Coronavirus (Covid-19) – Message from Lynda Christie, Welsh Beekeepers’ Association (WBKA) Chairperson

Dear Member,

The impact of Coronavirus has seen the regrettable cancellation of the WBKA Convention 2020 and the cancellation of the March Module examinations.

Your associations courses, talks, and meetings will be curtailed during this crisis, but I am sure local associations and groups will check in on their more vulnerable members, especially those who may be confined and unable to check their out apiaries. Please do give support to your fellow members within your areas and keep in touch with a phone call, online or email, or other means available.

I have spoken to our regional Bee inspector for Wales, Frank Gellatly, for a position on Bee inspector visits and inspections this season and a view on Beekeepers attending out apiaries in the event of a further lock-down due to the virus.

Frank has said that as it stands Inspections starting 1st April will go ahead albeit adhering to Government guidelines on social isolation. Beekeeping tends to be carried out mostly as a solitary exercise so this should not be too difficult.

As for travelling to our out apiaries, there is no curtailment currently, but Frank will raise the matter of travel to out apiaries at the next NBU meeting and will keep us informed of any further developments.

The trustees and myself have the best interests of Welsh Beekeepers and will support you where we can and endeavour to keep you informed through our web site and associations.

I hope this unprecedented situation improves so we can get back to enjoying our Beekeeping season.

Lynda Christie (Chair)

Urgent Warning to PBKA Members

Would PBKA members please note that there has been an outbreak of EFB in the St David’s area and an outbreak of AFB in the Wisemans Bridge area. The information relating to this is on Beebase at http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/public/BeeDiseases/efbReport.cfm

We have been advised by the Regional Bee Inspector for Wales to direct you to the National Bee Unit (NBU) factsheet Apiary_Hygiene_and_Quarantine for your information and action. Also ‘Foulbrood Disease of Honey Bees and other common brood disorders’ has a lot of information on biosecurity and barrier management, including ‘10 rules for foulbrood control’. These are on Beebase at:

http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

We strongly recommend that all PBKA members sign up to Beebase in order to ensure that they receive any warnings and to obtain advice etc in the event of a disease outbreak.

Beekeepers within 3km of the outbreak with a current email address on Beebase will have been emailed an alert from the NBU. All beekeepers within 5km of an outbreak should exercise vigilance as per the above factsheet, which also covers swarm collection.

Please also note that we will be holding a National Bee Unit Beekeeper Advice Surgery on July 15th at the Picton Centre, Haverfordwest which will cover bee diseases and details on this can be obtained NBU Advice Surgeries Flyer 2017. Specific details re times etc to follow in due course and we would urge you all to attend.

Starvation Warning from the National Bee Unit

Beekeepers may wish to monitor their colony food levels closely over the next month as many colonies, particularly those which are strong and had their spring honey crop removed, will be at risk of starving. In some parts of the UK, the weather is still cold and foraging opportunities for large colonies are few and far between. It is important to check and monitor all your colonies feed levels, if you do not wish to open them up because of poor weather, lift below the floor, in turn, on both sides of the hive to see how much it weighs. Where the hive is light, liquid feed should be applied directly above the bees. Feed can be prepared from refined white sugar and water mixed at a 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping equipment suppliers. More information about mixing up sugar can be found in the Best Practice Guidelines no. 7 http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

Large starving colonies of bees will take 1 gallon (approx. 5 Litres) of syrup very quickly while smaller colonies will take half a gallon (approx. 2.5 Litres). After feeding, heft the hives again and check the weight and if in doubt feed some more in a few days.

Varroa Alert from the National Bee Unit

Please see the notice below from the National Bee Unit.

Some of you may not have gotten round to treating your colonies with oxalic acid as the weather was so mild in winter. Treatments that were applied in winter may have had lower than normal efficacy due to the presence of brood and therefore beekeepers may want to consider treating colonies again, especially where bees are showing signs of deformed wings. Thymol based products and formic acid pads may be ineffective at the present time as daytime temperatures respectively of 12-15 °C or above are recommended. Neither should MAQS strips be used on smaller colonies.

Therefore contact strips such as Apistan or Bayvarol may be beneficial, these offer a rapid knock down in severely infested colonies. However, resistance to these products has been reported in some areas and therefore colonies will need to be monitored after the treatment and an alternative treatment applied if necessary later in the season.

Alternatively, Apivar & Biowar (Amitraz) are available under the EU Cascade system by using a special import certificate. For more information about this, contact your local vet.

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Vacancy for Seasonal Bee Inspector

The vacancy for Seasonal Bee Inspector for North Pembrokeshire and South Ceredigion is now live on Civil Service Jobs here. The closing date for applications is 5th April 2016 if any PBKA member  is interested in applying.

If you should have any queries, please contact: Frank Gellatly, Regional Bee Inspector, Wales. Telephone: 01267 202465 | Mobile: 07775 119480 | Email: francis.gellatly@apha.gsi.gov.uk