I write to tell you of our 'get-together' as detailed in the letter I
sent you last month. Sixteen members attended, including one from the
Isle of Man and two from N. Ireland. I received a few apologies for
those that could not make the meeting. Having contacted several by
e-mail I suspect they did net get it as my system has been playing up.
My apologies if you missed the meeting. I am now using the post office
to ensure this letter reaches all on my list.
As you recall, it was proposed that a £5 annual fee be paid by each
member to build up a fund so that one year we can have enough spending
money to bring in a 'Superior Practitioner'. Some of you have paid £5
for 2002, some have even paid for 2003, so the funds are beginning to
build, over £100 now, but I would like to hear from those that have
still to pay. I will do a balance sheet at the end of the year. This
will only go to those that have 'committed'.
To those that have paid and were unable to attend on Saturday I
enclose your receipt. To those who wish to send a cheque please make
it payable to the 'Instrumental Insemination Group'. If I do not hear
from you may I assume you have lost interest and do not wish to hear
from Dave Cushman or me again in the future?
At the meeting it was agreed that Dave Cushman would write an HTML
newsletter for the group. It will be published by Email and archived
for anyone to read. Those of you on our books that do not have access
to the Internet will receive a printed copy of the newsletter by
Albert Knight of BIBBA talking about his groups work in stock selection
for queen rearing started our meeting. I hope that when Dave puts his
newsletter together it will tell you much more (2nd issue... Ed)
just had to share it with you now. Albert's group are working together
with Rev. John Dews who has been spending a huge amount of his time
and effort in the study of his hives 'Daily Varroa Mite Drop' for
chewing-damage by the bees and logging the results. Many, many
thousands of mites have been studied and the results separately
recorded. He has discovered and noted that there is several types
of chewing-damage caused to the mite and by placing a water trap on
one half the floor was able to prove the damage was not by earwigs or
such. He also does not normally treat against Varroa as he feels that
from the results of his statistics he is sure that workers are
learning the technique by 'watching' their siblings, as there is a
daily increase in mite damage before it is bought under control by
the bees. If there is a break due to treatment, the learning process
must start again by a completely new generation of workers and no one
to pass on the know-how. The most successful 'nibbler' colonies were
bred from by Albert's group, both drones and workers, and these were
inseminated last weekend by Redmond Williams who came over from
Ireland to do it. The successful queens are now back with Rev. Dews.
He will be studying these colonies to see if they have successfully
inherited the mite nibbling skills. This will prove if it is a
learning or inherent process. I will not be alone in waiting to hear
the results of this dedicated study.
One of my main reasons for taking up I.I. was to help in stopping the
demise of the honeybee due to the mite. It is estimated that 24
billion honeybees has dropped to less than 10 billion in ten short
years due to the effects of Varroa on feral colonies, and beekeepers
cutting back or giving up. I think that loss has now bottomed out, but
the rebuilding will take many, many years. If, by selective breeding
and I.I. we together can help that increase happen then don't give up!
Stay with us and learn with us.
It was nice to hear of another success story when Richard Jackman
turned up with a nice new set-up, including CCTV and Monitor, financed
by a grant from the Millennium Fund. Incidentally, BBKA have also
recently been awarded a nice grant toward their new training and
teaching apiary to be built adjacent to BBKA headquarters. Perhaps we
might encourage the apiary manager to raise some queens there for us
to use next year?
All those attending agreed the July meeting was better because it gave
stimulus to go away and practice some of the things learnt. A
September meeting did not; so the date for next year will be either
June or July. A poll will be taken of those on line to assess the
preferred date of which you will all be notified via Dave's newsletter
, so look out for it. Hopefully it will also contain information about
all things I.I. including how to locate the equipment and accessories
if you don't already know. If you do know, or have other news of
advice then pass it to Dave by e-mail (see page bottom) or by post to
David Cushman, Hatfield Terrace, 50 St Peters Street, Syston,
Leicester, LE7 1HJ or 0116 260 2527.
The morning passed all too quickly and after sandwiches and coffee we
had the benefit of Michael Collier conducting insemination. Michael
trained in the USA with Susan Cobey and spent some time working on a
large queen breeding station.
See you at the next meeting? and... Don't forget the queens and drones.
(I received a reprimand from one of you for saying that in my last
letter. It was said that the organisers should provide the specimens.
I did not look upon them as specimens, but as your own (to be
inseminated) queens that you may take back home for study after you
had done the inseminating under tuition -hopefully).
Please send any corrected address, etc., and e-mail address to Ron.
Written by Ron Hoskins, with slight amendments by
Written by Ron... 8th July 2002,
Posted here... 15 July 2002,