Honey Bees – Living Feral

Bees in Tree Trunk
Bees in Tree Trunk

We hear a lot about declining bee numbers.

While beekeepers can and should look for problems and take action to prolong the life of their own colonies bees living in the wild are at the mercy, or not, of nature.

Where do bees living in the wild come from? And are they related to the bees we manage?

A story on the BBC Nature website explains more – read it here.

Honey Bee Losses in USA – White House Demands Federal Action

On June, 20th a Presidential Memorandum was issued by the White House  titled Creating a Federal Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. 

The memorandum states that:

“Over the past few decades, there has been a significant loss of pollinators, including honey bees, native bees, birds, bats, and butterflies, from the environment. The problem is serious and requires immediate attention to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems, avoid additional economic impact on the agricultural sector, and protect the health of the environment.”

On May 20th, National Geographic Daily News covered a USDA report that Losses over the 2013-2014 winter in the USA were lower than most previous years.  But commented:

Even so, the USDA’s survey of beekeepers found that nearly a quarter of the bees in managed honeybee colonies—a total of 23.2 percent nationwide—perished from October 2013 to April 2014.

That was far better than the average annual loss of 29.6 percent reported since 2007, and the 30.5 percent loss recorded during the winter of 2012-2013. But it’s appreciably higher than the threshold of 18.9 percent losses that beekeepers consider economically sustainable, the USDA said.

“This year’s survey results, while encouraging, do not provide much comfort because it is not known why the bees seemed to do better this past winter than previous winters,” said Gene Robinson, director of the Institute for Genomic Biology and an entomology expert at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “We can’t rest until we really understand the factors that drive differences in losses.”

The White House Memorandum requires a “National Pollinator Health Strategy (Strategy)” to be developed within six months.

The food industry in the USA is huge and has become reliant on intensive use of chemical pesticides included neonicotidoids which have been banned since late 2013 for a two year trial period in the EU.  Will be interesting to see what action results from this – is it too little too late?

Bee Disease Workshop

A reminder that the Bee Disease Workshop organised and presented by the National Bee Unit is taking place this Saturday June 14th.

Workshop starts at 2.00 pm and ends at 5.00 pm. Taking place in the Picton Community Centre, Freemens Way, Haverfordwest, SA61 1TP.

Bee health is important and this event is open to any beekeeper who can attend not just members of Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association, no need to book. This is not suitable for non-beekeepers.

BDI LogoWe are grateful to Bee Disease Insurance (BDI) for their financial support in sponsoring this workshop.

All the Fun of the Scolton Craft Fair

Click for full size image
Click above full size image

Scolton Craft Fair is taking place over the weekend of 7th and 8th of June.

The members meeting of Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association will be taking place as usual on Sunday but members should allow additional time to negotiate their way in so that we can start promptly at 2.00 pm.

Bring the family and they can enjoy the Craft Fair while we enjoy the bees – weather permitting.

Ian and Shirley Richards

It is with great sadness that we have to inform you of the deaths of Ian and Shirley Richards of Wiston following a road accident on Saturday 10th May.

Ian started keeping bees when working for the police and continued and expanded his beekeeping in retirement.  He provided many beekeepers with their first bees and was always willing to provide practical help and advice to local beekeepers. He had been an active committee member of Pembrokeshire Beekeepers’ Association for many years.  Shirley was invariably at Ian’s side assisting with honey processing and producing  preserves which they sold alongside their honey at Pembrokeshire Farmers Markets where they were familiar faces.

They will be sorely missed.

Our thoughts are with their family at this sad time.

Details of funeral arrangements will be published here when available.