Does DWV infect bumble bees?

Covid (the disease) is caused by a virus called SARS-Cov-2. SARS is an abbreviation of severe acute respiratory syndrome and the suffix ‘Cov’ indicates that it’s a coronavirus. The final digit (2) shows that it’s the second of this type of virus that has caused a pandemic. The first was in 2003, and was caused by […]

Triumphs and tragedies

Synopsis: Having dealt with beekeeping tragedies last week, it’s now time to consider landmark events (‘triumphs’) in beekeeping. These four things – successful overwintering, swarm control, finding the queen and queen rearing – are what I consider the most notable. All beekeepers should be able to achieve these, and their beekeeping will benefit as a […]

Tragedies and triumphs

Synopsis: Beekeeping shouldn’t be “a series of calamities then winter”, though it sometimes feels like that. In the first of a two-part post I look at the real and imagined disasters that can befall you during the season. The reality is that the observant and well-prepared beekeeper can avoid most of the ‘tragedies’, and recover […]

Science snippets

Three short and easy-to-digest snippets of science this week. After last weeks’ overly-long DIY extravaganza I thought I’d try and be a little more succinct this time.  The following triptych is based on three separate papers, two published in the last month or two and one from last year. Individually these incremental advances in our […]

Cut your losses

The stats for winter losses in the UK, Europe and USA can make for rather sobering reading. In the UK, losses over the last 12 years have fluctuated between 9% and 34%. This self-selecting survey includes responses from about 10% of the British Beekeepers Association membership (primarily England and Wales, despite the name). The average […]

Rational Varroa control

It’s the end of July … in the next two to three weeks the first eggs will be laid that will develop into the winter bees that get your colonies through to next spring. Protecting these winter bees is necessary to prevent overwintering colony losses. I’ve written and lectured extensively on Varroa control and related […]

Superinfection exclusion

Alpha Beta Gamma Delta  The majority of readers will identify these as the current circulating variant strains of Covid . The World Health Organisation decided upon this naming system as being easier and more practical to discussed (sic) by non-scientific audiences . All viruses vary, and viruses with genomes made from ribonucleic acid (RNA) vary more than […]

Winter losses

I lost 10% of my colonies this winter. It’s always disappointing losing colonies, but it’s sometimes unavoidable. I suspect the two I lost were unavoidable … though, as you’ll see, they weren’t completely lost. April showers frosts Late April may seem like mid-season for many beekeepers based in southern England. While they were adding their […]

Brexit and beekeeping

The ‘oven ready’ deal the government struck with the EU in the dying hours of 2020 was a bit less à la carte and a bit more table d’hôte. The worst of the predictions of empty supermarket shelves and the conversion of Essex into a 3500 km2 lorry park have not materialised . But there […]