Beekeepers appeal for public awareness of honey bee disease     20 May 2016

The Airedale Beekeepers Association (ABKA) is once again asking local people to be aware of the importance of ‘honey hygiene’ after three new incidences of the highly infectious honey bee disease American Foulbrood (AFB) were reported this spring in the Micklethwaite area.

AFB is a bacterial disease which is spread by bees coming into contact with honey products, usually imported ones.  Although it doesn’t affect the quality of honey and presents absolutely no risk to human health, it kills bee larvae in large quantities and requires the immediate destruction of affected hives to prevent further spread.

Sue Chatfield, chair of the Airedale Beekeepers Association (ABKA), commented, “AFB is a devastating disease for honey bees and one which is so serious that the Government Bee Inspector will impose quarantine and require all affected colonies to be destroyed. This spring there have so far been three cases in Micklethwaite, hopefully swift action will prevent any further spread.”

The public can help by being aware of the potential for AFB to spread through bees coming into contact with commercial honey products.

Sue Chatfield adds, “Bees are highly attracted to the smell of honey – even indoors – and people can help by ensuring that they don’t leave any honey uncovered, particularly during warm weather.”


Interested in taking up beekeeping?                                    22 February 2016
For anyone interested in taking up the fascinating hobby of beekeeping, Airedale Beekeepers’ Association (ABKA) will run its annual spring training course for beginners, starting in March 2016 in Keighley. The course consists of six 2 hour lessons at East Riddlesden Hall plus practical hands-on experience at ABKA’s teaching apiary in the Aire Valley. [read more=”Read more…” less=”Read less”]Chair of ABKA, Sue Chatfield, will deliver the course. She says; “Beekeeping is a very rewarding hobby but we strongly recommend anyone interested in taking it up to undertake a course before getting started. Not only will this equip you with vital knowledge to make you a better beekeeper, but participants also benefit from the ongoing support and advice of ABKA members, which can be invaluable in gaining confidence in the safe handling of bees.”

The ABKA course covers everything needed to get started in beekeeping, from the natural history of honey bees through to colony management, honeybee health, swarm management and honey harvesting. It is followed up with practical experience, guided by ABKA’s experienced beekeepers.

Sue Chatfield says; “Our honeybees need all the support they can get so if you’ve ever been tempted to try beekeeping then now is the time to have a go. Anyone taking this course could be beekeeping by the summer and possibly even harvesting some of their own honey by September!”

The six week course (£90) starts on March 13, places are limited. A beekeeping ‘Taster’ (£25) course is also offered as an individual session to allow anyone to experience bees in the apiary first hand and is run at a time to suit the recipient. Gift vouchers are available. [/read]

Invest in the bees this Christmas                                                       15 December 2015
Airedale Beekeepers Association (ABKA) has launched two new beekeeping gift vouchers. Ideal Christmas presents, they offer either a six week Beginners Course in beekeeping or a one to one ‘Taster’ course. [read more=”Read more…” less=”Read less”] Sue Chatfield, chair of ABKA, says, “Our new vouchers are ideal gifts for any friend or loved one interested in the environment and taking up beekeeping. It’s a rewarding hobby, mainly because of the fascination of interacting with bees – although of course there’s the bonus of possibly harvesting honey at the end of the season!” The ABKA courses are run by experienced beekeepers and are held in the spring at Association apiaries in the Aire Valley. The six week course (£90) starts in March and is classroom-based, with subsequent hands-on teaching sessions included. The beekeeping ‘Taster’ (£25) is an individual session to experience bees in the apiary first hand and is run at a time to suit the recipient For more information or to purchase vouchers, please contact Sue Chatfield on t. 07976 626391 or email[/read]

Local beekeepers ask for community help to contain honey bee disease
5 May 2015
Beekeepers in the Aire Valley have asked local people to be aware of the importance of ‘honey hygiene’ after two incidences of a honey bee disease called American Foulbrood (AFB) were diagnosed in the Keighley area in April. [read more=”Read more…” less=”Read less”]AFB is a bacterial disease that is highly destructive in honey bee colonies. Although it presents absolutely no risks to human health and has no implications for the quality and safety of honey, it can be spread by bees in contact with honey products, particularly foreign ones.

Sue Chatfield, chair of the Airedale Beekeepers Association (ABKA),commented, “We were horrified to discover this outbreak of AFB in one of our Association apiaries. It is a devastating disease for honey bees and can spread rapidly if not properly dealt with. People can help by not leaving out any honey that bees could get into in case it contains spores of the disease. This is particularly important during warm weather when bees are flying and can be highly attracted to the smell of honey products, even indoors.”

Two separate apiaries have been affected in the local area, one in Keighley and one in Micklethwaite. AFB is such a serious disease for bees that if found the local Government Bee Inspector puts a standstill order on the apiary and all affected hives (colonies) must be destroyed. A total of four local colonies have already been destroyed and a six week quarantine imposed.

Prior to this, there have been no incidences of AFB anywhere in Yorkshire since 2013. There has only been one other report of the disease in the UK this year, in Wales. It is hoped that the detection of this outbreak so early in the year and the containment measures now imposed will have contained this incident entirely.

Sue Chatfield says, “Hopefully prompt action has now contained the AFB and we can look forward to a productive summer of beekeeping for all our members in the Aire Valley.”[/read]