Wokingham and District Beekeepers Association

Aims and Objectives
The Association exists to promote good beekeeping. One of our aims is to encourage new people into this fascinating craft and assist them by:

  • Providing contact with experienced beekeepers who can help newcomers
  • Running introductory courses at Association apiaries
  • Supporting and mentoring new members through their first year
  • Advising on the purchase of equipment and supplies
  • Providing a local association as a focal point for members
  • Educating members by holding weekly apiary meetings in the summer and monthly talks by experts in the winter.
    • Bee Disease Screening Workshop
      W&DBKA hosted a 'Bee disease screening workshop' to check for signs of Nosema and Acarine. Nigel & Garth volunteered their time to set up a lab and give an introduction into dissection & compound microsocopes. It was an informal event with demos and a hands-on approach.

      The dissection microscope, I used was a x10 eyepiece with a x3.5 objective which gave an over-all magnification of x35. Dissection of the bee and examination of the trachea can show mite infestation. Acarine mite, acrapis woodi is a debilitating mite which feeds on the haemolymth (bee blood) of its host. Infection by this mite can severely weaken a colony and affect its ability to overwinter.

      The compond microsocope, had a x10 eyepiece with a four position turret with x4, x10, x40 and x100(oil) objectives. I used the x40 which gives an over-all magnification of x400. With the compound microscope you need to prepare a slide. To do this I took my x30 bee abdomens added a drop of distilled water and ground them up using a pestle & mortar and then using a pipette put a sample onto a slide with a coverslip and then under the microscope.

      Nosema is a disease caused by spore forming fungus (microsporidia) and it is the spores which can be detected under a microscope, identified by their resemblance to 'rice grains'. Nosema, are a single celled parasitic spore which causes a gut infection with dysentery like symptoms.This disease disrupts the digestion of pollen and can severely shorten the life of the individual bee.

      For some diseases, such as nosema, it is best to collect older foragers. This is because older bees have higher spore counts, as this is an adult bee disease and nosema in the gut multiplies and increases during an infected bee’s life.

      Nigel & Garth put on an excellent event which I would highly recommend for any beekeepers wanting to know more about Acarine & Nosema testing.

      Native Queen Bees
      Over the last ten thousand years, the native sub-species evolved thick black hair and a larger body to help keep it warm in our cooler climate, and a shorter breeding season to reflect the UK’s summer. This makes it less susceptible to the vagaries of the British weather which some experts suspect is a reason for a reduction in honeybees.

      A three year research project funded by The Co-operative and carried out by BIBBA has discovered that the British bee is seemingly alive and well across the UK, including parts of Southern England, East Anglia, Lancashire and North Wales, as well as in Scotland and Northern Ireland. Areas where the native British black honeybee has been found.

      W&DBKA intention is to populate it's hives at DBARC with the native bee, read more about this at: The native bee of the UK and Ireland.


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Nosema 23-5-15

Nosema spores (microsporidia)