Honey Bee breeding

 Breeding Hygienic Queen Bees


Bees are our most important pollinator, there are over 20,000 species of bees and they pollinated over a third of our crops and in doing so use the pollen as their protein and the nectar as their carbohydrate source, they are something we just can’t afford to lose but this is happening. There are no wild bees left in England


There are four main things causing the losses, Pesticides, Lack of Flower Landscape, Monoculture , Disease and Parasites


The main cause for the loss of British Honey Bee colonies is a parasite called Varroa. This parasite is the equivalent of humans having a parasite living on us the size of our fist, and through it bees are getting various viruses the main one being Deformed Wing Virus..It is very hard to treat and eradicate an insect living on an insect without causing damage to the host, and Varroa is evolving a resistance to the drugs used, plus any chemicals used in treating bees can leave a residue in honey and wax.


Over the last eleven years Professor Ratneiks at the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at Sussex University has developed a strain of honey bee with hygienic behaviour that is a natural form of disease resistance. Hygienic worker bees uncap sealed cells and remove the diseased contents, hygienic behaviour whilst not eliminating the Varroa parasite does reduce the numbers very significantly by over 60%


An apiary has been set up at the Three Owls Reserve in Banks with LASI Bees. The Three owls reserve couldn’t be in a better position for Queen Breeding as being on the edge of the sea and the Ribble nature reserve this forms a 180 degree barrier against unwanted Drone bees ( the males), giving this reserve an excellent chance of pure mating.


No chemicals will be used on these bees to kill the Varroa mites, and it is hoped by breeding new queens from the best surviving stocks that bees once again will be able to care for their own colony health.


 Colin Bridgwood  May 2017


 


 


 


 


 


 

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