Do you really have a swarm of bees?

At this time of year we get a lot of queries from members of the public about swarms of bees. One noticeable trend, has been the number of reports concerning bees found in the roof or facias of buildings, bird boxes, etc. This may well be the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus Hypnorum) which is a recent visitor to the UK, but is becoming more common.

Unlike other bumblebees which tend to nest in the ground, the Tree Bumblebee (see picture below) likes to live higher up, typically in bird boxes and roof spaces. In general, they are not aggressive unless disturbed and will naturally disappear later in the summer. Most of the flight activity outside the nest is by the males (Drones) which do not sting and are trying to mate with a virgin queen.

Please note that we do not remove bumble bee or wasp nests. For more information on swarms please click here.

Bee theft update!

It has been reported that a white van was attempting to enter an apiary in the Cresselly area yesterday and took off when approached. It is strongly recommended that all beekeepers remain highly vigilant and check their apiaries for security. If you see any suspicious activity, please take the registration number of any associated vehicle and report to the police and ourselves asap.

Attempted Bee Thefts

We have been advised of an attempt to steal bees in the Carmarthen area, where several men in bee suits with a large white van and a double wheeled trailer, were attempting to enter an out-apiary. When they realised they had been seen they drove away quickly at speed.

We advise all beekeepers to be on their guard and to advise the land owner (for those of you with out-apiaries) and also any other beekeepers in the area. If you should see any suspicious activity, please try and get the registration number of the vehicle and a phone picture if possible.

American Foul Brood (AFB) outbreak

Would PBKA members please note that there has recently been an outbreak of American Foul Brood (AFB) in the Canaston Bridge area (OS map reference SN01).

We have been advised 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

All beekeepers have a duty to keep healthy, disease free bees and the PBKA strongly recommends that beekeepers sign up to Beebase in order to ensure that they receive any warnings and can 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 and we strongly recommend that all swarms caught are quarantined for a period of 6 weeks with any concerns advised to your local Bee Inspector.

Please note if PBKA members see any hives in their area which appear to be abandoned, or are of unknown origin, contact Paul Eades, the Apiary Manager with details.