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If feeding will save your
colony it is probably best down with disease? Do or their fellows can be
to do so you let it go, or try to discovered by examining
save it? I suggest that if fallen mites for physical
feeding will do the trick, damage.
then feed it; if effective If enough people think
medication is available, imaginatively and
you should probably treat strategically, and act on those
it, but in either case at thoughts, we could probably
the first opportunity you put most of our medicines
rely on breeding from bees Unfortunately, since the Isle should re-queen the back on the shelf.
that have not been exposed of Wight Disease hit Britain susceptible colony from a
to the influences that nearly a century ago. British fitter one. PRAISE COLONY
eliminated their beekeepers and especially If your whole apiary is hit, LOSSES
predecessors and do not commercial honey farmers for example by varroa, note
on any account import have repeatedly done just which colonies are most So let us praise colony
exotic bees in the hope that, each year importing severely affected and which losses. They show us that
they will do better than exotic young queens from least. Rather than lose nature is still doing what
local ones you already hot countries, ready-mated valuable stock treat them she has always done so
have. They are unlikely to since they are too exotic to (all, if necessary) in the well and they guide us in
in the long run and a few mate reliably here. The old what to do next. They aremost effective way and then
years down the line you’ll queen is summarily evidence that Naturaluse the least affected to
find yourself again in a terminated, but not before Selection is active andre-queen the most working, as ever, to
losing situation. her drones have wrecked susceptible. promote the increase in
the breeding programmes of natural fitness that Charles
every other beekeeper RESISTANCE TO Darwin explained is the
within a drone’s flight of her VARROA basis of present good
hive. health and future
At least threeThe motivation is usually a evolution.
geographically widelyrapid honey catch-crop, but
separated stocks of native SICAMMwith no thought for
British bees (Apis mellifera
sustainability or the welfare CONFERENCEmellifera) are exhibiting
of neighbours’ bees. considerable resistance to On 7–9 September 2009,
Weakness and ill health are varroa. There are stocks in collaboration with
the inevitable consequence also with natural resistance BIBBA (Bee Improvement
Dorian Pritchard is a former of the short-term approach to acarine disease, and Bee Breeders’
Lecturer in Human Genetics at and I believe that unless nosema, chalk brood and Association) and the
the University of Newcastle and the practice of importing foul brood. Scottish Beekeepers’
joint author of Medical foreign bees discontinues Association, SICAMM
Genetics at a Glance. He Such stocks may be in yourthe British situation can (the International
teaches a beginners' own apiary or nearby andonly get worse. Association for
beekeeping course and for you don’t need to be a Conservation of the Dark
ten years convened the Is it any wonder then that qualified animal breeder to Bee) is holding a
North of England the bees of many parts of use them. Local beekeeping conference which will
Beekeepers' Convention. Britain need to be treated associations can identify include breeding bees
ever more like battery colonies with hygienic for disease resistance. He is President of Societas
hens? The maxim ‘farm housekeeping behaviour byInternationalis pro The conference title is: The
your land as though you deliberately damaging aConservatione Apis Dark Bee, Our Hope for the
would live for ever’ is as spread of healthy brood andmelliferae melliferae Future and it will be held at
relevant to bee husbandry assessing whether, or how(SICAMM), Conservation the delightful venue of
as to any other aspect of efficiently, the house beesOfficer of the Bee Aviemore, in the heart of
agriculture. clean out the cells containing Improvement and Bee the Scottish Highlands. Put
dead larvae. Breeders’ Association it in your diary and check
SAVE OR LEAVE?(BIBBA) and co-leader of Colonies with workers that the website:
the North Pennines Bee So what if you find one have the nous to groom www.sicamm.org/ for
Breeding Group. of your colonies going varroa mites off themselves details.
Page 16 Bee Craft digital January 2009
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