from the April newsletter:
Now that the clocks have gone forward, and the oil seed rape is growing rapidly in the fields, we’ll be able to have a good look inside our hives. This is also a time when colony illness can come to light. The combination of rapidly expanding brood and the natural losses of the winter bees can put a colony under stress such that diseases become apparent. Every beekeeper should learn the signs of the foul brood diseases, as you are legally obliged to notify the NBU. If you see unnatural looking larvae, pepper pot brood or scales in cells, then call our friendly Seasonal Bee Inspector Michael Cooper immediately.
There are also a number of adult bee diseases that are worth checking for in spring – in particular Nosema and Acarine. These can cause Spring Dwindling – where a colony fails to expand at the rate of other colonies in the same area. Fortunately Nosema and Acarine are relatively easy to diagnose with the aid of a microscope, and there are some easy treatments that can help the colony overcome the problems.
Adrian Davis recently passed his beekeeping microscopy certificate, and is keen to get more experience in
assessing disease in colonies. Adrian is happy to analyse samples of your bees for Nosema, Acarine and other conditions, if you can get the bees to him (e.g. at an apiary meeting). There is a protocol to be followed to sample your bees, so if you want a free analysis of your bees, get in contact with Adrian using the webadmin option on our contact page.