Just to remind beekeepers everywhere to check their bees for stores as we are coming into a high risk time for starvation as the queen gets into gear and the remaining winter stores are used up. So give your hives a heft and if needed, give them some fondant or candy (not liquid feed!).
One of our bee inspectors advises that she has spent the best part of September in England chasing Asian hornets and the monitoring going on by the public has been variable. The only chance of preventing them from becoming a huge problem is to stop them early.
This is a link to the NBU Asian hornet trap
Note that Asian hornets are apparently quite hard to ID when they’ve been in a trap for a while, so people need to have a good look.
The most Asian Hornets have been seen on ivy and other forage, picking off flys and other insects (as this is easier than hawking in front of a hive) so if everyone could spend half an hour every so often watching some forage there’s a chance of spotting them if they’re here.
If anyone does spot something suspect then THEY NEED TO TAKE A PHOTO OR CATCH ONE AND PUT IT IN ALCOHOL OR THE FREEZER. The bee unit and non-native species have had over 4000 reports of Asian hornets that are actually something else (one was a cockroach!) people can also download the Asian hornet app, which has ID info and you can report sightings.
The BBC report that sightings of the honey bee-killing Asian hornet have been confirmed in Cornwall and East Yorkshire.
Work is under way to identify any nests in Liskeard and Hull, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) said.
The Asian hornet is smaller than the native hornet and poses no risk to human health, but does pose a risk to honey bees.
Inspectors are monitoring areas around the sightings.
Nicola Spence, Defra deputy director for plant and bee health, said: “These sightings in Liskeard and Hull underline the need to remain vigilant.
“I want to encourage people to look out for any Asian hornet nests and if you think you’ve spotted one, please report your sighting through the Asian hornet app or online.”
Please note that Invertbee syrup is now available at a significantly discounted rate for PBKA members only. This syrup is ideal for winter feeding and is superior to sugar syrup. Fondant also available. For further details and to order, please ring Jeremy Percy on 07799 698568 or email him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Wasps are making their appearance felt now around the hives.
To keep the pesky invaders out:
Reduce the entrance size of the hive, probably opened fully during the recent hot weather, to give the bees a smaller area to defend.
Put out wasp traps, these can be bought or easily made with a jam jar with a hole made in the lid or from a plastic drinks bottle as shown. Jam attracts wasps, but not bees. Do not use honey in the bait of course.
Be tidy and keep rubbish away from the apiary, which could attract wasps and other pests!
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.