Nepal works to boost local bees

Though the Asian honeybee is perfectly suited to conditions in Nepal, it’s been partially squeezed out by its European counterpart. Now beekeepers are working to replace lost colonies of local bee species.


Project goal: to protect the diversity of bee species
Implementation: training and certifying beekeeping farmers in the Hindukush-Himalaya region
Project size: 534 households in 12 villages, similar projects in neighboring countries
Project volume: 740,000 Euros from the Austrian development agency

The European honeybee is considered to be hardworking and efficient. It also produces significantly more honey than its Nepali counterpart. That’s why it was introduced into the mountainous country in the 1990s – with unforeseen, far-reaching consequences. The insects brought with them parasites that have nearly decimated the local, Asian honeybee colonies. Bee expert Uma Partap is fighting to save the local species and is training farmers in modern breeding methods to protect their insects. The cultivation of a monoculture and the use of pesticides have also led to the loss of the Asian honeybee. But now, populations are slowly recovering. That’s crucial because the insects pollinate important plants and crops that are avoided by the European honeybee.


Bee keepers across Spain are battening down the hatches in preparation of an impending invasion.

A plague of “devouring bees” is set to wreak havoc in Spain in the next few months, as the Asian Wasp, to call it by its common name, is expected to land in the northern, western and central areas of the peninsular. Image

The Asian Wasp is known to destroy other colonies of hives, as they fight and stab the native bees, often splitting them in two with a brutal stab.

Paulino Marcos, representative of a bee keeping association in the Portugal bordering region of Extremadura, says that bee keepers are preparing for the attack, by sharing information and knowledge of how to create traps, as well as sourcing professional protectors for the native bees.

“There is a great fear in Extremadura of the arrival of this animal”, says Marcos, “which is why we have to fight, as partners do in other communities, by placing traps that attract wasps into various products, such as white wine or syrup”.

The Asian predatory wasp, or Vespa velutina, feeds on insects like ants, butterflies, aphids, or bees, and is easily recognized by its thorax and abdomen, which highlights the black in relation to yellow.

Believed to have probably originating in India, and spread across Asia native to places like China, Europe in spring and summer fits in well to its desire for a milder climate.

At the end of 2012, scientists reported seeing the first specimens of this animal in the peninsular from northern France, and in 2013 spreading throughout the Basque Country, Navarre and Burgos, among others.

According to distribution maps prepared by experts, this wasp, which is not harmful to humans and does not attack other than in defence, could colonize the peninsula in the coming years as they are progressively travelling  further during each seasonal progression.

Environmentalists are increasingly concerned over the impact that mass deaths of insects such as bees, butterflies and mosquitoes, all of which play a crucial part in the ecosystem, can have on the future of the planet.

A Bee in Man’s Bonnet

Have you heard of the Africanised Honey Bee? The Queen explains.

It is true that Man is a mean meddler. Not just a mean one but a greedy manipulator of his environment. His buzzword is “MORE”. The bee in his bonnet is how to get more — more harvest, more milk, more eggs, more honey and in short, more money. If I sound angry and my words are stinging, do pardon me. I believe I have the right to be upset.


The beginning

My tale of misfortune goes back to the late 1950’s when an enthusiastic Brazilian scientist imported two dozen or more African honey bee queens. His experiment was to cross-breed them with European ones so that a superior, well-adjusted tropical and high honey-yielding variety could be obtained. However, things went wrong when someone accidentally let the Cleopatras and Shebas out. That started a chain of events that has brought misery on man and on us, the Africanised Honey Bee.

When the queens flew out, they mated with the local European drones to produce the hybrid AHB. In appearance we look like our African ancestors. About three quarters of an inch long, brown with black stripes and quite fuzzy. Our behaviour is dynamic. We are adaptable, highly defensive of our hives and we move from one area to another in search of food, which of course, is nectar for carbohydrates and pollen for proteins. Did you know all bees have tiny pollen baskets on their back legs to collect them in? Convenient, hmm? Though we do not make large quantities of honey, we are the bee’s knees as far as pollination of crops and fruit trees are concerned. We have moved in swarms from Brazil to the southern states of the U.S. doing our bit. What hurts us is that we are stigmatised as killer bees. It is all in the perception — are we attacking or defending ourselves from attackers? Why call us killer bees when it is man who is the real killer and destroyer on our planet!

Before I stick the envelope, let me tell you a little about bees in general — things you may not have heard before. Do you know how I became a queen bee? A queen bee lays fertilized eggs, which hatch into female worker bees, and unfertilized ones that become males or drones. Now, you are curious to know how new queens are born, right? Well, any ordinary female worker can become a queen if she is placed in queen cups when still an egg. That means as a hatchling, she is fed exclusively on royal jelly, a nutritious secretion from the mouth glands of female worker bees. Hence, the special larvae get bigger than the others. Soon, the new queens emerge from their cocoons to start a new colony each with one queen, thousands of drones and female worker bees. How true is the cliché, “You are what you eat”!

I could tell you more, but I have to go now. I am not busy as a bee, but my phone is bee-ping. Ha! I have to buzz off.

Africanised Honey Bee (AHB)

Babies left fighting for their lives after getting botulism ‘from eating honey’

  • Two British boys, 3 months and 5 months, put on life-support machines
  • Only cured of botulism after £50,000 medication flown over from America
  • Sparked warning from health chiefs against babies under 1 eating honey
  • The disease is caused by bacteria in soil possibly spread by bees
  • Two British babies have contracted a rare life-threatening disease triggered by eating honey.manuka honey
  • The boys, aged three months and five months, had to be put on life-support machines suffering from infant botulism.

    Both had been feeding badly and showed typical symptoms – a floppy head, drooping eyelids and constipation. They were cured only after medication costing £50,000 a dose was flown in from America.

    The incidents, confirmed last week, have prompted public health chiefs to warn that infants under one should not be given honey.

    The younger boy had eaten honey, while the older one had been given a homeopathic treatment that may have contained honey, which can carry the potentially deadly bacteria. The identities of the babies treated and the hospitals involved have not been disclosed.

    But according to the latest health protection report from Public Health England, the five-month-old was diagnosed just before Christmas in central or southern England.

    He may still be in hospital because recovery can sometimes take six months. He had taken the homeopathic remedy before becoming ill, though tests on it showed no trace of botulism.

    The three-month-old was treated at a children’s hospital in northern England and has recovered.

    His mother admitted giving him honey at home, though tests on what was left in the jar also failed to detect the botulism bacteria.adopt a hive

    The disease is caused by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, which lives in the environment, especially soil. If bees pick it up they can infect honey.

    Dr Kathie Grant, a disease surveillance expert for Public Health England, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘I am concerned that not enough mothers and women know about infant botulism and what can cause it. Children under 12 months should not be fed honey.

    ‘They don’t need homeopathic preparations or herbal tea. They should also be kept away from dust and soil and pet terrapins.’

    The disease is rare, with only 17 UK cases since 1978.

    But health chiefs are concerned that nine have occurred in the past five years and of these seven babies had eaten honey.

    In one of the nine cases a baby was infected from dust falling during a loft conversion while another caught botulism from pet terrapins kept at home.

    Dr Grant said: ‘Mothers think honey is natural and good for babies. There is also a tradition for honey to be used on a dummy to soothe a troubled baby or to sweeten other foods, but we are urging  people not to do it.’

    She advised that any baby who is constipated for three days should be taken to see a GP and for parents to watch out for other symptoms such as difficulty in swallowing.

    Social networking forums Mumsnet and Netmums have scores of queries from new mothers asking if honey is safe for babies, while older mothers admit they only learned about the risk from an old episode of BBC 1’s Casualty.

The new buzzword: How honey could treat hay fever, heal wounds and combat MRSA

SALES of the stuff have overtaken jam for the first time. So is that because we now realise that as well as tasting great, honey has many other benefits?


Honey sales are booming and it’s just overtaken jam as the nation’s favourite spread. Last year Britons spent more than £100million on it. Bees gather nectar, which is a sweet sticky substance exuded by most flowers. Only worker bees, which are all female and live for up to eight weeks, collect nectar. These bees have two stomachs – one for food, the other for transporting nectar, which is mixed with enzymes from glands in the insects’ mouths.

This mix is stored in hexagonal wax honeycomb until the water content has been reduced to around 17 per cent. It’s then sealed with a thin layer of wax, which allows the honey to be stored by the bees until needed. At this stage it’s also ready for harvest.

* It’s been calculated that it takes about 27,000 bees to make a jar of honey. In a good season a single hive can produce about 60lb of honey. Bees fly about 55,000 miles (that’s the equivalent of one-and-a-half times round the world) to make a single pound. During a single collection trip a bee will visit up to 100 flowers. Bees fly at speeds of up to 20mph and beat their wings about 180 times a minute.

* The type of honey depends on the flowers and the plants nearest the hive. Crops such as oil seed rape produce a honey that sets hard, whereas garden flowers tend to produce a liquid honey. If the hive-keeper wants to produce a mono-honey (such as orange blossom) the bees are kept well away from other sources of nectar.

Polyflora honeys are made from nectar from different flowers, while blended honeys come from different colonies selected to achieve a specific taste. Honey doesn’t only come from flowers and plants. Bees can also produce honey by gathering the sweet secretions of insects. This type of honey is known as honeydew and is usually dark and strong-tasting.

* For centuries honey has been said to possess numerous health benefits. Because of honey’s very low water content it’s thought to prevent the growth of harmful micro-organisms, while it also contains hydrogen peroxide which is hostile to bacteria. Recent research has involved using honey to treat wounds and burns and combat MRSA.

* It’s also claimed that eating honey made from local flowers can reduce the symptoms of hay fever. Experts say that a soothing mix of honey and lemon, or a hot toddy also containing a nip of whisky, is just as effective as expensive cough remedies.

* Tradition has it that old beekeepers rarely suffer from arthritis and in Russia bee venom is used to treat the condition. China, Turkey and the Ukraine are the world’s top three honey producers. About 100 million tons is produced worldwide every year. Austria, Germany and Switzerland, where an average of more than 2lb per person is eaten each year, are the biggest consumers.


The world’s most expensive honey, costing up to £65 a jar, comes from hives in a remote part of New Zealand. Manuka honey (named after the flowering bush found on the country’s North Island) is prized for its medicinal qualities and has been championed by celebrities including singer Katherine Jenkins and tennis player Novak Djokovic. Only 1,700 tons a year are produced, leading to cheap honey being passed off as Manuka by counterfeiters.

* Cave paintings show ancient man foraging for honey 8,000 years ago. In Roman times taxes were paid using honey. In Greek mythology it was used to nurse the infant god Zeus.

* It’s not cruel to take honey from hives. It’s estimated that bees can produce two to three times more than they need. It’s been claimed that a single colony of bees could theoretically produce a ton of honey every year. In a colony there is a single queen bee and up to 60,000 honeybees. There are about 85,000 bee colonies in the UK, which is about half the number in the mid-1960s.

* Before sugar began arriving in Britain from Caribbean plantations honey was the nation’s main sweetener. The resurgence in honey sales is being partly driven by its growing popularity as a baking ingredient and natural alternative to sugar. Honey contains about 300 calories per 100g, which is slightly less than sugar. Honey also contains small levels of vitamins and minerals, whereas sugar has none but it’s not recommended to eat too much.

* In the UK there are an estimated 24,000 amateur beekeepers.

*Honey is the main ingredient in the alcoholic drink mead, which was traditionally known as “the drink of kings”. In pagan times it was the custom for the happy couple to drink mead for a month after their wedding, which is thought to be the origin of the term honeymoon. Today, honey is gaining popularity as an ingredient in cocktails. The Waldorf Astoria in New York has hives on the roof, providing honey for its barmen.

Plant Virus Jumps to Honey Bees in Possible Link to Collapse

A virus that typically infects plants was found in honey bees and could help explain their decline, researchers in the U.S. and China wrote in a study in the American Society of Microbiology’s online journal mBio.Image

Routine screening of bees for frequent and rare viruses turned up the tobacco ringspot virus, or TRSV, prompting the researchers to investigate whether the plant pathogen could infect bees, the society said in an online statement.

“The results of our study provide the first evidence that honey bees exposed to virus-contaminated pollen can also be infected and that the infection becomes widespread in their bodies,” said the study’s lead author, Jilian Li of the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science in Beijing.

About 5 percent of known plant viruses are pollen-transmitted and therefore potential sources of host-jumping viruses, according to the report. “Toxic viral cocktails” appear to have a strong link with honey bee colony collapse disorder, the society wrote.

The finding of TRSV in bees was “a serendipitous detection,” said Yan Ping Chen at the Agricultural Research Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s lab in Beltsville, Maryland.

The researchers studied bee colonies classified as either strong or weak, and found viruses, including tobacco ringspot, were more common in the weak groups. Colonies with high levels of multiple viral infections started failing in late autumn and perished before February, while hives with fewer infections survived the entire cold winter months, according to the report.

TRSV was also found in varroa mites, a parasite that transmits viruses between bees while feeding on their blood.Image

“The increasing prevalence of TRSV in conjunction with other bee viruses is associated with a gradual decline of host population and supports the view that viral infections have a significant negative impact on colony survival,” the researchers wrote.

Valentine’s Day Gifts

Our busy little black and yellow friends are vital to our well-being, as they pollinate the plants that we grow for food, but, our Honey bees are in crisis. Their population is dwindling at an alarming rate, under attack from viruses, pesticides and mites. You can help start a new bee colony, by buying a year long, 1/12 share in a hive for only £29.99.

In return you’ll receive a special shareholder certificate, some wild flower seeds to attract more bees to your garden, and a jar of yummy honey made especially for you, by your bees as a thank you. You will also receive up dates on your hive.Adopt A Hive

Adopt-a-hive makes the perfect gift for nature lovers, keen gardeners and honey lovers everywhere. As well as being a unique present you’ll be helping to pollinate the planet and ensuring the future, not only of our little busy buddies, but also all the essential fruits and vegetables we currently enjoy.

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. 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.

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Adopt A Hive



The secret of the old beekeeper.


The secret of the old beekeeper.
This story was told me by one woman in a suburban train, when she learned that I am a correspondent : “Tell me about Gregory Danyluk please, his balm works wonders .”
It’s not difficult to find beekeeper Gregory Danyluk in Konuhah. They say, that everybody knows him there. He is a local celebrity in this village. They are friends with bees since childhood.
– “Wherever I am , ” – says the beekeeper – ” I try to find brothers in the craft , share my experience with them , which I can use then in my apiary”.
Once, such curiosity, and maybe fate, brought him to beekeeper’s shop in Berezhany . It was there that Mr. Gregory met 90-year-old beekeeper from Podgaichchiny . And it was in the 70s of the previous century.
Mr Gregory said: “Somehow I managed to please this old man and made friends with him . I had the fortune to meet him several times more, “He tells very interesting things about the bee: – “Even when people didnʾt know bread “, – said the man, – “they had already known honey, taken from the wild bees. With bee products – propolis, honey, wax, people treated various diseases thousands years ago. Nowadays, people are in search of panacea, but they canʾt even imagine, that it is here, in the apiary . ”
To confirm his words , he had prepared two bottles of his “beekeeperʾs balm”, as he called it .
– ” Drink one bottle in autumn and another in spring , and then you will prepare such a balm for yourself and will live up to 100 years old , and no disease will take you .”
40 years have passed since then, and Mr. Gregory lives an active life, rises sons and doesn’t give up his hard-working bees .
Gregory wanted other people to be healed, and he also had a goal to prove that apitherapy works. Therefore he gives his elixirs for free, he doesn’t sell it.
Perhaps the readers would like to know what raw materials the beekeeper uses to prepare his elixirs?
Usually the beekeepers destroy the wax moth, but Gregory Danyluk cultivates it. These caterpillars infest the frames and eat honeycombs. There are some niceties in this case – the frame should necessarily be old. Only then the extract of the moth would be twice effective than the one of the new frame. It is necessary to start to grow caterpillar in spring. Then it should be infused on 70% alcohol.
Unfortunately, children also suffer from tuberculosis. Mr. Gregory has another, no less effective medicine for them – honey made of galerin. To prepare galerin by yourself, you need 20-30 pieces of mature but not too overripe wax moth caterpillars. You should grind it in plate to get homogeneous mass, then add 200 gram of fresh honey and grind again.
Daily dosage for a child – a pea-sized piece three times a day, and a teaspoon – for an adult. Galerin is used in curing tuberculosis, myocardial infarction, to prevent common cold.
Whenever Grigory prepares his miracle balm for someone, he says a words of prayer, asking God for forgiveness asking to release his own sins, but the only thing that he does not ask the Almighty is easiness of being .

Credit -Ukrainian beekeeper

Tiny Sensors Are Being Attached To Thousands of Bees So They Can Monitor The Evironment


Thousands of bees in Australia are being fitted with tiny sensors as part of a world-first research program to monitor the environment via swarm sensing.

Up to 5,000 sensors, measuring 2.5mm x 2.5mm, are being fitted to the backs of the bees in Hobart, Tasmania, before being released into the wild.

The CSIRO says this is the first time such large numbers of insects have been used for environmental monitoring.

The research aims to improve pollination and honey productivity as well as help understand the drivers of bee Colony Collapse Disorder, a condition decimating honey bee populations worldwide.

CSIRO science leader Paulo de Souza, who leads the project, says bees play a vital role in the landscape through a free pollination service for agriculture.

“Around one third of the food we eat relies on pollination, but honey bee populations around the world are crashing because of the dreaded Varroa mite and Colony Collapse Disorder,” Dr de Souza says. “Thankfully, Australia is currently free from both of those threats.”

The research will also look at the impacts of agricultural pesticides on honey bees by monitoring insects that feed at sites with trace amounts of commonly used chemicals.

The sensors are tiny Radio Frequency Identification devices which work in a similar way to a vehicle’s e-tag, recording when the insect passes a particular checkpoint.

The information is then sent remotely to a central location where researchers can use the signals to build a comprehensive 3D model and visualise how these insects move through the landscape.

Bees are social insects that return to the same point and operate on a very predictable schedule. Any change in their behaviour indicates a change in their environment.

“We’ll be able to recognise very quickly when their activity shows variation and identify the cause,” Dr de Souza said. “This will help us understand how to maximise their productivity as well as monitor for any biosecurity risks.”

Understanding bee behaviour will give farmers and fruit growers improved management knowledge enabling them to increase the benefit received from this free pollination service. It will also help them to gain and maintain access to markets through improving the way we monitor for pests.

The bees are refrigerated for a short period which puts them into a rest state long enough for the tiny sensors to be secured to their backs with an adhesive.

After a few minutes, the bees awaken and are ready to return to their hive and start gathering information.

The next stage of the project is to reduce the size of the sensors to only 1 mm so they can be attached to smaller insects such as mosquitoes and fruit flies.

Native hive deaths being investigated


KANDANGA was the focal point for south-east Queensland’s emerging native bee industry on Sunday, as hive owners investigated hive deaths linked to recent extreme heat.

About 80 professional and amateur beekeepers gathered at Kandanga Hall, but organiser Glenbo Craig said internet interest was also running high, with a large number of email inquiries.

Mr Craig said the meeting had brought together professional and amateur keepers of native stingless bees, many of whom had suffered hive losses in recent heat wave conditions.

“It was colossal and the key was the exchange of information,” he said.

“We had some from Brisbane, some from Bundaberg and so many emails.”

Participants had discussed a range of suggestions, including hive designs incorporating shade and insulation.

He said the emergence of native stingless bees as a boutique industry had boosted demand for hives and made them harder and more expensive to replace.

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