News from the hives

Saving Cornish Bees in the medieval garden At Godolphin House, Helston.

Beekeepers unite to save Native Bees in Cornwall

Representatives of 4 bee groups came together at Godolphin House this week to celebrate new signboards put up with the National Trust in the Medieval garden. The signs highlight the difficulties honey bees and other pollinators are encountering in the countryside and the importance of conserving and protecting our own Native Cornish Bees, representatives from Godolphin and The Bee Improvement group for Cornwall (Bipco), The B4 group ( Bringing back Black Bees) , The Cornwall bee improvement and bee Breeders group ( CBIBBG) and Cornish Bees were on hand to put the new signs up at Godolphin house which has been a home for Cornish Bees since Bob Black introduced his colonies of native black bees there about 7 years ago.

The four groups have successfully introduced Native Cornish Bees onto sites at Eden, Heligan, Paignton Zoo, Paradise Park, Occombe Farm, Plymouth University, Mount Edgcumbe Country Park, Tregantle Fort, Cockington Manor House, The Duchy Nursery and Mount Edgcumbe Country Park Black Bee Reserve.

This latest venture with the team at Godolphin hopes to establish a Cornish Bee Haven on the Godolphin estate in the near future.

Gardner in Charge Juliet Turner said that you can’t underestimate the importance of Honey bees in maintaining the variety of plants and trees around the estate, and maintaining populations of well adapted native bees should be a priority in the county. Claire North, Visitor Services & Enterprises Manager at Godolphin, said they are pleased to part of such an upsurge in interest in our own Cornish Native Bees and visitors are very responsive and supportive of the project.

Photo left to right: Maggie Freegard ( B4 Group), Robert Sheppard ( BIPCO), Claire North (Visitor Services manager Godolphin), Juliet Turner (Gardner in Charge, Godolphin), Bob Black ( Cornish Bees and CBIBBG)

More info:

Bob Black https://www.facebook.com/cornishbees/

B4  http://www.b4project.co.uk

BIPCO http://www.bipco.co.uk/

CBIBBG http://www.cbibbg.co.uk/

Cornish Bees http://www.cornishbees.com/

National Trust Godolphin https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/godolphin

 

 

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PRESS RELEASE

England’s first Native Honey Bee Reserve
On 25 May 2017 Mount Edgcumbe Country Park became the site of the first Black Bee Reserve in England. This represents the first native honey bee reserve in England and will provide a template that can be followed across the country for the reintroduction and protection of our native honey bee.
Attended by partners from B4, Tesco and Plymouth University, plus the staff and volunteers at Mount Edgcumbe who created the new apiary on the site of the former hot houses at the park, the day was buzzing with excitement
Sir Tim Smit officially opened the reserve saying: “This is a landmark opportunity to promote the advances in the care and promotion of the endangered native black bees. The work done here can be used as a template that we hope to use as we roll out the programme at future sites. It is imperative that we work together to preserve the local bee populations and their unique genetics across Europe”.
Andrew Brown, based at Metherell, is secretary of the B4 group of beekeepers behind the project. He explained that the reserve at Mount Edgcumbe, funded by a £10,000 grant from Tesco, includes an enclosed viewing area to help educate the public about the bee. “We will not only be protecting a remnant population of the native Apis mellifera mellifera (Black honey bee) but raising public awareness of the general plight of the bee population.”
Martin Hawkins, manager of the Tesco Callington store that also supplies local beekeepers with waste sugar, said: “We are very pleased to have been able to sponsor such a worthwhile project that helps safeguard the future of these vital, endangered bees.”

 

Just a quick update of my notes on the two colonies at the Zoo –

Saturday11th May 2013 at 08:00hrs

Bees transported from Cornwall in two Nucs (1) & (2) and placed on the Hive stand on the Giant Tortoise Lawn.  (As you face looking at the front of the Hives) Nuc (1) is on the left, nearest Baboon Rock, and Nuc (2) is on the right nearest the keepers entrance to the lawn.  National Hives were numbered accordingly.  Photo shoot with Zoo press officer.

Bees were not placed in the National Hives due to concern over the size of the colonies being placed into the ‘Deep Brood’ National Brood Boxes.

Saturday 11th May 2013 at 10:00hrs

National Bee Supplies contacted 2 replacement Standard Brood Boxes ordered.

Monday 13th May 2013 at 12:00hrs

New Brood Boxes collected.

Wednesday 15th May 2013 at 16:00hrs

Standard brood boxes placed on site.  Quick visual observation made of both Nucs:-  Both Colonies very active bees flying out and flying back in. Lots of pollen going in.  No sign of Nosema  on Nucs, no dead or crawling bees seen on the ground. Both Nucs given 2 pints of feed.

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Wednesday 22nd May 2013 at 14:00hrs

Bees transferred from Nucs to Hives.  Photo shoot with Zoo press officer.  At the time of the shoot I was approached by a Zoo keeper who claimed to have been stung a couple of days ago.  He reported that he had sat on the grass a few feet away from the entrance of Hive / Nuc (1) observing the bees flying in and out of the entrance when after a time a bee flew into his hair and got caught, when he released the bee the bee flew and stung him on the shoulder.

Nuc 1 / Hive (1)

Bees very calm.  Queen not seen.  6 frames of brood at all stages  eggs, uncapped and capped brood.  one old queen cup  on 3rd Nuc frame.  All frames covered with young nurse bees.  Plenty of stored pollen and good stores at top of the frames.  Frame feed given 2 pints.  No sign of pests or disease.

Nuc 2 / Hive (2)

Bees very clam.  Queen not seen.  5 frames of brood at all stages eggs, uncapped and capped brood. All frames covered with young nurse bees. Plenty of stored pollen and good stores at top of the frames more stores than Nuc (1). Frame feed given 2 pints.  Colony size about equal to Hive (1).  No sign of pests or disease.

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Thursday 30th May 2013 at 16.30hrs

Hive (1)

Bees very calm. Queen not seen. 6 frames of brood at all stages eggs, uncapped and capped brood fuller than last inspection.  All frames covered with young nurse bees. Plenty of stored pollen and good stores at top of the frames.   No feed given.  2 x Bees seen with deformed wing virus.  Bees checked with magnifying glass to check for phoretic varroa mites – negative.  Sample of Drone brood to be uncapped in a couple of days.   2 x bees seen with K wing.  Tray drop inspected no mites seen.

Hive (2)

Bees very calm. Queen seen and marked yellow (Queen brown does not look black).  7 frames of brood at all stages eggs, uncapped and capped brood.   All frames covered with young nurse bees. Plenty of stored pollen and good stores at top of the frames. No feed given. 2 x Bees seen with deformed wing virus. Bees checked with magnifying glass to check for phoretic varroa mites – negative. Sample of Drone brood to be uncapped in a couple of days.   1 x bee seen with K wing. Tray drop inspected no mites seen.

Both colonies appear to be of equal size and developing quite well but will probably need varroa treatment.  I plan to visit the Zoo in a couple of days to find and mark the Queen in Hive (1) and plan to have Adam Vevers and the Bee Vet Emily Simcock attend to inspect both colonies during the latter part of next week.

Regards,

Gerry STUART

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