Easter Ross

BEEKEEPERS' ASSOCIATION

Our Current Situation

This photo of a queen bumblebee was taken at 5pm on Friday 20/3 – I don’t expect to win any prizes for it but it is a reminder that spring is on its way.

As you have probably guessed; we will have to forgo our Saturday meetings which were due to begin on Saturday 11th April and we were planning a working party to tidy up the apiary on the previous Saturday.

Alex assisted by the committee will be keeping the apiary running on a care and maintenance basis for the time being.

We are looking forward to doing some queen breeding and it should not be beyond our ingenuity to do this and still observe the government health guidelines. I think as time goes by many of us will devise ways of doing things without placing ourselves at risk.

David tells me that Martial Law in the Middle East during the 1970s where similar restrictions applied was defined as: one is company, two is a crowd and three is a riot.

And finally a sage note from by Philip: we wish everyone well during our current difficulties and rest assured that if we do right by the bees and look after them well their honey will certainly be even more important in helping keep us all well through the days to come.  

About Us

Welcome to Easter Ross Beekeepers Association, a web site for Apriairists - Bees Need BeeKeepers! The apiary hosts meetings throughout the summer (every 2nd Saturday of the month). We always look forward to learning more under the careful tutelage of our great and knowledgeable Apriairist! We are passionate about our bees! The diary of our activities are reported in the posts to our Facebook pages.

Bees

The Apiary is near Tain on the west side of the bypass and is 500 yards along the Scotsburn Road on the left hand side at the Scottish Water Rosehill Reservoir. Its locality is unmarked. The Association does not accept any responsibility or liability for any loss, damage or injury to members or visitors arising from their presence at the Apiary.

Members and visitors are responsible for their own safety and they should ensure that they are suitably attired. 

Maintenance

The apiary continues to be managed by Alex MacLaren. The Association's summer meetings, every second Saturday, are held there to enable members to contribute to the upkeep of the apiary and for beginners to gain hands-on experience from senior beekeepers. Donations of bee equipment are always welcome.

Meets

The Association's summer meetings, every second Saturday, are held there to enable members to contribute to the upkeep of the apiary and for beginners to gain hands-on experience from senior beekeepers. Members may also tend their own hives there with the permission of the Secretary

VARROA

Varroa destructor is an external parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on the honey bees Apis cerana and Apis mellifera. The disease caused by the mites is called varroosis. The Varroa mite can only reproduce in a honey bee colony. It attaches to the body of the bee and weakens the bee by sucking fat bodies. Find out introduction information in this section, or visit the Varroa page for more information on treating Varroa, and check out the research on the Invasive Species Compendium Varroa page.

The mite (or mites) invades the open brood cell shortly before capping and lays its own eggs. It prefers drone brood (see later). The hatched mite will then attach itself and tap into the grub when it hatches. When the young bee emerges it will have its parasite passenger feeding on it. This attachment is a source for many diseases/viruses which are responsible for the collapse of the hive if varroa remains untreated.

Varroa mites double in quantity every four weeks and once your hive hosts more than 1000 mites you will loose your colony. A close look for the visible presence of mites attached to the bees AND for the visible signs of shrunken and deformed wings disease (DWV) will show the problem. Once the infestation gets a hold healthy bees will jump ship and the colony will fail.

See the Varroa calculator on BeeBase and monitor the mite drop over several weeks in the spring / summer using an open mesh floor and sticky paper board. Further advice can be obtained from SASA and hive samples for testing can be sent to:  S.A.S.A. 1 Rodinglaw Road, Edinburgh, EH12 9FJ tel:0131 244 8890 www.sasa.gov.uk (packages marked "Bee diseases"). Note the service is free.
For guidance to treat varroa we recommend Moray Bee Dinosaurs.

Swarms

The Association offers a service to the public to collect swarms of honey bees from the local area particularly during the months of June and July. 

Swarm Removal

Any member of the public who is troubled by a swarm should contact a member of the committee who may be able to make arrangements to remove the swarm safely. Because of the risks, skills and equipment required we will make a charge of £20 per hour plus the cost of any consumables. This is considerably less than the charges from pest control firms and also ensures the survival of the colony of bees. The charges are negotiable and will take into consideration ability to pay.

Hive Relocation

The Association is also pleased to manage or relocate abandoned feral hives and is particularly interested in the native Scottish black bees. Please note that the Association will not accept any liability for loss, damage or injury which might arise from the handling and management of any third party bees by any member of this Association. 

Should you have a swarm that needs dealing with, please in the first instance contact Colin Ridley.

European Foulbrood

European FoulBrood (abbreviated EFB) is a bacterial disease that effects honey bee larvae before the capped stage. 

The causative bacteria, Melissococcus plutonius is ingested by honey bee larvae after which the bacterium competes for food inside the larvae. For more information, check out the Bee Base page concerning EFB.  Should you detect an EFB outbreak in your hives you should notify the SBA Northern Representative and Senior Agricultural Officer, Highland Area Office, Longman House, 28 Longman Road, Inverness IV1 1SF (Tel: 01463 234141). This ensures that the latest scientific and statistical information is held nationally.

Tips and Tricks

Here's some great tips concerning bee-keeping:

  • Know what you are looking for before you open your hive;
  • Never put your hive tool down ;
  • Breed your own queens and benefit from our rich gene pool;
  • Avoid 'stressing' your bees ;
  • No passengers - cut your losses in autumn and don't wait until the spring;
  • Think 'Hygiene' - disinfect overwintering supers, keep the apiary clear of scrapings and old comb, burn old frames;
  • Viruses encouraged by heavy varroa mite infestation will destroy weak colonies;
  • Treat hives routinely and diligently in spring and autumn with Apistan strips (or your favoured alternative) ;
  • Check drone brood in spring for varroa mites;
  • Ensure hives are clean and old damaged frames and comb are replaced and ventilation is assured;
  • Ensure adequate stores are left in the hive for the winter and if necessary feed during August and September;
  • The spray liaison officer to whom all queries should be addressed regarding proposed spraying or spray damage to bee colonies is Colin Ridley.

Remember to check with the bee keeper members for more great tips!

Equipment Ordering

Locally, you can always contact Highland Bee Supplies, or Fairfield Apiaries. Catalogues and price lists can be obtained from Thornes of Scotland or from Beekeeper clothing at very reasonable prices.  

Second Hand Equipment

Donations of bee equipment are always welcome and we recycle and sell old foundation. New members are always asking for second hand equipment so if you have some spare which you want to get rid of please let us know!

Selling Honey Regulations

Members who sell their own honey must consult and practise the regulations in Honey Regulations of 2003 and 2015. Please refer to the details published on the National Bee Unit.

Selling Honey Guidance

Guidance is also available on the Scottish Beekeepers' Association. Failure to observe them may open you to prosecution or legal action from a consumer or from the Council Trading Standards officers. The guidance covers the Food Safety Regulations, rules of hygiene, labelling, composition, weights and measures, hazards analysis etc. This is available at the British Beekeepers' Association's web site.

Association Officers

Chairman: David Murison
Secretary and Treasurer: Colin Ridley
Apiary Manager: Alex Maclaren
Scientific Officer and Facebook editor: Heather Maclaren 
Web Manager: Geoff Evelyn
Committee: John McGavin, Martin MacDonald, Philip Hall, Margaret Ramage
Contact Us for more information

Dingwall and District Beekeepers Association

A small group of amateur beekeepers based in the Dingwall area but serving the Black Isle northwards to Evanton/Alness in the east and westwards to the West Coast of Ross-shire where we have members.

Edderton Old Kirk

Edderton Old Parish Church in Easter Ross lies about a mile east of the village of Edderton on the north side of the A836 and not far from the southern shore of the Dornoch Firth.

TAIN

Tain stands, as it has stood through the centuries, between the heather and the sea, in the far north-east of Scotland. As the oldest Royal Burgh in Scotland it is proud of its possession of over 950 years of history offering a haven of rest in a world of frenetic activity.

About Easter Ross Bees

Welcome to Easter Ross Beekeepers Association, a web site for Aprirists - Bees Need BeeKeepers! The apiary hosts meetings throughout the summer (every second Saturday of the month). We always look forward to learning more under the careful tutelage of our great and knowledgeable Aprirists!

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