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Author Topic: Hello from Malta  (Read 1357 times)
melita
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« on: February 08, 2009, 05:00:44 AM »

Hi all,

Just became a member, I am from the Island of Malta which is in the Mediterranean Sea.

I have found so much useful information on this site of which has helped me understand more about beekeeping , I have ordered my 1st hives and plan to start the new hobby this season.
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BjornBee
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« Reply #1 on: February 08, 2009, 08:15:28 AM »

Welcome to the site.

Being on an island, are you free from any of the pests to beekeeping? Or is that long ago past?

Is Malta known for any particular type honey?

Take Care.
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melita
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« Reply #2 on: February 08, 2009, 09:37:49 AM »

This is an artical I found on the net and explains your questions about beekeeping in Malta it was writen a few years ago :

Controversy over unique Maltese bee population

Malta’s bee population has decreased by more than half over the past three years according to the President of the Malta Beekeepers Association, Arnold Grech, but Apiculture officials deny there has been any unusual decline.
Grech, who is a beekeeper and bee specialist believes not all is well in the world of the proud bumblebee. According to him, the figure of so many of our childhood fascinations is having a hard time keeping alive in our ‘modern’ world.
When MaltaToday contacted ministry officials at the apiculture section within the ministry for rural affairs, however, these replied: "We are not at present experiencing problems of this sort in Malta. There was no drastic decrease in bee population, as experienced in France and Germany. Our bee populations are subject to their normal fluctuations within acceptable limits. The apiculture section, headed by a qualified scientific officer is regularly monitoring the situation and there seem to be no abnormalities to report."
According to the apiculture centre beekeepers are doing well and while last year it was estimated that the Maltese islands was home to 160 beekeepers, more than that number are expected to register this year. Already 100 have registered.
Malta is blessed with a unique bee species, endemic to these islands alone, that produces all through the year unlike its African and European cousins but bee populations have been decimated in recent years.
All over continental Europe bees are dying and in France and Germany bee populations have declined by about 50 percent.
In Malta the causes of bee deaths are various, but in the rest of Europe one of the reasons is the use of Bayer’s pesticide Gaucho the active ingredient of which is imidacloprid. In Malta the cause of death is unlikely to be imidacloprid and the Director of Plant Health within the Agricultural Department told MaltaToday: "Imidacloprid is a registered active substance and is a class 3 pesticide. There are three registered brand names with this department having this active substance and in 2002 2.8 Kg and 2.8 litres were imported into Malta."
The apiculture centre officials told MaltaToday "the use of the pesticide is very low and its limited use stems from the fact that target crops, such as rice, maize, sugar beets cotton hops and turf are not very common in Malta, with the nature of its use aimed more at the soil insect population."
The importance of bees has long been recognised in Malta and the Knights had introduced a law that wild thyme, one of the plants more popular with bees, cannot be cut. Within the EU wild thyme has also been recognised for its importance and Greece was given Lm80million over ten years to cultivate thyme on one of its islands.
According to Grech the main reasons for the deaths of so many bees in the Maltese Islands are over-development and disease, although a lack of rain, pesticide use, the activity of hunters and trappers as well as the importation of GMOs and foreign bee varieties could also have taken their toll.
The president of the beekeepers association has made it his mission to improve the bee and honey industry in Malta, but believes the government is listening to advisors who do not rare bees rather than those, like him, that have studied the industry.
The apiculture section on its part told MaltaToday: "The Department of Agriculture has recently invested in the post graduate training of a Scientific Officer specifically in bee keeping technology. The apiculture section is in the process of upgrading its services that at present already include colony husbandry, technical advice to beekeepers, disease monitoring and control, inspection for disease of imported bumble-bees (used for pollination in greenhouses) and honey, to name but a few. We also have plans for the breeding of queen bees for distribution to keepers as disease free parent stock."
Tourism developments in the north of the islands have taken their toll on wild thyme and other plants in the area and Mr Grech said "plans to build another tourism development near the Paradise Bay hotel and the caravan site can only exacerbate the situation."
Illness in Malta’s bee communities was virtually unknown before 1978. Since the Maltese islands are at some distance from other countries, disease is not easily spread. In 1992, however, 85 percent of Malta’s bee population was killed by the deadly Varroa destructor disease. Another Varroa strain, this time Varroa Jacobsonii also reached Malta after originating in the far-east and spreading to Europe through Russia.
The Maltese bees are not known to be voracious eaters, and this has made them less susceptible to Varroa, nevertheless thousands of bees died.
Grech told MaltaToday "Farmers started to appreciate the value of having bees near their fields when the bees went missing as their vegetable yield fell, but farmers still use chemical pesticides which continue to kill bees."
In order to contain diseases affecting bees, the government banned the importation of bees, package bees and queen bees in 1996.
Grech is convinced some GMOs have arrived in Malta: "The tomatoes that have a pointed nipple at the bottom indicate artificial pollination. More importantly we beekeepers have noticed that bees are dying after feeding from certain plants that have been fertilised chemically."
One of Malta’s largest beekeepers, who preferred not to be named, also confirmed to MaltaToday that the bee industry was struggling. He blamed the fact that several of the beekeepers were old and that these were not being replaced as one of the major factors. He said Varroa was also to blame and said not enough is known about the disease. The beekeeper said the lack of rain in two recent years was also not helpful, but indicated as one of the major reasons: "producers of blended honey, that was not really honey." These producers were affecting the industry adversely he said.
Malta is blessed by over 1,000 flowering plant varieties and our warm climate makes it ideal for bee raring. Most of the beekeepers have small holdings with eighty percent of these keeping five hives or less. About ten percent have five to twenty hives, nine percent have between 20 and fifty and only one percent have more than fifty. Most apiaries are in the north of Malta, mainly in the Mellieha and Mgarr areas. In Gozo most apiaries are to be found in Nadur. Maltese honey is well sought after and it is well-known that Malta was named the land of honey, Melita.
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Cindi
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« Reply #3 on: February 08, 2009, 11:26:39 AM »

Melita, welcome to our forum, it is so nice that you have found us.  Just wait until you get your bees.  This will be a place where you can ask questions, get great answers, all questions are important.  This will be a place where you can tell your stories, tales and experiences and make new friends.  It will be interesting to hear how beekeeping is in your place in our world.  Stick around, have a great and most wonderful day, attract great health.  Cindi
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There are strange things done in the midnight sun by the men who moil for gold.  The Arctic trails have their secret tales that would make your blood run cold.  The Northern Lights have seen queer sights, but the queerest they ever did see, what the night on the marge of Lake Lebarge, I cremated Sam McGee.  Robert Service
1reb
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« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 07:51:25 PM »

Hello and Welcome Melita
There is alot of great information on the forum !!
The members here are willing help and answer your questions, all you need to do is to ask
Johnny 
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melita
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« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2009, 11:33:11 PM »

thanks cindi and 1reb
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jdpro5010
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« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2009, 02:58:00 PM »

Welcome Aboard melita and good luck with your beekeeping endeavours.
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