Author Archives: Kevin Cook

Asian Hornet Information Sheets

By   July 24, 2019

The Asian Hornet (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) is a predatory non-native invasive species of hornet. Since accidental importation into the South of France in 2014 it has spread rapidly through France and parts of Europe, including the Channel Islands. The Asian Hornet is a significant predator of honeybees: beekeepers and the public are urged to keep a lookout for this insect. Use this link to report sightings, or download the Asian Hornet Watch App for Apple or Android phones.

Follow this link for the most up to date information.

Appearance and biology of the Asian hornet




The Beebase page for Asian Hornet is here

National Bee Unit Website ‘BeeBase’

NBU Alerts

By   July 24, 2019

Alert: European Foul brood and American Foul brood in our area.

There are high levels of European Foulbrood (EFB) and American Foulbrood (AFB) confirmed in our area. To receive alerts from the NBU about cases near you, log on to BeeBase and register all your Apiary sites. For more information about how to recognise signs of EFB and AFB read the NBU Foulbrood Disease Handbook.

The major route for transmission of disease is the beekeeper.
Use Soda Crystals to clean your hive tool and gloves/hands after inspecting a hive. Dilute 1kg of Soda Crystals in 5 litres of warm water in a suitable bucket with a lid and carry with you to each hive. This is particularly important between Apiary sites. Leather gloves are a significant cause of infection since they cannot be cleaned thoroughly. Use disposable latex gloves/Marigold style gloves. If you must use leather gloves wear disposable latex gloves on top of them. Keep your hive suit clean by washing with Soda Crystals. 

Clear up any wax or other debris from hive inspections and put in a bucket with a lid. Discarded wax will attract bees and carry infection.
Avoid swapping equipment between hives. Do not exchange frames or boxes between Apiaries. Return extracted supers to the hive they came from. Clean any items which you use when moving between Apiaries eg your hive tool, gloves, boots, mobile phone, smoker etc.

Colonies should be inspected specifically for disease at least twice a year as advised by NBU. Now would be a good time. If you suspect a colony has a notifiable brood disease ie EFB or AFB please contact your area Seasonal Bee Inspector at the NBU and your Divisional Bee Disease Officer. The NBU would rather attend a false alarm than have a diseased colony remain undetected since the infection will spread through the area. Your Divisional Officers will support you and aim to be present when the SBI visits.

If you know any beekeepers who are not members of a beekeeping association please encourage them to register on BeeBase so they will be kept informed of outbreaks in their area.

High levels of Varroa

Many of our Bee Inspectors have reported a high population of Varroa mites in colonies across England and Wales. We believe these high levels are largely due to many colonies continually rearing brood throughout the mild winter. Continuous brood rearing dramatically reduces the efficacy of winter Varroa treatments such as oxalic acid, which do not kill mites sealed in brood cells.

We urge beekeepers to monitor colonies and check either the natural mite drop from a sticky insert/ open mesh floor or by uncapping drone brood. From May to August, a natural mite drop should be monitored over a week. The number of mites then counted over this week should be multiplied by 30 to give you a rough population of Varroa in your colonies. A figure of 1000 mites or more is considered to be a high infestation. If uncapping drone brood, then only 5 Varroa mites out of 100 uncapped pupae need to be  found  to be considered a high infestation.

Should you discover that your colonies have a high amount of Varroa then a range of options are available from biotechnical methods such as drone brood removal, to authorised varroacides. NB Varroacides used will be weather and temperature dependant. If you have supers on your colonies then thymol treatments should not be used due to tainting of the honey. More information is available in our leaflet ‘Managing Varroa’, from our website: or alternatively, a hard copy can be obtained by phoning the NBU office 01904 462510.

Honey for Sale – Loughton, Walthamstow, Redbridge, Ilford, Chingford

By   August 18, 2014


Contact: Kevin Cook
Tel: 0777 153 5692
Available from: 174 Roding Road, Loughton, Essex IG10 3BS

Honey & Honeydew for sale – Walthamstow

Joe & Helen Chadwick
Tel: 07505692945

Walthamstow Honey

Contact Arlene

Honey from hives in Leytonstone, Wanstead, Walthamstow, Chingford and West Ham.

Contact Salma Attan 07814700974 or

Honey from Enfield, Waltham Abbey North Chingford and Epping borders as well as Cheshunt and Waltham Cross.

Contact Peter and Barbara Dalby on 01992 622 645.

A choice of honeys from hives in Buckhurst Hill, Chigwell, Epping and Woodford. 

Robin Harman 0208 504 5270 / 0797 123 7312 or  via

Chingford Honey

Contact: Mike and Jenny Johns
Tel: 020 8529 2844

Chigwell Honey

Contact: Paras & Raj Shah
Tel: 07958409673

Bee-friendly Plants

By   April 28, 2014

Compiled by Norma Stevenson…

  • Achillea (hardy perennial)
  • Angelica ‘guigas’ (remove flower spike immediately after flowering)
  • Calendula (Pot Marigold)
  • Cardoon
  • Ceonothus (get tree-sized one) scented
  • Coca-vita fisifolia (cool-tolerant gourd, instead of butternut squash, can eat stem tips) / known as ‘Sharks Fin Melon’ in south Asia
  • Coriander
  • Crocus
  • Delphinium
  • Euphorbia ‘manifura’ (statuesque)
  • Gaillardia (dwarf, daisy-like, excellent in bedding and containers)
  • Hellebores
  • Hollyhock (hardy perennial)
  • Lavender (stoicas – French looking lavender)
  • Mahonia x Media ‘Buckland’ (e/green shrub, 1-3m tall. Yellow flowers in winter. Hardy. Prefers moist, well drained, fertile soil. Ideal vandal-proof screen.
  • Myrtle (makes excellent hedging and is scented)
  • Nemesia (small, in a window box)
  • Oregano
  • Pansies
  • Petunia
  • Phlox
  • Photina (unclipped until after flowering)
  • Poached egg plant; limnanthes douglasii
  • Rudbeckia
  • Salvia
  • Sarcococca hookeriana var. Digyna ‘Christmas box’ (shrub, ground cover, e/green, 50-100cm high. Dark green foliage, white flowers in winter, frost hardy. Moist, shady spot. Heady winter fragrance)
  • Scabious
  • Sea holly
  • Skimmia japonica (male; scented)