Swarms

800px-Bee_Swarm

Honey bees can swarm at any time from late April to August.  A swarm of bees can be a worrying sight for the non-beekeeper.  But swarming bees rarely sting: their objective is to find a new home as soon as possible.  A queen and about half the bees in the nest, between 10,000 to 20,000 bees, leave with the intention of setting up a new ‘colony’.  In the old home, there will be left: a new queen who, once mated, will take over the egg laying duties; and enough workers to take care of her and her offspring. Left to their own instincts, bees may move to an inconvenient location; in a roof, or a box in the garden.  Where safe and practical to do so Pembrokeshire Beekeepers will recover honey bees and place them in a hive.

Please make sure that what you have found are honey bees by using the following guide:

  1. Honey bees are about the same size as a wasp but are usually much duller in colour – if you see a cluster of insects hanging on a branch or fence post this will almost certainly be a swarm of honey bees.  Honey bees live in perennial nests made of wax comb in a cavity.  You may see evidence of honey staining on soffit boards or ceilings if the nest has been in place for some years.  Please note that we do not recover bees from buildings etc. for health and safety reasons and because of the structural damage that may be caused. We will also not destroy honey bee nests – you will need to treat this as a pest control problem – honey bees are not protected so do not be put off if you are told this.
  2. Wasps do not swarm. Each year a new nest is built which looks like a paper lantern.  Close to it is easy to distinguish between wasps which are brighter yellow and with a narrower waist than the honey bee.  If insects are flying from a gap in roof tiles near the ridge, it can be tricky. If the nest is visible identification is easy.  Please note that we will not deal with wasps or their nests – if a Pembrokeshire resident call Pembrokeshire County Council’s Customer Contact Centre on 01437 764551 and ask for Pest Control.
  3. Bumblebees do not swarm.  Most people can recognise bumblebees they are much bigger and fewer than honey bees with layer of hairs on their bodies which is usually banded black and yellow (or orange or red) and the traffic at the nest entrance will consist of only a few bees a minute, whereas a busy hive will have almost a cloud of bees at the entrance. A common bumble bee in recent years is the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum) with its distinctive ginger thorax and white tail, which often take up residence in bird boxes. We will be unable to help you with a bumble bee problem.  The bees will disappear over winter and are unlikely to return to the same location so if possible enjoy them for the summer.
  4. Solitary bees again, do not swarm. Since these bees are quite fussy about where they set up their nests, it is not uncommon for many bees to do so in close proximity, and if the conditions are right a large number of nests can mature almost at the same time. In this case a large number of bees will be seen crawling about. One of the most common is the red mason bee, which can often be seen exploiting holes in brickwork for its nesting site.  We will be unable to help you with a solitary bee problem.  Again, if possible, enjoy them.

If you have looked at the check list and are sure you have a Honey Bee swarm and not Wasps or Bumble Bees etc. please contact Jeremy Percy on 07799 698568 or email pbkaapiarymanager@live.co.uk

Honey_bee_(Apis_mellifera)
Honey Bees
wasp
A Wasp
Bombus Hypnorum
A Tree Bumblebee

National Bee Unit Wales – Bee Health Events 2018

The NBU team will be getting out and about to local association venues this year and offering tailored support sessions to local beekeepers. The 2018 Bee Health events in Wales will be ‘drop in’ workshops, allowing attendees to come and go at a time of their choosing, and to focus on the issues of greatest concern to them.

The workshops will provide an opportunity for beekeepers to meet some of the NBU team in Wales, to get an understanding of the purpose and value of the Inspectorate’s work and, most importantly, to develop their knowledge and diagnosis of the key pest and disease threats to their bees.

The NBU will be bringing their ever popular diseased combs, displayed under special licence, to give attendees first hand and, we hope only, experience of brood disease. The NBU will also be providing stalls of information covering a wider range of pests and diseases and relevant good beekeeping practice, from varroa control to biosecurity and exotic pests.

Welsh Government and the Animal and Plant Health Agency, of which the NBU is a part, are keen that the events are made available to all beekeepers. As in previous years, associations are hosting our workshops but attendance is not restricted to association members – all beekeepers are welcome to come along. Full protective sanitary wear will be provided and the NBU will require attendees to comply with the biosecurity measures they will have in place.

The events will run from 2pm until 4pm at the following venues:

Saturday 16th June – Bridgend BKA, Coytrahen Community Centre, CF32 9DW

Saturday 30th June – South Clwyd BKA, St Collen’s Community Hall, Llangollen, LL20 8NU

Sunday 8th July – Gwent BKA, Goytre Hall, NP4 0AW

Friday 13th July – WBKA, Aberystwyth University, SY23 3FL

Sunday 15th July (10am – 12pm) – WBKA, Aberystwyth University, SY23 3FL

Potential starvation risk!

Just to remind all beekeepers that the June gap can still happen and inclement weather, combined with large growing colonies and little or no available forage, can quickly result in a shortage of stores.

So be sure to check that your bees have enough food, especially if you have taken off any spring honey. Note that if you add extra frames of sealed stores you should keep them in the brood boxes, so as to avoid getting them mixed up in the honey supers. Also, if you have to feed directly, use a light syrup (i.e. 1:1 sugar/water ratio) with any honey supers taken off during the feeding process.

Beekeeping partners sought!

Beginner beekeepers Lauren & Phil are looking for people in the Llangolman area that might be interested in working together. They have 12 acres of land, 3 empty hives almost ready to go and lots of enthusiasm. If there is anybody with more experience in the area that would be interested in working with them to establish and manage the hives as a cropshare / work exchange then please email laurensandphilm@gmail.com or call 01994 448 275.