‘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.
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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
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.
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: https://coloss.org/core-projects/colony-losses-monitoring/
‘The results paper for 2016-17 can be found here:
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
We have just put the details of our forth-coming workshops on-line now, and perhaps some of your members may be interested in attending one or more of these. We have 2 workshops on integrated varroa control, one on planting for bees and other flower-visiting insects, there is also one on how to decode the waggle dance and finally one exploring ivy, an amazing winter forage for many flower-visiting insects. The details are given on the link.
Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects
School of Life Sciences
University of Sussex
Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9QG
A page is now provided here for the minutes of all committee meetings