Asian Hornet Myths

Look Out!

When you next go out to check your bees you may find:

  • Flying insects as big as mice
  • Your bees have all been decapitated and eaten by Asian Hornets
  • You are at risk of being killed by a single sting from an Asian Hornet.

And you thought we had enough problems with the current lock down. Fortunately the threats suggested above are not real because they are Asian Hornet Myths. They are what we see in the papers. Fake news is not restricted to 5G masts and politics.

A new page I have added today is an attempt to start to set the record straight by debunking Asian Hornet myths that are floating about out there.

A lot of the myths are spread on social media. If you are a user of any of these can I ask that you search for Asian Hornet on your favourite social media sites and if you see the Giant Asian Hornet (Vespa mandarinia) labelled as Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina) then ask for it to be removed as being false and add your own comment to say what it really is.

We need the help of the public to keep on top of the Asian Hornet but they will not be able to do that if they are looking for the Giant Asian Hornet.

Beekeeping kit for sale.

April 13th 2020

With the current “lockdown” here in the UK there is time to take stock.  Perhaps now is the time to consider secondhand beekeeping kit.

Do you have secondhand beekeeping kit for sale? or is there secondhand beekeeping kit you wish to purchase? Is there kit you could be cleaning?

Why not check your stores and see if you have any beekeeping kit for sale. Perhaps you have a spare super you no longer need but could be repaired. Such a piece of kit may be ideal for a beginner. I know that in my shed I have several plastic queen excluders and a spare smoker – none of which will ever be used again by me but are perfectly suitable for a beginner.

What should I not sell?

Well I would like to say you can sell anything that is bee related. That is not the case. When it comes to beekeeping kit for sale there are things you do not sell – and if you find someone selling such kit then walk away.

The things I am talking about are anything that has been in close contact with the bees and could be carrying diseases which cannot be removed. For example – used frames.  It is possible to sterilise frames but is is worth the risk of even handling them? Imagine you collect some used frames and bring them home. Did you observe strict biosecurity en route? Did you put  the frames in the boot of the car. Next week when you go to the apiary I exepct  you will put you beesuit into the same car – you get my drift.

Thus do not buy used frames or used wax foundation. It is not worth the risk.

What could I buy?

If it has not been too close to the bees or if it can be sterilised then you can buy it safely – but…

Buying a hive

If you buy a hive then first make certain it is the design you want. I have heard of several cases of hives sold as “Nationals” which are not. They look like a National at first glance but careful measurement shows they are not. For a list of all the common hive sizes have a look here and for frames sizes look here. If in doubt take along an empty super frame and an empty brood frame – do they fit?

Having decided that it is what you want then my advice is to bag it up in bin bags or rubble bags before transporting it. Hopefully you are not taking it to your apiary but to a place where you can clean it with a minimum risk of contamination.

Hive tools

Make certain that hive tools are scraped clean. If necessary they can then be placed in a hot solution of washing soda. Take care – washing soda can be nasty stuff and I always use eye protection and gloves.

Buying a smoker

This has not been in close contact with the bees but still care must be taken. Clean of the outside and then have a go at the inside – scrape the soot of the inside of the spout.

Plastic Components

These can be scraped clean and then sterilised in a suitable solution as described on the Apiary Hygiene page.

Bee Suits

These can be a serious source of contamination. If the hood can be removed then they are bound for the washing machine. If the hood cannot be removed then best wash them by hand. I have heard of people who place the hood into a pillowcase and wash the whole bee suit  in the machine.

So what now?

On this site we have pages for Equipment Wanted and Equipment for Sale. With the lockdown as it is this is not the best time to be driving around to buy equipment – even if you do  consider it essential.

However this is a good time to be preparing you surplus equipment for sale and also a time to check your stocks and see what equipment you might require later in the year. It is also a good time to be cleaning equipment so look here.

Swarm Collection

11th April 2020
All eyes on Covid 19 and then we have to look out for the Asian Hornet but all the time the seasons are moving on.

We are now moving into the swarming season when for one reason or another bees decide to seek pastures new. As a result I have now put back the page on swarm collection as well as adding it to the menu across the top of the page. If you suspect you have a swarm of honey bees then look here.

If you are a beekeeper then there are a variety of techniques you can use to try and persuade bees that they do not need to swarm I will be adding a suitable page in the near future.

However I should point out that whatever you may do if the bees are determined to swarm then swarm they will regardless of what you may do.

Asian Hornet in the Press

10th April 2020
The Daily Telegraph has published an article on the threat of the Asian Hornet.
Also the Daily Mail has published an article on the threat.

There is also a story in the Sun – and I use the word “story” with care. The image is Asian giant hornet (Vespa mandarinia) and can be 20mm in length with a wing span of up to 75mm and a sting 10mm long.

On a more positive note we assume that the Asian Hornets that we found in the UK last year had grabbed a lift with vehicles coming over from French Channel ports. Under the present lock down there is a lot less traffic and thus a lot fewer opportunities for a lift.

I have also added another page of information to the site. This time on the frames that we use in the hive. When I first bought a hive I had no idea whether I needed SN4 or DN5 frames and that is why I wrote this page.