On the morning of Saturday 11th February the branch held an Asian Hornet Workshop.

As a result of last year's arrival of the asian hornet to our shores, and the possibility that it may be back, the workshop was held to allow our members to get together and make up the trap recommended by the NBU.

This trap is meant for monitoring in areas where the Asian hornet is not yet established and the recommendation from the NBU is to hang the traps around the apiary in mid to late February to trap any overwintering queen hornets.

Later in the season, the trap can be modified by re-fitting the bottle cap with a 9mm hole drilled into it. This allows the Asian hornet to enter but not European hornet.

h workshop aA 5mm escape hole can also be added above the mesh that will keep asian hornets in but allow the escape of smaller insects.

The session started with Rowan giving an overview of the steps he took to build a trap, plus the workarounds that were discovered to problems that occured during its construction. The construction process was then repeated and followed by all participants until everyone had made their own trap.

After the construction session, Margaret Holdsworth supplied refreshments and reviewed possible options to use for bait. The addition of cider vinegar to baits, which has been a successful additive to wasp baits, was mentioned and was known to put honey bees off the lure.

 

 

 

Asian Hornet Baits

French beekeepers often use a mixture of DARK beer and sugar for same purpose. Other effective baits include sweet mixtures of wine, sugar, cassis, and water. You can also buy proprietary brands of hornet (wasp) trap bait from many garden centres and DIY stores. At the height of the beekeeping season, when predatory worker hornets are seeking high protein foods, consider adding raw meat or fish to the bait mixture.

h workshop cSpring: sweet baits should be used
Summer & Autumn: sweet baits again, but with the addition of protein (fish or meat).

In areas where the Asian hornet is already established a trap without mesh can be used.
Experience in France has shown that a trap already containing some Asian hornets is even more attractive to other Asian hornets but other insects are deterred from entering.
French beekeepers will therefore sometimes ‘bait’ a trap with a few Asian hornets. Be warned that an overfull or 'stale' trap is not an attractant. 

Remember, this hornet is not yet established here and the primary purpose at the moment is to monitor and report!

Please download the document for yourself for information on how to build your own trap, making additional traps (more increases your chances) and details on where and when to hang the trap. Important information on how to empty it and report any hornets that you trap is also included.

If a suspect Asian hornet is captured it is best to enclose the whole trap in a plastic bag and place in a freezer for 12 hours before removing the insect.

Thanks go to Gillian Berridge who supplied the lovely cakes, Margaret and Dick Holdsworth for hosting the session and Rowan for sourcing the required materials and getting things started.


BeeBase

Beebase News Web feed
  • Social science study on how best to support beekeepers and bee farmers through education, information and advice
    20 January 2021
    Understanding how turnover (“churn”) among beekeepers can be managed and review information sources, learning methods and use of social media, to develop resources to support the beekeeping sector.

    Defra and Welsh Government have commissioned a social science study to gather information about different aspects of education and training. This includes getting a better understanding of how the turnover of beekeepers can be managed. It will also review information sources, learning methods and use of social media. The third part of the project will evaluate current continuous professional development schemes and resources to support bee farmers. The study which has just begun, has been contracted to ICF Consulting who have carried out a number of research projects in other areas for Defra. We are hoping that many beekeepers will participate in the project which will include a survey and further details will be announced soon.

    This work links into the Healthy Bees Plan 2030, working together to improve honey bee health and husbandry in England & Wales.
  • COVID-19 and Beekeeping update
    11 January 2021
    This is a re-issue of the guidance provided in October 2020:

    Please find the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance. The update includes separate links to the current Public Health Guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.

    Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3

    COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3

    If you have any queries please contact:

    For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk
    For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru
    For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot
  • Starvation and Varroa Alert
    04 December 2020
    Observations from beekeepers and Bee Inspectors across the UK suggest that some colonies of bees are becoming short of food.

    Please monitor your colonies throughout the coming months and feed as required to ensure your bees do not starve. A standard full size British National colony needs between 20-25 kg of stores to successfully overwinter. If they need feeding at this time then fondant should be used. This should be placed above the brood nest so that the bees are able to access it easily.

    For further information, please see the ‘Best Practice Guidance No. 7 - Feeding Bees Sugar’ on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167

    It has also been observed that Varroa levels in some hives are starting to increase again. This may be due to a number of factors, but the exceptionally mild weather this autumn has encouraged some colonies to produce more brood than usual which has allowed an increase in mite reproduction.

    Please monitor mite levels and treat accordingly.

    For further information, please see the’ Managing Varroa’ Advisory leaflet on the following BeeBase Page: http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/index.cfm?pageid=167