Contents: Editorial; Beekeeping news; Bee press; Articles: An investigation into natural comb (part4) Hive Shape Ian Rumsey; Local Honey and Allergies Thomas Leo Ogren; Consumption of Stores During Winter John Yates; The Cordoba Honey Show David Cramp; A Study in Blue Matt Allen; Poem of the Month Maura Murphy; Recipe: French Toast; Readers letters: Natalie Tidy, Ed Gagnon; Diary of events and more. Please wait while downloading 370KB.


Apis-UK Issue No.20 January 2004
Catford beekeepers Greg Boon
Catford beekeeper Greg Boon and his WBC hives


Change of Tack
January is always a quiet time in the beekeeping world and we reflect this in this edition of Apis-UK. I have no doubt that all of us have made our New Year resolutions to do better in our various endeavours. I have to make a fairly comprehensive one all round, or little in the way of improvement gets done, but at the moment, it is especially quiet for me because for the first time in years I am without a single colony. (Perhaps I ought to take the opportunity and make a resolution never to get involved in beekeeping again!). I extracted the last of my non organic honey at the beginning of December (from just 2 remaining hives), sold them and that was that. In April I will receive 150 nucs of organic bees and 150 brand new Langstroth hives. When the Langstroth hive was first seen in Spain, it was regarded as such a marvel that it was called the ‘Perfection’ and it is still called that now. When Langstroth was apprised of this he remarked that ‘nothing in life is perfect. Only God is perfect’. He was right of course, because as far as I have seen (at least in Spain), all Langstroth/perfection hives seem to be different according to who makes them.

Background Noise
Even though January is traditionally a quiet month for beekeepers and beekeeping journals, as we move forward into 2004 there is a background noise to it all which tells us that although dormant, the beekeeping scene is alive and well. Conference results are followed up; new conferences and shows are being planned; new strategies are being mapped out by both individuals and governments concerning the best use of scarce resources to improve beekeeping; and most importantly, new beekeepers are coming onto the scene with none of the hang-ups of previous pre atomic generations. Certainly in Spain, beekeeping is booming, with more and more taking up the business with encouragement from governments, agricultural unions (and European money).

GMOs. A Clearer Picture?

In this issue of the newsletter, we bring you our by now familiar blend of articles, news items and subjects of interest and we introduce you to several other websites worth viewing. The GMO debate continues as ever but now we can hear some clear and concise and learned opinion on the subject from one of the most eminent bee scientists in the world Professor Mark Winston of Canada, writing in IBRAs house magazine Bee World. He manages to put the subject into context whilst stripping away the myths and baggage that in my opinion have fouled up both sides of the debate to such an extent that the more important issues are often buried under piles of irrelevant, ideological garbage. (And that is being polite about it). A report on Professor Winston’s guest editorial in Bee World appears below in the ‘the bee press’ section.

Editorial Policy
I am often contacted by editors of local association magazines/quarterly reviews etc asking if they can use pieces from Apis-UK or quote from our newsletter. Well I am all for this. Beekeeping information can and should be disseminated as widely as possible to beekeepers and local magazines are an important part of the beekeeping world in the UK. But if you do use information from Apis-UK, please acknowledge us as your source of information.

In This Issue
Our Poem of the Month has been written especially with beekeepers in mind by the poet Maura Murphy and we introduce her web site to our readers, whilst in the Historical Note there is some fairly racy reading especially for those who can translate Latin. All to do with the French of course. We have expanded the Recipe Section slightly so as to add an apitherapy recipe; this week a tincture of propolis for both external and internal use, and our Fact File of the month is a short dissertation on updates in the battle against EFB and AFB. A slight Spanish flavour is provided by news of Argentinian honey residue problems, Mathew Allen almost gets serious with some poetry, and our other regular contributors Ian Rumsey and John Yates provide us as usual with much valuable beekeeping information. Continuing with our Spanish theme, we look at a thoroughly Spanish honey show at the Andalucian city of Cordoba, once the centre of the enlightened world and so all in all, I think we have something for everyone.
I hope that 2004 is a good year for you all and I hope that you enjoy the January issue of Apis-UK. Remember that we are always interested in hearing about your branch activities; your beekeeping and your praise or damnation, or requirements for Apis-UK, so do write in and keep in contact. If you want more (or less) let us know. David Cramp. Editor.


In an interesting piece of research, the effects of dietry transgenic pollen on 4 to 5 day larvae of honey bees and wax moth were examined. There was little significant effect on the bee larvae, but the wax moth larvae fed the transgenic pollen suffered a significantly higher mortality rate. This suggests that the transgenic Bt corn pollen has the potential to serve as an alternative control for wax moth. (JAR 4 2003. IBRA).

The LBKA have informed Apis-UK of their new website which can be viewed at

We have reported previously on the research to assemble the honey bee gene map, and now the result has been published. The sequence shows that the honey bee genome is about one tenth of the size of the human genome and contains about 300 million DNA base pairs.
(These are the matching rungs on the ladder like double helix that makes up DNA). The final part of the research will be to discover exactly where the genes lie and what they do. If you want to look at the map, there are several sites on the net. One of them is:

It has often been put forward by researchers that the use of GMOs could enable farmers to cut down on the use of harmful insecticides, and there is some justification in this, but what about the use of insecticides that could stop certain insects from using the essential sense of smell or from picking up pheromone signals. In research by scientists in Switzerland, Japan and at the University of California - Davis, some 15 months ago, a key step in an insect’s sense of smell was discovered. Using Nuclear Magnetic Resonance (NMR), the researchers were able to show how a protein in the antenna of an insect picks up pheromones, and then the protein changes its shape so as to eject the pheromone precisely onto sensitive nerve endings. As many insects depend upon pheromones to communicate with each other whether finding a mate or searching for food, by finding and designing new compounds that fit in the binding pocket of the protein but which couldn’t be ejected, it would prevent the insect from detecting the all important chemical signals.
(Insects ‘smell’ with their antennae. Pheromone binding proteins (PBP) pick up pheromones in pores on the outside of the antenna and carry them through to the nerve endings where they are released. The new NMR results showed that PBP changes its shape to eject the pheromone molecule, the change of shape being triggered by a drop in the pH level when the PBP/pheromone complex reaches the nerve ending). If you want to see pheromone transport in action, an animation is available at:

Figures now show that following the discovery in the UK in August of illegal residues in imported Argentinian honey, the amounts of honey exports from Argentina fell by 19.7% in August and a huge 78%in September compared with the same months of 2002. The Argentinian national food hygiene service (SENASA) in anxious to avoid a Chinese style ban by Europe immediately instituted an investigation into possible causes of the contamination, and has taken serious steps to prevent contaminated honey being exported. By carrying out analyses of both honeys and products used to feed bees, they have pinpointed one of the possible causes as being the preparation of illegal patties (alfajores) used in feeding bees. Examples of these gave positive results. SENASA has established a series of measures to prevent re occurrence of contaminated exports. Honey will be analysed prior to export and those found negative for prohibited residues will carry a sanitary certificate; exporters will have to demonstrate traceability of the product, and honey barrels for export will have to display the number of the extraction centre followed by the year and the lot number.

With their wealth of experience and expertise in scientific publishing, the staff at IBRA are now able to offer a new editorial service which for authors who have difficulty in writing in English. Articles that are well written are processed more easily- and therefore faster- than articles requiring extensive editing. Referees are more likely to be positive in their comments if the English language is clear and concise. IBRA is offering this service at low cost in order to encourage authors whose first language is not English to get their work more widely known and published in an international journal. Rates start as low as 10 pounds sterling per hour for IBRA members and 20 pounds sterling for non members. The cost will vary according to the standard of English and the complexity. An estimate will be given on submission of the article. For further details


Writing in the IBRA journal Bee World, Norman Carreck of Rothamsted Research informs us of one of the lesser known announcements following the Apimondia in Slovenia last year was the formation of the European Bee Pathology Group with an initial steering committe of Brenda Ball (UK), Ingemar Fries (Sweden) and Wolgang Ritter (Germany). The aim of the group is to draw together bee pathologists across Europe in order to improve communication and to better coordinate activities. An effective working group will obviously be able to make better use of available funding opportunities. The first priority is to compile an up to date directory of European bee pathology researchers. Those wishing to be included in this register should forward a contact card (available in Microsoft Outlook), via email to the acting secretary Norman L Carreck, Rothamsted Research at Your details should include your name, position, current research interests and/or current advisory and extension activities and details of a maximum of five recent publications. The group will be having its first discussion meeting under the overall umbrella of EurBee at the European Conference of Apidology at Udine in Italy in September 2004.

The Brazilian Bee Research Meeting held every two years in Ribeirao Preto since 1994 is the main bee research meeting in that country and usually has about 300 participants, with speakers from the USA, Europe, Africa and other parts of South America. This year, the meeting will be held in conjunction with IBRA’s Conference on Tropical Bees. This meeting s held every four years and the last two events being held in Costa Rica and Thailand. All the talks and posters will be in English, so for those interested in tropical bees, this will be the place to be. Ribeirao Preto has a campus of the University of Sao Paulo with 11 professors and over 40 post graduate students involved in Bee research. It also maintains the world’s largest collection of stingless social bees with over 300 species and is a world centre for the study of the Africanised bee and on varroa. It is interesting to note that brazil has more bee researchers than anywhere else in the world. For those interested in attending the conference, contact IBRA at

On the subject of conferences, and of great interest to me was the first meeting in Spain of organic beekeepers. This was held during the Madrid Bio Culture Fair in Madrid and is the first such conference that I know about in Europe. It was attended by 60 beekeepers with the aim of establishing communication between organic honey producers. The development of organic produce, especially honey is an ongoing process in Spain which is Europe’s largest honey producer and with a university department at Cordoba specialising in this organic beekeeping process, it is evident that it has a great future and many possibilities for beekeepers generally. If anyone knows of other organic beekeeping organisations in Europe, please write in to Apis-UK and tell us about them. Organic food production has I suspect a longer and more sustainable future than other more controversial technologies. Ed.

Management and Diversity and VI Encontro sobre Abelhas Ribeirao Preto, Brazil 6-10 September 2004.
Continuing the well-known series of conferences on bees and beekeeping in the tropics, held by IBRA every four years since 1976 and including the 6th Brazilian Bee Research Meeting.

The Brazilian Bee Research Meeting (Encontro Sobre Abelhas) has been held in Ribeirao Preto every two years since 1994. It is the main meeting for bee research in Brazil, and has had about 300 participants (all directly involved in honey bee and native bee research) from all over Brazil. Speakers from other countries, including the USA, various countries in Europe, Africa, and other parts of South America also participate. The last meeting had 46 oral presentations and about 300 posters. In 2004 this meeting will be held in conjunction with the International Bee Research Association (IBRA) International Conference on Tropical Apiculture. The IBRA conference is held every four years. The last two events were held in Costa Rica and Thailand. All of the talks and posters will be in English, so that we can better integrate with our foreign guests. We expect about 500 participants in this combined event.

This will be an excellent opportunity to get to know Brazilian bee researchers. The University of Sao Paulo campus in Ribeirao Preto alone has 11 professors and over 40 graduate students and postdocs actively involved in bee research. It has the world's largest collection of stingless social bees (Meliponini), with over 300 species. It is also a world-recognized center for research on Africanized honey bees and on the varroa. Brazil probably has more bee researchers than anywhere else in the world.

The themes covered at the conference (provisional) are:
* Ecology of native bees
* Biology and management of Africanized honey bees
* Pollination of crops
* Pests, parasites and diseases of tropical bees
* Conserving biodiversity of tropical bees
* Bee products
* Genetic advances in bees
* Beekeeping development

Technical visits

On 8 September, the third day of the meeting, there will be mid-conference excursions to the university campus to visit the research laboratories and apiaries, as well as a trip to a bee product processing company - Apis Flora - the only such company that has ISO 9002, and a visit to Professor Paulo Nogueira- Neto's farm that has an extensive collection of stingless bee colonies (as well as social spiders!) that have been studied by researchers from all over the world. There will also be pre- and post-conference tours to places such as the Amazon forest and the Brazilian Pantanal. Details of these will be posted on the conference website.

Venue and conference hotel
This event will be held at the J P hotel in Ribeirao Preto, Sao Paulo, Brazil. The J P hotel is a five-star hotel with several swimming pools, a tennis court and other facilities on a pleasant, beautifully landscaped five hectare property, at the entrance to Ribeirao Preto. The website for this hotel is in English, Spanish and Portuguese. When you make your reservations, you should indicate that you are participating in the Bee Research Meeting as there is a 30% discount on the room rates for conference participants. The prices in dollars are quite reasonable. E- mail your inquiries about hotel reservations to Reserve your room soon, as space is limited! Other hotels will be made available, but they will require vehicular transportation to the event site.

Online registration
Online Registration forms and full details for International Delegates now are available on the IBRA website at and follow the links to Future Events. Secure payment by credit card is available on the website.

Local Delegates (resident in Brazil only) should contact

online submission of abstracts
The preferred method of submitting abstracts is online via the IBRA web pages. Go to and follow the links to Future Events. Please use a new form for each abstract if submitting more than one


Beecraft January 2004 Volume 86 Number 1
The latest issue of Bee Craft offers a wealth of information, advice and items of interest for all beekeepers in its monthly columns. The following is its contents list:

Editorial; Claire Waring; Rafter beekeeping in Cambodia Danny Jump and Claire Waring; Friend or Foe? Celia Davis NDB; A sting in the tail! Michael Boki; The beekeeping year - January Pam Gregory MA, NDB; Integrated pest management in beekeeping David Aston Phd, NDB; My annual ordeal Eric Ward; It all began in a bookshop Cassandra Elliott; A select National Honey Show Don Hannon; The case of the goden queen's diamonds-part 2 Karl Showler; The Leamington Conference Ruby Smith; Letters to the Editor; The 'B' Kids; Around the colony; Classified; advertisements; Calendar.

Bee Craft Journal Cover: A colony of Apis dorsata occupy a rafter set out for them by honey collectors in Cambodia.
Bee World Journal

Bee World
Contents: Guest editorial. Mark Winston
Honey production by the Mayans in the Yucatan peninsular.
The potential for using male selection in breeding honey bees resistant to Varroa destructor.

IBRA news
Conference calendar.
Science round up. Some impressions of Apimondia, by Norman L Carreck.
World Honey trade. Focus on china.
Index to Vol 84.

The guest editorial by Professor Mark Winston of the Simon Fraser University of Burnaby in British Columbia brings a refreshingly up to date outlook on the thorny subject of GMOs. He effectively destroys many of the myths about the science which he shows to be more to do with spin propagated by both sides in the debate which lead to completely erroneous claims and newspaper reports. ‘Industry has used the sword of ‘science based’ information to cut through the regulatory process, ignoring concerns that are rooted in values other than science. Opposition groups have used our subliminal distrust of corporations to generate an aversion to GM crops that has little to do with real risks and much to do with the politics of globalisation, multinational corporations and political agenda’. From this introductory statement professor Winston goes on to suggest that much of the bad press concerning this science has little basis in truth and gives some good examples of the ‘good’ in the science, for instance, growers of GM crops in the USA used 20.9 million Kg less of pesticides in 2001 than they would have done with conventional varieties. But he also indicates that reduction in wild bee diversity is an unexplored concern with GMOs but questions the issue concerning the impact of agriculture in general on biodiversity.
He concludes by asking whether we should be asking a different set of questions to those we have asked so far: Is our increasing reliance on biotechnology reducing the diversity of agricultural practices? Is this healthy for the long term sustainability of food production? What if we spent a portion of the amount spent on biotechnology research on ecological studies of sustainable agriculture; would we then have a need to invest in biotechnology? And finally, how can we improve the civility of the debate?

This editorial is worth reading for all those who want a clear idea of the issues involved without the scare stories. I have always considered that current opponents of GM research and GM technology have not used best available arguments to counter the science and in fact may well have ‘put people off’ and lost them as allies. The views of Mark Winston, a bee professor of world renown, come as a refreshing change. Ed.


Hive Shape

Finally let us consider the shape of an actual hive which consists of a brood box 2ft x 2ft and 1ft deep, a super also 2ft x 2ft and 1ft deep, with queen excluder in between.

We will assume that the bees are evenly distributed throughout the hive and that the phoretic mites are evenly distributed amongst the bees. Under these circumstances the centre of the brood-nest may be taken to be half-way up the brood box, 6 inches above the floor level. The centre of the mass of bees may be taken as 1ft above floor level. The distance between these two masses is 6 inches and is indicative of the average distance between the phoretic mites and the brood-nest.

Keeping the hive capacity the same, let us now envisage a brood box 1ft x 1ft and 4ft deep with a super also 1ft x 1ft and 4ft deep, positioned on top, again with queen excluder in between. The distance between the centre of the brood-nest and the centre of the mass of bees has now increased from 6 inches to 2ft.The traveling distance of the mites to possible nest sites has increased by 400 percent, again to the detriment of the varroa.
A tall thin hive is therefore better than a short fat hive.

So to summarize. The shape of the hive increases varroa traveling distances and in consequence increases grooming opportunities in three ways:

(1) Provision of an oval brood-nest instead of circular
(2) Orientation of the oval brood-nest so that the major axis is vertical
(3) Provision of a tall narrow volume for colony occupation

There may be in fact a fourth and even a fifth advantage.

If varroa have a sense of awareness of the location of suitable nest sites, this awareness must have some limiting range and a falling off of accuracy at its upper limit, so the distance between host and parasite is of importance.

Also viewing suitable nest sites ‘end on’ to the oval brood-nest would result in a smaller surface area being scanned which would reduce the attraction and increase multiple mite cell infestation as it would appear, to the mites, that fewer cells were available for occupation.

Ian Rumsey

As one who makes his living by writing about allergies and asthma I am often asked about the potential health benefits of using local honey.
Honey contains bits and pieces of pollen and honey, and as an immune system booster, it is quite powerful. I have often in talks and articles, and in my books, advocated using local honey. Frequently I’ll get emails from readers who want to know exactly what I mean by local honey, and how “local” should it be. This is what I usually advise:
Allergies arise from continuous over-exposure to the same allergens. If, for example, you live in an area where there is a great deal of red clover growing, and if in addition you often feed red clover hay to your own horses or cattle, then it likely you are exposed over and over to pollen from this same red clover. Now, red clover pollen is not especially allergenic but still, with time, a serious allergy to it can easily arise.
Another example: if you lived in a southern area where bottlebrush trees were frequently used in the landscapes or perhaps you had a bottlebrush tree growing in your own yard, your odds of over-exposure to this tree’s tiny, triangular, and potently very allergenic pollen is greatly enhanced.
In the two examples used above, both species of plants are what we call amphipilous, meaning they are pollinated by both insects and by the wind. Honeybees will collect pollen from each of these species and it will be present in small amounts in honey that was gathered by bees that were working areas where these species are growing. When people living in these same areas eat honey that was produced in that environment, the honey will often act as an immune booster. The good effects of this local honey are best when the honey is taken a little bit (a couple of teaspoons-full) a day for several months prior to the pollen season.
When I’m asked how local should the honey be for allergy prevention I always advise to get honey that was raised closest to where you live, the closer the better since it will have more of exactly what you’ll need.
It may seem odd that straight exposure to pollen often triggers allergies but that exposure to pollen in the honey usually has the opposite effect. But this is typically what we see. In honey the allergens are delivered in small, manageable doses and the effect over time is very much like that from undergoing a whole series of allergy immunology injections. The major difference though is that the honey is a lot easier to take and it is certainly a lot less expensive. I am always surprised that this powerful health benefit of local honey is not more widely understood, as it is simple, easy, and often surprisingly effective.

Thomas Leo Ogren
Mr. Ogren is the author of five published books, including Allergy-free Gardening, and also of, Safe Sex in the Garden. Tom does consulting on allergies and landscaping for, among others, the USDA urban foresters, the American Lung Association, for county asthma coalitions, landscape, nursery and arborists’ associations, and for Tom’s own website is

For those beekeepers who want to know how much food their bees are consuming over the winter period, the following article by John Yates will be of interest. Ed.

As a follow up to the two previous articles that I wrote on feeding honeybees and preparing syrup in quantities for feeding, I have dug out from my records the following which hopefully will nicely round off what the colony does with the stores that we give them for winter. The short answer is that it doesn’t do much with them in the winter as shown below.

Many years ago Dawn and I weighed the colonies in our apiaries throughout the year. This was done for a number of years and the results were very informative, for example, in the summer it showed that the main flow consistently started on virtually the same date every year (1st July). In winter it showed how the consumption of stores was directly related to the weather. Shown below is a graph of the stores consumed from October to March in a typical year and is typical of all the measurements made on our colonies. The results are actual and were obtained by measurements made with a steelyard. The steelyard was made from a piece of wood and used with two known weights.

Graph Shows:

Some points of interest from the graph:

1. This particular colony over-wintered on a BS brood box and one super with no queen excluder. It is very important to remove the queen excluder; in a very cold snap the metal becomes so cold that it acts as a barrier between the cluster and the food supply above it.
2. The colony was fed 8 lb of sugar which is equivalent to 10 lb of honey. Therefore, the total stores = 40 lb. in October.
3. The starvation line has been drawn in to indicate when the stores in the colony have reached 10lb. We regard this as the critical point and if there is no income, the colony may require to be fed. See the previous article showing how this 10 lb is determined during the active season.
4. The autumn was warm up to mid November and c. 5 lb of stores were used.
5. Then the weather was cold (40ºF/4.4ºC and below) up to Christmas and hardly any stores were used (ounces not lbs). Many beekeepers find this surprising.
6. Christmas to mid January the weather was warmer (45ºF/7.2ºC +) and bees were flying on cleansing flights. Stores are being used (4 lb on the graph from 104 to 100).
7. There was another month of cold weather to mid February and again hardly any stores are used.
8. Come February when it gets warmer and brood rearing is increasing, stores are starting to be used very rapidly.
9. From the beginning of March the beekeeper must be alert to possible stores shortage in his colonies. If the colony has 40 lb of stores in October we have never experienced the necessity to feed in the spring.
10. The graph demonstrates the nonsense of feeding candy on Christmas Day.
11. Finally, removing the roof alerts the colony, puts up the temperature of the cluster, shortens the life of the bees and induces them to use more stores. Similarly, hefting also disturbs the colony as does tapping the outside of the hive by those clowns who wish to ascertain whether the bees are still there.

The above was written nearly 30 years ago. Nothing has changed except my views on the amount of stores required. 40 lb is too much and leaves the brood chamber clogged up with too much honey restricting the laying space for the queen in the spring. The colony discussed in the graph used 20 lb. We use 35 lb these days and in most cases this is too much but better safe than sorry. I hope the articles have proved useful. JDY. January 2004.

As you have an editor living in Spain, it is appropriate that he write an article for Apis-UK on one of the most interesting honey shows in the country. The Cordoba honey show ‘ExpoMiel’ is held on an annual basis and organised by the Andalucian Centre for Organic Beekeeping (CAAPE) which is a department of Cordoba University, together with the main Agricultural Union COAG and the Ministry of the Environment and Civil Protection. It runs for 4 days, and technical papers and discussions take place on the last day, a Saturday.

ExpoMiel exhibition hall
ExpoMiel exhibition hall

In Moorish times Cordoba was the centre of learning and sophistication in the known world. With glittering palaces, a university of great repute and complete religious tolerance, Cordoba grew to become one of the most beautiful cities on earth.

The Tasting Stall
The tasting stall

Much of its old splendour is still there and the university is still one of great repute. So it is with extra pleasure that one travels to this beautiful place to a honey exhibition. Held in one of the old ducal palaces, now the provincial government building, this is a different type of show to say that of London in that many different sectors of the Cordoban community take part, from unions to bars and restaurants, to provincial town halls and tourism concerns. It is also an excellent gathering of honey producers, there to display their wares. Entry is free and therefore immediately attracted the Cordoba housewife as a place to go for her honey. The honey stalls were usually crowded with shoppers both buying and tasting the huge range of honeys available. A honey producer from Aracena, our home town was also present with a stall. The provincial government even had a stall which consisted solely of honey pots containing different types of honey for free tasting. All served by two smartly dressed blue uniformed girls.

The CAAPE stand
The CAAPE stand

Government departments here attach great importance to these types of exhibitions and the Department of the Environment mounted an interesting stand aimed at educating both the public and the beekeepers about bee eaters. Interesting leaflets were available explaining the biology of both bee eater and bee, and other leaflets explaining the department’s investment in research on the requirement for a balance between the two creatures. Indeed, the bird is classified as of special interest in Spanish law.

Bee eaters a necessary balance
Bee eaters a necessary balance

The honey gastronomy week
The honey gastronomy week

The Ministry of Agriculture also had a stall which gave information on the types of products of the hive and how to use them. The tincture of propolis described later in this newsletter in the recipe section is from one of their information leaflets. Other stalls included the excellent university stand, run of course by young bee research students (all female), and stands from the various town halls in the province of Cordoba, all extolling the excellence of their locations for beekeeping, and in the meantime pushing rural tourism for all it was worth. The charming little bar set in the centre of all the stands sold a fine range of wines and beers at completely un-inflated prices and was a useful place for meeting people because if you found an unmanned stall, you just went to the bar to find the stall holder engaged in some obviously essential bee research. The hours of the show were typically Spanish: from 10 till 2, then the all important siesta when everyone was kicked out, and a resumption of activities at 4.30 until 8, or until everyone had gone home, whichever was the later.
So what to do in those several hours of break time? This is where Cordoba came into its own. Most tapas bars and restaurants in the town entered into the spirit of the thing and offered menus based on honey in what was called Honey Gastronomy Week. For instance Ragout of veal with fresh vegetables with honey, together with a salad with a honey and oil of ginger dressing; or the ‘sighs of the caliph bathed in honey’! or loin of deer with raspberry and honey sauce, together with a salad with honey vinaigrette with toasted pine nuts. I could go on and on, but instead you will have to believe me that the imagination of the chefs knew no bounds. Many of the dishes came from Moorish times in the first place, the Moors being great believers in the use of honey in the kitchen. The recipe in the recipe section in this issue came from one of the restaurants and is called Grandmother’s Torrijas. Any of these meals eaten with a glass of finest Moriles wine (a dry sherry type wine made in the province) is worth the visit to Cordoba for itself.

Back to the show. The final day consisted of both the show and the technical conferences and talks with presentations from speakers including Marla Spivak from the University of Minnesota and an expert on hygienic bees and bee resistance to diseases, and Marc Colin, a French expert on intoxication and poisoning of bees. The University of Cordoba scientists gave a presentation on the growth of the problem of the Small Hive Beetle.
All in all, it was a show of exuberance in all things honey in which many sectors of the city and province of Cordoba joined in whole heartedly. It can only be good publicity for the important beekeeping industry in Spain, and with Christmas shopping and a good meal in Seville on the way home, it was a good day out for me and my family. David Cramp

This month, Matt Allen, not to be outdone by our poetry section offers us some poetical insights and somewhere along the line, almost mentions bees. Ed.

A Study In Blue
‘The bluebell is the sweetest flower
That waves in summer air
Its blossoms have the mightiest power
To soothe my spirit’s care’

Who could disagree with Emily Brontë? I was once working in some remote woods, surrounded by a lagoon of shimmering blue, and was recalling one of my earliest memories – a bluebell wood seen from a bus. (My heartless parents refused my perfectly reasonable request to buy a tent immediately so we could camp there that very afternoon!) So it was interesting to hear on the car radio an interesting piece about the bluebell’s strategy for success.

It’s a bulb that has apparently a feeble root system. It’s not extensive, and it is incapable or very poor at extracting phosphates from the soil. (I found this a bit hard to follow.) So it forms a partnership with up to 15 different species of fungus, which grow onto the roots of the bluebell and spread for metres around the plant. The fungus easily absorbs phosphates, which it transports back into the roots of the bluebell. And where’s the deal? The plant is working hard through photosynthesis to form sugars, and some of these sugars are donated to the fungus. A win-win situation.

My garden is swamped with bluebells, probably the Spanish variety, which are quite invasive. I pricked up my ears a while ago when I heard a debate on the damage caused to wildflowers, specifically bluebells, by picking them. One speaker was saying we shouldn’t pick them, because then the chance of seeding is lost. The quicker you pick them, the sooner the population disappears. The contrary view was intriguing. It went something like this:- if you pick off all the flowers, the plant pours its energies into vegetative growth instead of sexual reproduction; it multiplies by producing mini bulbs as offshoots of the parent, and this form of reproduction is more successful in the short term. Well, well, you take your choice.

You don’t want me to write anything this month about swarming, do you? I couldn’t add much to what is in the textbook on your shelf. So bear with me as we meander down a different track. I’m not much of a poetry buff, but I have been delving into ‘Flora Poetica’, a book of botanical verse.

‘ Partake as doth the Bee,
The Rose is an Estate -
In Sicily.’ by Emily Dickinson

Nope, I’m stumped with that. I’m hoping that a bright reader of the newsletter will let me know what that means. There’s gloom and cheer in equal parts in this book, and bees are tucked away here and there. Let me finish with a snippet from a poem by Norman MacCaig...

‘I buzzed and landed, but,
Encroaching with my loving bumbling fumble,
Found the whole world go black....’

Life’s tough out there. This poem is called ‘Venus Fly-trap’.


This month I am pleased to bring you a poem newly written especially for beekeepers by the poet Maura Murphy. Maura's website is well worth a visit and contains a selection of her work both written and in spoken form. Ed.


Low winter sunlight

Unobtrusive, among tilea and cretaegus,
this one painted white, for homing.
Audacious, gloved, the beekeeper

hefts it, weighs it, judicious, decides,
a Christmas gift , fondant.
Cause for celebration.


Deep inside a feeding feasting
chamber, workers warmly cluster.
Pollen fed, milk soothed,

the old queen dozes.
A woodpecker jabs a beak,
swoops, lands in branches of robinia


He comes; gauzy veiled apparition,
smoking gun; mischief-maker,
peers down, locates.

Her presence satisfies.
Combs drawn, a new brood
will sustain, suffice.


Ultimate democracy, a new queen
I will be. Grub fed, fat with desire,
workers seal my chamber.

Murmurings whispers rumours

the old queen hears, her retinue
this time twenty thousand strong,
swarms as we speak.

Panic abroad!
Village gossip points a finger.
The beekeeper summoned, tricks up his sleeve.

Placates, persuades, fine branch cut,
drops home sweetly, boxed, closed, away.
Back seat drivers.


Emerged, clamouring,
black backed, silk winged.
I rest and feed.

And then,
I heard my sisters, sarcophagus bound.

They try to answer, bleat and flap, impotent.
I mete out pure death sting, penetrate wax coffins.
They pipe, they pipe an elegy.

Maiden flight

Coaxed and cajoled,
pheromone thoughts translate
‘ fly, fly,’ wings vibrate.

Take off!
senecio blossom giddy,
high and focused, drones galore!

Mortals blind to this bug eyed coupling,
consorts follow, a royal comet,
to perpetuate, profligate

The first one

eager kamikaze,

falls like the wind.

The next, an aggressive bastard,
I gladly disembowel.

And then an Italian, he was romantic,

he fell away, went down,

singing ‘amore!’

Bloated, sac heavy, abdomen replete.
Colony assured, I return willing
hostage to future fate.

Halcyon days

Time slows, tall grass bends

in dulcet breeze, strobiles of hop
hang fragrant, figurative, near the fence.

Scouts waggle dance,
distance, direction, clear as a compass,
on target, foragers, single mind across
miles, nectar, pollen, water.
Basket gifts passed, fanned,
enzyme alchemy.

Unique decoction.


Slivers of wax, to scale,
perfect bee spaced, perfect geometric
honeycomb. Smooth ivory.

This time in white, he returns,
smooth operator, thief, store house robber.
An ill wind blows through the hive.


All is well, content,
warm, honey capped, like wine,
ripens like love.

Natural law

House girls complain, too many drones,
pointless visitors, sleep and eat and sleep and eat.
Plan hatched, a cradle, for a queen.

Royal jelly nurtured, shapeless grubs
secret metamorphosis, transforms to beauty
She comes, radiant. True daughter.

Final voyage

Take leave, to travel perhaps,
weave in and around yarrow and dock,
among spent flower beds.

To rest finally,
among cracked and fallen leaves,
dreaming of robinia, tilea, cretaegus,senecio

Maura Murphy


In this section we attempt to bring you each month a tasty and hopefully unusual recipe using honey as a vital ingredient. In this edition we also include an apitherapy recipe promulgated by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture as a useful home aid and handed out at the Cordoba honey fair.
If any reader knows of recipes from whatever part of the world, please write in.


This month we bring you a fine recipe from Spain which for some reason is called French Toasts. Perhaps they invented them. It comes from El Rancho Cortesano, a large honey cooperative in Seville province.

Torrijas. (French Toasts). (Eggy bread in English).
Ingredients: Yesterday's bread (Try baguette type continental bread). 1 Egg, Milk, Sweet wine,cinnamon powder, honey, water and olive oil for deep frying.

Prepare a mixture of beaten egg (to a smooth liquid) together with the milk in a soup plate, (for dipping the bread in). Add a glass of sweet wine, (Malaga or Moscatel) and the cinnamon (to taste). Mix all this up well. Cut the bread into strips and pass each strip through the mixture, coating the bread. Fry the strips in a good amount of olive oil until crisp. Heat the honey in a saucepan with a few drops of water and cover the fried strips in the hot honey just before you eat them. Eat with a good Malaga wine or Moscatel. Excellent for breakfast and the sweet wine is less harsh on the stomach than the customary breakfast anise. (I have tried this and it is delicious. Ed).

You will note that the quantities that have been given are a bit vague and the mixture is therefore a matter for experimentation, but it should be thick enough to be able to cover and stick to the bread strips. I found that deep frying the things was the best method and if olive oil is too expensive outside Spain, I’m sure that a good vegetable oil would do it. Just not as well. Ed.

A favourite of many home therapists, this recipe comes from the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture and was handed out on an information sheet at their stand at the Cordoba honey show, reported on in the articles section of this issue of Apis-UK. They suggest that it be used for wound healing, a local anaesthetic and an antiseptic/disinfectant. They also suggest that to boost the immune system, 15 to 20 drops of internal use tincture taken in a glass of water together with 15 to 20 drops of tincture of echinacea extract is most effective. They advise that to obtain clean propolis, the beekeeper should use a propolis screen in the hive.

For external Application:
1 part clean well ground propolis.
3 parts 96% medicinal alcohol.
Mix well and keep for 10 to 15 days in an amber coloured glass container or a glass container covered with aluminium foil to protect from the light. Stir the mixture 3 or 4 times per day. When ready, filter the mixture well using a double filter. To make one, put some cotton wool in a funnel and over this, a filter paper (e.g. from a coffee machine). The filter paper takes out large particles and the cotton wool the fine particles. Keep the resulting tincture preferably in an amber coloured glass jar well protected from light.

For internal application:

This is concocted in the same way except that for 1 part of propolis you use 3 parts of Ethanol absolute. (See above for use).



This short discourse is not intended to be a comprehensive thesis on measures to combat AFB and EFB, but a look at some of the newer methods of fighting these diseases which use nature to fight nature and not chemicals. The uses of oxytetracycline and irradiation have been well documented but are now becoming either out dated or of little practical use to the average beekeeper. Who for instance has regular access to irradiation plants and increasing numbers of beekeepers either abhor the idea of using chemical antibiotics in their hives or (in the case of UK beekeepers) aren’t allowed to anyway. There appears to be hope however as you will read below, and if anyone knows of any other new methods being tested or employed do write in.

Beekeepers have employed many stratagems for both preventing and curing EFB and EFB, from shaking bees to feeding oxytetracycline to burning hives and I suspect many other more questionable methods. In many countries, the appropriate authorities can authorise treatment for EFB, or often prescribe destruction for colonies exhibiting signs of AFB. Much of the current policy for dealing with both diseases is based on research carried out many years ago. Recognising that treating these diseases using chemical treatments only is a one way street to nowhere, current research is being directed towards combating these diseases using either natural methods of control or selecting for bees tolerant for diseases. The latter method is being pursued in many countries and is basing selection primarily on hygienic traits (which may also help in combating varroa).

Essentially, colonies are tested to see how swiftly they remove dead brood. Removal of brood involves two distinct actions; uncapping the cell and then removing the dead larva. Genetically, two recessive genes are responsible for these actions but many researchers believe that there are more factors involved than just 2 genes. Hygienic behaviour is a complex behaviour and there is no doubt a large incidence of factors; genetic, social and the environment. However, research has shown that this ‘hygienic’ behaviour enhances colony resistance to AFB and also chalkbrood. Colonies bred for hygienic behaviour displayed this enhanced resistance to a greater degree than other colonies. Hygienic behaviour is assessed by killing an area of brood of 100 cells by freezing and then replacing this dead (and defrosted) brood in the brood chamber. This is inspected 48 hours later and the amount of dead brood removed is counted. Hygienic behaviour is normally determined if over 95% of the dead brood has been uncapped and removed in this period. Some scientists believe that this test should be applied to each colony at least twice and the colony only deemed hygienic if over 95% of dead brood is removed within 48 hours both times. The proportion of workers needed for a hive to express hygienic behaviour can be quite low. Some research has found that small colonies containing between 15% and 50% hygienic bees were as hygienic when challenged with large quantities of dead brood as colonies with 100% hygienic bees. This could be an important factor as the queen mates with up to 20 drones, she need only mate with a proportion of drones carrying the hygienic gene(s) to give a hygienic colony. By selecting for this behaviour from hygienic colonies it is hoped that a far greater resistance to AFB can be expressed. In a study of this behaviour undertaken in the UK in the years 2000/2001, it was found that approximately 10% of colonies tested showed hygienic behaviour. Similar results have been found in the USA. Many researchers believe that beekeepers could test their own bees and propagate only from those colonies exhibiting hygienic behaviour.

In some interesting research conducted at Cardiff University, scientists looked at the reasons for the pathogenicity of Paenibacillus larvae larvae (which causes AFB) whilst a closely related species, Paenibacillus larvae pulvifaciens (P.l.p) is harmless. During this research, they found to their surprise that under lab conditions this P.l.p inhibited the growth of and destroys both P larvae larva (AFB) and Melissococcus plutonius (EFB). When fed to honey bees, the P.l.p appears to have no harmful affects on bees or brood or indeed the colony as a whole. There are several strains of P.l.p and these were evaluated. Some were found to be harmful to brood but one strain was found to be naturally occurring internationally and harmless to the colony. It is found widely in colonies but not in sufficient concentration to affect AFB or EFB. In order to do its good work, it has been shown that P.l.p produces a bacteriocin (a small protein with specific anti bacterial activity) which lyses the AFB causal agent, (ie ruptures it). It inhibits the EFB causal agent due to antibacterial action during its sporulation. In vitro test results show that the level of control by P.l.p against AFB and EFB is equal to that shown by the use of oxytetracycline. Field trials are showing equally encouraging results.

So what is P.l.p? It is a Gram positive spore forming, rod shaped bacterium very much like P.larvae larvae and is found naturally occurring in honey bee colonies. There is evidence that it may be the cause of powdery scale in honey bees but as yet the research has found scant evidence of this.

Obviously there is the possibility here of providing both a prophylactic and a cure for EFB and AFB in this line of research. A natural medicine which could replace chemicals.

After patenting their discovery, Cardiff University collaborated with the Central Science Laboratory and Vita (Europe) Ltd and won government funding towards further investigation of this phenomenum. Support and collaboration also came from the Bee Farmers’ Association and the British Beekeepers’ Association.

(A conclusion to this with the production of a veterinary medicine to control foulbrood would be quite something. Ed).


The antibacterial effect of fatty acids have been a subject of research for many years and an interesting paper on the subject was contained in Apidologie in 1993. Current research on the subject in Australia tested a range of fatty acids against a diverse range of honey bee bacterial pathogens. Fatty acids are important in honey bee development, nutrition and reproduction, (9 ODA is a fatty acid), but it has been shown that they also anti fungal and antibacterial properties. Fatty acids affect micro organisms by affecting their lipid membranes or envelopes leading to perturbations of the lipid phase and subsequent changes in permeability. The research found that both causative agents (of AFB and EFB) are sensitive to a range of fatty acids. 28 fatty acids were tested and 15 were found to be active against P;l;larvae and in previous research, 21 were found to be active. 8 of the fatty acids showed activity against M pluton and all of these except one showed activity against P.l.larvae. P.l.larvae isolates from New Zealand and China were shown to have similar sensitivity patterns as did M pluton isolates from the UK, leading the scientists to assume an equal sensitivity amongst different isolates. This of course indicates that if a fatty acid is considered to be appropriate for use in honey bee colonies, all strains of the pathogen will be similarly affected.

The researchers believe that the use of fatty acids would best be suited for the control of EFB. Generally though, fatty acids would be safe and environmentally sound. They are not only harmless to man but are actual foods and in the case of unsaturated fatty acids, are essential for health, but before any such treatment can be carried out, factors such as the stability of the fatty acid, the means of carrying it to the bees and appropriate doses must be determined.

We can’t leave such a discourse without mentioning the diagnostic kits developed by the Central Science Laboratory (Pocket Diagnostics) for the company Vita (Europe) Ltd. The kits, termed lateral flow devices are based on existing technology owned by the CSL. Essentially it is an anti body based test for detection of AFB and EFB and the kits take just 3 minutes to give a result validated to 98%+ accuracy. In essence it is very similar to a pregnancy testing kit. (Other kits are being developed to test for viruses and to differentiate bee species) and interestingly, a DNA probe capable of identifying Africanised honey bee DNA has also been developed.
Currently if a beekeeper suspects AFB or EFB he or she has to take a sample and send it to the NBU (in the UK) for analysis. A test kit capable of confirming disease in the field has obvious benefits enabling bee inspectors to make immediate assessments, resulting in more efficient and effective disease control and releasing staff in the laboratory to undertake more research.
(All this is clever stuff and offers effective and efficient ways to counter bee diseases. As for the kits, I have one and with my passion for gimmicks (not that it is a gimmick), I can’t wait to try it out, which means of course that I won’t get a sniff of AFB or EFB for years. Ed).

EFB Test Kit AFB Test Kit


Sex and the single bee; French style
Honey bee mating was for centuries a complete mystery to human observers. This observation is contained within Thomas Wildman's treatise on the management of bees from 1770 where he quotes from the Memoirs of the Royal Society of Sciences at Paris.

‘One would think where multiplication is so honourable, the mysteries of love should not be very secret; yet how diligent so ever the naturalists have been in peepig behind the curtain, they have never discovered the consummation of nuptial rites: even Mr de Reaumur himself could see no more than to raise a jealousie, and to give strong suspicions. Having stood the fiery trial of so many prying eyes in every age, the bees had gained the character of an inviolable chastity; but Mr. de Reaumur with learned barbarity, entirely baffled their reputation; he makes the queen no better than a Messalina, or to compare her to one of her own dignity, another Cleopatra. He put a drone and a female bee in private together; the drone appeared to be very cold and indifferent, and, contrary to what one would expect, it was the female that made all the advances, a thousand tender caresses. The experiment was repeated and varied several times, but always, the like coldness in the males and the same ardour in the females. The adventure hath often a tragical end with respect to the males, they die and one cannot assign any reason for it unless it be for shame’.
At this point in the text, Thomas Wildman cuts in:
“ How Mr. de Reaumur escaped having his eyes pulled out by the ladies of France, I know not, but he saw and has blabbed secrets of the queen in French, that I would not for the world translate into English; that philosophers, however, may not be angry with me for omitting a natural curiosity; I shall give the substance of what Mr. de Reaumur hath said in one line of Horace”, Clunibus aut agitavit equum lasciva supinum.This says a lot about a lot of things when you really think about it. Ed.


Dear Editor,

Having read your most recent newsletter, I feel compelled to respond to John Yates so-called 'article'. He complains about his local beekeeping newsletter. He complains about the number of pages, and he gets this wrong, he complains about the cost - which is the whole cost of the subscription to the organisation, not just the newsletter and includes a 5 million pound indemnity insurance. The cost of the newsletter is about £4.20 out of the subscription of £24. Comparing this with a sailing magazine from a high street newsagent? Don't think you are comparing like with like here John.

I believe he has also mis-interpreted the article about the refractometer - I am sure I read it to suggest that each local branch of the organisation think about investing in such a piece of equipment. He tells the editor of the publication to get real - perhaps he should adopt another phrase of his own after complaining about what Santa can get down the chimney - I feel all John Yates is capable of saying is Bah Humbug! Stop complaining John, and if you don't like something, put some effort into changing it by writing for it yourself! I am sure the editor in question would love to receive articles from you - the reason I know this is because I know the editor and I have often heard him saying he would welcome contributions from others - if the newsletter isn't to your liking, well you have the opportunity - change it! Yours sincerely Natalie Tidy.

Dear Editor,
I am a beekeeper in Canada and I enjoy visiting beekeeping sites. Is it possible to post on your site that I will gladly provide a tour of my beeyard and honey house to any visiting beekeepers. I am located ninety minutes north of Ottawa in the beautiful Upper Ottawa Valley. Anyone visiting Ottawa could plan a day trip to our place. Thanks, Ed Gagnon President Upper Ottawa Valley Beekeepers' Association.


Avon Beekeepers Association - Introduction To Beekeeping. This course aims to provide the beginner with the information required to start keeping honeybees. As the weather warms up in April the bees will start flying in earnest. Students who have attended will then be in a good position to start learning the practical side of how to handle bees in the apiary with a clear understanding of the life cycle of the honeybee and the year’s work that lies ahead.

The course is to be held at the Millennium Hall in Chew Magna over three Saturdays February 14th, 21st and 28th 2004. 10am-5pm.

As an extra bonus, the course includes an invitation to a lecture by Prof. Frances Ratnieks on 6 March, free entry to our Spring Day School on 17 April and a hands-on visit to beehives on 18 April (protective clothing available)

The cost of the course is £30 (Cheques payable to ABKA). Book early, numbers are limited.
Fees include tea/coffee. There are 3 pubs close by for lunch or do bring your own. For further information please contact: Lyn Sykes. Tel: 01225 874035. E-mail: lyn.sykes@ Chew Magna is on the B3130 some 8 miles south of Bristol. Parking is available behind The Pelican pub and The Millennium Hall is on the opposite side of the road, close to the entrance to the churchyard.

Event organisers are welcome to forward dates and details of their events to the editor (by e-mail) for incorporation on this page.

22-25 February 2004 - Apimondia Symposium on Tropical Beekeeping: Research and Development for Pollination and Conservation. We have many interesting speakers for sessions about pollination of tropical crops (Chairman Dr. Keith Delaplane), pollination ecology (Dr. Peter Kevan, chairman) and Conservation of natural pollinators in tropical ecosystems (Dr. Dan Eisikowitch, chairmen) and many more. On 25 February we are planning technical field visits to a melon growing farm and tropical greenhouse, where pollination is with honeybees and stingless bees. (Simultaneous translation English-Spanish will be provided). For registration, hotel booking and submission of abstract see on the Apimondia website: We look forward to meet you there, this is a unique international event about pollination in the tropics. Heredia Costa Rica More detail is available from:

23-27 February 2004 - 7th Asian Apicultural Association Conference Los Banos College, Lagunas, Philippines. More information from:

Friday 27 February 2004 - The Sidcup branch of the Kent Beekeepers Association are hosting a lecture on the theme of Pyrethroids resistant Varroa and also about Integrated Pest Management. It will be presented by Mr Alan Byham, our new RBI. The time: we meet at 7.30pm, lecture starts at 8pm, Friday 27 February 2004. The venue: St Lawrence Community Centre, Hamilton Road, Sidcup, DA15 7HB. The entrance is free to all beekeepers, from Kent and beyond, all are very welcome to attend. NB: please do not park in Hamilton Road, a large public car park is right opposite St Lawrence RC Church, in the centre of Sidcup, just off Main Road, A211. R. Repka, Secretary. Ruxley Apiary Club r.repka @

Saturday March 6th 2004 10.0am to 4.0pm - Bucks County Beekeepers Association Annual Seminar, Wendover Memorial Hall, Wharf Road, Bucks..
10.00 Meet for coffee and registration
10.30 Welcome
10.40 Integrated pest management Richard Ball, Regional bees Inspector for the South West
11.40 Short Break
11.50 Beekeeping in the future John Hamer of Blackhorse Apiary.
1.00 Ploughman’s lunch with time to chat and get your bargains from the ‘Bring and Buy’ stall, find out about Transrural Trust read the posters and more..........
2.15. “Have skep, will travel” Martin Buckle Chairman of Bucks County BKA.
3.15 Forum A time for questions and discussion with our experts
4.00. Closing remarks
We extend a welcome to all beekeepers and others interested in beekeeping
Cost:- £10 for BBKA members, £11 for non-members Ploughman’s lunch and coffee etc. included To book:- please telephone Sylvia Chamberlin on 01494522082 or Email

Saturday 6th of March 2004 at 3pm - Medway Beekeepers Association
are pleased to present there 2nd Annual Beekeepers Lecture. Dr Juliet Osbourne of Rothamsted Research will talk on "How Honey Bees and Bumble Bees utilise the available forage" At the Medway Council Offices "Presentation Suite" The Medway Offices are just by Rochester Bridge entry via Knights Road Strood. Free parking, entry and refreshments. Download our newsletter [76KB PDF]. Sharon Resner Email: shazresner @

Saturday 13th March 2004 Cambridgeshire Beekeepers' Association One Day Meeting
, Dr. Pamela Ewan: "Surviving Bees’ Venom Allergy", Glyn Davies: "The Bees’ Knees" (some aspects of bee physiology) Caroline Birchall: "Biological Control of Varroa Destructor", Dr. Christopher Browning: "The Many Wonders of Propolis" Trade stand and book stall. Ticket price: £12. Programme (with map) and tickets, from Jan. 2004: Dr. D. J. Abson, 6 Ascham Lane Whittlesford, Cambridge, CB2 4NT (telephone 01223 834 620) S.A.E. appreciated.

Saturday March 27th Newark & Nottinghamshire Beekeeping Association will be holding their Annual Sale of Bees and Beekeeping equipment at the Newark & Nottinghamshire Show ground at the junction of the A1 & A46 commencing at 2.00pm sharp Item swill be accepted from 8.00pm to 1.30pm. Any questions please contact Maurice Jordan on 01636 821863.

Saturday 3rd April 2004 - West Sussex Beekeepers' 'Joy of Beekeeping' Convention
- a Celebration of Bees, Beekeeping and Hive Products at Brinsbury College, on A29 north of Pulborough. Speakers include Dr Beulah Cullen, Clive de Bruyn and Margaret Johnson. Trade Stands. Lunch available in the College Restaurant. From 9.30am until 4pm, a superb day of beekeeping, with tickets £6 in advance (£8 on the day) from Andrew Shelley, Oakfield, Cox Green, Ridgwick, Horsham RH12 3DD (sae appreciated). Further information from John Hunt on 01903 815655 or email

24th April 2004 BBKA Spring Convention and Exhibition Download HTTP the full 28 page Stoneleigh Programme PDF [2.7MB PDF Acrobat 4.x]

16th April 2005 BBKA Spring Convention and Exhibition

Harrogate and Ripon BKA Events Listing 2004
(All meetings unless otherwise notified are held in the Field Classroom at Harlow carr at 7.30pm.
19 Feb. Maintenance of Heather Moors.
March Date TBD. Beekeeping medicines.
23 Apr. Observation Colonies.
23 May. Visit to Chainbridge Honey Farm.

6-10 September 2004 - 8th IBRA Conference on tropical Bees: management and diversity. Ribeiro Preto, Brazil.

21st, 22nd and 23rd October 2004 - The National Honey Show, RAF Museum, Hendon, North London. More details soon from

June 2004 - Holiday to Denmark
. Following an invitation from Danish Beekeepers, the BBKA is planning a visit to Denmark for British beekeepers to experience the way Danish beekeepers keep bees, how they breed them for gentleness, high honey production, reduced swarming, and good hygiene. We will also see much innovative modern beekeeping equipment and learn of the Danish beekeepers approach to honeybee disease and its treatment. The use of Apistan or Bayvarol is not permitted in Denmark. Each day there will also be parallel activities arranged for any who want to shop, or experience some of the local history, flora, and wild life reserves. For example, there is a nearby museum with salvaged artefacts from the stranding in 1811 of Nelson’s flag ship HMS St George at the Battle of Copenhagen, and from the Battle of, Jutland on 31st May 1916. The BBKA visit follows a successful tour by the Bee Farmers earlier this year and will cover a similar schedule of intensive lectures and visits to professional beekeepers. Beekeeper partners are welcome. You will need to take local currency (DKr.) Half-board hotel accommodation has been tentatively booked at the Best Western 4-star Hotel Fjordgaarden in Ringkøbing from Thursday 24th June to Monday 28th June 2004. The cost will depend to some extent on numbers but the following provisional breakdown gives an approximate idea per person. To indicate your interest, PLEASE ring Raymond or Sylvia Chamberlin on 01494 522082, or email

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