Jersey bee population under increased threat from Asian hornets

27-May-21 – ITV

Bee disease confirmed in Perthshire

24-May-21 – Scottish Gov

Bee-killing pesticide treatment for fish farms backed by Scottish Government

21-May-21 – The Ferret

Manuka Honey - A honey trap

19-May-21 – Scottish Legal

Previously unseen Einstein letter reveals interest in navigation of migratory birds and bees

14-May-21 – Independent

Move over sniffer dogs: Bees could be trained to smell the coronavirus

12-May-21 – Chem Div

European Commission was right to ban dangerous pesticides

07-May-21 – Environment Journal

Bees in the Netherlands trained to detect COVID-19 infections

06-May-21 – Reuters

EU top court upholds ban on Bayer pesticides linked to harming bees

06-May-21 - Reuters

Thousands of bees die after vandals attack hive in Southampton

05-May-21 – ITV

Wasps 'could be just as valuable as bees if we give them the chance'

29-Apr-21 – Sky News

How to deal with hayfever, and take care of your wellbeing

29-Apr-21 – Happiful

What went right this week: Dutch bees buzz back, and more positive news

29-Apr-21 – Positive News

Finally, the cold weather seems to have come to an end. Over the last month there has been heavy rainfall and the ground is moist. Temperatures have jumped and horse chestnuts and hawthorn are in flower. In consequence the bees are going crazy, and the nectar is flowing into the hives in great quantity.

Somebody once said to me that the difference between a good gardener and a bad gardener was one week. The same is true of beekeeping. Most of us more experienced Beekeepers are aware of what is going on in the environment and with this current flow we are sticking supers of drawn comb onto our hives. Personally, I expect this flow to continue for quite a while. This is because we have had such a rainy time recently and the moisture has gone deep down into the soil. Brood boxes are going to become nectar bound very very quickly. You may have to remove pollen banks or frames of stores and replace with foundation to keep the bees working and busy. You may also need to put your empty super just above your brood box. Or of course if your Bees have not swarmed this is an ideal time to put a super of foundation above the brood  box as it will be drawn out very quickly. Consider not putting the queen excluder on for three days to encourage them up if this is the first super of the season for that colony. Then go back after three days and put the queen excluder in between the super and the brood box.

For those of you who are just weekend Beekeepers please be aware that if you do nothing about this flow the brood box will soon become congested, and of course this will trigger the bees to divide, and you will find swarm cells in your colonies in next to no time.

Get those supers on NOW


Malcolm Wilkie – 29th May 2021

I have been hearing from a lot of people in the Association saying that their colonies are really low on stores. Colonies with supers on them will be fine but a lot of you will have colonies either that have not grown sufficiently to have had supers put on them, or colonies that have been split. If your bees have already gone into Swarming mode and you have taken the Queen out on a nucleus, then your old queen and that nucleus box may well need feeding. The same applies if you have done a Pagden split. The parent colony with a virgin hatching will probably have your supers on them and that will not be a concern, but your original Queen on the old site will definitely need to be fed. I always feed the old queen because she has a box of foundation but others sometimes just let them build up on the nectar flow with a super of honey (I have never got this to work myself). With the latter scenario, if you are not feeding, that could well be a disaster.

The irony is that we have now had a huge dump of rain. To be honest I have never seen anything quite like it. When driving back via Wadhurst the other day there were rivers of brown water pouring down the road carrying with it run-off from the fields. You will all be aware that the horse chestnut are now in flower and the bees avidly collect nectar from these trees. However temperatures are not great and the bees are not able to get out as much as they should. It’s not until the middle of next week that things are warming up and the bees will then be able to collect what is,in fact,  an abundance of nectar in the environment.

So if you have a nucleus box or a hive with only three or four frames of brood and no super, then you should think about feeding.

I am also concerned about any new Queens and whether temperatures are adequate for them to get well mated. People consider good matings happen when temperatures exceed 20°. I already know I have one partial drone layer :they are already building Queen cells to replace her but I may well just chuck them in the hedge. I have the old queen as an insurance policy anyway  so with all these boxes mushrooming around my apiary I am not that concerned! Let’s all pray for some better temperatures soon! Yet again we are having an exceptionally different and difficult year and a different set of challenges to cope with from any previous year I have known.


Malcolm Wilkie – 21st May 2021

I don’t know if you are like me, but I am just fed up with this long cold spring. My colonies, however, have steadily been growing and I have had to put supers on them. There has recently been a steady nectar flow which I presume is mainly from rape seed oil. Near Lesley’s garden in St Leonards there are five or six fields of rape and near my other apiary in Kent Street there are also yellow fields. A bit of a curse really as that honey will granulate in the comb unless I get it off next weekend.

Despite cold temperatures yesterday Lesley and I looked through the colonies in her garden. Five out of the six colonies are making swarm preparations (several eggs in queen cups and also charged Queen cells). Please don’t be fooled into thinking that the bees are not plotting just because temperatures are low!

In a day or so night-time temperatures are going to jump to 8 or 9° and daytime temperatures are going to go to 15 or above. What is the consequence of that? Well, this hike in temperatures (although it is not a huge hike) coupled with some rainfall later tonight is going to give us perfect conditions for colonies to divide and propagate their genes. So, I bet your bottom dollar that if you have a large prosperous colony then they will be off before you can say Jack Robinson.

I am not thrilled about all of this as Thursday and Friday are not predicted as good weather and yet I am going to have to go into several colonies in order to take the Queen out on a nucleus. At least all my Queens are marked so I am hoping I’m going to find them without too much difficulty. This year I decided not to move the Queen out until the Queen cells are well developed as I wanted to guarantee that they would be of the very best quality. Let’s see if that makes a difference. But the disadvantage is that I may have a devil’s own job in finding the Queen. She will have been slimmed down for swarming and if she is laying no eggs then it will be much more difficult to find her among the 60,000 bees that Lesley has got in some of her colonies. Let’s hope I don’t have the scenario that I had once where I had to search for a whole hour for the Queen, only to find her eventually on the inside of the box! When it comes to swarming time, queens are not always where you think they might be!

So, my advice to everyone is to be on the qui vive. Once you have got a nice, charged queen cell, then divide or take the Queen out on a nucleus.

Please don’t forget the parent hive. Mark your chosen queen cell with a drawing pin placed into the top of the frame where it is situated. Then five or six days later go back and remove all emergency Queen cells that the bees will disobligingly have created for you, leaving only the chosen queen cell that will now, at this stage, be sealed and about to emerge. Respect your timings or you will be in trouble.

Rape Field
Rape Flower
Rape Flowers
Rape Field2
Rape Field3
Bee on Rape1
Bee on Rape2

Malcolm Wilkie – 3rd May 2021

Let the lawn go wild this month and allow wildflowers to bloom, gardeners told

30-Apr-21 – The Independent

Wasps: why I love them, and why you should too

30-Apr-21 – Reaction Life

Chris Packham: Wildlife corridor project all about 'empowerment'

20-Apr-21 – ITV

Traps in place to capture Asian hornet queens in Guernsey

19-Apr-21 – ITV

Create a buzz about climate change in your school

19-Apr-21 – tes

M&S faces backlash over plan to release 30m honeybees

16-Apr-21 – The Guardian

Ancient pottery reveals the first evidence for honey hunting in prehistoric West Africa

14-Apr-21 – Science Daily

York bee innovator causes a buzz around the world

13-Apr-21 – TopicUK

Buzz for beehives in New York City

12-Apr-21 – Reuters

Wild in the city: Bee flies are fluffy, but not so cute

12-Apr-21 – Evening Standard

M&S to introduce 30 million bees on farms

12-Apr-21 – FarmingUK

Bees bounce back after Australia’s black summer: ‘Any life is good life’

10-Apr-21 – The Guardian

Bloom a Kiss, Save the Bees: Guerlain launches bee conservation social media campaign

09-Apr-21 – The Moodie Davitt Report

New parasitic wasp species discovered in Norway

07-Apr-21 – The Independent

Toxic impact of pesticides on bees has doubled, study shows

01-Apr-21 – The Guardian