Become a citizen scientist and learn how to identify this invasive species that is a threat to UK honeybees Read more
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Take a picture and email it with details of where you saw it and your contact details and email it to [email protected]
Or simply use the Asian Hornet Watch app on your phone to send a picture and a location via GPS in the app straight to the non-native species secretariat and National Bee Unit.
For more information visit the Non Native Species Secretariat website.
If it is safe to do so, you can send in a sample to the National Bee Unit for examination to confirm identity. However, do not under any circumstances disturb or provoke an active hornets’ nest.
John Canning - elected January 2019 ADM for a 3 year term
I am a recently retired GP and have been keeping bees for 6 years. For over 30 years I have been involved in organisations, at both local and national levels, which are representative and democratic. I have been particularly keen to ensure safe and accountable structures are in place to enable the organisation to concentrate on its primary objectives.
I am passionate about beekeeping, and the need for clear national representation to ensure that the BBKA provides a strong voice for honeybees and beekeepers. My experience of changing representative organisations will be helpful the to the Trustees. I am also committed to ensuring that central organisations help local ones to flourish.
In the height of Summer there is an average of 35 / 40,000 bees in the hive. Over the Winter this falls to around 5,000.
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Every year in the second week of September we hold an 'Asian Hornet Week' to raise awareness of this invasive species, this is the time of year when Asian hornets start hawking honeybees at hive entrances. The early autumn is the last chance we will have to prevent the emergence of new Asian hornet queens.
A further reminder that if we are to have any chance of stopping Asian Hornets from becoming established in the UK all Beekeepers, AHATs and local BKAs need to be prepared and spend periods of time being on the look out for Asian Hornets at apiaries throughout this autumn. Guidance found here.
Please find the ASIAN HORNET IDENTIFICATION PDF HERE
Shop for honey and you'll see that some are lighter, others are darker. In general, the darker the honey, the better its antibacterial and antioxidant power. Honey was known to the Greeks as the "food of the Gods."
Honey was used in WWI to treat soldiers wounds. It is still used in wound dressings today - medical grade honey is found to work against bacteria and fungi by creating a moist healing environment that is antibacterial in nature.
You may be wondering how Jersey beekeepers have worked out the distance they are from an Asian Hornet's nest by timing how long it takes a hornet to fly from bait to nest and back? Well it all goes back to elementary mathematics.....
Speed is a measure of how quickly an object moves from one place to another. It is equal to the distance traveled divided by the time. It is possible to find any of these three values using the other two.
So you know the time it takes to go back and forth from the bait and you have a guesstimate of the time at the nest which is considered a constant. Divide the result by 2. Then use an estimate of the speed of flight of the Asian Hornet and you can work out the distance to the nest. So distance = speed x time
At the moment, the estimate of speed of flight of the Asian Hornet being used is 100 metres per minute or 1.7 meters per second.
This is what works best to get them closest to the nest they are hunting. The other thing they do is that they take readings at two other bait stations and combine them to triangulate their readings.
At the end of August, Jersey Beekeepers carried out another test of speed of flight. Using 3 bait stations with line of sight to a known nest and at a known distance. The length of absence from the bait of marked individual hornets was recorded at each site and, using a hoist with beekeepers suspended above the nest, the time at the nest also.
This produced a calculation of the flight speed at approximately 3.5 metres per second.
Bob Hogge, who you can see below being attacked by hornets from that nest, said:
"Interestingly, the time individuals spent on the nest seemed to be constant at approximately 50 seconds, but this is anomalous with observations from other nests so needs more work as do all the other metrics."
It's been noticed that hornets do not necessarily use exactly the same path to and from a bait station. In her blog about Hunting Asian Hornets on Jersey, Torbay beekeeper Judith Norman, noted the following habits of the Asian Hornet (you can read the full blog here) :
"In an open area, they may well fly along a hedge line; in town they may follow open streets! Some may fly straight through a line of trees but others may go all the way around the line of trees. It is easy to see one fly if it has open sky as a background, but, as soon as it passes in front of a tree, for instance, it is no longer visible.
"Having several people with radios cuts down enormously on the time and leg work. If the person at the bait station gives a shout as the insect takes off, the others further down may just manage to get a glimpse of it as it rounds a corner and one can then decide where to place the next bait station in the bid to get closer to the nest."
In France the Association Action Anti Frelon Asiatique ( Association Action against Asian Hornets) has identified several ways to tell a male from a female AH.
There is a difference in size - 2.3 cm for the males on the left and also they are pointing out the two yellow dots on the underneath side of the abdomen which males have and females do not.
Female antenna are straight but males are curved. 10 rings on the antenna of a female, 11 rings if it is a male.
Females have a sting, males do not.
Jersey beekeepers who have dissected many of the 40 or so nests they have found say the only way of telling a Queen from a worker is by the width of the thorax.
Why Do Bees Make Honey?
Honey bees are special in that they overwinter as a colony, unlike wasps and bumblebees (see Biology). The colony does not hibernate but stays active and clusters together to stay warm. This requires a lot of food, which is stored during the summer. Although a hive only needs 20-30 lb of honey to survive an average winter, the bees are capable of collecting much more, if given storage space. This is what the beekeeper wants them to do.
Bees have been producing honey in the same way for over one hundred and fifty million years
How Much Honey Can One Beehive Produce?
One hive can produce 60 lb (27 kg) or more in a good season, however an average hive would be around 25 lb (11 kg) surplus.
Bees fly about 55,000 miles to make just one pound of honey, that’s 2.2 times around the world. Romans used honey instead of gold to pay their taxes.
How Does The Beekeeper Get The Honey From The Bees?
The queen bee is kept below the upper boxes (called ‘supers’) in the hive by a wire or plastic grid (called a ‘queen excluder’), which the queen is too large to fit through. As the bees cannot raise brood above the queen excluder, only honey is stored in the supers. As the season progresses the beekeeper adds more supers until the time to harvest the honey.
A special one-way valve is then fitted in place of the queen excluder and gradually all the bees are forced into the lowest part of the hive. The beekeeper can then simply lift off the ‘super’ boxes containing the honey comb. The honey is extracted from the comb using centrifugal force in a machine called a spinner, which looks like an old-fashioned upright spin dryer.
Do The Bees Miss The Honey That Is Taken?
No. A strong colony can produce 2-3 times more honey than it needs. If necessary the beekeeper can feed sugar syrup in the autumn to supplement for the loss of honey.
Why Are Some Types Of Honey Clear And Runny And Other Types Opaque And Hard?
The type of honey made by the bees is dependent on the types of foliage and flowers available to the bees. Crops such as oil seed rape (the bright yellow fields in the spring) produce large quantities of honey that sets very hard, so hard that the bees cannot use it in the winter; garden flowers tend to give a clear liquid honey. If the beekeeper wants to produce a monofloral honey, e.g. pure clover, orange blossom, etc, the beehive is put out of range from other floral sources. This can be difficult for the hobby beekeeper, who normally produces a blend of the season’s honey. In the autumn, some beekeepers move their hives onto the moors to harvest the nectar from wild heather. Heather honey is thought to be the king of honeys and has a clear jelly consistency.
How Do Bees Make Honey?
Bees take nectar, which is a sweet sticky substance exuded by most flowers and some insects (honeydew), and mix it with enzymes from glands in their mouths. This nectar/enzyme mix is stored in hexagonal wax honey comb until the water content has been reduced to around 17%. When this level is reached, the cell is capped over with a thin layer of wax to seal it until the bees need it. This capping indicates to the beekeeper that the honey can be harvested. Capped honey can keep almost indefinitely. For the school swot: Sucrose (nectar) + inverters (bee enzyme) = fructose + glucose = honey. Perfectly edible honey comb was found in the tombs of the Pharaohs, over three thousand years old. How’s that for ‘Best Before Dates’.
Does Honey Contain Additives?
Unfortunately there is a lot of mass-produced adulterated honey around at the moment. The most prevalent problems include:
If you buy your honey direct from a local producer in the UK, these problems shouldn't exist. It should have it's source clearly labelled and be in its 'raw' form i.e nothing added to it, simply filtered to remove the comb and wax after spinning. You can find your local branch to buy honey from here.
Melissopalynology is the study of pollen in honey. It originates from the Greek, Melisso for honey and Palynology for study of small particles. Palynology is a very established science, allowing the vegetative landscape over millions of years to be analysed through the pollen extracted from soil samples. However, it is not just limited to analysis of historical landscapes, it is equally applied to our modern-day environment, for example in solving criminal cases or predicting hay fever levels (Leitch and Salvage, BBKA News 2018).