Device to protect honeybee hives

Aethina tumida Host: honey bee Apis mellifera ...

Aethina tumida Host: honey bee Apis mellifera Linnaeus Common Name: small hive beetle Photographer: James D. Ellis, University of Florida, United States Descriptor: Larva(e) Description: Small hive beetle larvae on a comb of honey; 1 September, 2004 Image taken in: Moultrie, Georgia, United States (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

English: Small hive beetle Česky: Lesknáček včelí

English: Small hive beetle Česky: Lesknáček včelí (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — There is worldwide concern about the decline in populations of honeybees that not only provide honey but pollination for many crops. Insects are responsible for pollinating about a third of the world’s crops, and honeybees do about 80 percent of that.

One major problem with the decline in bees is Colony Collapse Disorder, which has been linked to the pesticide neonicotinoid, leading to that class of pesticides being banned in the European Union.

Another serious problem is predation by the small hive beetle (SHB). The SHB larvae eat bee eggs, larval bees, pollen and honey, said Haynes Haselmaier, who has 12 beehives and about 500,000 bees on his property in Pearl River County.

The SHB eventually de-spoil the hive so badly that the bee colony flees the hive to seek a new home.

“The beetles remain and continue to breed and lay eggs until there is nothing in the abandoned hive that represents a food source,” Haselmaier said.

“The damage frequently includes the loss of a viable bee colony as well as ruined frames and foundation on which the bees build wax comb. The comb cells are the chambers used to store pollen, honey and new bees until they complete pupation. Beetles lay their eggs in many places inside the hive. Sometimes some beetles join the leaving bees, so there is almost no escape from the SHB pestilence.”

Fewer bees means fewer plants will be pollinated and less honey produced. The cost of a package of replacement bees — a new queen and about three pounds of workers — has grown to nearly $100.

“The cost of domestic honey will increase as supply decreases,” Haselmaier said. “Many beekeepers have already chosen to do something else with their time and resources because they have lost too many hives to the beetles.

“In only a few years after the SHB was discovered in this country in 1996, some commercial beekeepers reported losing thousands of hives and much equipment. Many beekeepers are no longer beekeepers chiefly due to the SHB problem.

“Devastating perfectly describes the consequences of SHBs becoming established in a hive. They have a huge reproductive capacity and the bees cannot kill them. Even the strongest hives, without effective intervention from the beekeeper, are likely to fail eventually. Some hives have gone from highly productive to zero bee population in as little as two or three weeks.

“Devastating also accurately describes the financial impact of beetle infestation on the beekeeper, both small and large. Those who have not yet had misfortune due to the SHBs eventually, almost certainly, will,” Haselmaier said.

After having lost several hives to beetle infestation and trying many of the commercially available mitigation approaches without much success, Haselmaier decided to observe beetle behavior in his hives on his own and with an open mind. He recalls looking at one of his queen excluders, a type of selective barrier that keeps the queen in the brood chamber (nursery) and out of the honey supers where honey is produced and stored.

His idea was that if a selective barrier could do this, why couldn’t a different type of selective barrier allow a much larger bee to go where it needs to, but effectively block access to a very much smaller SHB?

“The theory was simple,” said Haselmaier, who has been a beekeeper for 30 years and comes from a family that has been in beekeeping for about 100 years. “Install a barrier in the hive below the area where beetles can do damage that does not represent a problem for the bees.

“I took a few measurements of bees and beetles, as well as a comparison of their anatomy and made some prototypes that have performed far beyond my original expectations.”

The result is his invention, the Beetle Baffle, the only selective barrier for the SHB. He said it is not a trap but functions 24/7 to thwart movement of the SHBs within a hive.

Local bee deaths spark new rules

More than five months after about 50,000 bumblebees died en masse in Hillsboro and Wilsonville, Oregon Department of Agriculture officials have imposed labeling requirements and educational outreach plans designed to protect bees and other pollinators.bumble bee

Starting in 2014, the ODA is requiring a label statement on dinotefuran and imidacloprid products sold in Oregon that prohibits application on basswood, Tilia and linden tree species.

The bee death controversy this year surrounded these products, which were applied to European linden trees that are known to be naturally toxic to bumblebees. According to ODA officials, the combination of the trees’ toxicity and pesticides contributed to the bee deaths.

Dinotefuran belongs to a group of chemicals called neonicotinoids.

An additional step includes education about pesticides to licensed applicators and the general public.

Increased emphasis will be placed on pollinator protection and pesticide safety in 2014 in the required testing and re-certification process for licensed pesticide applicators. To educate the general public, ODA officials are putting pesticide information on their website, reaching out to retail vendors of the products, and working with Master Gardener programs to spread accurate information about application and safety guidelines.

As the first state to take these restrictive steps, ODA director Katy Coba has sent a letter to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency requesting more in depth evaluation of the active ingredients in these products and other neonicotinoids.

The temporary rule adopted in June restricting the use of 18 pesticide products containing dinotefuran will expire next month.

The investigations into pesticide use related to the mass bee deaths are expected to be completed by mid-December.

To come to a definitive conclusion about whether the bees died from the pesticide application, scientists like Oregon State University’s Sujaya Rao would have needed to collect the trees’ nectar and pollen. But by the time scientists could get there, the tree blooms were already on their way out after an unusually warm and dry spring and summer.

In addition, extensive research has not been done to examine how long the chemical sticks around in the linden trees after they are sprayed.

During the summer, Rao said there were still a lot of questions to be answered and elements to consider.

After the incident, OSU researchers were investigating the effects of broad-spectrum neonicotinoids, such as dinotefuran, on native bees.


The Passionate Beekeeper

A beekeeper smoking a hive.

A beekeeper smoking a hive. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Rwanda: Kayuki 

JUST AT THE AGE OF EIGHT, while still a primary school pupil, Vincent Hakizimana aka Kayuki started installing beehives in what turned out to be his life-long passion and sole income earner.

WDA General Director, Jerome Gasana (L) chats with Albert Nsengimana, the State Minister for Education.

As he grew up, his interest in beekeeping increased and at about 18, he had already installed 40 traditional hives.

His love and passion for beekeeping has earned him the name Kayuki, literally meaning the Little Bee, which name he is proud of.

“I love bees, their way of life, communication and bonding,” Kayuki says.

When asked how he communicates with the bees, Kayuki says: “Whenever the bees are in danger or have produced honey, they come and surround you and you will know something is happening.”

When his father, who is now 73, introduced him to beekeeping, Kayuki, then a primary school pupil, immediately picked interest in the field and has never turned back.

Now 31 years down the road, Kayuki remains a dedicated and celebrated beekeeper in the Southern Province.

He, however, insists practicing beekeeping requires devotion, passion, determination, and hard work.

Sole source of income

Kayuki graduated from the then National University of Rwanda (NUR) in 2005 with a diploma in clinical psychology.

With such training, many thought his interest in beekeeping was coming to an end. They expected him to look for a white collar job but he never took that direction and continued with beekeeping.

Today, Kayuki has over 73 beehives, mainly modern hives. Each hive gives him between 45 and 60 kilogrammes of honey annually. He plans to raise the number to 250 beehives, with hope that this will also boost his income.

“Although I graduated from a recognised university, the idea of looking for a job has never crossed my mind,” Kayuki says, as he stands inbetween the field where some of his beehives are installed.

First aid: Bee sting treatment

In most Bee Sting cases, simple first aid at the time of the incident will be enough to handle common pain, redness and itching.

Bee Stings can cause minor discomfort and swelling as part of an allergic reaction to the stingers venom. In most cases, simple first aid treatment at the time of the incident will be enough to handle common pain, redness and itching. However, some individuals suffer severe allergic reactions to Bee venom and need immediate medical attention.

Stings from Bees or other insects usually occur due to accidental encounters with a nest or a crawling bee or wasp.


Follow these steps for Common Bee Sting reactions:

1. Remove Stinger. In some cases you won’t find the stinger at the place of the attack, but if you do, do not pull the stinger out with a tweezers or by pinching it with your fingertips! This will only cause more venom to enter the affected area. Flick the stinger off the skin with your fingernail or something stiff, like a credit card or knife.

2. Apply ice to limit the area of the venom and to reduce immediate symptoms like swelling.

3. Treatment Options:

Over the counter: Take an over- the- counter antihistamine like Benadryl or Ibuprofen for pain.

Home Remedies:

Apply Aloe Vera freshly cut from a plant

Rub the skin of a plantain over the area.

Calendula ointment applied 4 times a day may also help (available at natural foods stores.)

Make a paste of one-teaspoon meat tenderizer with one teaspoon of water and apply over the area.

Treat the swelling with Tea Tree Oil.

Take some Echinacea or a high dose of Vitamin C twice a day.

If your symptoms include rapid swelling in the face, difficulty breathing, wheezing or hoarseness, itching and severe cramping, dizziness, hives or loss of consciousness immediate professional medical attention is necessary. Anaphylactic shock is a serious reaction to stings, and may even affect persons who never had a severe reaction to stings before!

Prevent stings from occurring in the first place by following these simple outdoor rules.

1. Avoid brightly colored clothing, white or pastel shades.

2. Don’t use perfumed cosmetics or deodorants with floral scents.

3. Sweat may agitate bees or wasps, so wash up often when exercising or working out doors

4. Cover the food: If you are camping of picnicking make sure you cover foods to avoid attracting flying insects to your area.

5. Wear shoes: Always wear some kind of foot covering so that if you inadvertently step on a crawling bee or wasp you won’t get stung.

6. Don’t irritate. If you know of beehives in your area leave them alone. If the hives are in a high traffic area and you need to remove them, contact a local pest control professional, or purchase a spray from your local garden or home improvement center. Follow directions carefully.

If you are afraid you might be allergic to bee stings and want to take precautionary measures, you can ask your doctor to perform a simple skin test to check your vulnerability. These tests are not totally conclusive however but talk to your doctor if you are frequently faced with the potential for bee stings due to working outside or living in a highly infested area.

Stinging claims on healing honey

The $120 million manuka honey industry is bracing for a critical BBC expose of “counterfeit” products, which some producers fear could cause irreparable damage to their reputation.

The BBC was in New Zealand last week interviewing for its documentary, expected to claim some Kiwi manuka honey being sold to British consumers is little different from ordinary, and far cheaper, British table honey.

Manuka honey is a signature export, prized for its healing qualities – consumers are willing to pay a lot of money for it, up to £49.99 (NZ$100) for a 500g jar. But the BBC, which has tested it in England, will claim that some manuka honeymarketed in the UK as “active” is no more “active” than clover honey.manuka honey

Honey’s active rating, known as its UMF quality rating, is a measure of its stable, non-peroxide anti-bacterial properties, which makes it highly sought-after for dressing wounds and as a health food.

But not all manuka honey has that non-peroxide activity, and the BBC will claim some of it is being sold with “active” manuka honey labels reading “Active 10” or “Active 12” which look so similar to the UMF labels that consumers are unable to distinguish between the two. That, the BBC will claim, is misleading British consumers.

Some big manuka honey producers, including Comvita, Manuka Health, and the UMF Honey Association, say the BBC is right and the same is happening here, with consumers paying over the odds for mislabelled honey.

Comvita chief executive Brett Hewlett said the labels were “misleading” consumers and Kerry Paul, chief executive of Manuka Health, agreed: “The consumer can’t tell the difference.”

But Honey NZ says the “total activity test” is internationally accepted, and the numbers on jars refer to the results of those tests. It rejects the claims that “active” labels confuse consumers, saying they explain clearly what the activity scores mean.

“There is no mislabelling,” Honey NZ’s legal counsel Marcus Rudd told Sunday Star-Times. “We say what the test is, and what that test demonstrates.”

Ministry for Primary Industries deputy director-general, resource management and programmes, Scott Gallacher said the ministry was considering guidelines for labelling manuka honey.

New Zealand took the credibility of its products very seriously and consumers had a right to expect products to be accurately labelled, he said. “MPI is aware that there is some confusion about the definition of manuka honey and what are appropriate label claims.”

Once the guidelines are in place, MPI will assess whether regulation is needed, and what form it might take. Some in the industry say export licences could be denied to those who break the rules.

There was a risk that if NZ did not regulate, overseas regulators would impose standards, NZ Trade and Enterprise papers released to Star-Times say. “Many manuka honey products in the market are counterfeits. The impact of this counterfeiting may go beyond honey products to affect the brand New Zealand more generally.”

The reputation of the manuka industry has had a battering recently. In August the UK Food & Safety Authority issued a warning about the authenticity of much manuka honey sold in the UK, in part because it appeared more was being sold there than was produced in NZ each year.

“It makes us look stupid,” Hewlett said. “I think [the Government] is starting to realise it, but they are reluctant to take the next step. Food security is a big issue globally. Consumers are increasingly concerned with food safety . . . and there is risk they feel they are being ripped off.

“There’s a real need for the Government to get off the fence in order to protect the reputation of NZ as a trade partner. The manuka industry has shown it is incapable of policing itself.”

Bee film, talk set for Arms Library Tuesday

English: Apiary of Langstroth hives in South C...

English: Apiary of Langstroth hives in South Carolina Image copyleft: Image taken by me, released under GFDL Pollinator 03:34, Nov 9, 2004 (UTC) () (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

SHELBURNE FALLS — “Queen of the Sun: What are the Bees Telling Us” is an award-winning documentary about “Colony Collapse Disorder” of honeybee hives and of efforts to preserve them.

The film will be shown by the Buckland Energy Committee on Tuesday at the Arms Library, beginning at 7 p.m. Following the film, local beekeepers Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary in South Deerfield and Daniel Berry of Invisible Cities Apiary will lead a discussion.

Conlon is a full-time beekeeper whose hives provide pollination to Pioneer Valley farms and orchards. Conlon is establishing a Russian honeybee breeding program and is one of a dozen American apiaries selected for this work.

Berry was born in Venezuela and has lived in the United States since 1997. He is an organic farmer and maintains 100 hives.

This is the second in the Energy Committee’s fall film series on topics of environment, sustainability and energy use.

Oldest alcoholic drink returning to India in December

VILNIUS (LITHUANIA): The world’s oldest alcoholic drink, the recipe for which finds a mention in the Rig Veda, is making its way back to the country of its birth.

The Lithuanian company that holds the patent for Madhu Madya (honey alcohol), the world-famous mead made with ayurvedic traditions, has now decided to make the drink

English: Historical Lithuanian borders Deutsch...

English: Historical Lithuanian borders Deutsch: Historische Grenzen Litauens (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

available in India.

The Indian Baltic Chamber of Commerce (IBCC) will launch the mead – the oldest fermented drink in the world, it is made from honey, water, yeast, herbs and vegetable seasoning – at the Fine Food Exhibition at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi on December 10. The IBCC hopes to rope in distributors for the drink to make an official entry into the Indian market in early 2014.

“A Lithuanian company holds the patent for this unique drink whose roots can be traced back to India,” IBCC president Gediminas Citukas told TOI. “They produce 200,000 litres of it annually and require 100 tonnes of honey for its production. The drink’s low alcoholic content and unique sweet taste is bound to be a hit with Indians.”

Historical records show on September 30, 1969, Queen Elizabeth II granted the Stakliskes factory of Lietuviskas Midus with the patent number 1280830, making it the sole producer of this drink. (Stakliskes is a village in Kaunas county, Lithuania.)

No formulations have survived of the old Lithuanian mead, produced several hundred years ago, but it is believed that in those times water and a honey solution were heated with spices before the solution was filtered and fermented using beer or wine yeast. The base for the production of this drink is natural bee honey.

At the end of the 18th century and the beginning of the 19th century, mead was almost no longer produced because beekeeping had suffered a serious crisis. In the 20th century, interest in Lithuanian mead production saw a sudden revival. This drink with added vitamins is now made from honey, hops, lime flowers, juniper berries and other vitamin C-containing additives, aged for at least 18 months.

The Award of Shame: Vote to Save the Bees!

Switzerland –

On November 26, online voting for the public eye Awards opened; the competition that puts the spotlight on corporations with a dismal record in terms of social and environmental responsibility. Image

Commonly referred to as “awards of shame”, the initiative was launched by Greenpeace International and the Berne Declaration to highlight irresponsible business practices and provide a platform to publicly criticize cases of human and labor rights violations, environmental destruction or corruption.

Nominees can receive one of two awards – the Jury Award, decided by a panel of representatives; and the People’s Award, decided by a popular (public) vote. The nominations for this year’s award, submitted by different NGOs, are: Eskom, FIFA, Gap, Gazprom, Glencore Xstrata, HSBC, Marine Harvest and Syngenta/Bayer/BASF.

The nomination for Syngenta/Bayer/BASF – collectively known as “the bee-killers” – was submitted by Bee Life (the European Beekeeping Coordination), an association of organizations working to identify and solve problems related to the environmental threats affecting pollinators, especially honey bees. Slow Food works closely with Bee Life, forming part of their recently established “Alliance to Save the Bees and Agriculture”.

Syngenta, Bayer & BASF present a huge threat to bees. These giant multinational companies produce and sell highly toxic pesticides, widely recognized to be responsible for the global decline of bees, and other pollinators. However, with huge profits behind them, these companies continue to maintain significant control over the industrial food system and largely deny the negative impact of the industry on bees and ecosystems; despite scientific evidence demonstrating the opposite, and EU bans on certain pesticides now in place.

The Public Eye Awards are deliberately set to coincide with the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) to provide a critical counterpoint to the annual meeting in Davos: Many CEOs of nominated companies are present at the WEF. Previous winners of the People’s Award include Shell in 2013 and Nestle Oil in 2012.

Apivita: Bees provide key ingredient for cosmetics firm

Niki Koutsiana describes how she was inspired to create her bee products company Apivita with her husband Nikos
Entrepreneurs often talk about the hard work, the brilliant idea or the lucky break that was the secret of their success – but rarely do they talk about love.

But in the case of Greek pharmacists Nikos and Niki Koutsianas it was the love between them that led to the creation of their company Apivita.

The company, which makes natural cosmetics using bee products and Greek herbs, was officially founded in 1979.

But Niki says the story really began seven years earlier when she met her now husband for the first time.

At just 19 years old, she went to Nikos’s small pharmacy to do an internship as part of her first year at the University of Athens’ pharmacy school.

“When you fall in love everything is magical,” says Niki. “I fell in love with Nikos.”

She says she even fell in love with the bees his family kept – and she spotted a business opportunity.

“She realised what we could do with the power of nature and plants and the power of bee products,” says Nikos.

‘Very, very, very difficult’

 bee-keeping parents

The key ingredient for Nikos was propolis, a natural resin gathered by bees from the bark and leaf buds of trees, which they then use to protect and maintain their hives.

He combined this with herbs to make natural products for skin and hair, but he never thought of the commercial possibilities.Image

“If it wasn’t for Niki, my wife, I would have never gone ahead with creating a business and establishing the business because I was more into the philosophical part of what I was doing,” says Nikos, who was influenced by the Ancient Greek physician Hippocrates, “the father of Western medicine“.

It was Niki who came up with the idea for the firm’s very first product to sell – a black antibacterial soap that combined propolis with thyme.

To get the business started, she acted as a door-to-door saleswoman, going from pharmacy to pharmacy with a wooden box of the soaps – a process she acknowledges was “very, very, very difficult”.

In the 1970s, Greek customers yearned for the perceived luxuriousness of foreign brands. And natural, holistic products were virtually unheard of. “Nobody spoke about natural products. It was something very different and unknown,” says Niki.

But the couple persisted and the number of pharmacies willing to stock their products gradually increased.

However, the real breakthrough for the business came when they decided to export their products.

Taking the plunge

Previously they had only sold their products to other pharmacies. But with the move abroad, they also decided to open standalone shops for the brand.

Starting with Spain, they slowly expanded, and now export their products to 14 countries.

And they finally decided the firm was growing fast enough to require their full attention.

So after a decade of running Apivita as a sideline alongside the pharmacy where they first met and later got married in, the couple took the plunge to focus on it full time.

Initially, without sufficient funds to have their own factory, they had to rent space in other factories to make their products.

But with their products now selling strongly in their home country as well as abroad, they have built their own factory, a short distance outside Athens. And they have opened a large shop in the centre of Athens with its own spa and cafe.

Perversely, they credit Greece’s financial problems, which have seen it linger in recession for six years, for helping the popularity of their brand domestically, as Nikos says home-grown products are now in vogue.

 and Niki Koutsianas say their love for one another led to the creation of their firm

Knowing their rolesImage

They both admit that working together as well as being married was “very challenging” at times.

Crucially, though, they say they were always very clear over their individual roles in the business.

Nikos’s role is to take care of what he describes as “the roots” of the business, essentially its philosophy, and to help create the products, while Niki’s role is branding and marketing.

However, ultimately, they both believe that it was their intimacy that has also made the business work.

“We share a common passion and common vision for what we want,” says Niki. “This sparks the passion that we need to continue doing it.”

Adopt a hive

Little about Adopt a hive

We are a small well established bee keeping company, and we have been selling our award winning honey for many years to the local community and via our Web site

Recently funding for supporting bee keepers, through inspectors has been severely cut, and our native bees have been threatened by various viruses, which has meant that many colonies have been completely wiped out.

Our aim is to protect and maintain the honey bee population from extinction, so therefore as bee keepers we have felt the need to develop as many ways to rescue and breed bees to improve their chances of survival.

Firstly we are on call usually within the day to rescue honey bees that have swarmed in the Image

community, this service is free of charge. It is against the law to kill a swarm of honey bees. The bees are placed in the safety of a hive and managed, so that they don’t swarm again.

Secondly we are developing a breeding programme, Many bee keepers are unable to get the bees that they would like, to increase there apiary, by developing a breeding programme, we are able to supply queens to other bee keepers so that they can increase their stock.

Thirdly we are promoting adopt a hive, where people who care about our honey bees, can sign up to support a hive for one year.

Our apiaries are situated in various locations, within a mile of the picturesque River Ribble, in the South Ribble area of Preston. This gives our bees the opportunity to feed from the wealth of wild flowers growing along side the river, and everything that grows in the local farmers fields.adopt

By situating some of our hives in local authority allotments, our bees help local growers, by pollinating all their produce for the year. Our hives based in our local woodland, benefit from woodland flowers, and also help the local farmers by pollinating their crops. Each of our hives have up to 50,000 native British bees in the height of summer, going down to 10,000 during the winter months.

During the swarm season, any swarms that we collect that are not British, are re queened with a British black bee, to help save our native British colonies.They are placed into a hive, and managed to prevent re swarming.Image

A well established hive can produce 30lbs plus of Lancashire honey a year. Because we take the bees source of winter food, during winter the bee keeper needs to feed the bees, while they rest in their hive, they are fed with a solution of sugar and water, without this support they would starve throughout the winter. Also they need to be given medicine to kill  varroa mite.

To Adopt a hive Contact Andy 07787758033

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