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Thread: Scottish Honeybee Restocking Programme 2013-2014

  1. #11

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    I appreciate what you're saying Gavin about some bee farmers helping out in the wider beekeeping community. But as bee farmers their businesses are their priority. I don't personally know any bee farmers and can only go on what I can see is happening. And what's happening is that they and their umbrella organisation have campaigned for and got funding for a short term, arguably destructive solution to a long term problem which affects us all. I sincerely wish we and the bee farmers were on the same page as we'd get to where we need to be a damn sight quicker.

    I don't want their businesses to fail. I want them to operate on a sustainable footing. In the same way that every other business has to.

    We hear them complaining about how there's not enough queens produced in the UK to meet their demands. Well maybe they should get up off their backsides and rear them themselves. Perhaps they need to set aside a portion of their operation to doing that. And another portion to splitting into nucs for overwintering with their newly raised queens. Then they'd have colonies suitable to build up for the rape and they wouldn't need their packages and imported queens. What they seem to prefer to do though is throw everything they have at the honey and import bees to replace their losses. It's a business model which can't succeed in the long run. They need to adapt or give up and get a job in a call centre.

  2. #12
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Gerry, that's pretty much what went into our local association's response to the consultation on the EU Apiculture programme. And you can guess who drafted it .

    Droney - the packages are mostly (or maybe wholely) coming in from continental Europe, this year anyway. I have been told by someone who definitely knows what he's talking about that the package he saw, freshly arrived, had a Varroa problem. Straight off the truck. If that package was in any way typical, this year there was a mass importation of continental Varroa, and the East of Scotland Beekeepers Association bees will have them already given that we saw scores of Italian drifters today.

  3. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by gavin View Post
    Gerry, that's pretty much what went into our local association's response to the consultation on the EU Apiculture programme. And you can guess who drafted it .

    Droney - the packages are mostly (or maybe wholely) coming in from continental Europe, this year anyway. I have been told by someone who definitely knows what he's talking about that the package he saw, freshly arrived, had a Varroa problem. Straight off the truck. If that package was in any way typical, this year there was a mass importation of continental Varroa, and the East of Scotland Beekeepers Association bees will have them already given that we saw scores of Italian drifters today.
    Well that's a bit bleak then Gavin
    I thought the might be they type KBS import into the deep south of England where they do fairly well and are popular in gardens because they don't molest the neighbours.
    They would most likely go down in the first winter not least because they need a double brood box(I won't link to their site for obvious reasons)

    Italian bees coming just over from Europe they might do better up here but I doubt it.
    They will just be a blinking nuisance.

    I can't see me sponsoring a hive with them in it blooming cheek
    I like to get along with the rest of the beekeeping fraternity but appeasement doesn't seem to be working
    I noticed on another thread somebody mentioned drifting accounts for up to 30% of the bees in some hives
    I think that's a bit high but you will be able to spot the little devils and make an estimate
    substitute any cuss word you like

  4. #14
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    If this was happening in my backyard my response would be unprintable.
    I am not in any way anti commercial as I have the greatest respect for several commercial beekeepers I know - people like Dan Basterfield.
    The deal has to cut both ways though. If commercial beekeepers are getting taxpayer funded subsidies there is no way they should be allowed to jeopardise every other beekeeper in the area by flooding it with potentially novel pathogens.
    The oft quoted 'health certificate' stuff much mentioned by Murray and other importers or queen sellers on BKF is nothing but a technicality, a complete red herring, as that will not cover virus, nor variants of existing known pathogens such as varroa mites.
    This programme sounds like it is completely ill conceived and god only knows why the SBA seems unperturbed by it all.

  5. #15

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    I think they are worried but in a Neville Chamberlain kind of way
    The Bee farmers have a disproportionate influence on The Gov and the EU

  6. #16
    Senior Member Jon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by The Drone Ranger View Post
    I think they are worried but in a Neville Chamberlain kind of way
    I have in my hand a piece of paper - an EU Bee Health Certificate.

  7. #17

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    I watched Horizon again carefully and Mark of Heather Hills does say the bees are are direct from Italy sorry Gavin I missed that first time round

    http://www.heather-hills.com/adopt-our-bees.html

    and then history repeats itself
    http://www.heather-hills.com/heather...r-history.html

    Although this time only half the bees died out
    Last edited by The Drone Ranger; 05-08-2013 at 05:53 PM.

  8. #18
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    They're using the Horizon exposure to push their adopt a bee thing hard. https://twitter.com/heatherhills999

    That isn't a recommendation by the way.

  9. #19
    Administrator gavin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jon View Post
    If this was happening in my backyard my response would be unprintable.
    .......
    This programme sounds like it is completely ill conceived and god only knows why the SBA seems unperturbed by it all.
    I had a better look at lunchtime after being distracted by the ESBA members helping yesterday. The daughters of ESBA1 and ESBA5 (and probably others) have not only Italian drifters but are now spawning young hairy slightly darker Italian lookalikes. Our virgins have been given an Italian Job! We moved one more (probably one last) set of five virgins into Apideas yesterday. I'll now take them to a distant glen where the commercial guys don't - as far as I know - operate. It will be hard to monitor them at that distance (absconding or starvation risk .... ) but I'll try. We may need them to requeen some of this year's queens. The drones will be our own, and those of three local association members elsewhere in the glen who have a (mild) preference for Amm-leaning local mongrels. As far as I can tell, but who knows really. And of course our own colonies might now be hosting drones of the eastern races anyway given that they wander around.

    Big rethink required for next year if we are going to be able to continue with Amm-mongrel breeding. The current lot are remarkably gentle bees and well worth trying to preserve against this tide of totally unsuitable genetics.

    The contaminated stocks can be used as drone producers. We still have all the original queens - I'd best keep a close eye on them (at that long distance) to intervene in case they try to supersede.

  10. #20
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    I was going to spend a tenner so I could adopt one of heather hills bees and it was even going to send me a birthday card in two weeks’ time. But I had to change my mind when I remembered I can’t understand one word of Italian. On a more serious note just before I started beekeeping Italian bees were brought into Orkney and they only lasted for a couple of years much to the relief of my mentor.
    Last edited by lindsay s; 05-08-2013 at 10:45 PM.

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