I drove down to Devon today for another meeting of the Devon Apicultural Research Group. Last night, electronically, I suggested to my friend Leila Goss that she should come along as we need younger blood but she replied that she’s working today. I wonder whether that entails seeking Asian hornets?
By coincidence her name came up several times during the day as she, in her role as Seasonal Bee Inspector, had been filmed catching Asian hornets in a butterfly net without wearing any protective clothing. This was at the recently found infestation in North Devon and it was much discussed during the meeting. Chris Utting, who lives not far from the site, brought an Asian hornet and a European hornet (both dead!) along for us to look at. I took a photo which I may post here later if I can find the instructions how to do so,
It seems that people are not very gruntled with the National Bee Unit’s response to being told that Asian hornets had been spotted. They wanted concrete evidence before they would do anything so the beekeeper who had seen the hornets had to spend many hours lurking with a camera trying to get a decent photo to send them.
In our discussion it was suggested that each branch should have a couple of people nominated to provide rapid assistance if somebody sees an Asian hornet in their area. I like that idea and shall pass it on to our BKA.
I know that the NBU are now being active as our local Seasonal Bee Inspector, Kevin Pope was due to send time up there in hornet country from Tuesday onwards. On Monday he had been inspecting the rest of my colonies with me to see if there was any more AFB, which there wasn’t as far as he could see. A couple of colonies had no sealed brood at all for no apparent reason apart from the weather. I wonder whether the brood break will reduce the Varroa?
There were only eight of us around the table today, of whom three were former Presidents of the BBKA. They aren’t very impressed with the way it’s running nowadays: ‘Red tape gone mad’ was one comment. They were glad that the Technical Committee has been reinstated though.
They are concerned at the continuing importation of packages of bees from Italy, 1500 this year in 45 consignments, only about half of which were checked. It seems that the only check is of the paperwork, not the bees and anything, such as Small Hive Beetle, that they might be carrying.
Our host from the local BKA, Vic, said that today he learned far more about bee politics than he did about bees!