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Thread: Scottish Honeybee Restocking Programme 2013-2014

  1. #31
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    I don't know if the Ulster BA runs its own winter loss survey, but it should. [/IMG]
    It's run by Agri-Food & Biosciences Institute (AFBI) every year and we send in our data online or via printed form.

    There is a link to it on the NIHBS site as well.

    We have been discussing the native bee label since the start of the year and I think it is a really good idea as a lot of people will be attracted to the idea of supporting a native species via the purchase of local honey. NIHBS will be keeping a close watch on the use of the labels.

    Like a choice to buy red squirrel honey or grey squirrel honey!

    We also have the University of Galway on board via the new Ireland varroa Monitoring project and this will involve DNA microsatelite analysis of bee samples so we will have data to show who has native or near native bees. Grace McCormack, The head of the zoology department was at out last meeting in Portlaoise in August. When a colony is sampled for varroa using the shaker method, a sample of 100 bees is taken at the same time. The mite count data and the samples are then sent to Galway. I sampled ten of my own colonies and the Galtee people have already sampled about 150.
    Last edited by Jon; 11-09-2013 at 11:16 AM.

  2. #32
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    So the mid-40s NI figure was the official one then? 43% the report said.

    Then these sensible words from Mervyn in the press report:

    However, it is hoped that the recent good weather may help the situation. Mr Eddie stated that “the improved summer has enabled many beekeepers to rebuild colony numbers and the situation is now more or less back to normal.”

  3. #33
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Last winter was a disaster especially the East side of N Ireland comprising Down and Antrim.
    Losses to the west were much less severe and before anyone suggests it, we don't have an oil seed rape area in the east!
    The common consensus is that 3 months of rain in summer 2012 followed by a cold autumn without ivy pollen, followed by the longest and coldest winter in 50 years was what did the damage.
    For most of us the year was about consolidation and getting colony numbers back up to where we want.
    A lot of us have achieved that although we are struggling to prepare enough nucs for the new beekeepers.
    The bright spot was about 3 weeks in July where all you had to do was put in a queen cell to an Apidea and find a mated queen 8 days after emergence. I got about 50 queens from my 30 apideas and the members of the queen rearing group had good success as well. It really brought home what an advantage the Southern European queen producers usually have over us northern folk, although getting back on topic, that is no reason to swamp the place with Italian queens at the start of the season.

  4. #34

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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Shouldn't we start by discovering what the SBA membership feel about the current position of the SBA hierarchy on native bees? The comments by the President in his letter in the magazine this month were not encouraging - disparaging comments on native bees, can't buy them off the shelf, no mention of the need to breed for the traits required.

    In fairness Gavin I haven't read the article
    What I will say is that F.C. Pellet (an American) writing in his book "Practical Queen Rearing" (from the 1920's or around then) says that "Mr John Anderson of The North of Scotland College of Agriculture.writing in The Irish Bee Journal,October,1917 says of them that they have some very desirable characteristics........He mentions the case of a beekeeper who depends soley on honey production for a livelihood (which is unusual in Great Britain),who increased forty colonies to four hundred an two an one half tons of honey in one season without feeding any sugar.
    Mr. Anderson regards the ***** bee as worthy of more attention than it has received.


    What is the missing ***** ??
    Well its not native or AMM or black it is Punic and for those who wonder what the heck is that ?? it is the bee native to Tunisia or there abouts
    They are black and hail from Africa as indeed AMM are supposed to

    So it may be that all the natives are friendly on this island and some of them are not really natives at all
    I don't want to be provocative here
    I would take AMM if they were on offer as my local bee
    I am pro trying to improve the bees and stabilise local population with better behavior and so forth from what we have
    I can see that you can select for AMM type traits etc. but--
    At the end of the day selecting tall people with long hands and feet gets us a group of folk that look like Anglo Saxons but they are not the real Anglo Saxons of yore
    So perhaps getting everyone on board needs compromise and just breeding from the best of what we have now

    I'm with you Gavin I find it's a bit of a nuisance when large quantities of imported bees turn up and undo the good work of the dedicated few

    I find that once you get used to how your bees behave beekeeping gets a lot easier, but if some new element is introduced you are back on a learning curve -- when will they swarm? -- how much stores do they need? etc etc
    Last edited by The Drone Ranger; 11-09-2013 at 12:22 PM.

  5. #35
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    They are black and hail from Africa as indeed AMM are supposed to
    AMM do not hail from Africa but it is thought that all honeybees evolved from a common ancestor in Africa.

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    AMM do not hail from Africa but it is thought that all honeybees evolved from a common ancestor in Africa.
    I stand corrected
    Actually to be totally accurate about it I am sitting at the moment
    So I sit corrected

  7. #37
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    first of all the BBKA (bless them) are an English organisation polluted badly in my opinion by instutional arrogance. This is an ongoing situation and I have tried to discuss it wth them but got brushed off by a very offensive letter. and yes I was paying them cash at the time. Anyway.

    Bee farmers are making a living, and work damn hard to do so. When one is desperate then straws are what work for you. Yellow bees have a very odd trait in northern climes, they over some three years change colour. Not noticed it? Well tis true. Ask Murray or Hamish. They go black. Or certainly darker.

    I can also say with some certainty that yellow bees have been brought into Scotland for many years. The circle revolves but not a lot is new.

    Commercial bees arrived and we tested for Varroa... curious juxtaposition of events. No varroa found.... (LOL) try next year and see for a more reasonable result. More varroa is not the end of the world. I would have thought in reality that the commercial bees were more likely to be disease free than not given the standards these guys work to.

    AMM is a good bee when it is good but a horror when it is not.

    Q for you then. How many stings are reasonable when working 40 boxes? One, 100 or 10,000? Given a reasonable day and no flow.

    PH

  8. #38
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Yellow bees have a very odd trait in northern climes, they over some three years change colour. Not noticed it?
    It is a process known as hybridization.

    Dark bees exposed to an influx of Italians will also be yellower after three years.
    Lose lose situation.

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