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  • Writer's pictureLinda

Until next year Cliffe Castle

2023 Cliffe Castle Bee Blog #23

Last night, 4 September, at 8pm Steve and I transferred the Cliffe Castle colony with their red queen from the Observation Hive into a double poly nuc travelling box for their journey to the ABKA Apiary, for the winter. We are most grateful that museum staff member Andy, was kind enough to come into work so late, enabling us to collect the bees.

It was a very warm evening and quite light, so I’m afraid some bees were still flying and couldn’t be gathered up with the rest, but we did our best. By the time we got the colony to the apiary site, it was too dark to transfer them safely from the poly nuc to the regular hive in which they will stay until next spring. I went back this morning at 7.30am to complete the task. As I left the apiary, they were getting their bearings at the new site and re-orienting themselves to the location of their new home.

With this amazing spell of good weather, they will have a chance to collect more nectar and pollen to help them survive the winter.

The Asian (yellow legged) Hornet

You will probably hear quite a bit this week about this non-native insect that poses such a significant risk to our native pollinators, including honey bees. September 4th to 10th is designated as Asian Hornet Week.

This is an opportunity for all friends of our native insects to join fellow enthusiasts across the country and do your bit to help us stop this hornet becoming established in the UK.

We are asking members of the public to join us by staying alert to the presence of Asian Hornets and reporting any sightings. The Asian Hornet does not feed exclusively on honey bees, but because our honey bees are kept in large groups and usually with a number of hives in any one space, honey bees are a very tempting self-service buffet for hungry hornets.

“What am I looking for?”

The Asian Hornet is noticeably darker and a little smaller than our native, European Hornet. European Hornets do predate on other insects but are much less of a threat to our native pollinators.

If you look carefully at both photos, you can see that the European Hornet has much brighter body markings and does not have the distinctive yellow legs of the Asian Hornet. We already have European Hornets in Yorkshire. I saw one in Harrogate earlier this week.

European Hornet

“What should I do if I think I’ve seen an Asian Hornet?”

We need you to report any sightings, so that specialist teams can work to find and destroy any potential nests in the area. This is the only hope to prevent Asian Hornets becoming established in the UK.

If you have a smart phone, please download the free Asian Hornet Watch App (android and Apple versions available). The app provides a handy gallery of photos of insects often confused with the Asian Hornet, to help you check that you are seeing the real deal! You can send in a photo and location details via this app, so that your sighting can be vetted. If you have reported a credible sighting, a specialist team begins work to track and trace any local nests.

If you don’t have a smart phone, you can still help by sending a photo and location details to the non-native species secretariat, by using this link

Find out more here:

Stay alert! Our pollinators need you.



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