brood SW Regional Bee Inspector Simon Jones is warning beekeepers against using old comb in bait hives and has asked us to highlight the disease risks associated with using combs from an unknown source.
He said it had been brought to his attention that someone in the Exeter area is selling old brood combs to bait swarm traps on ebay.
As we say on our website: “There is little doubt that there is a need to focus on apiary hygiene in Somerset. Many diseases can be spread by beekeepers’ actions, but perhaps the most important are those that are not readily visible. EFB often exists in a sub-clinical state and Somerset has a persistent problem with EFB… Nosema is another endemic problem linked to colony losses with the prevalence of Nosema apis and N. ceranae both around 40 per cent of apiaries in the South West. Without an approved treatment, the only management option for Nosema is good hygiene practices.’
Why would a beekeeper want to spent £15 on an old, dark brood comb from an unknown source when it could pose a health risk?
As seasonal bee inspector Eleanor Burgess said in her webinar about swarming recently, bait hives can be set up with attractants including lemon grass oil, a large lump of propolis and swarm lures are available commercially.
The video was taken by our chairman Stewart Gould and shows the delightful sight of a swarm moving into a new home.