The weather was kind, and cleared up allowing our meeting. It was well attended, and we were joined by Werner and Silke, on holiday from Germany, staying at St Margarets. Werner is a Bee Inspector in their home country, and was interested in seeing how we do things in the UK.
In Germany they do not have statutory disease inspections, and Werner visits beekeepers at their own request if they have problems or suspect disease. Two particular snippets were of interest, the first concerning Ragwort. Honey is tested for the presence of Ragwort, as there have been cases of poisoning by a chemical from this plant. If it is found in honey in concentrations exceeding 25mg per Kilo, the honey cannot be sold.
( Sorry, the name of this chemical was not translated!)
The other interesting item was that summer varroa treatment by Formic Acid is permitted with supers on the hive. This is in fact is the active ingredient in MAQS. In Germany however Formic Acid can be applied by pouring it onto a washing up sponge or similar and placing on the bars of the brood frames. This might be the answer to the “MAQS killed my Queens” problem. Measured doses could be applied to suit UK brood boxes. I can’t see FERA approving this approach however.
They also mentioned that Glyphosate has been found in honey. I hadn’t heard this myself, but on looking at Facebook when I got home, lo and behold, there was a 38Degrees petition on that very subject!
In the Apiary, Hive 2 has successfully been combined and requeened with the nuc we put on over newspaper last week, and Hive 5 seem to have abandoned the idea of supersedure.