Contents: Editorial; Beekeeping news; Bee press; Research News; Articles: Brussels does it again John Yates; Patent of a bee hive 2361616 Ian Rumsey; Pleasure and pain Mathew Allen; Danish beekeeping tips; Poem of the Month; Recipe of the Month; Fact File; Historical Note; Readers Letters: Chris Clayton, Norman Carreck, Ian Armstrong, Brian Hughes; Diary of events and more. Please wait while downloading 310KB.

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Apis-UK Issue No.23 April 2004
BBKA Spring Convention 2004
BBKA Spring Convention
Big crowds of beekeepers at the BBKA Spring Convention 2004

EDITORIAL Back to top

2nd Anniversary Edition
It is with pleasure that I write the editorial for the 2nd anniversary edition of Apis-UK. For two whole years now we have been attempting to introduce readers to items of interest on bees and beekeeping that are not usually reported upon by the mainstream UK beekeeping magazines: research studies, facts and figures, poems and historical matters and even recipes, as well as keeping readers up to date on beekeeping events, both national and international. It hasn’t always been easy, but I believe that we are getting better at it with each new edition and whilst the newsletter (at least while I am editor) is not designed to take sides on controversial issues, or to act as a campaign platform for any group, it welcomes views from all angles (both personal and professional) it will report them faithfully, will attempt to explain if necessary and will allow an intelligent readership to make up their own mind on apicultural matters. As I do. At the same time, beekeeping has a rich and diverse history and our Historical Note will (hopefully) continue to enlighten readers on this aspect of beekeeping and attempt to remind everyone that the internet is not everything. However, like the Bomb, GMOs and varroa, it is here and would be almost impossible to get rid of, so we must make the best use of it. I hope that Apis-UK is doing just that.

In a month when the UK government gave permission for GM maize to be grown commercially in the UK and the provider decided not to because of UK government restrictions, and when The New Scientist warns of ruin amongst South American farmers using GM crops, but many of the farmers themselves hail them as life savers, the media continue to totally confuse the issue in the minds of the public. Confusion blurs real issues and no one gains. We report on it below.

There is some fairly depressing (in fact very depressing) news on the state of species decline in the UK which seems to indicate something major happening, but better news comes from spiders' stomachs in some news that will be of interest to all beekeepers.

Magic mushrooms feature in our Historical Note (back to the 60s in my mind), and our poem reminds us of the old custom of ‘telling the bees’. People still do this you know, not everything can be explained in books or by science. Our fact file brings some research into the thorny problem of ‘sell by dates’ for honey and perhaps will lead to a standard. Finally, for super (and rare) recipes see our recipe section. Face masks are our speciality this month! Try the recipes out and tell us what you think.

Having said ‘see our recipe section’, how can you do this except by scrolling through the whole newsletter? Well now you can go straight to where you want to go. I am committed to improvements and development of the newsletter and we are gradually making them.

A reader, Brian Hughes (see letters to the Ed), suggested a contents bar which would enable readers to go straight to the section of choice and this we have incorporated for your convenience. We have also started a new section called ‘Research News’ in which we hope to keep you up to date with interesting items of apicultural research. The lines between ‘news’ and ‘research news’ can be a bit blurry (is that a word?) but we will do our best to separate them. We welcome any ideas which can improve Apis-UK. Please don’t leave it all up to me or the webmaster. You can help us enormously with your ideas.

We have more news from Denmark (articles), the USA, Spain, Argentina and France as well as the UK and we would welcome news from any other country. Tell us about your beekeeping and keep us informed. I think that most readers will remember the famous headlines in a UK newspaper “Heavy Fog in the English Channel. Continent Isolated”. Well with the internet, there is no need to be anymore.

So with our usual mix of news, articles of interest and other apicultural miscellany, I present the 2nd anniversary issue of Apis-UK for April 2004. I hope that you enjoy it and that you keep in touch. David Cramp. Editor. Cover Photographs by SGT.

NEWS Back to top


The Argentinian government has created a permanent commission to investigate the problem of illegal residues in Argentinian honey and to attempt to minimise repercussions in the valuable export market. The aim of the commission is to 'recover our export situation and give the necessary guarantees to avoid new problems'. A clear consequence of the problem of residues is shown by official export figures which show a reduction in exports of 41% in 2003 and a reduction in value of exports of 30%. The Argentinians are very anxious to avoid being in the same situation as China which has its exports of honey to the EU stopped.

A Recent report in the New Scientist claiming that GM crops were proving disastrous in South America have now been put into doubt by a report in the Sunday telegraph in which local farmers of GM soya say that it has transformed their lives for the better. One farmer who farms 3200 acres claimed that it was something of a miracle. Farmers increased their crop yields, managed their land more easily and that the crop had been of immense benefit to Argentina 's economy. One authority claimed that it was highly irresponsible to claim that the soya programme was a disaster when in fact it was quite the opposite. A study has found that the huge expansion in the planting of GM soya has helped to increase rural employment from 700,000 in 1995 to 900,000 in the late 90s and had made Argentinian farmers 4 billion pounds richer. The full article with the farmers' comments can be found in the Sunday Telegraph April 18 2004 . (More confusing signals about this very difficult subject. Ed).

BIBBA has now brought out its latest bee breeding tool for beekeepers, the BIBBA Stud Book. A computer based programme developed by Stephen Loughborough, the Stud Book uses Excel and so of course users will have to have this programme. So what does the programme do? Basically, record cards are created and stored on the computer. Colony assessments made during inspections are entered on a 'last visit sheet' and these are automatically transferred to the record cards when the 'Update Record Cards' option is used. The stud book works in conjunction these record cards and information stored in the cards is automatically transferred to the Stud Book if required. There, the data is sorted so that the best colonies appear at the top of the list and the worst at the bottom. The programme and comprehensive instructions can be downloaded free from the URL:

A French court has recently ruled against the use of the insecticide 'Regent TS'. The judge, who investigated abnormal bee mortality in the SW of France made judgement against the company BASF Agro and has ordered the suspension of sales of this product. Beekeepers blamed the insecticide for massive losses of bees in the area. The judgement has revived the possibility that the ministry of agriculture may ban the use of Gaucho (imidacloprid). (See news item in last month's edition and letter to the editor below).

Dr Keith Delaplane the well known bee scientist and professor of entomology at the University of Georgia in the US claims that there is a pollination deficit throughout most of North America . Fewer flowers are turning into fruit and this is costing Georgia 's agriculture an estimated 100 million dollars a year, and this is just in one state. He added that although the disappearance of wild honey bees was having the biggest impact, many other pollinators; birds, bats and butterflies for example were also disappearing because of habitat loss. Bumblebees although excellent pollinators are not present in sufficient numbers. He gives the example of the blueberry. Every acre of blueberries contains millions of flowers and each one has to be visited by a pollinator. Crops such as squashes and pumpkins are among the hardest hit because these plants are not that attractive to bees in the first place and so few pollinators that are around can afford to pick and choose the best plants with little competition.

A Smithsonian Institute exhibit draws attention to this problem "Vanishing Pollinators" depicts bees, moths and other insects that are in decline. (See further news item below 'Sixth Mass Extinction'). Ed.

This is the title of a report created for strategic planners, executives and import/export managers who are concerned with the market for natural honey. The authors contends that with the globalisation of this market, managers can no longer be content with the local view or with out of date statistics that appear several years after the fact. Using methodology based on macroeconomic and trade models, the market for those countries serving the world market via exports or imports is estimated for the current year. The report is immensely detailed in its scope and application and comes from a leading provider of industry and investment research. More details from

Volunteers are being called for to record evidence of climate change in Britain after another winter in which abnormal winter sightings have occurred. The Woodland Trust and the British Association for the Advancement of Science have made a nationwide call for volunteers to log abnormally early sightings of plants and wildlife. The group is citing data collected over recent months highlighting the impact of warmer temperatures on indigenous wildlife and use the earliest sighting of a bumblebee on Christmas Eve in Devon as an example. In recent years, the first bumblebee sightings were on average two to three weeks earlier than in the late 70s and early 80s.

The USA possess the most powerful military sevices in the world but even they take bees seriously as this article from Kim Flottum 's Bee Culture shows. From Marines OnLine, Story by Lance Cpl. Michael Nease.

THE FEW, THE PROUD, AND CAREFUL AROUND SWARMS MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz.( March 25, 2004 ) -- Marines may have noticed the pleasant smell of citrus blossoms as the season begins in the orchards around the station. Marines aren't the only ones to notice that smell.

Millions of bees depend on those orchards to survive, and the orchards depend on the bees to pollinate the crop, but stray swarms of bees put Marines, their families and employees of the station in danger every year.

Last year, over 90 swarms were reported on station, and six have been reported already this year as of March 17. Two of these were in the tails of AV-8B Harriers, and others were scattered in trees and buildings across the station, said Larry Reyelts, the station's pest control coordinator.

"We've had them in every place imaginable," said Reyelts. "We've had them in the cockpits of airplanes. They get in the gear boxes on the runway, fencelines -- pretty much any place imaginable."

The swarms can be very dangerous if they are disturbed, especially to people who are allergic, said Mike Barry, a paramedic with the station fire department.

"If you get stung, you could just have a generalized swelling and irritation, and that's no medical emergency," said Barry. "But just because you've never been allergic in the past doesn't mean the next time you get stung you won't be allergic."

The onslaught of an allergic reaction could be gradual or fast. People who know they are allergic to bees need to have an epinephrine pin with them at all times. Other people should be aware of the symptoms of an allergic reaction, which are hives, itching, redness of the face and most importantly, trouble breathing, said Barry.

"All bee swarms are treated as an emergency," said Patrick Bailey, station assistant fire chief. "We have paramedics in house so if someone is stung, we can start treatment right away. That's why we're the first people notified."

If you discover a swarm of bees, call 911 immediately and keep yourself and others away from them, said Bailey.

"Do not disturb the bees," Bailey warned. "Once you disturb them, they will attack. Even if they are regular honey bees, they will normally attack."

There are two types of bees in the Yuma area -- European honey bees and Africanized bees.

Later, settlers in South America brought over African bees, which are more aggressive, but produce even more honey. These Africanized bees have since made their way up into the states, said Barry.

"The big problem with Africanized bees is that they're very aggressive," said Reyelts. "As much as 40 percent of the hive might come after you.

"As far as safety goes, the best thing to do is just stay away from them," he continued. "If you do get into them, get away quick because you can't tell if they're European or Africanized bees. They look the same."

Reyelts tries not to kill the bees, but sometimes there is no other solution. If he can save them, he'll take them back out to the orchards and release them.

When bees are discovered on station, the first thing emergency services does is rope off the area with caution tape. Often the bees will simply be resting and not intending to establish a hive. These bees will typically leave after a couple of hours, said Bailey.

If they don't leave on their own, the best time to remove the bees is at night when the bees are less active and all together, said Reyelts

"Most of the time it's easier to handle these swarms at night because they're all in at that point," said Reyelts. "If you take a swarm during the day, what happens is you've got the scouts out and some of the workers - probably a third of the hive is out. If you remove the swarm, the other bees will come back, find their queen gone, and become really erratic and dangerous. Kim Flottum Editor, Bee Culture Magazine.

Species diversity is decreasing in the UK. This is the verdict of two new studies of UK flora and fauna and support the hypothesis that the world is experiencing a mass extinction on par with the other 5 mass extinctions that are known to have taken place. The author of one of the reports, Jeremy Thomas of the Natural Environment Research Council Centre (NERC) for Ecology and Hydrology at Dorchester , analysed six surveys covering virtually all of the UKs native plant, bird and butterfly populations. They found that butterflies fared particularly badly. In the second report from the Open University and the NERC Centre for Ecology and Hydrology at Huntingdon, nitrogen pollution has been identifies as the most likely reason for reduced grassland species. These surveys are the most detailed of their kind in the world.

The evolution of the flowering plants and bees is a well known subject to many beekeepers. The flowers helped the bees and the bees helped the flowers, but the angiosperm forests also enabled another organism to develop. A report issued by the National Science Foundation in the USA has demonstrated that during the critical period of evolution when the flowering plants sparked off an increase in diversity of species which included a parallel evolution of bees, the humble fern took advantage of ecological niches in the angiosperm forests to develop into a far richer array of species. The report theorises that the key to the ferns ability to diversify in the shade of the evolving angiosperm forests, was the evolution of a low light photoreceptor in the ferns giving ferns an evolutionary advantage in the low light conditions of the forests.

For beekeepers worried about the use of insecticides, or an increase in the use of GMOs to reduce the need for chemicals on the land, comes some reassuring news. Direct from a spider's stomach. In a Cardiff University report, scientists led by Dr Bill Symonson in the school of Biosciences (I was there. Ed), have found that money spiders are vital controllers of pests on farms because they control aphids, but in order to balance their diet, they need to eat other pests as well. The research is based on the use of DNA based techniques to analyse the contents of the spiders' stomachs. The scientists believe that if we can encourage the prey of these spiders, it would boost the numbers of spiders and therefore provide better pest control. Dr Symondson added that "Many people are surprised at how important such natural predators are in the control of pests. Even on a conventional farm which uses chemical pesticides, most pests are controlled by predators most of the time." (A very reassuring thought. Ed).

As regional inspector for the South East Area I, and my seasonal colleagues, would like to feel that you will contact us if you have any concerns about the health of your bees – if you are worried, it does not matter if the bees turn out to be healthy. We never mind visiting and would much rather tell you that you have no serious problem and give any help or information as appropriate. As you can see from the figures below, the most Efb was located in West Sussex and the least in East Sussex, following the pattern of recent years. We found more Afb last season than has been usual lately with a total of 14 colonies in the Weybridge/Staines area and 3 in the Chichester area. Other apiaries in these locations have been thoroughly checked and so far, the outbreaks appear to be contained. We will continue to check this season to be sure of no further problems. When these figures are looked at against the total number of visits, 706 Apiaries & 3788 colonies inspected, the foulbrood rates for the South East are approx:
  • Efb Apiaries 10.2%
  • Efb Colonies 3.9%
  • Afb Apiaries 0.9%
  • Afb Colonies 0.5%
During last season we looked for Small Hive Beetle in our routine inspections and targeted some areas that are likely to be high risk for importation. So far we have found none but it is up to all beekeepers to keep an eye out for these pests. We have also been checking for Pyrethroid Resistant Varroa Mites and again in the South East we have found none but please don’t feel too relaxed about this. I would be very surprised if we are not suffering this problem within the next two years. Now is the time to make plans about the treatment methods you will use when Bayvarol and Apistan are no longer effective. There are alternative biological control methods (drone trapping, open mesh floors etc.) that will go together to make up an integrated control system. We are fortunate that Apiguard is now a registered product and can be used instead of Apistan/Bayvarol but beware, nothing is as effective as these strips and colonies will need to be monitored regularly for Varroa in order to be able to keep the mites at low levels. Please check the advice in the CSL leaflet “Managing Varroa” or for the latest information and the locations of resistant Varroa check the NBU website on:

Bee Inspectors
The team of inspectors remains the same as last year:
  • Bob Smith North & East Kent Tel. 01634 721063
  • Nick Withers South & West Kent, East Sussex Tel. 01883 722194
  • Peter Bowbrick South London, West Surrey Tel. 0208 648 6358
  • Alan Byham East Surrey, West Sussex

Tel. 01737 230846 For problems in areas not mentioned, please contact me, on 01737 230846. We in the South East are also fortunate to still have the services of James Morton as an inspector (following his promotion to National Bee Inspector) and he will be carrying out inspections in the West London area. I am hoping to travel widely in the South East region this season and look forward to meeting many of you in the course of the summer. Alan Byham Regional Bee Inspector, South East Region. Download full report 138KB PDF


In some recent research, Jose Sanchez of the University of Salamanca in Spain defends the validity of pollen analysis as an efficient tool for the Quality control of honey as against present trends to look for substitute analyses. Although there is at present no legislation in Europe as to the percentage of pollen in different honeys, he considers that pollen analysis always defines honey if the content under the microscope reaches 1200 grains. He adds that the general percentage at which a honey can be considered monofloral is 45% which can rise or fall according to whether the pollen of the plant is under or over represented. For example with sunflowers, the honey can be considered monofloral from 25%, with citrus fruits from 10 to 15%, the same for the labiates and in the case of eucalyptus, we would be talking values exceeding 80%. Translation by Ruth Christie.

(Editor's note)
Pollen representation in honey can be a confusing subject. The quantity of pollen in honey will vary according to the plant species, with some plants contributing a disproportionately large number of pollen grains. The pollen of these plants is said to be ‘over represented’. The pollen of other plants may be scarce in their honey and is said to be ‘underrepresented’. Therefore to use a simple percentage analysis of the pollen in a honey may bear no relation to the nectar floral source. For example, citrus pollen is under represented and honey is mainly from citrus nectar if as little as 10 to 20% of the pollen in the honey is citrus pollen, whereas in order to be called monofloral chestnut honey, over 90% of the pollen should be from chestnut. Rosemary, sage, lime, sunflower and certain lavenders are all examples of under represented pollen honeys. Results of pollen analysis therefore have to be presented in an agreed numerical manner and for those interested in following up this line of study, then ‘Methods of Melissopalynology’ by the International Commission for Bee Botany provides the agreed standards. An excellent and easy to read book on the whole subject is ‘Honey Identification’ by Rex Sawyer. Cardiff Academic Press. 1988. ISBN 1-871254-00-0.

Most beekeepers know that bees undergo dramatic behavioural changes as they mature - nursing, house cleaning, guarding, foraging etc, and now scientists have found a species of social wasp whose brains enlarge as each individual engages in more complex tasks. A University of Washington associate professor of psychology, Sean O'Donnell, has found that this is easily apparent by magnification. He stated that the changes take place in the sections of the brain called the mushroom bodies. He and other researchers study social insects such as bees, wasps and ants as models to understand the role of neuroplasticity in driving complex behaviours such as the division of labour. In this research, the wasp Polybia aequatorialis was studied. These wasps live in colonies of about 2000 or more and undergo behavioural change as they age very similar to that of honey bees with the mushroom bodies progressively increasing in size throughout the sequence. They found that the biggest increase came when the worker wasp changed from internal nest duties to external duties such as foraging, i.e. from living in a constrained spatial environment in the nest and then changing to a much more complex sensory environment. He also said that social insects had relatively larger mushroom bodies than solitary insects.

A Cross Section of a Honeybees Brain
A Cross Section of a Honeybees Brain Photograph taken during the 1999 lecture by Prof. Robert Pickard at the National Honey Show.

(In bees, the mushroom bodies (which are found in all insects) are a bilaterally symmetrical pair of structures consisting of 340000 Kenyon cells, deep within the brain. They are implicated in learning and memory, being responsible for higher order integration of sensory information and are of vital importance to memory formation. The Mushroom body receives multiple sensory inputs and partial or complete ablation of this structure results in defective olfactory learning. Localised cooling of the mushroom body induces retrograde amnesia of olfactory learning. A full and comprehensive review of the honey bee brain can be found at Ed).

In a useful piece of research on chalkbrood, Dr Francisco Puerta of the University of Cordoba (Andalucian Centre of Organic Apiculture) studied the causes of predisposition towards the disease as well as in stores of pollen and wax, and tests were carried out using Apimicos B a product being sold for the control of the disease. Results have shown that the product is completely ineffective and the only consequence it has is the possible appearance of residues in the honey. He also pointed out that a factor shown to be influential in the appearance of the disease (in which many factors play a role), is the misuse of pollen traps, and if on top of this, pollen reserves are completely removed from the hive, the disease is rapidly released. Translation by Ruth Christie.

Beekeepers converting to the organic production of honey have to replace heavily acaricide contaminated beeswax with residue free wax, (although if this is not available, concessions may be made under the regulations in the EU. Ed). But what about contamination of the hive parts especially the walls. Could this contaminate new residue free wax bought at great expense? The Swiss bee research centre has carried out some research on trial hives heavily contaminated by coumaphos (perizin) and fluvalinate (Apistan). These hives were cleaned by either scratching them out, washing with soda, and/or being flamed. Their results showed that when replacing the beeswax, it is sufficient to scratch out and flame the hives in order to avoid renewed, measurable contamination of the new wax. Hive replacements were not necessary.

THE BEE PRESS Back to top

Beecraft April 2004 Volume 86 Number 4
Wow! What an issue we have for you this month! I nearly couldn't fit the contents list into the available space. This is the first of two bumper 48-page issues planned for 2004. Look out for the next one in October. The following is its contents list:

Editorial; Claire Waring; Swarming Adrian Waring; Swarm Stories Ann W Harman, Mrs J Rolfe and D J Cook; Seeing Double! M Strudwick; The Beekeeping Year: April Pam Gregory MA NDB; The "How To" of Frame Assembly Alan Johnstone; Drone Trapping David Aston PhD NDB; Why Two? Ann W Harman; An Outstanding Success John Stevens; Collecting a Wild Colony John White; A Beekeeping Enigma Celia Davis NDB; The National Bumblebee Nest Survey; Andrew Martin and Juliet Osborne PhD; In the Apiary: Having Fun with Bees (part 3) Karl Showler; Apitherapy Peter and Barbara Dalby; Finest beeswax candles? Harry Riches MD; Building a beekeeper-friendly bee hive Ernest Weston; Another grave mistake Eric Ward; Beekeeping in Ireland Eddie O Sullivan; Ask Dr Drone; Around the colony; The 'B' Kids; Classified advertisements; Calendar.

Bee Craft April 04 Vol.86 No.4 The new/bigger BKQ No.76

Number 76 - Spring 2004

Editorial: Starting with this issue, the "BKQ" will incorporate its sister magazine "Bee Biz". By bringing both these titles together within one cover, it is our aim to provide beekeepers at all levels with a larger, wide-ranging journal, with plenty of space for in-depth articles whether they are of a scientific, practical, regulatory, literary or historical nature. In the past many beekeepers have subscribed to both publications and, as editor of both, it has often been difficult to use a particular article in one journal or the other, when the material was likely to be of interest to both sets of readers. Of course, it would have been possible to carry the same articles in both journals, but I did not feel that this was a satisfactory solution. For those who have been subscribers to the BKQ or BB for many years I can assure you that we are retaining our long-serving team of writers and that within this 'new-look' magazine our editorial policy remains unchanged. Remember, our writers put a great deal of effort into producing copy and any feedback from their articles is of great interest to them. The `Letters' pages act as a forum for lively debate on subjects raised in the magazine. Please use it to share your thoughts and ideas with us. John Phipps Editor of BKQ

Contents List
Editorial; Newsround; Letters; National Bee Supplies, Catherine Oates. Organic Beekeeping: Going organic Part One: A different way of thinking about beekeeping, David Cramp. Environment: Geoff Hopkinson NDB. Technology: Remote Monitoring of Honeybee Nucleus Colonies During Wintering Using Infrared Thermography, Dr Komissar Alexander; Wireless Technology at the Service of Agriculture, Daniel Baber. Pests And Diseases: Varroa - is there another way? John Dews. Science: `Bees without Frontiers' IBRA European Conference, 2002, David Aston. Breeding: Breeding matters, John Atkinson. Bee Business: E H Thorne Beehives Ltd, Paul Smith. Races Of Honeybees: The Breton Black Bee, Job Pichon. In The Apiary: A simple way of establishing nucs and introducing virgin queens, David Dawson; Visitors to the hive: The death's head hawk moth. Editor; Strong colonies in Spring are the basis for succesful honey production, Maciej Winiarski; A queenbee mating system Norman Rice; Preparing for spring Cleaning-up operations, Editor. Of other Bees: Bumblebees and Tomatoes, Matthew Allen. Bookshelf: Nature Wars, Mark Winston. The Social Biology of Ropalidia marginata, by Raghavendra.

New Layout
Going organic new series or articles
New BKQ Look

Photographs from the Breton Black Bee article

Online purchase of BKQ subscription £24.00 (1 year 4 issues)

ARTICLES Back to top

In this article, John Yates talks about certain aspects of beehive maintenance. I have asked him to pen this article because of questions directed to me and because I have heard much advice on the subject of ‘painting/preserving’ hives and wanted an expert opinion. Unfortunately creosote is not sold in Spain as far as I know and when I tried to get some in from Gibraltar I was not successful.

It is the time of the year when Dawn and I are changing brood boxes and roofs in our apiaries, the floor boards were changed a few days ago, rather later this year than usual because of the inclement weather. So first inspections, queen marking and changing hive bodies and roofs are all being done at the same time this year. Its called catch-up beekeeping. After changing the colony over into a clean brood box the task, ‘back at the ranch’, is to scrape the old ones clean, repair them if necessary and then torch them inside and out to kill all the unwanted pathogens. The final job is to creosote the outside surfaces to preserve them from future rot.

There are no agreed procedures laid down, to the best of my knowledge, for the general maintenance and preservation of bee hives. The only BBKA Examination syllabus that includes such a topic is the Husbandry Examination. The amount of maintenance required will depend on how well the hive has been constructed initially. Therefore, there are three variables to consider, construction, preventive maintenance and corrective maintenance. Note the use of the word preventive and not the irregular formation preventative as stated in my Chamber’s dictionary which has certain other connotations.

No material seems to have surpassed wood for general use and cedar is the preferred timber as it is durable and light in weight compared with other hard woods of comparable durability. It is expensive these days and the soft woods and laminated shuttering are now in vogue. If laminates are used it is essential to ensure that the glues used for laminating are waterproof (take a test piece and boil it for half an hour in water – if delamination occurs then don’t use it). Practically all hives throughout the world are built of wood and for the sake of this discussion I shall ignore other materials, for example, concrete, polystyrene, etc.

Perhaps it may be constructive to start by defining preventive and corrective maintenance which is applicable to any type of equipment whether it be, for example, electronic equipment or the simple bee hive. Preventive maintenance is those procedures/methods/actions deliberately taken to prevent a breakdown while the equipment is in normal use. Corrective maintenance is those actions required to repair the equipment in order to bring it, once again, to a serviceable state after it has broken down.

There are a few preventive measures to be taken as follows:

a) All wooden hives should be placed on suitable stands to keep the woodwork away from the ground, preferably on concrete or on a material impervious to water to minimise rot.

b) All the woodwork both inside and outside should be disinfected by scorching with a blow lamp to the colour of light straw to kill all the pathogens affecting the bees and those that cause wet and dry rot in timber. The scorching by blow lamp or propylene torch is, in my opinion, the most important part of keeping timber free from rot.

c) All the woodwork outside the hive should be treated with a wood preservative again to prevent rot occurring. How effective this is when combined with torching or flaming the woodwork I wouldn’t like to predict.

We always maintain our brood chambers every two years, our floor boards and entrance blocks every year and our roofs every three years. Creosote is the cheapest wood preservative and very effective while other proprietary preservatives are no more effective, more expensive and a good way of disposing of hard earned income. We have some equipment that is over 50 years old and still very serviceable; it originally belonged to Taylors of Welwyn; it has been scorched and creosoted for more years than I can remember.

The corrective measures that are required may be summarised as follows:

a) Scraping all equipment clean removing wax and propolis and polishing the metal runners with fine wire wool.

b) Disinfection by blow lamp to kill disease pathogens. It seems pointless to fumigate a brood box inside with acetic acid or similar. It would be difficult to treat the outside without a specially made fumigation chamber and acetic acid is quite expensive.

c) Any damaged woodwork will require to be repaired to ensure that everything is once again bee tight.

d) The runners will require to be greased.

e) Finally treat the woodwork outside with preservative again.

All the above refers to single walled hives which should not be painted with a primer, under-coat and top-coat as it does not allow the woodwork to ‘breathe’. Painting the outer lifts of say a WBC hive to make it look pretty is fine but not a very cost effective way of running the railway. Here it should be noted that Bro. Adam painted all his single walled hives with paint but it was a water based paint which did not permanently seal the wood. Similarly, he painted all his roofs a distinctive red colour contrasting with the cream or white of the brood boxes.

There is a BBKA Advisory Leaflet “The preservation of beehives and their ancillary equipment” available which, if I remember correctly, advocates Cuprinol available in clear or a variety of colours. It is very expensive compared with creosote. I am of the opinion, after 50 odd years that creosote is the best wood presevative that was available; it was used by the old British Post Office, whose engineering standards were second to none, for soaking their telephone poles before use. They used enormous tanks of the stuff and the poles were left soaking for many years. What other soft wood poles stand in the ground for year after year without rotting at ground level?

For the record creosote or creasote is obtained by the destructive distillation of coal-tar and used as a wood preservative. Creosote distilled from wood-tar is used as an antiseptic. Unfortunately, creosote has been off the market for about 18 months thanks to the Euro-crats in Brussels!!! Another banned substance which has been used for many many years and has caused no one any harm, as far as I know. Others include the ingredients for Frow mixture, PDB and many others. You can help the cause by joining UKIP and voting UKIP in the June elections for MEPs; the United Kingdom Independence Party is the only organisation dedicated to getting UK out of this abyss of mindless regulation.

Other wood preservatives include Cuprinol (£3.60/litre), Ronseal (£1.17/litre) together with a host of other brands with prices ranging between these two extremes. However, many of them are animal and plant friendly and therefore unlikely to provide much protection against wood rot at ground level.

However, I have found “New Formula Creosote” is available at approx , £ 3 per 4 litres available from local DIY stores and made by Barrettine Products, St. Ivel Way, Warmley, Bristol BS30 8TY, telephone 0117 960 0060. It contains dichlofluanid and looks like creosote and smells like creosote. The price is about the same as the old creosote but whether it performs as well we will have to wait a few years to find out. It has dire warnings about damage to plants on the can, so it looks hopeful.

There is another way of treating hive bodies and that is with either bees wax or paraffin wax. I have not tried it because wax contains no other useful qualities except being water-proof. I do use paraffin wax in all my feeders to prevent any seepage at the joints; I apply it with an old electric hair drier.

Finally, I consider painting hives in different colours, to prevent drifting, a complete waste of time and money; hive arrangements in an apiary is just as effective particularly in blocks of four facing N, S, E and W. JDY.

I do not expect that a patent for a bee hive is granted every day of the week, however, way back in the ‘Hollow Tree’ days, I did make an application to the Patent Office, more in fun than anything else, if only to see what it all entailed. It becomes quite interesting, and could be quite expensive, but taken piece by piece, the system caters for the simple minded, and gradually I began to understand.

For example, you cannot patent a device concerning perpetual motion, or anything that is patently obvious; neither can a patent be granted for something that has previously been published elsewhere. This I would have thought precluded everything concerning a box to house bees, but nevertheless we remained undaunted. With the aid of ‘How to Prepare a UK Patent Application’ and ‘Patent Protection’ booklets supplied by the ‘ PO ’ we continued our quest. Stage 1 concerns ‘Making the application’. Stage 2 : Preliminary Examination and Search. Stage 3: First or ‘A’ Publication, and finally Stage 4: Full ‘Substantive’ Examination.

If you survive the rigors of that lot, you are home and dry, well almost. Other things must also be taken into consideration. The ‘ PO ’ may consider that the application contains information which might affect the defense of the realm or the safety of the public and prohibit publication. So far we have only been considering a UK patent, what if we feel that our invention should be protected by a European patent, or depending upon the size of your head, an even greater area of protection is considered necessary and that the World Intellectual Property Organization should be brought into play. Common sense prevails: the object of the exercise was one of pure amusement, no more and no less, and it still causes me to smile when I read the claim of Patent Number GB2361616 Entitled “Bee hive” - I will quote­

“First and second dimensional axes in a single plane” etc etc. There are sufficient axes it that claim to cut the entire varroa population in half, twice over. Perhaps that’s where the secret lays. Needless to say all readers of APIS-UK are exempt from any restrictions which may be imposed by this patent. A SAE is enclosed for return of certificate as I wish to frame it and hang it on the wall. Ian Rumsey

Ian Rumsey
UK Patent GB 2361616

This invention relates to a Bee Hive.

Bee hives in Great Britain have been infested with the varroa mite since 1992. Unless treated, the bee colony dies due to this infestation. Bees have an inherent ability to groom themselves free of the varroa mite. In a conventional bee hive this is not apparent due to the hive entrance being at floor level which allows groomed varroa mites to regain the colony by attaching themselves to incoming bees.

A wild bee colony would construct a nest where the comb would be circular the size of a dinner plate, and a series of these would be constructed, as placed in a plate rack. The honey stores would be in the top portion, the worker brood in the centre, with the drone brood underneath.

Varroa mites prefer to undertake their breeding cycle in drone brood when available.

The frames in the brood box of a conventional bee hive are much longer than they are deep which flattens the nest shape into an ellipse with the major axis being horizontal. The honey store is now much closer to the drone brood and in consequence the necessary activity of the varroa mite during the breeding cycle is much reduced.

According to the present invention the Bee Hive is constructed to contain conventional size brood frames but rotated through 90° so that they are much deeper than they are wide which elongates the nest shape into an ellipse with the major axis being vertical. This increases the distances that have to be traversed by the varroa mite during its reproduction cycle which enhances the period of possible grooming which is sufficient to limit the varroa population allowing bees and varroa to live harmoniously together without treatment.

A specific embodiment of the invention will now be described by way of example with reference to the accompanying drawing in which:

Figure 1 shows the front and side elevation.
Figure 2 shows the cross section XX

Referring to the drawing the Bee Hive comprises of a Roof 1 and a Hive Body 2 which stands on a Floor 3. The Hive Body contains six conventional bee hive brood frames 4 rotated through 90°and mounted in parallel. The hive Entrance is positioned at 5 and the Space 6 is provided above Floor 3.

Drawing of the Bee Hive under patent

A bee hive comprising a hive body and at least one brood frame , the body having first and second dimensional axes in a single plane and the brood frame also having first and second dimensional axes in a single plane, the first axes of both the body and the brood frame being greater in length than the second axes so that when the brood frame is retained in the body the first axes of both the brood frame and the body are vertical.

Certificate of Grant of Patent

In this article, Mathew Allen tells us why we like bees and beekeeping and how we can help those who don’t.

Hedonism, I assert pompously, is the key to beekeeping (to mutters of dissent, and snores, from the back row). The honey’s handy, the wax is a bonus, the odd sting helps to keep arthritis at bay, but why do we really do it? This is a question I have asked myself through gritted teeth, as I have lost control of swarm control, as honey has liberated itself overnight in the name of the people to cover my kitchen floor, and that piece of beeswax which should have been a prize-winner turned out to have a speck in it. Well, of course, we do it for fun. We do it because we like bees, don’t we? We just like having them around. We like seeing them, we like hearing them, and I guess we also like smelling them. (Apparently smell is an aid to identifying solitary bees.) What have we missed out? Touch … it seems reasonable to me to enjoy the feel of honeybees. Taste? I draw the line there…

It’s obvious we are all a bit eccentric (‘Speak for yourself!’ interjects Doris Bonkers.) By now you must have become accustomed to the reaction from Joe and Joanne Normal when you let slip you keep bees, allowing a slight drawl to creep into your voice, unconsciously taking on the mantle of James Dean or a young Marlon Brando or maybe an edgy Jane Fonda. We’re on the edge of society, with a hint of the rebel, and a bit dangerous. My jaw clenches on an imaginary cheroot, as I glance around for the cuspidor ……. (‘He’s gone too far this time! I’m going to cancel my subscription.’ ‘Me too!’ ‘And me.’)

Sorry, my reverie, like my swarms, got the better of me. What I meant is that we like bees, unlike probably the majority of the population, who are either indifferent to them, or actively dislike them. And there are some who don’t just dislike them, but hate and fear them. At the shop in Windsor, I would usually receive 200 phone calls each year from people who looked up bees in the yellow pages, then expected a free counselling service. The message I tried to put across was that it was an honour and a privilege to have bees, wasps, ants and any other creepy-crawlies in the garden and blah blah blah – you can finish it yourself – blah blah blah. Occasionally however, there was somebody with a real phobia.

‘Bring bring’ went the phone last week (Wow! Sound effects as well!). The mental health team at a big hospital in Berkshire have a patient with an insect phobia which is ruining her life. Can we help? Sure. This should be interesting. It involves repeated and controlled exposure to insects, first from a long way off, then gradually increasing the contact. The point is not to produce an insect lover, but someone who doesn’t get hysterical at the sight of one of our little friends. It occurs to me that our esteemed and illustrious readership may include someone who has done this kind of work already, in which case, why not give me a call and the benefit of your advice. On the other hand, I don’t suppose anyone has read this far down the page. Ho hum, that’s life …..

Following on from the article on Danish beekeeping methods in the March issue of Apis-UK, is some more information and tips from Danish beekeepers.

If your foundation is old, hard and brittle, it is a good idea to restore it carefully by warming it in say a warming cabinet, or using greater care, in the sun. This makes it more acceptable to the bees as it releases the oils, makes it more pliable, and encourages the bees to make better use of it and not just chew holes in it.

Most Danes do not use queen excluders, but those who do find that if they have a single brood box under the excluder, they find that the bees will not accept new foundation as easily as if they have a double brood chamber. One way round this if they want to retain the single brood box is to put a box of deep foundation frames on top of the brood box and the queen excluder in Spring when there is a good flow and allow the bees to draw them out. You shouldn’t lose honey because the bees will move honey into the supers above this.

The important point in danish beekeepers ideas is that brood and honey super frames are changed over a 12 to 24 month period in the interests of hygiene. This ensures against the build up of disease and the subsequent problems of treating the diseases with chemicals and antibiotics which is forbidden in Denmark.


'Telling the bees' has for centuries been a custom amongst European beekeepers. It consists of informing the bees of the fact of their master's or mistress's death. In doing so, the teller sometimes also begs the bees to stay and serve their new master who is often the teller. The custom varies in the detail and sometimes another tells the bees on behalf of the new master. The custom was imported to the US from Europe and the process is admirably described in this poem by a 19th century New England poet, JG Whittaker.

Just the same as a month before,
The house and the trees,
The barn's brown gable, the vine by the door,
Nothing changed but the hive of bees.

Before them, under the garden wall,
Forward and back
Went drearily singing the chore-girl small,
Draping each hive with a shred of black.

Trembling I listened, the summer sun
Had the chill of snow;
For I knew she was telling the bees of one
Gone on the journey we all must go.


In this section we bring you each month a recipe to cure and one to eat, both based on products from the hive. If readers know of any of the more unusual recipes, do email us. This month, both recipes are simple but effective.

Our first recipe this month takes us back to England in the 1850s where no self respecting family would end their meal without a nourishing and fortifying pudding. Old fashioned puddings are rather out of fashion these days but none the less delicious for that. Puddings took time to make and a good pudding chef was valuable to the Victorian household. The pudding below was described as a 'medium or small grained pudding' in the cook books of the time and it is an example in my mind of one of the few ways you can eat and actually enjoy semolina (because there’s not much of it). You make the pudding as follows.

1 gill milk. (5 fluid ounces or 8 standard tablespoons).
1 oz. semolina.
1 oz. butter.
4 oz honey.
Grated rind of half a lemon.
Half teaspoon of ground ginger.
2 eggs.
6 oz. of breadcrumbs.
1oz = 30 grammes.
1 pint = half litre.

Grease a one and a half pint bowl or basin.

Heat the milk. Sprinkle in the semolina; stir well while cooking for 10 minutes.
Add the butter, honey, lemon rind, ginger, egg yolks and bread crumbs. Stir briskly.
Whisk the egg whites stiffly and stir them into the mix.
Turn the mixture in the mould, cover and steam gently for 1 hour 30 mins.

As our fact file concerned pollen, our second recipe is a night mask based on pollen. According to information supplied by the Spanish Ministry of Agriculture, pollen is an important rejuvenator of the skin due to its richness in B group vitamins and nucleic acids. It has a profound biological effect and appears to prevent premature ageing of the cells and stimulates the growth of new skin. All this for a fraction of the price you pay in the shops. What more could you want? So here is the night mask.

Half a ripe avocado pear.
1 teaspoon of wheat germ oil.
1 soup spoon of pollen.

Mix/blend the ingredients so that they form a smooth cream. Smooth over the face and neck. When most of the cream has been absorbed, remove the excess and leave the rest on the skin overnight.

This cream should be kept in a refridgerator and only for 2 days at most. In order to extend its shelf life for a couple more days, you can add 2 drops of essential oil such as lavender or sage.

FACT FILE Back to top

This month’s Fact File looks at the subject of 'Best Before' dates for honey. For many beekeepers such a notion appears to be nonsense. After all, edible honey has been found in the tombs of the Phaeros having sat there for thousands of years. However, in many countries of the world (and this year in the UK ) a Best Before date is a legal requirement on the honey jar. There are various and differing suggestions as to how long to put; in Spain beekeepers usually put 2 years down, but advice in the UK appears to be rather vague. 2 to 5 years suggests one honey jar label producer. So does honey change such that a Best Before date is required? And if so, what changes? And what date should be put on jars? Well a study for the establishment of Best Before dates was carried out by Maria Sancho of the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Burgos in Spain as part of a programme looking at the identification of the biological components of honey and the way they change in relation to differing processing methods.

Sancho carried out studies of: the evolution of contents in water; the activity of water; electrical activity; pH and types of acidity, fructose; glucose; praline; HMF content; diastase and invertase and b-glucosidase. She looked at samples of honey from Burgos and Galicia and divided the samples up into Type A, non manipulated honey and then Type B, the same samples after submitting them to a process of induced granulation in order to homogenise them but without using heat. Moreover, the pollen spectrum of the honeys was analysed, and the phosphate acid enzyme together with the ethanol and the glycerine of the samples were measured in order to understand better the evolution of some of the parameters taken account of in the honey.

The majority of the honeys were multifloral (88%) and 12% were monofloral (according to the rules of the International Commission for Plant Bee Relationships). The two monofloral honeys were clover and lavender.

The study was quite comprehensive and complex but unfortunately I have been unable to obtain the associated graphs, but it did come up with a definite conclusion which may surprise some.

The linear relationship between water content and the activity of water in all the samples corroborated providing a useful parameter which could be calculated immediately. The water content in Burgos honeys remained constant in both A and B honeys whereas that in the Galician honeys it diminished in A honeys and remained stable in B honeys. Electrical conductivity and pH remained constant in all the samples during the period of analysis probably due to the effect of minera salts. Although the proline content of all the honeys also suffered few oscillations it was observed that in all samples it tended to go down with time even though in some instances a small rise was initially observed followed by the subsequent diminution.

As expected, the free acidity, the total acidity and the HMF content increased with time whilst diastase and invertase activity diminished. Variations were observed in Lactic acidity as it constituted an acidity reserve. The b-glocosidases in general fell being followed by an increase and later diminution which could be due to the development of diverse micro organisms having produced this enzyme in the samples.

The average of fructose and glucose decreased with time. If a line is drawn between the average percentages of fructose in the samples and time, it was observed that in the B samples in both galician and Burgos honeys the level of this monosaccharide fell more slowly. The fall in glucosewas fairly similar in the Burgos honeys although in the Galician samples the glucose percentage went down more slowly in the B honeys.

The existence of these linear relationships was confirmed between the initial data and the values for each period of analysis for free acidity and total acidity, HMF content, diastase and invertase index, allowing each parameter to be determined using a simple equation at any given moment from an initial value.

The decreases in the biological markers diastase and invertase were less pronounced in all B honeys contrasting with greater increases in free acidity and HMF in these samples. It was observed that in the B honeys the ethanol and glycerine contents were generally lower and the phosphate acid did not increase unlike in the A honeys which seemed to show less undesirable microbial developments than in the honeys in which crystallisation had been induced.

The researchers studied all of the graphs relative to the described parameters and a 'frontier' of twenty months could clearly be seen as the time during which quality of the honey was maintained. They therefore proposed this as the most relevant ‘Best Before’ date for honey. Translation by Ruth Christie.

Should any reader know of any other research on the subject please let us know here at Apis-UK. Ed.


There are of course many occasions when bees have to be united and a careless manipulation when attempting this can easily cause the loss of valuable workers and the loss of an even more valuable queen. In these days of modern frame hives and Sunday newspapers, the operation is fairly simple and rapid, but what of the days of fixed frames and skeps. Well the Rev John Thorley, a noted apicultural writer in the 1700s gives some advice here and as you will see, with the aid of the magic mushrooms, it was all easily done then as well. He precedes his advice with the caution that before going ahead, the receiving hive must have 20Lbs of honey so as to be able to sustain itself and the newcomers. He continues:

"The way thus prepared, I must now lead my readers into an intricate path, to which, I take it for granted, they are perfect strangers. And Tho' it hath many windings and meanders in it, yet having travelled it myself so often, and with so much safety and advantage, I doubt not but to conduct others thro' it to their satisfaction, provided they diligently observe the following directions.

I am first to inform them what the materials are, and after that the manner of operation.

The narcotic, or stupefying potion, is only the fume of the fungus maximus, or larger mushroom commonly known by the name of bunt, puckfist, or frogcheese; it is as large as or larger than a man's head. I had one of these brought me the last summer unripe and white, which weighed some pounds; but when ripe, of a brown colour, turning to powder, they are exceeding light. Shepherds and herdsmen, etc frequently find them in the fields, and will supply you with them towards the latter part of the season.

When you have procured one of these pucks, put it into a large paper, pressing it down therein to two thirds, or near half the bulk tying it up very close. Put it into an oven some time after the household bread is drawn, letting it continue all night. When it will hold fire, it is fit for your use in the manner following.

With a pair of scissors, cut a piece of the puck, as large as an hens egg (better at first to have too much than too little) and fix it to the end of a small stick, slit for that purpose and sharpened at the other end, which place so that it may hang near the middle of an empty hive. This hive you must set with the mouth upwards.”

The Rev Thorley goes on to describe his method of operation and tells us:
'In a minute's time, or a little more, will you with delight hear them drop like hail into the empty hive'.

After this the uniting can take place and the writer warns his readers that when the bees are ready for release, trouble may occur:

'But in getting the cloth away, you must use discretion and caution since they will for some time resent the affront and offensive treatment.

He adds:

The best time of the year for union is after the young brood are all out......
And later: As to the hour of the day, I would advise young practitioners to do it early in the afternoon, that by having the better light, may the better find the queen.

And that is how it was done all those years ago. It all seems so simple, but I wonder if any beekeepers burning the magic mushrooms were then unable to unite the bees or decided not to bother after all and just go to rock concert instead! Ed.

LETTERS Back to top

Dear Sir,
I am an amateur beekeeper with an interest in keeping honey chemical and GM free, I have a query to put to you re the article on French beekeepers and Gaucho. Re the article on imidacloprid, I looked this up on the web at this site and you will notice the claim that this study was undertaken by the National Institute of Research Agronomic (INRA) and the Centre for National Scientific Research(CNRS) within a European framework, to measure the toxic effects of these substances on the bees. It confirms that "the bees are still exposed to the molecule of Gaucho, imidacloprid, via pollen of the corn treated with this insecticide ", writes the agency specializing in agriculture and agrifood. "The news is significant for bee-keepers, because it could explain why the mortality of the bees continues, whereas Gaucho is suspended in France for the treatment of the sunflower since January 1999", continues Agra. Apparently imidacloprid was suspended in 99 according to this but presumably it has subsequently been  re-applied, if mortality is still occurring, can you enlighten me on this? Also in your article, France has had to import up to 24000 tons of honey annually. These facts contrast with the effects of the chemical in the UK where it is used on beet crops and there are no reports of ill effects on bees. I have not heard of beet being a honey crop, do commercial beekeepers use this? I would be most grateful if you could enlighten me if you could. Sincerely, Chris Clayton.

I have replied to Chris on this subject personally. In the matter of bees using beet crops, I would suggest that bees would only go for the pollen if there was little else around and I assume that that is what the manufacturer is referring to. I believe that beet crops are mainly wind pollinated. Ed.

Dear David,
The poem "The Diagnosis", reprinted in the March Apis UK was written by Dr Leslie Bailey of Rothamsted, and published in his 1986 Central Association of Beekeepers lecture booklet "Bee-Keeping by numbers", which deals with the effects of colony density on disease incidence. He introduces it by saying that "My views of some popular misconceptions in beekeeping are summarised in the following rhymes". Best wishes, Norman Carreck. Plant & Invertebrate Ecology Division, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK. Tel: +44(01582)763133x2695/2769 Fax: +44(01582)760981 Rothamsted Research is a company limited by guarantee, registered in England under the registration number 2393175 and a not for profit charity number 802038.

Dear Editor,
My name is Ian Armstrong and I am a community wildlife officer for Durham County Council of which I am responsible for the management of a number of local nature reserves, many of them large in extent in the east of the county.
The principle aim of my role is the sustainable management of the nature reserves for wildlife conservation and the provision of accessible green space for people to enjoy.
Over the past few years Durham County Council in conjunction with the Durham Biodiversity Action Plan (BAP) has undertaken much work for the restoration and establishment of magnesian limestone grassland of which County Durham has a considerable area of this habitat type. Many of the reserves have extensive species rich grasslands especially on the magnesian limestone escarpment and some are designated as sites of special scientific interest. The Durham Coastal Grasslands cover 186 hectares of land reverted from colliery spoil and intensive agriculture to flower/herb rich grassland. We also have considerable areas inland undergoing arable reversion to magnesian limestone grassland including old species rich meadows and this has resulted in many insects, especially bees being present and ever more abundant.

I would like to take this opportunity to offer our land to any of your members in the Durham area to establish hives for the production of sustainable honey. This would meet our objectives towards sustainability and nature conservation and I am sure the hives would yield good quality honey.

If you would like to discuss this or any other query you may have please contact me and would gladly address your call. Regards Ian Armstrong Community Wildlife Officer.

Dear David,
Suggestion How about inserting a quick jump link in the heading of the news letter to the article of ones choice. Regards Brian Hughes.

Thanks for the suggestion Brian and I'll have a think about this one and discuss it with the web master. But surely, everything in Apis UK is to your choice isn't it ? Rgds David Cramp.


True, I enjoy reading the whole news letter. However, I don't always get a chance to read it in one go and sometimes wish to revisit an item, hence my suggestion. Otherwise one has to trawl down the whole letter. Regards Brian Hughes.


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

Bee Keeping Courses 2004 at Hartpury College for beginners, intermediate and advanced download full 2004 listing in PDF Beekeeping courses at Hartpury College

Harrogate and Ripon BKA Events Listing
(All meetings unless otherwise notified are held in the Field Classroom at Harlow carr at 7.30pm.
23rd May 2004. Visit to Chainbridge Honey Farm.

Friday, Saturday and Sunday 16th, 17th, 18th July, 2004 (entries close 9th July) - Kent County Bees and Honey Show, organised by the Kent Bee-Keepers’ Association in conjunction with Dover, Medway and Thanet Beekeepers’ Associations at the Kent County Showground Detling, Maidstone. Judges: Honey Mr. M. Duffin, Cakes & Wax Mrs. E.Duffin, Schools Mr. & Mrs. L.Gordon-Sales. Entries Secretary: Mrs.M.Hill, Old Whittington, Old Wives Lees, Canterbury, CT4 8BH Tel: 01227 730477. Show Supervisor: Michael Wall 020-8302-7355. Chief Steward: Sally Hardy 07802763048. Download show schedules and entry forms from

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

Monday 13th September 2004 - Conwy Honey Fair, High Street, Conwy, North Wales.  9am til 4pm. Ancient street fair, founded by King Edward 1st more than 700 years ago. Stall space is free of charge. Honey stalls, home produce, crafts, plant stalls welcome. More than a tonne of local honey is sold by lunchtime. Now organised by Conwy BKA.  Contact secretary for details: Peter McFadden, tel 01492 650851, email:

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

16th April 2005 BBKA Spring Convention and Exhibition

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