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.
by Gavin Ramsay
Forty-six beekeepers, mostly SNHBS members, came to Perth for the queen-rearing workshop organised by the Ochils Breeding Group over two days in August. After a classroom session going through the principles of selection, queen rearing, queen mating and subsequent management, the attendees divided into three groups for the three practical sessions occupying much of the day. Jeff took them through the grafting session, showing the right stage of larva to use and the methods employed to move the larvae into cups for cell raising. Participants worked in pairs to ensure that everyone had a chance to try grafting for themselves, many using magnifying headbands to help the careful handling of larvae of the right stage. John took his groups through everything to do with mating nuclei, the types available with their good and less good points, making them up with young bees and their management. I showed finding and handling queens and demonstrated harvesting queens from mating nuclei after the new queens were established. Everyone was encouraged to try their hand at lifting young workers and handling them as if they were queens. The yellow-spotted workers can still be seen in the MiniPluses now! Continue reading “Summer 2017 Queen Rearing Workshop in Perth”
Compiled by Kate Atchley from texts by Ewan Campbell, Em Mackie and Gavin Ramsay. (Article first published in The Scottish Beekeeper, July 2017)
On 1 April at the Lovat Hotel in Perth, almost 80 members of the newly-formed Scottish Native Honey Bee Society (SNHBS) met to launch and help to establish priorities for the society. In this article we offer news of the launch event as well as confirmation of the society’s aims and initial activities. Continue reading “SNHBS – News from launch event”