Spring is an excellent time to check your colonies for disease because the population in the hive is low...er than in summer.
To carry out a disease inspection each brood frame is carefully checked for the queen before the bees are shaken into the brood box: this means that the combs are bee-free and easier to check!
The most important thing for a beekeeper to know is what healthy brood looks like. If you know what it SHOULD look like then you know when something isn't quite right!
Identifying Healthy Brood
Healthy brood glistens a pearly white. The larvae are "c" shaped and sit at the bottom of the cells. You can see the segmentation in their body. They are swimming in a little pool of brood food.
Healthy pupae under the caps are at first white but as they develop into adults, their colour darkens. The eyes begin to colour first.
Cappings are uniformly brown, tan or cream. Each cap is slightly raised or convex, without any holes, except in a few cases where the cell cap has not yet been fully built.
The general appearance of the brood pattern is regular with no dead larvae or pupae
Below are a selection of handy disease recognition cards (click to see more) which you should familiarise yourself with. Non of it belongs to Barnsley BKA, we have borrowed the text and photos from Bee Base and put them into an easy to use (well I think so) format.
Bee Base is an important resource for all beekeepers and you should be registered with them, and your apiaries marked, so that you can get updates about disease in your area.
Bee Base also has a very useful eLearning course on diseases and pests. Once you login, down the left hand menu you will see an option for eLearning.
It's important that you are familiar with the contact details for our Regional Bee Inspector: Dhonn Atkinson coordinates a group of Seasonal Bee Inspectors.
- Honey Bee Diseases
With the current situation, and with our association apiary visits cancelled, we have decided to host a weekly Online Bee Chat to keep up spirits and to ensure that our members, particularly those new to beekeeping, have a place to ask questions and follow along with colony development.
We are proposing Tuesdays at 11am. The sessions will be hosted on Zoom, an online conferencing system. This can be accessed from a computer or laptop, mobile phone or tablet. For the technophobes out there - Zoom is really easy to use, but here is a Youtube video with some helpful information about entering your first chat: https://youtu.be/9isp3qPeQ0E?
We will record the sessions and post them on our private Facebook Group, just in case you can't make one of the virtual session (and even if you can make the session - join the group! ). In the first bee chat we will discuss concerns that any members have about getting to their apiaries to check on bees, so if you are struggling to get out to inspect, either join the meeting or drop a message/email to us so that we have an idea of who needs support. I hope that you will be able to join us. If you are struggling to get setup, please contact me rather than missing out: Webmaster
The link for each week's Zoom Bee Chat will be posted on the private Facebook Group and emailed to current members.
During the summer season, we will be meeting at the association apiary each Saturday.
We are very pleased to announce that the following people have passed exams this year:
To take the Basic Assessment you have to have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months. The Assessment consists of four parts and the Candidate must achieve the pass
mark in all four parts:
- Manipulation and Equipment. Practical Assessment of the Candidate’s ability to handle bees and beekeeping equipment and the ability to interpret
what is observed.
- Oral questioning and Assessment of the Candidate’s knowledge of Natural History and Beekeeping.
- Oral questioning on Swarming, Swarm Control and effects.
- Oral questioning on Diseases and Pests.
To take the Honey Bee Health Certificate you must have been awarded the BBKA Basic Certificate and have at least three years of beekeeping experience. The Assessor tests the Candidate’s practical skills and knowledge of the important aspects of beekeeping (as defined in the Syllabus). The Assessor observes:
- The Candidate’s practical skills at opening and manipulating colonies and notes the correct use of beekeeping equipment and apiary hygiene.
- The Candidate's awareness of the procedures adopted by The National Bee Unit Inspectors and ability to demonstrate them.
- The candidate's: management and hygiene, brood disease inspection, two further practical tasks and the discussion.
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