How can you help?
Following recent publicity about the project (reported on BBC Wales Today, English and Welsh language TV news, articles in Daily Post and Bangor and Anglesey Mail, and featured on the BBC News website), we were inundated with messages of support, offers of help, and reports of feral colonies from beekeepers around Wales. We are trying to follow up as many of these as possible. If you know of feral colonies that have survived in the wild for at least three years, or have bees that appear to be varroa resistant (without treatment) or have other desirable characteristics (such as high queen and colony lifespan, reduced swarming/supercedure, egg-laying adjusted to suit prevailing conditions etc.), please let us know by the end of July 2010.
What will happen next?
We will follow up as many of the submitted reports as possible in August 2010. We will arrange to visit you for a preliminary visit to examine the bees and discuss various options. We will choose the most useful bees for our program and, if you agree, visit you a second time to set up nucleus colonies (using our own equipment). This will be left in place for six weeks in order to ensure that new queens are mated with local drones before removal. You should not need to do any extra work for this and there should be minimal impact on your original colonies. In order to be able to evaluate them properly, and to allow for some losses, we will need to make at least three nucs from each source.
What will you get out of it?
We are operating with very limited funds at the moment, so all we can offer is the satisfaction of knowing that you have contributed to the program, and information about your bees (if they are chosen, they will be genetically characterised) and how they perform in relation to other bees in the program with respect to a number of important characteristics.
We will endeavour to contact everyone who submits information but please be aware that with limited manpower we may not be able to visit everyone. On the basis of the visits, we will to choose no more than a dozen sources to sample, as we will not be able to assess any more than this. The final choice of colonies to participate in the breeding program will depend on the results of the assessments to be carried out in 2011.