The Scillonian Honey Bee Project
The Scillonian Honey Bee Project is the brainchild of Nick Bentham-Green. Nick is the Chair of B4 (Bring Back Black Bees) and a former Chair of BIBBA (Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders’ Association).
The Project will run for between 5 and 10 years and will explore how beekeeping on the Isles of Scilly can become more sustainable as the honey bees that are already on the Isles become increasingly adapted to their environment.
But the Project is much more than just about beekeeping. It will look at the available forage for all types of bee: honey, bumble and solitary. The first year is all about getting a baseline – flora and fauna, what is there, does it need to be ‘improved’ and how do we go about it? Part of the baselining is DNA-testing as many colonies of honey bees on the Isles as possible. Sampling has already started: Nick went out to the islands to show some of the beekeepers, and in particular Jilly Halliday (the Project ‘Lead’ on the islands), how to conduct the sampling. Drone pupae were sampled to establish the lineage of each colony visited, and a sample of workers was taken to test for diseases and pathogens endemic in the honey bee population on the Isles. Currently it is thought that the colonies on Scilly are varroa- and foulbrood-free. We hope the results will confirm this to be the case.
Nosema ceranae, Fipronil and their combination compromise honey bee reproduction via changes in male physiology.
This article discusses the effects of Nosema cerannae on the life traits of mature drones, following exposure under semi-field conditions. The results show that the parasite/insecticide combination drastically affect both physiology and survival.
This book includes several methods of colony increase that can be used individually or in one complete method as described. All elements, although they may not be part of mainstream teaching, have been consistently successful for the author for well over 40 years, using standard equipment.
The "Roger Patterson Method", if used as described, can produce a tenfold increase in the number of colonies per year in favourable conditions. This is an excellent method for sustainably producing bees to supply new beekeepers and for providing an income stream for commercial beekeepers.
Several queens can also be mated in the nucs during the summer, so adding value. Producing bees and queens locally avoids the use of imports that are a concern to many beekeepers, owing to disease risks and genetic disruption of the local bee population.
The author, Roger Patterson, is a well-respected practical beekeeper. He has condensed over 50 years of beekeeping and colony increase experience into this small book for others to copy and/or adapt.