Bee Health Worshop on the 26th of November 2016 by Eleanor Attridge
November 26, 2016
On Saturday November 26th members of OBKA and Lake County beekeepers attended a bee health workshop in Tullamore under the auspices of FIBKA and under the direction of Eleanor Attridge, Bee Health Officer, FIBKA. A fascinating day began at 9.30 with Eleanor introducing us to the wonders of microscopy. We each brought samples of bees from our own hives and we were guided through examining them for acarine under the microscope. This is not as easy as it sounds - but there was great cooperation between all participants and Eleanor taught and explained as we worked. We had individual attention when needed until we were all comfortable beheading the bee, taking off her collar and looking for signs of acarine. We then moved to a test for nosema whereby we crushed our bees and put some of this substance under a very strong microscope. Eleanor interpreted the slides for us and it was amazing to see the different types of pollen among our samples. This is a study in itself and one that sounds very interesting. We looked for nosema spores and again, Eleanor guided us though the maze of material on the slides until we could determine whether spores were present or not. After a quick break for lunch Eleanor brought us through the various ways of managing bee health and brought us up to the minute information on new medicines being trialled or introduced to the market. This was non directional and there was plenty of discussion on traditional and alternative ways of managing diseases in bees.
This was our first bee health workshop in Tullamore but hopefully not our last! Participants really became aware of the importance of testing for diseases in our bees, recognising that it is something that happens to the best of beekeepers and realizing the importance of early intervention when something does not look right in the hive. We all, as responsible beekeepers, need to send our bees for testing each year to ensure healthy bees and happy beekeepers. In the meantime, as Eleanor explained, we can do a lot to help ourselves understand what is going on in our hives with equipment in our own kitchens. A small microscope would give an indication of health or otherwise and there is help from FIBKA and Dr Mary Coffey for more complicated results.
OBKA would like to thank Eleanor for her hard work in setting up the workshop, her engaging presentation and her generosity in sharing her knowledge and experience with us. We also acknowledge FIBKA for providing the course free of charge to all participants.
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