Contents: Editorial; Beekeeping news; Bee press; Research News; Articles: Back to back for my back Mike Oliver; Fungi vs Varroa Roger White; Honey bee populations in decline. What about wild bees Claire Kremen; Frank Chappell visits the 2004 National Honey Show; Beekeeping is not cool; Poem of the Month; Recipe of the Month Mantecadas + hand lotion for chapped skin; Fact File Honey commerce in the EU; Historical Note; Readers Letters: Beekeeping Courses; Diary of events; Quote of the Month and more. Please wait while downloading 383KB.


Apis-UK Issue No.29 October & November 2004
Click here for full size image

Stained Glass Window exhibit
at he 2004 National Honey Show

EDITORIAL Back to top

This edition of Apis-UK will be the last edited from Spain. At least for the time being. Like my friendly enemies the bee eaters (which have all gone now), I am heading South for the winter.

There is sad news for beekeepers in the UK with reports (see In the News), that seasonal bee inspectors are to be reduced or axed. Governments are strange creatures and appear to have an agenda all their own. Although Apis-UK always steers sharply away from politics, there is no doubting that politics always catches up with you. When the seasonal bee inspector posts were first announced, they were deemed an ‘essential’ weapon in the apicultural armoury of the country. If they were essential then, they are essential now. In fact with the threat of SHB looming on the horizon, even more so. If they were not essential then, then much tax payers’ money has been wasted in the meantime. There is always a good argument for reducing costs/posts etc and these arguments will be put to the media and to beekeepers; better technology now available in fighting diseases; more knowledge about diseases; the results of research now available; let’s be more realistic etc etc. But many are nonsense and illogical. It is money, pure and simple. It is all very reminiscent of life in Her Majesty’s Forces. The more tasks we were given around the world, the fewer there were of us to do them. Just get on with it boys and if you can’t take a joke you shouldn’t have joined!

With reports that the Small Hive Beetle has been found in Portugal, I am more than ever convinced that where honey bees go, their pests and diseases will follow and that this is just a matter of time. It is true, that effective actions taken can delay their arrival and give beekeepers and scientists time to prepare, but sure enough, they will arrive. A correspondent commented to me that this may not be true and gave the example of the africanised bee and its spread being limited by rainfall. But although an africanised bee may be a pest, it is not a bee pest or disease. Many bee species are limited in their distribution. But their pests are not. They go where the bees go. My advice to beekeepers is to prepare for the worst and start by reading up all you can about the beetle. There is an excellent article in the last edition of Bee World which summarises the facts about the beast and the methods of combating it. And when it does come, we will be able to continue with our beekeeping. Ask a new beekeeper about varroa and he or she will regard it as just another pest to be fought. Beekeepers who were around when it arrived regarded it as the end of the world. Read the old beekeeping magazines of the 90s. It will be the same with the beetle. We simply need to get ready for it, and cutting out the seasonal bee inspectors is not exactly the right way of doing this. Predictable, but wrong.

The National Honey Show appears to have been a resounding success and a report appears below. It will be a long time before the National experiences anything as daring as a streaker, but there was the excitement of a protest (see below). Evidently the RAF Museum was a popular location and it may well be that with this better location, the show will begin to regain attendance figures of old.

So, in this issue of Apis-UK, we look at various topics of interest, including poisonous honey (which we all knew about anyway) but which seems to be news to the media and although I would not wish to belittle the problem especially for those who suffer, the news reports have as usual gone over the top in their reaction.

We also look at a report on how we manage to coexist and we report on a new dimension to the term ‘bee space’. The decline of honey bee populations is a problem we all worry about, and in this issue we look at a report about whether wild bees can replace the fewer numbers of honey bees. Pollination is the subject of several of our reports and we see how pollinating insects favour organic farms and look at a report that assesses the effectiveness of wind pollination. An interesting subject, can bees get drunk? If so, can we learn anything from this in relation to human alcoholism? We may well be able to and a report below looks at this fascinating area of bee research. It never ceases to amaze me what we can learn from bees and for many beekeepers this is all part of the delight in beekeeping.

Finally, we include our usual columns and as promised, we take a look at the European honey export situation. Where does our honey go, for how much and to whom? Chad Cryer writes for us on the economic aspects of beekeeping which has much relevance it seems as to whether we should go for the euro or not, and with our superb recipes and cures, our poem and our historical note, I present the October and November issue of Apis-UK. Keep in touch.

David Cramp. Editor.
P.S. Due to my move to New Zealand, we are producing a combined October/November edition of Apis-UK. I return to the fray for the December issue.

NEWS Back to top

Full BBKA Press Release from the URL:
Her Majesty’s Government is planning to reduce support of the Honeybee Health Programme from £1.25 million to just £1 million. This saving of just £250K or 20% of the budget, risks the decimation of the UK honeybee population and the £100 million plus contribution that these insects make to agriculture through their pollination activities.

The Honeybee Health Programme, managed through the National Bee Unit of DEFRA, has been operating successfully for many years, helping the 30,000 beekeepers in England, 95% of whom operate on a small scale, to control diseases that can destroy honeybee colonies. The diseases include American Foul Brood, European Foul Brood and Varroosis. Since the arrival of Varroa (a parasitic mite that kills honeybee colonies) in this country in 1992, wild colonies of honeybees have died out and it is only beekeepers that maintain stocks of honeybees.

The Government’s own survey conducted by ADAS, published in 2001 showed that honeybees contribute at least £120 million to the agricultural economy of the country. This does not include the benefit to horticulture or to the environment as a whole. The survey underlined that the Honeybee Health Programme was very important in protecting our bee stocks from the introduction of disease from outside this country.

In fact the next threat to honeybees, the Small Hive Beetle, has already been found in Portugal and other members states of the EU. This pest has devastated bee colonies in USA after being introduced from South Africa. It is only a matter of time before it arrives on our shores. When it does, beekeepers will need all the help they can get to defend their bees. The planned Government cuts mean that there will not be adequate professional support in the battle against the beetle.

The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) fears that if these cuts are made, many small scale beekeepers will give-up keeping bees because they will not have access to local professional support should their bees become sick.

Ivor Davis - Chairman of the BBKA said:

“We fear that withdrawal of this support from the Government will force many beekeepers to give up the craft with a consequential large reduction of honeybees in this country. We believe that this is economic folly in that trying to save just £250,000 could result in a loss of many £ millions to the agriculture of this country, especially to early flowering crops such as fruit trees that rely on honeybees for pollination"

Tim Lovett - Vice Chairman of BBKA speaking on Radio 4's Today programme said:

“In a nutshell, if we loose this service, we put at risk the whole bee population in the United Kingdom”

The 2004 National Honey Show is now over, and I think we can look back upon it with a degree of satisfaction. We anticipated that there would be some glitches and I know there have been some, not least the delivery of exhibits on the Wednesday afternoon, and the difficulty that some visitors had in finding their way around the various parts of the show, but these will be remedied in time for next year.

National Honey Show 2004

I am always amazed at the high quality of the exhibits, and this year they seemed to be even better than usual. Certainly there were more exhibits and more entrants than last year. Thank you all very much and well done! It gave us all great satisfaction to end the show by making Dan Deasy a patron of the show, and also William Munday our president for the next three years. Finally, I want to thank you all, competitors and helpers for making the show the undoubted success that it was. Here’s to next year's show 20th – 22nd October 2005.
David Smart
, Chairman of the National Honey Show. Website: (See report by Frank Chappell in the articles section. Ed).


Paul Harty

On the last day of the National Honey Show a one person protester, Suffolk beekeeper Paul Hartly, stood outside the gates of the RAF museum with his banner "BBKA stop promoting pesticides". He said, "I feel passionately that the British Beekeepers' Association should not accept money from pesticide companies for endorsing so called bee friendly pesticides". Paul has been writing letters for a number of years on food safety issues. The BBKA did publish one of his letters in BBKA NEWS No.147 June 2004. (If you are a members of the BBKA you can download BBKA News by accessing the members/download area URL: Ed.)

As a result of the expansion of the EU to 25 members, the number of beehives in the enlarged union has risen by 34% from 8,678192 hives to 11,626300. Of the ten new countries, Poland arrived with the most with 32% of all the new hives. From the figures below you can see that Hungary and the Check Republic also have important apicultural industries. The EU has now carried out a census of the number of hives and here are those numbers for each member of the 25.

Spain 2,464601
Greece 1,388000
France 1,150000
Italy 1,100000
Poland 949200
Germany 893000
Hungary 872650
Portugal 590000
Check Republic 477743
Austria 327000
UK 274000
Slovakia 192002
Denmark 160000
Sweden 145000
Slovenia 143152
Belgium 110750
Lithuania 83800
Netherlands 80000
Latvia 54173
Estonia 50500
Cyprus 45714
Finland 42000
Ireland 20000
Luxemburg 11077
Malta 1938

Source:Imperial College Of Science, Technology And Medicine Date:2004-10-04
Plants and animals living together in communities don't rub shoulders too closely because evolution has caused them to compromise on key life measures, say ecologists at Imperial College London and Royal Holloway, University of London, writing in the journal Science today (1 October).

The researchers suggest a new basis for explaining how communities of species assemble: they have to give up being good at everything and 'trade off' their life histories. 'Life histories' is ecological jargon for the important measures, shaped by evolution, such as how often you can reproduce; how many children you will have; how long you can live for; and crucially, how good you are at getting food on which to survive. "You can't be good at doing everything," says Dr Mike Bonsall, a Royal Society University Research Fellow working at Imperial College London, and first author of the paper. "Most people do one thing really well, another thing fairly well and then aren't very good at anything else. So it is with any other species. Now we know that they coexist precisely because they each have different life histories."

The London researchers assembled a simple artificial community of parasitoid wasps within a computer model, and then watched what happened over very long periods of time - up to 100,000 generations. Parasitoid wasps, insects that kill other insects by laying eggs in them, account for a fifth of all known multi-celled species. Their 200,000 species places them approximately next to land plants in terms of diversity.

To their surprise they found that over long periods of time, 'gaps', or differences in their life histories, opened up between the evolving parasitoid wasp species, which are not filled by others. They suggest this may explain the great diversity of wasps seen in nature. "There is a fixed amount of difference necessary," says Dr Bonsall. "This allows evolution to affect patterns of diversity such as how many similar species we see." Dr. Vincent Jansen, author of the paper from Royal Holloway, University of London, added: "The bottom line of this work is that patterns of diversity are shaped both by ecology and by evolution."

One way of capturing the essence of the new work, he added, is expressed in the concept of the 'Darwinian demon' - a hypothetical species that develops rapidly, reproduces continuously and does not age. Trade offs in life histories are thought to prevent Darwinian demons from evolving. Rather, similar species are allowed to coexist. Editor's Note: The original news release can be found here. This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Imperial College Of Science, Technology And Medicine.

With the unwelcome news that three species of bumble bees are already extinct in the UK, a team of researchers have embarked on a project to try to save the UK's declining population of bumble bees. The group from the University of Southampton is in the Hebrides for the study, where farming is more traditional and rare bees more common.

A Bumble Bee

In this study, they are using DNA to detect how many nests are on the islands, and to determine exactly how big a bee population has to be to survive. Bumble bees are believed to be in danger of dying out in parts of the UK. Dr Dave Goulson, in charge of the study, said: "Survival of at least five rare species is threatened by the spread of intensive agriculture destroying wild flowers and hedgerows, which are the bees' natural habitat.” "Colonies do not seem able to survive in small areas such as nature reserves and many are dying out.”Three species are already extinct in the UK." The researchers also want to devise ways for farmers to encourage bumble bees to flourish on their land, such as by sowing wildflower strips and restoring hay-meadows. As most beekeepers will know, unlike honey bees, bumble bees construct a fresh nest every summer. The queen produces many sterile female workers, male drones and future queens but all except the newly-mated young queens die with the first frosts of autumn.

The project is funded by a £130,000 research grant from the Leverhulme Trust, with £50,000 coming from the C.B.Dennis Trust. This latter trust is well known to UK beekeepers as a most welcome benefactor to many bee research projects.

Ben Harder for National Geographic News December 12, 2002.
Organic farming is not only friendlier to the soil and the environment than conventional farming, it’s also friendlier to an underappreciated agricultural workforce - wild bees. So indicates the latest research on how well bees distribute pollen across different types of cropland. The finding has economic implications for farmers, many of whom currently rely heavily on domesticated bees to perform crop pollination, Princeton University conservation biologist Claire Kremen told National Geographic News.

If farmers restored natural habitats near their lands and used more organic cultivating techniques, resulting growth of wild bee communities might reduce growers’ dependence on European honeybees, the domesticated variety, and ultimately pay financial dividends, she said. Kremen added that such farming methods would also offer insurance against the possibility of further declines among European honeybees, which have suffered setbacks in recent years. Pesticides, diseases, and other deadly agents have taken their toll over the past decade.

Read the full story
Restoring wild bee habitats around agricultural croplands would encourage the return of wild bees and reduce farmers’ dependence on expensive, domesticated European bees for crop pollination.

Furthermore, domesticated colonies that have crossbred with Africanized “killer” bees have been rendered too aggressive for beekeepers to manage, further depleting their availability to farmers, said bee researcher Robbin W. Thorp of the University of California–Davis. “Pollination is an incredibly important ecological function,” Kremen said. Bees function as pollinators because, as they feed on flower after flower, they unintentionally shuttle grains of pollen from one plant to the next. Without bees to do that lifting, many common North American plants - including numerous economically important crops - would go unfertilized and would be unable to reproduce, she said. For more than a century, the most popular pollinators among North American farmers have been domesticated descendants of imported European honeybees, said Thorp. He estimated that 3,500 to 4,000 species of non-domesticated bees that are native to North America can also pollinate crops - when they can survive on or near croplands.

But modern intensive farming practices often don’t provide all the resources bees need to stay alive. Beekeepers take care of domesticated bees, while the wild bees are left to subsist on shrinking wild habitats.

Homegrown Labor Movement
“We don’t necessarily need to rely on honeybees,” said Kremen. In fact, she said, farms with sufficient numbers and types of wild native bees theoretically don’t require the domesticated honeybees at all. “But the caveat is that we only find sufficient numbers of native bees in areas that are near native habitat.”

Kremen reached that conclusion after she, Thorp, and Neal Williams of Princeton University conducted experiments on watermelon plots in California. The research trio considered two important factors about each plot: How much natural habitat existed near the farm, and whether the farm relied on organic or conventional cultivating techniques. The researchers measured the abundance and diversity of wild bees on all three types of farms during the 2001 growing season. They also measured how rapidly pollen accumulated on flowers living on each farm type. Domesticated bees weren’t used during the experiments. Kremen and her team mates found more than twice as many bees - from more than twice as many different species - on organic farms near wild habitats than they did on either organic farms farther from natural habitats or conventional farms close to nature.

The researchers also found that native bees delivered an average of nearly 1,800 pollen grains per day to each flower on organic farms near natural lands, but only about 600 and 300 grains per flower per day, respectively, to the second and third farm types. About 1,000 pollen grains per flower per day are required for successful fertilization, they estimated. “On organic farms near natural habitat, we found that native bee communities could provide full pollination services,” the researchers concluded in a paper that will appear in an upcoming issue of the journal Proceeds of the National Academy of Sciences. “All other farms, however, experienced greatly reduced diversity and abundance of native bees, resulting in insufficient pollination services from native bees alone,” the trio wrote.

A Beeline for the Bottom Line
Kremen said that farming techniques that appear friendly to native bees include avoiding herbicide and pesticide use; growing a diversity of crops on each plot of land, rather than a single crop; and cultivating some plants that don’t have economic value on their own but that help provide a continual supply of food for native bees. In some cases, she said, it may even be advantageous to allow weeds to grown along the borders of fields. “We couldn’t do away with honeybees all together,” said Kremen. But, she said, farmers could “reduce the [number of] honeybees that they rent and blow that money into these small restoration efforts,” which could help native bee populations grow and might ultimately pay dividends. The resulting diversity of bee species would also offer an insurance policy against, for example, attacks by parasites that prey mainly on honeybees. “If honeybees continue to decline, [these farmers] will be better off, because they’ll have these natural pollinators,” said Kremen. “As we destroy natural habitats, we are reducing our options,” she said. “We are destroying an insurance policy.”


Most beekeepers will know that one of the main aims of commercial beekeeping is to provide a pollination service, and indeed, this service whether by accident or design is essential to any farming community. But those beekeepers will also know that some plants are wind pollinated either wholly or partially. (Hay fever sufferers will certainly know all about this). But how effective is this wind pollination? Until recently it was thought that it was indeed an effective means of pollination, but in a new study, it has been found that the wind transports pollen far less effectively than scientists assumed according to a new study of invasive Atlantic cordgrass by researchers at UC Davis in the USA. A practical application of this new knowledge will help control a cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora that is invading wetlands on the Pacific coast of America.

Plants including grasses, oaks and pine trees need the wind to carry pollen between plants, fertilizing nascent seeds. Scientists guessed that wind pollination was efficient, but the theory hadn't been tested. "People think, because they get hay fever, there's always plenty of pollen in the air," said Heather G. Davis, lead author on the study published Aug. 16 in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA. "But pollen is fragile, like sperm. It has a very short life."

Working in the salt marsh of Willapa Bay, Wash. Davis and colleagues studied wind pollination at two stages of a Spartina invasion: early, when plants are spread apart, and late, when plants form a solid meadow.

Wind pollination worked well for late-invasion meadow plants, causing high seed production. But the wind worked poorly when plants were spread further apart.

Early-invasion plants received little pollen and made very few seeds.

Davis thinks this explains why Spartina covers only 60 of Willapa Bay 's 230 acres, despite having been present in the bay for a century. The study's findings are helping biologists devise new strategies to eradicate invasive species. A worrying feature of this is that the researchers believe that inefficient wind pollination could also speed the extinction of rare plants.

This research project details an ingenious and incredibly complex Information System to help scientists analyze mechanisms of social behaviour. The information system is to be driven by the honey bee. With a $5 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign will create Bee Space, a system to help scientists analyze all sources of information relevant to the mechanisms of social behaviour.

The complex society of the Western honey bee, Apis mellifera, will drive the information system. The system will be a software environment that “will help to shed light on an unprecedented scale on the relationship between genes and how lives are carried out in an animal society,” said principal investigator Bruce Schatz, professor of library and information science. “We will take a fresh look at the fundamental problem of the mechanism of behaviour, whether behaviour is caused by nature or nurture,” said Schatz, who also directs the Community Architectures for Network Information Systems (CANIS) Laboratory, a campus resource for new information systems. “Worries abound over the ethical implications of genetic determinism,” he said. “The goal of Bee Space is to help forge a deeper understanding of the relationship between genes and behaviour that transcends nature-nurture. This project will use genomic biology to demonstrate that what matters for social behaviour is that DNA is both genetically inherited and environmentally responsive.”

Bee Space was one of six awards totalling $30 million announced today as part of the NSF’s Frontiers of Integrative Biological Research (FIBR), a program now in its second year. Bee Space will be housed in the Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB), now under construction on Gregory Drive in Urbana. The $75 million state-of-the-art facility, which will open in mid-2006, will be home to 400 campus researchers in three broad areas: systems biology, cellular and metabolic engineering, and genome technology. “We are pleased to provide the institutional support for Bee Space, which will be a flagship project for the institute,” said Harris Lewin, IGB director and professor of animal sciences. “We are putting significant resources behind this project to ensure that it demonstrates the great potential of genomic biology.”
New genome technology will underlie the Bee Space efforts in biology and informatics research. “In biology research, we will develop the first complete analysis of the normal behaviour of an animal at the level of gene expression,“ said Gene E. Robinson, professor of entomology. Robinson, the G.W. Arends Professor of Integrative Biology and director of the Neuroscience Program at Illinois, is one of six scientists with leading roles in Bee Space. Robinson also is coordinating the honey-bee genome project, which began in 2002, with sequencers at the Human Genome Sequencing Centre at the Baylor College of Medicine in Houston. “Honey bees are complex social animals with highly flexible behaviour,” he said. “They live in the equivalent of an urban environment where much of their social behaviour is in response to environmental conditions.” A Bee Space team led by Robinson will generate a molecular signature of all the major roles performed by honey bees. “To do this,” he said, “we will generate profiles of gene expression that occurs in the brain of individuals that are captured in the very act of performing their normal activities.”

While the experimental model is an insect, the researchers will use broad categories of social roles that could potentially apply to higher organisms, including humans. To further support comparisons across organisms, genes whose expressions are particularly significant for social behaviour will be localized within the bee brain. Susan Fahrbach, a long-time professor of entomology at Illinois who now is the Reynolds Professor of Developmental Neuroscience at Wake Forest University in North Carolina, will handle the neuroanatomy. She also will use Bee Space in undergraduate education. “In informatics research, we will develop the first complete environment to conceptually navigate all the knowledge about a major model organism,“ Schatz said. “The Bee Space environment will include all information relevant to social behaviour of honey bees, from genome databases and scientific literature,” he said. “This information will be indexed with new semantic technologies that will support interactive navigation across many sources from many viewpoints, at the level of concepts rather than data.”

Technologies to statistically analyze the information sources to enable semantic indexing will be developed by ChengXiang Zhai, professor of computer science and an expert on processing natural language for information retrieval. Sandra Rodriguez-Zas, professor of animal sciences and expert on designing micro array experiments, will pursue technologies to analyze the gene expressions.

The experimental users of Bee Space will be an international community of biologists who study honey bees and related organisms. The education and outreach will be supervised by Bertram Bruce, professor of library and information science. Students and educators will be fundamentally involved in the project.

University students will be trained in the frontiers of integrative biology, and advanced high school and minority middle-school students will get a taste of the scientific research. “By testing the Bee Space environment with users at different levels, we hope to demonstrate the utility of concept navigation across community knowledge,“ Schatz said. “Similar information technology can then serve as a model of the Interspace, the generation of the Net beyond the Internet, where the entire world’s knowledge can be easily analyzed across many sources.” (I wonder what Langstroth would have thought about all this. Ed).

THE BEE PRESS Back to top

Beecraft October 2004 Volume 86 Number 10
Claire Waring Editor.
The following is its contents list: High-tech beekeeping - Jérôme Trouiller, PhD; Are you being followed? - Adrian Waring, NDB; The beekeeping year: October - Pam Gregory, MSc, NDB; Is anyone sitting on a gold mine?- Louise Ferguson; Wax works - Chris Richmond; You have a problem - Ann W Harman; Revisiting the bees of the Yucatan - Adam Hart, PhD; The never-ending battle - Adrian Waring, NDB; From the lab: queen promiscuity and nest stability - Adam Hart, PhD; Ivy: condemned or ignored! - Ian Gorley; In the apiary: having fun with bees (part 9) - Karl Showler; Book reviews: Starting with Bees by Peter Gordon; Pollen – all packed up and ready to go by Madeline M Harley; The Rock Art of Honey Hunters by Eva Crane; Making a Bee-line by Eva Crane; Beeing by Rosanne Daryl Thomas.
Editorial: We have another bumper issue of BeeCraft for you this month with lots to get your teeth into, ranging from bees in the Yucatan , the battle against wasps and a look at honey product marketing, to climate change and the problem of bees that follow. Once again, the beekeeping season is drawing to a close with colonies back from the heather and tucked up for winter. Now, what are you going to do with all that spare time you will have during the next few months? If you are of a practical bent, you can go out to the workshop and build yourself a solar wax extractor so that you can reclaim the wax from all those old combs during the heatwave that we hope for in 2005. Those who like a more sedentary life when the weather is cold and wet outside should find something to read in our extensive book review pages. Again, there is something for everyone, from the beginner to the (rock) artist, from the paleontologist to the traveler. And don’t forget the one for the cook! We welcome a new column in this issue. Adam Hart from Sheffield University will be bringing us summaries of the latest in bee research, starting this month with the fascinating finding that the multiple mating of the queen leads to better temperature regulation in the nest. As I write, Hurricane Ivan is raging round the Caribbean and we certainly seem to be experiencing more extremes in our weather. Some say global warming is here already while others claim that it is too early to tell. The BBC Natural History Unit is seeking help (see page 13) with a programme they are filming for the 2005/2006 season. Do you have any data tucked away in a cupboard? You, too, can contribute to the great global warming debate! Claire Waring

Beecraft October 2004 BKQ No.78
Bee Craft October 2004
31 pages
BKQ Autumn 2004
58 pages

BKQ Autumn 2004 No. 78
John Phipps Editor.
This latest issue of the Beekeepers Quarterly is further proof that the magazine is going from strength to strength after merging with Bee Biz. The range of articles are for both hobbyists and professionals. The names of the contributors are known to all as experts in their field from all over the world. Beekeeping in today's world is a global affair and knowledge of the beekeeping world is an essential part of any beekeepers' reading and understanding whether he or she has two hives or two thousand. This understanding can only be gained by keeping up to date with the experts. John Phipps, the editor, has ensured that they are here in the Quarterly. Read it and stay abreast of affairs in your world. You won't be disappointed. David Cramp

The September quote came from that master of scientific bee research, Professor Karl Von Frisch.

Professor Karl Von Frisch

Born in Vienna in 1886, he studied at the Vienna University Medical School , transferring in the third year to a zoology course under Professor Richard Von Hertwig. His post graduate work concerned the vision of fish and he presented a paper on the subject for admission as a lecturer at the University of Munich in 1912. This, and similar work on bees continued until the First World War. His bee work took place mainly on vacations at his family home in Austria with his two uncles professors Franz and Sigmund Exner assisting him in his work. Over the next few decades, most of his research was centered on the research facilities of the University of Munich and in 1927 the first of a series of books ‘The Dancing Bees’ from where the quote was taken from, was published. After the Second World War, Von Frisch accepted the chair of Zoology at the University of Graz , but returned to Munich in 1950 and remained there until his retirement as Emeritus Professor. From 1962 to 1964, Von Frisch served as President of the International Bee Research Association and in 1967 published his work ‘The dance language and orientation of bees’.

He received many academic awards during his life including a Nobel Prize for medicine in 1973 for work on individual and social behavioral patterns. (His book Bees: Their Vision, Chemical Senses and Language first published in 1950 started me off in beekeeping. The 1968 reprint by cape Editions is a small, bright yellow hardback book that I had been eying up for ages in the local bookshop. I finally bought the book, read it and was hooked. Ed).

ARTICLES Back to top

This item detailing continueing research into the problem of Varroa will be of interest to all beekeepers and was passed to us by Roger White, a bee farmer and correspondent in Cyprus.

Fungi vs Varroa
Parasites known as Varroa mites infest honey bee colonies, sucking blood from the bees and causing weight loss, deformities, diseases, and reduced lifespan. These mites, which can nearly destroy an entire colony within a few months, now infest honey bee colonies across most of North America.

The honey bee is critical to maintaining natural vegetation, transferring pollen between flowers as it collects the pollen and nectar for its hive. And more than 130 agricultural plants in the United States are pollinated by honey bees. Every year, beekeepers send their best bees throughout the country to help pollinate crops, one farm at a time. In 2003, the value they added to U.S. crops was estimated at $10 billion, not including the honey, beeswax, and royal jelly also produced. USDA's National Agricultural Statistics Service reported more than 2.5 million honey bee colonies—up 1 percent from 2002—and U.S. honey production increased 5 percent, to 181 million pounds.

Since 2000, scientists in the ARS Beneficial Insects Research Unit (BIRU) at Weslaco, Texas, have been looking for a disease-causing agent, or pathogen, that can stop Varroa mites. The mite has developed resistance to the only approved chemicals—fluvalinate and coumaphos—now used for control, and coumaphos is on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's "hit list" for possible removal from the market. So the researchers have looked at various disease agents, tried different dosages and application methods, and conducted toxicity tests. Finally, they selected a strain of the fungus Metarhizium anisopliae that was highly pathogenic to Varroa mites.

This potent fungus, which also kills termites, doesn't harm bees or affect their queen's production. To test it, the scientists coated plastic strips with dry fungal spores and placed them inside the hives. Since bees naturally attack anything entering their hives, they tried to chew up the strips, spreading the spores throughout the colony.

In field trials, once the strips were inside the hives, several bees quickly made contact with the spores. Within 5 to 10 minutes, all the bees in the hive were exposed to the fungus, and most of the mites on them died within 3 to 5 days. The fungus provided excellent control of Varroa without impeding colony development or population size.

"We tried to find a pathogen of Varroa, and we did it!" says ARS entomologist Walker A. Jones, research leader of the BIRU. Tests showed that Metarhizium was as effective as fluvalinate, even 42 days after application. "Commercial beekeepers are very edgy about using fluvalinate and coumaphos and are eager to see this natural control get to market," Jones says.

This research was begun by Rosalind James, formerly with the Weslaco unit. Lambert H.B. Kanga, former BIRU research associate and now chair of the Entomology Department at Florida A&M University at Tallahassee, continues to collaborate on the project. "While Metarhizium doesn't kill as fast as fluvalinate and coumaphos, the result is the same," Kanga says. "Metarhizium gets the job done, and we won't have to worry about Varroa becoming resistant to the fungus."

The scientific team is now fine-tuning the strategy for transfer to producers.—By Alfredo Flores, Agricultural Research Service Information Staff.

This research is part of Crop Production, an ARS National Program

Honey bee populations in decline. What about wild bees?
We have previously reported on the decline of honey bee populations and the effect this decline has on agriculture, and many beekeepers will know that for certain crops, other bees can and are used such as the alfalfa leafcutter bee and others. These bees although useful are similar to honey bee colonies in that they are managed. What do we know though about actual wild bees and their value in pollination? Are there sufficient of them to take up the slack left by the decline in managed honey bee colonies? Have they enough natural habitats to make a contribution of value? We have commented in earlier issues on the work of Conservation biologist Claire Kremen in the USA and this report continues her story on the value of wild bees.

Osmia Rufa

Decades of disease and overuse of pesticides have put the squeeze on populations of the domesticated honeybee. As a result, farmers are increasingly left with fields of flowering crops that fail to bear fruit. Since some 15 to 30 percent of the food we humans eat directly or indirectly depend on the pollination services of bees, scientists say the problem threatens to take some excitement - and potentially abundance - from our diets.

Wild bees usually go unnoticed, but can provide an important contribution to crop pollination. With honeybee populations falling, some biologists and farmers are concerned about insufficient crop pollination, a primary service that honeybees perform. Wild bees, however, may help decrease the level of un-pollinated crops, as the mites that seriously harm honeybees don't affect wild bees.

Claire Kremen, a conservation biologist at Princeton University in New Jersey , thinks native wild bees can take some of the sting from the honeybee decline. These wild bees buzzed North America for thousands of years before the domesticated European variety arrived. "We need to ensure we can keep on having [honeybees] around, but at the same time we can reduce the risk of relying on honeybees for crop pollination by protecting wild bees and ensuring their pollination services can be maximized," she said. Scott Hoffman Black is executive director of the Xerces Society, a Portland, Oregon-based invertebrate-conservation organization. He says North American farmers rely so heavily on domesticated honeybees today that they often forget that pollinated food crops existed before the domesticated honeybee was introduced. "Prior to the advent of large-scale monoculture agriculture [the practice of growing only one kind of plant in a given plot] in the fifties and the use of lots of chemical pesticides, native bees and feral honeybees pollinated everything. It wasn't an issue. People didn't cart bees all over the country," he said. Kremen and Black's organization are collaborating to spread the word about the role wild bees play in crop pollination. While they acknowledge that farmers cannot and will not revert to pre-1950s practices for the sake of wild bees, they advocate steps to conserve and use native wild bee populations as an insurance policy for when a honeybee shortage would otherwise leave fields sapped of their full potential.

Melitta Leporina

Scientists estimate there are about 4,000 different species of wild bees that are native to North America . They nest in thick grass, soil, and wood; are rarely kept in hives; and generally do not make surplus honey or form large colonies.

While the mites that have proven so devastating to domesticated honeybee populations cause little effect to the wild bees, pesticide use and habitat loss are taking their toll, according to Black. "Like any animal, native bees need a place to live," he said. "They need nest sites and floral resources, and if they don't have them, they won't be there."

According to Black, people can take small steps to augment wild bee populations, such as making nesting areas available. Given that about 70 percent of wild bees nest directly in the ground, not in hives, this is simpler than it seems, he added.

Wild bees also need natural habitat to forage, which can include small woodlots, areas along a stream, or even a hedgerow between fields of crops. As an added bonus, Kremen said, wild bees help keep wild areas healthy. "They help us maintain the natural landscape, which provides spiritual beauty, recreational quality, and other ecosystem services we depend on," she said.

But are wild bee populations viable? Kremen has been documenting the extent wild bee’s play in crop pollination in California and has found that on farms in narrow valleys surrounded by wild vegetation the native bees can do most of the work. But this is the exception, not the rule. The bulk of California farms are sprawling monoculture fields in the central valley that are completely devoid of natural bee habitat, meaning that wild bees will never be able to provide all of a farmer's pollination needs. "In most of the central valley - no way. The bee populations are not healthy enough," she said. "There's a dramatic decline in bee diversity and bee abundance when you go from the narrow valleys to the wide central valley."

Robust wild bee populations do not thrive in the central valley's monoculture fields but small improvements could allow some native bees to flourish, as long as larger source areas are also restored and protected. These small steps could include reintroduced native vegetation to areas around tractor sheds and irrigation ditches. "If you can get 10, 20, 30 percent of your needs met by wild bees, that would help a lot," she said.

Frank Chappell visits the 2004 National Honey Show
The National Honey Show this year was at the Royal Air Force Museum at Hendon which, for us, is rather remote being on the other side of London. Generously, Gordon Harradine gave Jim Grierson and I a lift in his car and so he was the one who had to battle it out on the North Circular. I would have preferred it if the show could have stayed at Kensington Town Hall, but it was an expensive venue. On the other hand, it was a bonus to be able to look at the planes in the museum and see them close up; until you are close, you don’t realise just how big they are. The museum is large too and this was somewhat emphasised by having the show at one end and the trade exhibits at the other with the lectures somewhere in between.

RAF Hendon

No one had told me that they were going to enter, so I was delighted to find members’ names amongst the winners. Pride of place goes to Helen who achieved a First for her Small Honey Cakes, a Second for her Biscuits and was Highly Commended for her Sweets (don’t forget, these are National classes). Also winners were Kit, with a Second for his Medium Honey and a Third for the Light, and Greg with a Second for his Gingerbread, Highly Commended for his Set Honey in two classes, and Commended for his Cut Comb – a class I don’t remember anyone from the branch winning or even entering for many years. With this encouragement maybe we will have even more entries next year.

RAF Hendon

One item of beekeeping equipment that had been entered was a new arrangement of a hive. An aperture covered with queen excluder had been cut in the side of the brood box which did not have an entrance. A super alongside with an entrance had a corresponding hole in a side wall, so that the bees could pass through to the brood box. Additional supers were then added above the first. The advantage claimed for this is that inspections of the queen and brood can be carried out without having to lift off any supers and the risk of damage to one’s back. I am not sure what the bees would think about this arrangement but if I understand it correctly it would appear to make swarms impossible except when you open up the brood chamber.

Honey Classes

The only new thing I noticed in the Trade Stands (which seemed fewer in number than previously) was a Varrox Vaporiser on the Thorne’s stand. This is a small cup heated by electricity which contains oxalic acid crystals and is inserted through the hole in the entrance block. When heated, the crystals are vaporised and are deposited as a fine film on the bees and the surfaces of the hive. It is claimed that this is well tolerated by the bees, but is deadly to varroa. The heater needs a 12V supply and as it is rated at 150W, you need a car battery as well. At a price of £80 and about £7 for the crystals I think it unlikely that many beekeepers will buy it.

Honey Judging

Frank Chappell - Orpington BKA of the Kent Beekeepers' Association

Back to back for my back
One of the things I intend to experiment with this year to save injuring my back is developing a system whereby Supers are stacked beside or behind the brood – a bit like the principle involved in the long-hive.

Let us look for a moment at the standard approach. Typically you stack Supers on top of the Brood box until they scrape the sky then moan like hell at the massive weight involved in (a) taking them off to insert a clearer board (if you do it that way) (b) putting them back onto the clearer board (c) taking them off again and struggling fifty yards to your car with them and (d) straining not only your back but domestic relations by forcing your spouse/partner to help you carry them from the car. If you split them you run the risk of a massive robbing episode; if you don’t split them – a massive osteopath bill. In any case it is almost impossible to manage without the help of another fit person and therefore scuppers your plan of keeping bees on a deserted island in the Med.

Why stack them up? Despite the wisdom of the “Antients” in the Craft, there is an obvious illogic in thinking that this is they way the bees prefer it. In the wild, bees may well inhabit tree trunks and build upwards from the entrance but research shows that they are just as likely to go down from the entrance hole as up, if that is the way the tree is configured inside. The closely related though undomesticated species Apis dorsata and A. florea, build combs hanging downwards from tree limbs or rock overhangs but don’t have “living quarters” underneath.

Those of you mad enough to be on a “swarm-catcher” list also know that it is not unusual for bees to nest in the space under floorboards (for example) where their comb is built horizontally. This is the principle behind long-hives.

So why not go the whole hog and convert to long-hives? Because I don’t see the need to spend all that money when I may be able to solve the same problem with a few simple materials and some help from the Internet. I found some information on the net on “bee condos” (now there’s a great Americanism if ever there was one) which I think is worth adapting a little; so what I have in mind is as follows.

Firstly get hold of a weather-resistant table – e.g. steal the patio table from your own garden and blame burglars so that your Better Half doesn’t come down on you like a ton of bricks.

Place your colony in its brood box at the front centre of the table (allowing for an alighting area) over a fresh hive floor, adapted by opening up extra entrances on either the back or on the back and sides. You will not need four entrances at first and it is up to you to decide whether you want your first “annexe” to the rear or by the side of the brood. Therefore, seal the two entrances you don’t want to use straight away. Cover the brood box with crown-board and roof in the usual way.

Now take a second floor – this time you may or may not want to increase the number of entrances. Place this floor with its entrance hard against the back or side entrance to the brood and insert/attach a piece of queen excluder between the two apertures. On top of the second floor, place one or two Supers with frames/foundation etc, crown-board or quilt and roof.

You can repeat this process sequentially as the season goes on and are only limited by the size of the table. If you end up with supers against three sides of the brood it is also the best possible insulation you can get for the brood. You can decide whether to go for two-high or three-high and even think about adding on to the sides of the Supers themselves – bearing in mind the need to get access to all boxes. The roofs are for “summer” use so need not be as substantial as that on the brood.

For those that still insist that bees prefer to go “up” you could sit two-Super stacks side by side in series and site the brood box below it (on a lower stand) with “pipes” leading into each stack. It may look a bit Heath Robinson but who cares? It may not even work but for the curious beekeeper that likes to have some fun and can afford to set aside a colony, it may be an interesting project.

When it comes to clearing the Supers you can simply insert a reversed spray entrance into the floor and if you have more than one “entrance” it may clear even quicker by inserting spray-blocks in each entrance. Failing that, it is much easier to insert a clearer board between the floor and two or even three Supers than trying to do it to six or seven at a time. I also intend to make more use of “chemical” clearers having seen their effective use at Woodlands Farm this year, which may obviate clearer-boards altogether.

And this is the whole point of the exercise – you can lift off two or even three full Supers a hell of a lot easier than six or eight – even on your own.

In order to check the full validity of the results obtained from this experiment I will need to monitor it against the production of a normal hive. Of course, that invokes another factor i.e. would the two specific colonies normally produce an approximately equal yield? I am not sure how you get round that one unless you alternate the colonies over a two or three year period. Perhaps it would be better to measure results simply by asking whether the production from the “condo” is up to expectations compared to what one would expect from an unreconstructed hive.

I am not saying it is as straightforward as I have written above but I can only try it.

Mike Oliver, Bromley BKA of the Kent Beekeepers' Association

Bee keeping is not cool
Discovering that I kept bees was about as hilarious as when they found out that I had a fIrst name other than Mr. Apparently eleven-year-olds do not consider bee-keeping to be cool. But what do they know? They're eleven.

Mind you, I hope they do know some things: I'm their maths teacher. You would not believe the disruption to a lesson that a bee flying into the classroom can cause. You can guarantee that no learning is going to take place until that bee leaves the classroom. Usually I nominate the 'disruptive element' among the students to organise the removal of the bee. They get a tremendous sense of worth from the task. For a start, it affords them a legitimate excuse to run over the tables and leap from chair to chair.

They know well that they must not cause any harm to the bee: 'it might be one of sir's' they will tell you. They're good like that. Wasps do not have such protection and are usually found flattened on the underside of their text books. 'That bee has important work to do, it must be released immediately! ' I say as excitable students usher the hapless insect to the open window, with the clamour and screams of various ducking girls.

Knowing that such classroom antics are reported back to over-anxious parents who realise that bee-chasing is not part of the National Curriculum, I set a little situation-related task, (Ofsted would love this I thought.) 'If there are 40,000 bees in a colony, and a new colony of bees might cost you £150, what is the cost of this one bee? I'd like the answer in pence please.' Sadly the bell rang, announcing the fact that the students, not having packed up their belongings, would all be late for their next lesson. I happily dismissed them from my room like lemonade from a shaken pop-bottle, and as they ran past me, I called ‘ can do that question for homework….’

Amazingly, Jamie Baxter appeared the following morning; I don't think I'd ever seen him in school before break time. 'I done that bee thing, Sir,' he said proudly handing me his dad's homework. It was all neatly written out; he'd even underlined the answer, as well as the date and the title, this chap really did deserve the merit mark I gave him, and so, thanks to Jamie (and/or his Dad) I can finally tell you the value of a bee.

£150 divided by 40,000.
£150 is 15000 pence,
15,000 divided by 40,000 gives you the value of a single bee at O.375p.
Therefore you get roughly three bees to a penny. Who said life wasn't cheap?
Interestingly, you will get 267 bees for a Pound but only 158 for a Euro, (remember that come the referendum.)

Last week two distressed girls from the same maths class burst into my classroom at lunch time with the awful news that, '….a bee flew into Mrs. Jill's room during our French lesson, and she hit it with a ruler, and now it's dead, and we think it's one of yours.' As you will understand, Mrs Jill and I are no longer talking.


Do remember we welcome poetry, long or short, or ideas for poetry from all of our readers, so do write in. This piece from ‘A Poet’s Proverbs’ by Arthur Guthernon perfectly describes a bee’s role in two lines.

While honey lies in Every Flower, no doubt,

It takes a Bee to get the Honey out.


Mantecadas are very sweet, soft biscuits made all over Spain and served up especially during the Christmas period. During this time, many shops have a plate of these on offer to clients together with a bottle of anis and lots of small glasses. The idea is to stop for a drink and biscuit at each shop during your Christmas shopping. Then you need to get a taxi home. The base of the biscuits is pork lard which makes them soft and smooth. Here is a recipe for one of these appropriately called ‘drunken biscuits’.

You need:
200g of pork lard.
100g sugar.
50g honey.
150g flour.
Half pint of wine. (Quarter of a litre).
Some lemon zest.

Soften the pork lard if not already soft.
Add little by little the wine and the lemon zest and the flour.
Keep stirring the mix and add the sugar and honey.
When mixed to a thick paste put it on a wooden tray in a round, flat shape.
Cut into round biscuit shapes with a biscuit cutter or round wine glass.
Dust the biscuits with flower. (You can also try dusting them with cinnamon or sugar). Place in a medium oven for 20 minutes.

This recipe for chapped skin may be appropriate for the coming cold and raw weather. It can be used on face and neck as well as hands and feet and is very soothing and effective.

Dissolve 1 dessertspoon (soup spoon) of honey with 1 of glycerine, two tablespoons of witch hazel, two tablespoons of vegetable oil and a little warmed water. Shake up everything well and bottle it. It will keep for months and is said to be better than anything you can buy.

FACT FILE Back to top

In last month’s issue of Apis-UK we looked at the situation regarding honey imports into and within the European Union. This month, we take a look at the export situation. The figures are for 2003 and so the new members of the union mentioned in the news item above, are not included.

Table 1. Export totals from countries in the EU to other EU countries and to countries outside the Union. Because most of the trade in honey derives from members of the euro zone, amounts are in metric tons and values are in euros x 1000.

Table 1

So who did we export to outside of the EU:

Table 2

These figures throw up some interesting facts. The largest buyer of European honey was Australia with 1196 tons. Nearly all of this, some 1192 tons was from Denmark. With prices varying enormously, the big three were Spain which was the largest exporter to countries outside of the EU with 25% of the total with Germany a close second with 23% and Denmark with 20%.


We all know that for many centuries, reproduction of the bee was a closed subject and indeed many aspects of their reproduction such as drone congregation areas are still subjects of much research, debate and ignorance. Bees mate on the wing far from our site and hearing, and many theories have been put forward in the past regarding this mysterious subject. Many writers were completely dismayed by the subject. How to write a book on bees without explaining their reproduction, about which they knew nothing, was a puzzle for most of them. John Evelyn the English diarist and man of affairs (1620 to 1706) was no different and tried to clarify the matter in his writings ‘On Bees’ in the ‘Elysium Britannicum’ thus:

‘We do not trouble our readers with the philosophy of their reproduction, nor enter into the discourse of equivocal and anomalous generations, because of swelling this chapter whereof this is but a section, and for that we have something further to say concerning insects. This only may not be omitted, that those of the blood Royal are found to be a breed by themselves, as immix’d as the Persian Magi, nor pass they through those various and stupendious transmigrations, that the vulgar and their other subjects do. For so it was fit, that the Amazonian race of Melissa should be preserved incontaminate, whom the wiser Heathen, ravish’d with the contemplation of their works, made more ancient than Jupiter himself, for the Phryonides ‘tis said nursed him up with their honey.’

Any Questions?

LETTERS Back to top

No readers letters this month!

BEEKEEPING COURSE 2005 Back to top

Avon Beekeepers Association are running their popular beekeeping for beginners course which aims to provide the basic theory needed before acquiring a hive of bees.
Avon Beekeeping Association (which covers the area around Bath, Blagdon, Bristol, Keynsham and Weston super Mare) are holding their Beginners Course over the three Saturdays from February 26th 2005 10-4.30pm. The course will be held at The Millennium Hall, Chew Magna, 8 miles south of Bristol and the cost £30. For further information contact Lyn Sykes. Tel 01125 874035 or Email: lynsykes @

An Introduction to Beekeeping
Venue: Derby College Broomfield Hall, Morley near Derby.
Dates: Saturday 7th May 2005 for eight weeks 10 am to 12 noon.
Tutor: Margaret Cowley M.Sc., Cert.Ed.
Fee: £94 including Open College Network certification.
Details: This course will be both theoretical and practical. It is suitable for those thinking about keeping bees or those who wish to improve their beekeeping management. It follows the syllabus for the Basic Certificate in Apiculture. Margaret Cowley 01332 556227 or Email: margaret @


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

14th November 2004 - Brisbane Amateur Beekeepers’ Society Open Hive Field Day
9.00am - 3.00pm @ ROCKLEA SHOWGROUNDS CENTRE RING, Rocklea Agricultural & Industrial Association Inc. Cnr Goburra Street & Ipswich Road, Rocklea, Brisbane Q 4106 ENTER FROM SLIP ROAD - USE Goburra Street GATES. Enquiries: Julie Marsh, Treasurer Phone: (07) 3216 8269 FAX: 0734205460 Email: errol_juliemarsh @ Market Day for Used Beekeeping Equipment, Beekeeper Activities, Honey Judging and Sales, Smoker Competition, Framing Competition, Find the Queen Bee Competition, Honey Recipe Bake-off. **Please deliver any equipment for sale by 8.30am ** INTER—CLUBS COMPETITION (CERTIFICATES WILL BE AWARDED) FRAMING COMPETITION: Each Club to provide team/s of FOUR, to assemble, wire, and crimp four frames, using a framing/wiring board. Club Certificate awarded on QUALITY. (Judge TBA). SMOKER COMPETITION: $1.00 Entry. Individual Beekeepers, two at a time, to collect smoker, fuel, light smoker, proceed to double hive, smoke the entrance until smoke emanates from vent holes in lid. First to complete stays in competition. The other Beekeeper is eliminated. Heats continue, all winners go into a Smoke-off. (Prize money determined by number of entrants. Finalist, Second and Third Place getters receive Certificate) . FIND THE QUEEN BEE COMPETITION: 50 cents Entry. Unmarked Queens in 2 observation frames of bees. Individual Beekeepers, two at a time, timed to find Queen. Top 10 best times go into a playoff. Best time wins. (Prizemoney determined by number of entrants. Certificate to Winner) HONEY JUDGING: (Open to all) See Schedule Attached. HONEY RECIPE BAKE-OFF: (Open to all) Using the Recipe Attached. Bake at Home, bring cake on the day.

1st, 2nd April 2005 - Ulster Beekeepers' Association 61st Annual Conference
Greenmount Campus, College of Agriculture , Food and Rural Enterprise , Antrim. This year we have a new panel of speakers from Scotland , Ireland and England , headed by Willie Robson an extensive honey farmer and popular conference speaker, from Berwick-on Tweed in Scotland . We also have trade stands where you may buy your supplies for the New Season. The conference will commence at 7.30pm on Friday 1 st April with two lectures: “Our Bees in Winter”, Claire Chavasse . “Preparing for Spring”, Willie Robson. It will continue from 9am Saturday, 2 nd April with: “ Queens and Honey from the same Hive”, Ben Harden. “Effects of EC regulations on Beekeepers”, Food Standards Agency. “New Products”, Paul Smith ( Thorne s). “EXO-MITEtm Apis”, Clive Newitt. “Harvesting and Marketing the Honey Crop”, Willie Robson. “Open Forum”, Panel of experts. The Conference will conclude with the AGM of the UBKA commencing at 4.15pm . Admission, including tea/coffee on Saturday: both days, £15 per person, £25 per family, Friday only, £10 per person, £15 per family, pay at the door. For on-site accommodation contact Jim Fletcher on 028 9167 2163, for other accommodation contact Walter McNeill on 028 9446 4648. A warm invitation to everyone.

9th April 2005 (Saturday) - The Yorkshire Beekeepers Association Conference at Bishop Burton College, Beverley East Riding of Yorkshire. "Making the best of beekeeping knowledge to improve your practical skills" Lectures by Michael Badger MBE, Dr Dewey Caron and Ian Craig. Download Full Programme and Booking Form [96KB PDF]

16th April 2005 - BBKA Spring Convention and Exhibition
Further details from

Editor: David Cramp Submissions contact the Editor
Web Editor: Steven Turner

E-mail addresses are not hyper linked to prevent harvesting for spamming purposes. We recommend you cut & paste to your e-mail client if required.


This month’s quote is a bit more difficult, but should be recognised by those with an interest in cowboys.

‘We’re the last real cowboys, the last people moving livestock across the United States ’.

Who said it and about what?

Click here to print this page