10 of us braved the horrible weather this evening to assemble at Uplowman Village Hall, near Tiverton. It was a pity that none of us had a key to get in! Unfortunately, Bob, who normally has the place opened up and the kettle on by the time we arrive, didn’t turn up. We don’t know why. Eventually a key was tracked down and we could get in. We found tea and coffee but no milk, so we did without beverages and just sat round the table and nattered for 2 hours.
The principal subject was the use of predatory mites to combat Varroa. The Bee Vet, Emily Simcock had told us all about them a month ago (see my blog of that time). Our Chairman, Richard Ball, formerly the National Bee Inspector, has been experimenting with them and showed us the graphs of the, weekly averaged, daily mite drop counts of the 2 hives he had used them on last year compared with the average of the untreated controls.
We heard that the BBKA aren’t keen on the use of these mites but we don’t know why. They are indigenous and so won’t bring in exotic diseases.
All the lines undulated, but the treated hives, generally, were less be-mited than the controls. However, on occasion there were unexplained drastic drops and we wondered whether other, unknown, factors were at play. The weather is an obvious possibility as last summer was so awful. Richard has the weather statistics but hasn’t yet been able to get them on his computer in graph form.
It is a pity that so few experiments are being carried out with these mites. As far as we know, it’s just Richard and Clare from Buckfast Abbey. It does need to be done on a lot more hives before valid conclusions can be drawn and we discussed whether and which local associations would be best placed to do it.