The next lecture on Wednesday morning was Jamie Ellis: Addressing the Sustainability of Beekeeping in the 21st Century.
First he ran over what he does in his laboratory. He pointed out that pollination is more important than honey production in the USA. 10 – 20% of the World’s food supply is dependant on honeybees (but this might not apply in Ireland!). 175 dollars per colony is paid to the beekeeper for almond pollination!
‘Colony Collapse’ happened in 2006 allegedly, but the graph Jamie showed illustrated that annual losses have been going down since 1945, although they are rising now. Since Varroa arrived, net loss rates have halved. Since CCD in 2006 there has been a net gain of 1.75% per annum. Reasons for colony loss are poor queens, starvation, mites, ‘CCD’ and weather.
Varroa are now thought possibly to feed on the fat bodies rather then the haemolymph of bees. Apivar is the most effective treatment, but some mites are resistant to all treatments. Lots of mites carry EFB and also Nosema cerana.
In S.Africa, the local strains of AM Scutellata and AM Capensis interact with the Small Hive Beetle and contain it. There is a video of this that can be seen at http://www.UFhoneybee.com.
Data sources: those experiencing problems with their bees provide the data! The commercial beekeepers who transport masses of colonies seem to have no impact on the data.
Then it was time for lunch: soup; chicken, chips and sweet corn.