World Bee Day

Have you read in this month's British Beekeepers' Association newsletter (No: 223 - July 2016) that the initiative to introduce an annual World Bee Day has been gathering support to raise awareness of the importance of bees around the world and to remind people how dependant we all are on bees and other pollinators?

Loyal foragers under threat

One of our members, Steve McColloch, was invited to give a talk in Clyst St George on the threat to honey bees and how the local people could help.  Steve's talk was the third in a series aimed at encouraging people to live more closely with nature. He regularly visits schools and talks to children raising awareness of the plight of bees and one of the ways he engages their interest is by saying “No bumblebees, no baked beans”!

Laying the foundations

It's official, our apiary now has a new home in Woodbury Salterton. David McLarin who deals with the property side of things within the branch dealt with all the legalities and an Agreement has just been signed which came into effect on Wednesday 1st June 2016.

Stop start Spring confusing bees

There was an interesting article on BBC Radio 4's Farming Today programme presented by Anna Hill reporting that the stop start Spring seems to be confusing honey bees this  year and beekeepers are reporting a slow start in producing honey as their bees don't seem to be making honey as fast as they might.  She speaks to David Southgate, a Norfolk beekeeper and a swarm collector for the local area.

Bees get a temporary break

It's a good news day for bees today as ministers rejected an application from the National Farmers Union to use banned pesticides on one-third of oilseed rape crops in this country.  This is the first time our government has ruled against farmers using neonicotinoids which are bee-harming pesticides.

In 2013 the European Commission banned these pesticides from being used on flowering crops as they were shown to be harmful to bees. 

Geoff's half century

Geoff's lifelong interest in beekeeping started when he was 10 years old and his father introduced him to the hobby. When Geoff was a teenager his father bought a queen bee for 17 shillings and sixpence (87p!). In those days this was a huge sum of money and the family was horrified to discover that the queen bee had died the very next day. After finishing his schooling, Geoff joined a young computer industry and wrote software for companies like Ferranti and Elliott Automation. After several years Geoff became frustrated with the lack of organisation on some of the projects on which he was employed and, after spotting a newspaper advertisement, took the courageous lifestyle decision to move to Devon to work with Brother Adam - but with a considerable reduction in salary!

Nosema... under the microscope

We would like to thank all the local beekeepers who came along and left samples of their bees during our Annual Nosema Testing Day held at Magdalen Court School, Victoria Park Road, Exeter as well as our army of volunteers from our branch who helped make the day run smoothly.

In addition to the testing, there were demonstrations throughout the day on on frames assembly, very useful for beginners, as well as a demonstration of a Bailey comb change by David Friend in the morning and a talk by Mick Street on Nosema and other mites finishing off the day.

Neonicotinoids on bees

Scientists from the University of Dundee have produced new research showing that some neonicotinoids are damaging bees.  In an article by Claire Marshall, BBC Environment Correspondent entitled Banned pesticides 'not equally harmful' to bees (28th April 206) it reveals that the largest field study so far into the group of pesticides called neonicotinoids has concluded that each acts differently on the brains of bees.

Low food stores, high mite levels

Many beekeepers will have received an alert from the National Bee Unit about low food stores suggesting beekeepers should monitor food levels of their colonies closely over the next month as in many northern parts of the UK, the weather is still cold and foraging opportunities for large colonies are few and far between.