Combings December 2021

The December issue of Combings has been sent out by email to all members. Below are some links to recent bee-related articles in the news which are mentioned in this edition.


Honeybees use social distancing when mites threaten hives – study

Bee population steady in Dutch cities thanks to pollinator strategy

David Heaf: Beekeeping Uses of Chemicals and why we should stop using them

Efficacy of propolis as an adjunct treatment for hospitalized COVID-19

Beekeeping: Uses of chemicals and why we should stop using them

This short article, by David Heaf was published in July this year.

Beekeeping: Uses of chemicals and why we should stop using them

It uses language which may be unfamiliar to some readers, for example…

Microbiome: this is the community of microorganisms (such as bacteria, fungi, and viruses) that inhabit a particular environment. So the bees’ microbiome is within the hive and their gut microbiome is within their gut.

Pyrethroids: insecticides are a chemical class of active ingredients found in many of the modern insecticides

BBKA and YBKA Support petition to stop the importation of honey bees into GB from the EU via Northern Ireland

This petition has been on the web since September but is gaining little traction.

Both BBKA and YBKA encourage all members to sign this petition.

The BBKA says “The problem is that at least one beekeeping business has said that they want to import bees to the UK through Northern Ireland. The bees they are sourcing come from southern Italy where a serious invasive species and parasite of bees, the Small Hive Beetle is established. The inspections on bees are extremely limited and we are fearful that a small, clubbed antenna, beetle will be able to evade their scrutiny and be imported to the mainland.” 

You can sign the petition here:

https://petition.parliament.uk/petitions/577603

You are also encouraged to write to your MP regarding this issue, emphasising the following points:

  1. The current regulation bans the importation of bees. The use of transhipment via import to Eire and then into Northern Ireland is a flagrant misuse of the post Brexit arrangements. 2.The inspection of packages of bees for pests is difficult as packages are large numbers (10,000+) of bees in a transport box. Small Hive Beetles are black and about one third of the size of a honeybee.
  2. From National Bee Unit Website 31/12/20 A further outbreak in Sicily in June 2019 meant that the ban on exports from Italy was reintroduced for Sicily. The safeguard measure for both Sicily and Calabria have been extended to April 2021. The prohibition on exports to the UK from these two regions continues after the end of the transitional period.
  3. This is a major risk not only to honeybees but to the environment in general. SHB is native to Africa but has become endemic in the Southern USA and looks likely to become widespread in southern Europe unless severe action is taken. SHB is yet another pest that will pose a threat to bees on top of a now endemic parasite Varroa and the ongoing risk of
    the Asian Hornet. (Now firmly established in Europe and which has managed to jump to the UK on occasion but thankfully has been eradicated and not allowed to become established). The beekeeping associations from all around the UK agree that the importation of bees from overseas especially from an area with an invasive species is totally against best practices for the protection of our environment.