Mite proves absent from Alderney’s beehive stock
Saturday 17th August 2013, 9:58AM BST.
BEEHIVES in Alderney have been given the all-clear after being inspected for a mite that can clause colonies to collapse.
Members of the Guernsey Beekeepers’ Association inspected 26 hives and also swapped ideas with their counterparts.
The mite – which weakens bees’ immune systems – is present in Guernsey; it was thought to have been introduced when bumblebees were imported to the island for the pollination of crops.
Ruth Collins, who has kept bees for 40 years and works as a bee inspector for the States of Guernsey, said they had been very impressed with Alderney’s hives.
‘The hives were clean and kept far apart from each other, and the bees were active which was all good to see. Full marks are due to Alderney’s beekeepers.
‘It is important that people here keep only indigenous bees so that hives on the island continue to stay so healthy.’
The group was also pleased that a colony of bees in a hive that had been stolen from resident Jo Bougton-Leigh, and then found, was thriving and the queen bee – the only bee that can lay eggs – was doing well.
They marked the queen so she could be easily identified in future.
Melissa Roper, visiting Alderney for the first time, said it was her second season as a beekeeper. ‘I find bees fascinating,’ she said. ‘It’s a very effective way of de-stressing and there is always something new to learn.’
Honey from the Alderney bees will be produced slightly later this year because of the lingering cold start to the year.