Europe) Ltd, the honeybee health specialist, shows that treating honeybees for varroa and other ailments can be very straight-forward.

The eight product videos, each between 1 and 3 minutes long, show beekeepers how easy it can be to treat bees to control the varroa mite (Apiguard and Apistan), to control wax moth (B401), to test for European and American foul brood (EFB and AFB diagnostic tests), to boost honeybee health (Vita Feed Green and Gold) and how to catch those elusive swarms (Swarm Attractant Wipe).

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