Winter Program

The winter program starts on Wednesday 11 September at 7pm at Swarland and continues on the second Wednesday of each month, the last being in April

This has been devised by Christopher Benjamin and the first is to be  given by David Pearce and the subject will be Winter Preparation

So if you could take note of the dates and we hope to see you there. Good opportunity to reflect on the past year.

 11 September “Winter Preparation”     David Pearce

   9 October. ” Meet our seasonal bee inspector “.  Brian Murphy. (TBC)

  13 November. ” Honey bee forage in Northumberland – what’s in your honey?”. Ian Jobson

  11 December.  AGM

    8 January. ” Bee safari to exotic places abroad with Bees for Development “. Ben Hopkinson

   12 February. ” Updates, Development and Plans for our Association Apiary “. Peter Rose & Alan Culpitt

   11 March.  Buffet and Social Evening

     8 April   ” ReViVe project – DWV and Varroa”  Professor Stephen Martin (University of Salford)

ADBKA Report from Apiary Spring inspection April 2019

Peter Rose, Apiary Manager, has sent this for circulation

‘The first complete inspection of 2019 has been completed over the last 48 hours for the ADBKA hives and findings may be of interest to both new and old members as a snapshot of what is happening locally, but mindful that locations/beekeeper interventions will be different.
Main point of note is that very few eggs or larvae were noted in any hive. However, sealed brood was present, all suggesting that queen laying has been dramatically reduced over the last two weeks in the recent poor weather–up to this weekend. It is clear that bees have been consuming stores at an alarming rate during this time to keep themselves alive, feed brood and maintain brood nest temperature. The weight probe in the electronic Arnia hive shows a weight loss of 9lbs (4kg) between 3-18th April. This break in brood laying may have a delaying effect on swarming as two weeks in the future all sealed brood will have hatched and no more new bees will be emerging for a further 7-10 days, so if hives look a little empty of brood later this will be the reason—-don’t panic.
Little fondant remained from February feeding, and what was left was removed and a queen excluder and a super of drawn frames placed on each hive.  
One hive was full of emerged drones with only more sealed drone cells present. No queen could be found (originally marked), so a frame with a few eggs/larvae was given hoping queen cells will be raised and that the queen has been killed/died. Time will tell’

Letter from COLOSS concerning Winter Losses – please respond if you can

Dear Beekeeper.

In the last decade, elevated losses of western honey bee colonies have been observed, mainly in Europe and North America, but the underlying causes still remain unclear. In 2008, European and USA honey bee experts formed a network “COLOSS” realising that efforts by individual countries to identify the drivers of losses were unlikely to succeed, given the current consensus that causes are complex and can be different between regions and between the years. Now more than 1000 scientists are working together in this network in specific working groups.

The epidemiological working group have developed a standardised questionnaire to identify the underlying causal factors of losses and provide beekeepers sustainable management strategies.

We now invite you to fill in the questionnaire for 2019 which you will find below. This will enable us to compare your answers with other beekeepers. With your data we can estimate the relative risk of colony losses for beekeeper decisions such as Varroa treatment, migration of colonies and comb replacement. We also aim to identify differences in relative mortality risk between regions. This will enable follow up research projects in specific regions.

At your option your personal details may be recorded however we undertake not to disclose them to any third party to protect your privacy.

The survey can be access through the following link

Not counting the comments section and informed consent section there are 34 questions not all are compulsory.  The first two pages cover background information, reasons for the survey, privacy policy and also informed consent.  The survey questions start on the third screen.  If you have information at hand the survey should take from between 10-15 minutes to complete.    There is a facility to start the survey and complete the survey at a latter date if you wish, just click on a grey link “resume later”  found at the bottom left of the screen.

We are most interested in production colony numbers at three intervals,  Spring 2018, Autumn 2018 and Spring 2019.   We do not count nucs as a production colony.  We are then interested in the number of colonies that survived, those that are healthy those that are weak.  Of the colonies that are considered lost we are interested in dividing those into three categories:  a) lost due to natural disaster, ie flood,badger,mice,beekeeper,  accidents,   b) those not queen right and finally     c) dead or empty hives.

The remaining question relate to queen performance, beekeeping practices such as Varroa treatment.  Optionally there is a comments section for you to use if you have any observations or notes either on the year or about the survey.

Finally your help is much appreciated. Please can I ask you to promote this survey and the questionnaire link through this open letter to as many English bee keepers as you are able to do so. Feel free to share the link by email, word of mouth, newsletters or social media and to your local beekeeping organisations. In doing so you will be making a contribution to tackling the problem of colony losses and ensuring that English data is represented as an equal partner in the COLOSS European community.

Thanking you

Dr Anthony Williams

COLOSS Survey Coordinator for England

De Montfort University

A Member of Leicester and Rutland Beekeepers Association


Tel: 0116 207 8468

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For further information about the COLOSS colony loss core project and past results please see the COLOSS website:

‘The results paper for 2016-17 can be found here:

What we found in two hives at the apiary on Saturday

Peter Rose reports:

Today two hives at the apiary were briefly inspected for the first time this year to assess initial status.

In both hives extreme congestion was noted in the brood boxes due to an excess of sealed stores with few empty cells for the queens to lay. Only sealed brood was noted indicating there had been no new eggs laid for over a week. Clearly colony development is not being maximised and will cause overall stress.
In each hive three frames of sealed stores were removed and replaced with empty drawn frames on each side of the brood nest, and a super also added over a queen excluder, as bees were building brace comb in the eke where fondant had been given.
The oil seed rape is coming into flower so room for nectar will be needed

ADBKA members should be advised of what we found today and that in well fed colonies extra space for brood and nectar may need to be given

Asian Hornet information and call for volunteers

You will know that the Asian Hornet has spread across Europe following introduction into France in 2004. Progression by the new Hornet queens (Foundresses) is thought to be up to 80km a year based on experience in France. The Hornet extended through France to Spain and Belgium in 6 years and Portugal in 7 years. We now have had sightings in the south of England in 2016 with nine sightings in 2018, the nearest in Hull
Predictive maps suggest that in 10 years it would be well established across South of England and Wales and 20 years in the North. The milder weather of late will encourage the Asian Hornet to spread faster.
Brian Ripley is our Asian Hornet Area Coordinator and has prepared a description of it and action to be taken and the experience of a French beekeeper. See this document.
The ADBKA Committee discussed the threat and proposes that beekeepers should hang out traps, maintain the lure to attract the Hornets, and take part in regular monitoring.
For the latter it would mean that the hives should be nearby or that you make regular visits to your apiary.
Ideally, we need to detect the Hornet as soon as possible, hence regular monitoring. Similarly, the nests need to be destroyed by trained experts as soon as possible, but particularly in late summer before the new queens escape.
The Association is considering buying traps to start the surveillance program.
If you are interested in being part of the monitoring program please let me know.
John Wilsdon