Some facts about Bees
A hive comprises of only ONE queen, up to 60,000 (female) worker bees and about 400 male bees (drones).
A young queen is capable of laying up to 2000 eggs per day.
A bee lives for about 40 days (4-5 months in winter)
Approximately 1/3 of the worlds food depends on pollination
Bees are essential to the fertilisation & pollination process
A queen can live for 3-5 years
A Bee colony requires over 100lb of honey and 40lb pollen to survive the year.
A bee needs to make 1000 flights in order to make a teaspoon full of honey. A 1lb jar of honey requires flights totalling 75,000 miles or 1 million journeys!.
Man has been collecting honey for over 9,000 years.
A bee can only fly in temperatures greater than 10 degrees.
The temperature within the hive is maintained at a constant 35 degrees even throughout the winter.
Honey is made from the nectar found at the base of many flowers and plants.
The nectar is transformed in to honey in the bees ‘honey stomach’ where it is mixed with enzymes.
A single hive can produce about 50lb of surplus honey in a season.
By-products are beeswax and propolis.
American Foul Brood (AFB) – if present larval remains appear as brown mucus.
European Foul Brood (EFB) – infected larvae have a melted wax appearance.
Small Hive Beetle – native to Southern Africa & found in the USA 1998. Not yet seen in the UK.
Sacbrood – a virus
Chalk Brood – larvae appear white
Stone Brood – very rare
Acarine – probably the disease which caused widespread losses on the Isle of Wight between 1904 and 1924.
Nosema – symptoms similar to dysentery
Viral Infections – no cures & immune from any antibiotic treatment.
Disorders caused by mis-management
Chilled Brood – caused by opening up the hive in low temperatures
Poisoning – e.g. insecticides
Dysentery – common causes are late/brown sugar feeding, unripe honey and granulating/fermenting stores
Starvation – feed & provide adequate stores to enable the bees to survive the winter.
Wax Moth – old comb and screens
This is not a disease but infection by a parasitic mite. It reached England in 1992 and has become endemic throughout the UK & most of the rest of the world. Colonies MUST be treated, doing nothing is not an option. All colonies in the UK will be infected.
Colonies must be monitored using Open Mesh floors fitted with a screen. 10 mites per day indicate that treatment is needed. Initially use Apistan, Bayvarol or Apiguard (ApilifeVar). Failure to observe the time-scales can result in resistant mites. Other treatments include Formic Acid, Oxalic Acid (both very dangerous chemicals) and icing sugar. Drone brood culling is also effective.