I’m just back from the 3 day BBKA Spring Convention, the highlight of today being the BIBBA (Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders’ Association AGM. It was held at Harper Adams University in darkest Shropshire and the BIBBA AGM was held this morning in a room called the Temperton Suite. There were a couple of boards on the wall recording the names of those who had gained notice in the Templeton Foundation for Poultry Research. Is it just coincidence that the first winner, in 1992, was David Gosling, followed in 1997 by Patricia Parrot and in 2010 by Richard (Dickie) Bird?
Almost 10% of the members of BIBBA were present and it included people from England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, the 4 countries forming the Association.
We had a presentation by Dr Catherine Thompson who had been studying bee racial types for her PhD. Unfortunately, due to an academic bottleneck (other academics want also to use the information gathered before it is published) she wasn’t able to tell us all that she had gleaned. However, in round terms (and subject to my difficulty in reading my scrawled notes): feral colonies have 2.4 times as much DWV as managed colonies but less Nosema (not by a statistically significant amount). Unmanaged colonies have more varroa. She found no remote populations of Apis mellifera mellifera (AMM) in England and Wales. Genetically, the UK bees are about 40% AMM despite reports of their demise. Wing morphology alone is not a very good identifier of AMM; Ruttner used many more measurements.
The formal AGM business followed the presentation. If you’re interested, you’ll be a member and will get the report in due course. I did whinge about the budget for 2014 being considered during the year rather than in advance of it and the Treasurer agreed to find a constitutional method of addressing this.