With the agreement of the SBA’s Events Committee, a small area of the Honey Tent at this year’s Royal Highland Show was made available to the Scottish Native Honey Bee Society for a promotional stand. In the three to four weeks before the show, the trustees put together a presentation to fill the allocated space. Our stand proved to be good enough to attract Countryfile presenter, Ellie Harrison, who stopped by for this promotional photo opportunity with SNHB trustee, Sandy Scott.
Over 70 members attended our 3rd Annual Meeting (again at Loch Leven Community Campus, Kinross), renewing friendships and meeting fellow beekeepers who shared their passion for the native honey bee. Andrew Abrahams and Dylan Elen were our guest speakers while Gavin Ramsay (SNHBS chair) gave the latest news on the Conservation Project and led the business meeting.
Cheviot Breeding members, joined by East Lothian, Edinburgh & Peebles beekeepers, met to learn more about the raising of queens, led by Kate Atchley.
A lovely sunny day greeted the eight participants of the Queen rearing course on the 7th June at Roxburgh in the Scottish Borders. After the initial meeting and greeting it was down to work. A quantity of young worker bees were required to make up mating nucs. Kate has a nifty way to get them off the super frames and into a bucket without too many escaping! [See header photo] Continue reading “Cheviot Breeding Group’s queen-rearing day with Kate Atchley”
SNHBS now has a fund to provide financial support for members’ breeding groups and some other activities.
The money came from the winding-up of Arnamurchan’s Amm project and the Sunart, Ardnamurchan, Moidart & Morvern Beekeepers Association. Hence, we call it The SAMMBA Fund. Continue reading “SAMMBA Fund – open for applications”
The North East of Scotland has a long history of beekeeping and a large number of active beekeepers organised into associations at local and regional level. In the 70s and into the 80s the so-called Aberdeenshire “Maud” strain of bee was discovered as having native bee characteristics and traits, and lineages from this strain were spread far and wide around Scotland. It seems appropriate therefore that the North East now has a group interested in the conservation and breeding of Apis mellifera mellifera.
Queen rearing for SNHBS was initiated in May and interested people formed a very loose group in the North East of Scotland, with a good percentage of SNHBS members responding to a request to help out.
The Ardnamurchan Native Bee Project was wound down last year, partly due to my imminent move to the Scottish Borders and because of heavy colony losses. These losses were due largely to the scarcity of forage in an area which suffered two successive Summers so wet that the bees were hindered from foraging adequately.
Do you have dark native honey bees?
Do you think that you may have Scottish native honey bees? Are you interested in helping their recovery in Scotland? Would you like a chance to have them DNA tested?
We are seeking input from all beekeepers in Scotland to help find – and ultimately propagate – examples of the native honey bee. If your bees, or the bees of other local beekeepers you collaborate with, are dark brown without significant banding, then please consider submitting photos for our crack team of assessors to investigate. Scotland is divided into six regions with a local contact point (or Local Curator) who will guide you through the process. Click here for instructions on how to participate in the SNHBS Conservation Project.
Our annual meeting this year, held on the 17th March, saw 61 of our 181 strong membership join us at Kinross Community Campus to listen to speakers Per Kryger, Jon Getty and Ian Lennox and to participate in the afternoon’s business meeting of the Society. Thank you to all of you who managed to attend despite the dire weather forecast, and also to those of you who got in touch with well wishes for the day.
How do we identify native honey bees? This question is fundamental to everything we aim to do at SNHBS and members were invited along to the University of Aberdeen in November to get a handle on just this question. Forty-five attendees had a full day hands-on introduction to the basic features and traits of Apis mellifera mellifera and got to hear about really exciting new developments in DNA analysis that might be available to hobby beekeepers soon.