Time seems to be speeding up. Five minutes ago I was wishing beekeepers
a happy new 2004 and now I am just about to do the same, a year
later. For me, it wasn’t the best of years for beekeeping.
A lousy spring; a hot summer with attendant forest fires and resulting
hive destruction, and bureaucracy to drive you insane. (Mind you,
as research is showing that high temperature and low humidity limit
varroa, I shouldn’t really have anything to worry about);
except the bureaucracy.
I write from New Zealand where I am having a detailed
look at the local bee scene by working at a 2500 hive outfit dedicated
to kiwi fruit pollination and active Manuka honey production. Based
in the North Island, it is certainly giving me a different perspective
on the subject and once I’ve sorted out having Christmas
in mid summer in my mind, I’m sure I’ll settle down
to it all. In a future issue I intend to provide a detailed look
at bee keeping in this far away land. In the meantime, we take
our Historical Note from advice to New Zealand
beekeepers given by the Reverend WC Cotton, that great beekeeping
pioneer who moved to the country in the 1840s.
I haven’t quite got all of my act together
and so if you see here a shorter Apis than usual, it is because
I am currently lacking some essential items of research. We will
do our best to entertain and inform however.
|Beekeeping NZ style
My own organic bees in Spain are flourishing after the hot, dry
and deadly Summer and we should have decent harvest in early Spring.
(My wife is looking after them).
Christmas is a time of thinking of others and so again this year
I ask you to think about the beekeeping charities. There are several
in the UK that we are all aware of and in this issue we introduce
you to another which although an animal charity, need bees for
Two new discoveries of
major importance to beekeepers and others are reported on in this
issue. Firstly, apitherapy research has shown that bee
products may well provide hope for cancer sufferers, and secondly
researchers have discovered the agent that controls age/task relationship
in bees. See both of these items in the research news section below.
It never ceases to amaze me that we continue to learn more and
more about bees almost with every passing month, and much of the
research is of direct practical use for beekeepers.
In this issue, we have interesting items on mites, magnets and
road safety for bees, and a quote which to my mind defines the
requirements of beekeeping education, a subject of great importance
to us all if we wish to see a good future for the craft as a whole.
And talking of quotes, a lady reader got last month’s quote
spot on when she emailed me with the news that the quote was by
Andy Card, a large scale migratory beekeeper in the USA. It was
contained in that brilliant book about migratory beekeepers called ‘Following
the Bloom’. This book, which is well worth a read, has just
been re issued by Stackpole Books of the USA. But, having said
all that, I was delighted to receive the email which I promptly
and mistakenly erased. In it, the lady informed me that she was
just about to go on holiday and the quote reminded her to pack
the book so that she could finish reading it. Thanks for that and
apologies as well. Do get in touch again.
letter includes a photo of his garage roof hives. (See below).
Do remember that any photos you may have of your beekeeping activities
which you think would interest our readers? We would be delighted
to publish them.
Finally in the readers section is a request for a hands
on beekeeping holiday. This should be an easy one. New Zealand
is probably a bit far but there must be numerous beekeepers in
France or Greece or Spain and indeed in the UK who could assist
with this. If so, please get in touch.
Varroa is a constant thorn in our sides and in this issue
we take a look at some of the lesser known methods in dealing with
the pests. And we bring you some strange news about Bayvarol. Readers
are always encouraged to send in any ideas on this subject however
outlandish they may seem. Some of the most outlandish have been researched
and we may have information on them to impart to readers.
More woes appear on the immediate horizon
for that worthy organisation, the BBKA as at time of going to print,
we hear that the much respected General Secretary, Claire Waring
is not to continue in her post. Let us hope that a suitable replacement
is found and that matters settle down swiftly. From the general
tenor of the various propositions to be put to the Annual Delegates
Meeting of the BBKA in January, it seems that the organisation
has much to contribute to the beekeeping scene in the UK. I know
well that there are critics, but from where I stand, looking in,
the BBKA and its network of county
and local associations appears to be an excellent concept, and
one that is missing in many other countries.
Finally, may I wish all of you a very happy Christmas
and a fine 2005. Thank you all for supporting, contributing to
and reading Apis-UK and making it a successful internet magazine.
And now to the December 2004 issue of Apis-UK.
BBKA GENERAL SECRETARY
Letter dated 13th December 2004 to Association
I am sorry to inform you that Claire Waring has decided that
she does not wish to continue working as the General Secretary
of the BBKA. I am sure you will all like me to thank her for
all the hard work she has put into the job this year.
Following Peter Spencer’s retirement form this position
after more than four year’s service we advertised the
vacancy and subsequently appointed Claire Waring last February.
Claire chose to work as consultant to the BBKA rather than to
be employed and arrangements were made for a performance review
and annual renewal if appropriate. This process has recently
been started but Claire then indicated that she did not wish
to seek renewal of the contract from the 15th February 2005.
We are thus faced with the need to identify new candidates
for the post and appoint the successful applicant for this important
position, as soon as possible. An advertisement will appear
in the next issue of BBKA News, but in the meantime we felt
that we should let you and your Association know of this development.
We are fortunate to have a very competent administrative assistant
at the NBC, in the form of Letitia Hammon, to whom you should
continue to address your Members Register updates and any other
official correspondence. She will be supported fully by other
members of the Executive, to whom you may address any issues
as you think fit. Their contact details are of course to be
found in the BBKA Year Book.
Finally, this letter has also been e-mailed to all the addresses
that we have on file. If you did not get an e-mail version please
let Letitia have your e-mail details to update our Secretaries
list. Thank you for your help and understanding. Yours sincerely Ivor
KENT EDUCATION GROUP
The Education Group
(see below for the guilty parties) spend quite a lot of time
talking but occasionally we make a decision. There was one
of these extraordinary moments at the last meeting at the beginning
of November when we roughed out a plan for next year’s
We are keen that people have the right skills and practice
to pass on their knowledge so we will be running the postponed
Train the Tutors Day – if you are interested contact one
of the Group members – provisionally planned for February.
There will also be a session on running an apiary demonstration – again,
make contact if this interests you. Lectures will be an important
aspect of the plan and subjects which will be offered may include
The Small Hive Beetle and Healing with Honey – subjects
and speakers to be finalised so watch this space.
A day on using microscopes is also planned. This will offer
two sessions – one for complete beginners on setting up
and viewing, and another session for those with some experience
of using microscopes on dissection, pollen and disease identification.
Many of these events are being planned in conjunction with
a local association, but this method reflects an important function
of the Education Group. If a local group identifies a need we
can join forces to make it more widely available to the rest
of the county and beyond. So, if your local group is planning
something interesting and you feel it would be of wider interest
then contact a member of the Education Group and we can offer
support in terms of advertising, venue or whatever you need.
Terry Hardy, Secretary (01622 832066), John Pollard, Chair
(01732 361306), John Hendrie (01732 833894), Terry Clare (01634
267435), Trevor Tong (01227 456797), Mike Oliver (0208 654 5435),
Julian Audsley (01304 820653) Terry Hardy
NEW BEE INSPECTOR APPOINTED FOR EASTERN REGION
Bee Unit has recently appointed Andy Wattam as Regional Bee
Inspector for its Eastern Region, which covers the counties
of Cambridgeshire, Norfolk, Suffolk, Bedfordshire, Essex and
Hertfordshire. Andy will take up the post from the beginning
of February 2005.
Andy is 35 and was born into a farming family in the Charnwood
Forest area of North West Leicestershire. He now lives in North
Eastern Leicestershire with his partner Jane and joins the National
Bee Unit team after seventeen years with Leicestershire Fire
and Rescue Service, latterly working in a senior management
position. He has a Post Graduate Management Qualification and
is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management. Andy has
also been working as the NBU Seasonal Bee Inspector for Leicestershire
and Rutland and has been involved in Beekeeping since his school
teacher introduced him to the craft back in 1984.
In his spare time Andy enjoys spending time with his family,
the countryside, gardening, D.I.Y and is a keen pianist, and
of course working with his own colonies of Bees.
Commenting on his appointment Andy said;
"I am looking forward to the exciting challenge of joining
the team at the National Bee Unit and working as the Regional
Bee Inspector for Eastern Region, alongside the already established
team of locally based Seasonal Bee Inspectors. I hope to forge
close links with members of the Apicultural Community within
the six counties and to continue, and build upon the excellent
work carried out by my predecessor John Blakesley and the National
HONEY V CANCER. NEW HOPE WITH APITHERAPY
Cancer is one of those
words that scares us all. It is one of those diseases that we
all dread, but now there is a ray of hope...the honey bee may
be able to help fight cancer. Honey and royal jelly could become
part of the arsenal of weapons against cancer, researchers
say. A team from the University of Zagreb, in Croatia, found
a range of honey-bee products stopped tumours growing or spreading
in tests on mice.
Writing in the Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture,
they say human cancer sufferers may also see benefits. But they
said the products should be considered for use along with, not
instead of, chemotherapy treatment.
The researchers looked at the potential benefits of bee venom
and honey....There is no doubt that honey has beneficial properties
and can be very good for you – says Dr Emma Croager of
Cancer Research UK. The researchers also examined compounds
found in propolis, and royal jelly.
Tumours were generated in the mice via the injection of cancer
cells, and each bee product was given to different mice before,
at the same time, or afterwards.
It was found that giving honey orally appeared to inhibit the
development of tumours when it was given before the injection
of cancer cells - although if given afterwards, it appeared
to fuel the development of secondary cancers.
Injecting the mice with royal jelly at the same time as they
were injected with tumour cells significantly reduced the spread
of the cancer. And injecting bee venom into the tumour appeared
to lead to it shrinking. When propolis or caffeic acid, a chemical
found in propolis, were injected, researchers saw significantly
reduced subcutaneous tumour growth and an increase in the survival
time of mice. The researchers say it is not yet clear how bee
products affect cancer cells.
But they suggest they may cause apoptosis (cell suicide) or
have direct effects which are toxic to the cells, or which help
the immune system fight the development of tumours. The research
team, led by Dr Nada Orsolic, said their study indicated honey-bee
products could be a useful tool in the control of tumour growth
in research. The research team added that “The intake
of honey-bee products may be advantageous with respect to cancer
and metastasis [secondary cancers] Prevention and stressed that
further animal and clinical research utilising these substances
is needed. Dr Emma Croager, a science information officer at
Cancer Research UK, said: “There is no doubt that honey
has beneficial properties and can be very good for you. “However,
this work is preliminary and careful large-scale studies in
people are needed to confirm if eating honey can protect us
THE BEARS AND THE BEES
Take a look at the website www.animalsasia.org
whilst you may be sickened at the cruelty to bears exposed on
the site, you will be delighted that bees can come to the rescue.
The Animals Asia Foundation is an animal
welfare organisation based in Hong Kong and dedicated to rescuing
endangered Moon Bears from Chinese bile farms. It is the largest
such effort on behalf of these bears and honey is critical to
the effort. The organisation has a moon bear rescue centre in
Sichuan Province in China and has the agreement of the Chinese
government to rescue 500 bears each year. There are some 7000
still in captivity. Many of the rescued bears are missing legs,
teeth, claws and paws due to the trauma of being trapped in
the wild and then being confined for years in cages no bigger
than their own body size. When rescued, the bears come to the
centre, emaciated, terrified, diseased and in horrific pain
from the 5 to 7 inch catheters that are permanently inserted
into their abdomens to drain the bile. On arrival at the centre
the bears have to be encouraged to eat and to stretch and exercise
their wasted muscles. They need to become strong enough to undergo
surgery to remove the catheters, lesions and infections. In
order to accomplish this, the centre mixes honey with fruit
and antibiotics. The honey is essential to tempt the bears to
eat, and even the sickest bears can’t refuse their favourite
treat. Indeed, the centre has a 10 minute video available clearly
depicting the happiness that the honey elicits in the bears.
The centre’s aim is to end bear farming in China by 2008
and any ‘honey money’ would be gratefully received.
If you want to know more, contact Andi Mowrer, Animals Asia
Foundation US Office, 80 Austin Drive, #41 Burlington, Vermont
05401. USA. Email: amowrer @ animalsasia.org,
or visit the web site. (Well worth a donation. Let bees help
CHANGING ROLES. PHILIPPINE MOUNTAIN FARMERS NOW ALSO BEEKEEPERS
Unlike lowland dwellers in the Philippines who are said to be facing financial
crisis and food shortages, highlanders like farmers in a remote region of
the country, have other alternatives - hunting, gathering root crops and
wild fruits, among others. But they have now discovered beekeeping as a relevant,
profitable and worthwhile activity.
Eleven representatives of a farmers association along with
some volunteers of the sponsoring group Cordillera Green Network
(CGN) completed a 3-day basic beekeeping seminar workshop.
(CGN, is a non-government organization devoted to preservation,
conservation and promotion of a green environment in the region).
Initially the NGO entered the area of Kibungan mainly for the
purpose of re-forestation and tree-planting supported by the
Aeon Environmental Foundation based in Japan.
They soon realised that he farmers were open to other ideas
including beekeeping other than just reforestation and tree-planting
activities and this realisation prompted CGN to sponsor the
workshop seminar. They provided the initial starter colonies
and smokers for the Kibungan farmers after forging a memorandum
of agreement with them. They engaged the Pines Beekeepers Cooperative
for technical supervision and support and the project kicked
Subsequently, the Farmers Livelihood Association committed
itself to providing feed, care and management activities to
sustain the bees and also pledged to plant some 10,000 seedlings
of Calliandra in denuded mountain sides of the area. This was
with the end in view of producing “green honey” in
the near future, because Calliandra (Calliandra colothysus)
has been identified as possible nectar source for this “green
honey” production as a result of a research conducted
by University of the Philippines . Calliandra is a tree species
which grows over 10 metres in height having distinctive upright
flowers that resemble the florets of the bottle-brush tree.
The nectar is yellow/green in colour and is converted into
a highly viscous, deep-green coloured honey. The trees can
also be pruned for firewood, another vital resource.
Aside from learning about basic equipment, hive management,
pests diseases, economics and return on investments and other
aspects of beekeeping, the participants on the basic beekeeping
course also visited the Benguet Beekeeping Service Centre headed
by director Edmund Benavidez.
The project started successfully with all of the Kibungan
colonies building up vigorously, having 10 regular frames of
bees per colony, two of which are now double deckers, and ready
for the honey flow season which ends this month. (December). “If
there are no drastic weather disturbances and the present rearing
practices of farmers will continue, there is nothing to worry
about regarding the Kibungan colonies as they are building
up fine,” an inspection report stated. And with the imminent
Yuletide season, the Kibungan beekeepers are just about ready
to enjoy a prosperous end to 2004.
THE SMALL HIVE BEETLE. CAN FUNGAL PATHOGENS HELP
We recently reported on the effectiveness of fungal pathogens
on varroa, but could there be hope that fungi may be used to
destroy that other looming threat to UK bees, the Small Hive
Beetle? In a study conducted earlier this year, researchers
in the USA and South Africa, healthy beetle larvae were exposed
to other larvae that had died during pupation and had been colonised
by fungi. Exposure was induced either by larval ingestion of
honey bee brood inoculated with an emulsion of the dead colonised
larvae, or contact with the dead colonised larvae post feeding.
Subsequently, similar numbers of larvae eclosed when feeding
on either the control or treatment brood, but, the number of
eclosing beetles was significantly lower for those that had
contacted the pathogen killed larvae post feeding than those
which had not.
Two species of Aspergillus were found colonising the larvae
and both are soil fungi known to attack insects (both species
cause disease in honey bees), and three additional fungi were
The researchers were unable to discover conclusively which
pathogen caused the increased mortality rate of the beetle larvae,
but the research does show that beetles like many other soil
pupating insects are susceptible to fungal infections.
Photo by S. Turner - Mead judging National Honey Show 2004
Many of our readers will have either drunk or produced mead
(or both) and many will know that this is an ancient drink,
especially in Europe, but now we can report that fermented honey
drinks may be older than we thought. 9000 years old at least.
Chemical analyses of ancient organics absorbed, and preserved,
in pottery jars from the Neolithic village of Jiahu, in Henan
province, Northern China, have revealed that a mixed fermented
beverage of rice, honey, and fruit was being produced as early
as 9,000 years ago, approximately the same time that barley
beer and grape wine were beginning to be made in the Middle
In addition, liquids more than 3,000 years old, remarkably
preserved inside tightly lidded bronze vessels, were chemically
analysed. These vessels from the capital city of Anyang and
an elite burial in the Yellow River Basin, dating to the Shang
and Western Zhou Dynasties (ca. 1250-1000 B.C.), contained specialized
rice and millet “wines.” The beverages had been
flavoured with herbs, flowers, and/or tree resins, and are similar
to herbal wines described in the Shang dynasty oracle inscriptions.
The new discoveries, made by an international, multi-disciplinary
team of researchers including the University of Pennsylvania
Museum’s archaeochemist Dr. Patrick McGovern of MASCA
(Museum Applied Science Centre for Archaeology), provide the
first direct chemical evidence for early fermented beverages
in ancient Chinese culture, thus broadening our understanding
of the key technological and cultural roles that fermented beverages
played in China. The discoveries and their implications for
understanding ancient Chinese culture Were published on-line
the week of December 6, 2004 in the PNAS Early Edition (Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences): “Fermented Beverages
of Pre-and Proto-historic China,” by Patrick E. McGovern,
Juzhong Zhang, Jigen Tang, Zhiquing Zhang, Gretchen R. Hall,
Robert A. Moreau, Alberto Nuñez, Eric D. Butrym, Michael
P. Richards, Chen-shan Wang, Guangsheng Cheng, Zhijun Zhao,
and Changsui Wang.
Dr. McGovern first met with archaeologists and scientists,
including his co-authors on the paper, in China in 2000, returning
there in 2001 and 2002. Because of the great interest in using
modern scientific techniques to investigate a crucial aspect
of ancient Chinese culture, collaboration was initiated and
samples carried back to the U.S. for analysis. Chemical tests
of the pottery from the Neolithic village of Jiahu was of special
interest, because it is some of the earliest known pottery from
China. This site was already famous for yielding some of the
earliest musical instruments and domesticated rice, as well
as possibly the earliest Chinese pictographic writing. Through
a variety of chemical methods including gas and liquid chromatography-mass
spectrometry, infrared spectrometry, and stable isotope analysis,
finger-print compounds were identified, including those for
hawthorn fruit and/or wild grape, beeswax associated with honey,
The prehistoric beverage at Jiahu, Dr. McGovern asserts, paved
the way for unique cereal beverages of the proto-historic 2
nd millennium BC, remarkably preserved as liquids inside sealed
bronze vessels of the Shang and Western Zhou Dynasties. The
vessels had become hermetically sealed when their tightly fitting
lids corroded, preventing evaporation. Numerous bronze vessels
with these liquids have been excavated at major urban centers
along the Yellow River, especially from elite burials of high-ranking
individuals. Besides serving as burial goods to sustain the
dead in the afterlife, the vessels and their contents can also
be related to funerary ceremonies in which living intermediaries
communicated with the deceased ancestor and gods in an altered
state of consciousness after imbibing a fermented beverage. “The
fragrant aroma of the liquids inside the tightly lidded jars
and vats, when their lids were first removed after some three
thousand years, suggested that they indeed represented Shang
and Western Zhou fermented beverages, “ Dr. McGovern noted.
Samples of liquid inside vessels from the important capital
of Anyang and the Changzikou Tomb in Luyi county were analyzed.
The combined archaeochemical, archaeobotanical and archaeological
evidence for the Changzikou Tomb and Anyang liquids point to
their being fermented and filtered rice or millet “wines,” either
jiu or chang, its herbal equivalent, according to the Shang
Dynasty oracle inscriptions. Specific aromatic herbs (e.g.,
wormword), flowers (e.g., chrysanthemum), and/or tree resins
(e.g., China fir and elemi) had been added to the wines, according
to detected compounds such as camphor and alpha-cedrene, beta-amyrin
and oleanolic acid, as well as benzaldehyde, acetic acid, and
short-chain alcohols characteristic of rice and millet wines.
Both jiu and chang of proto-historic China were likely made by
mold saccharification, a uniquely Chinese contribution to beverage-making
in which an assemblage of mold species are used to break down
the carbohydrates of rice and other grains into simple, fermentable
sugars. Yeast for fermentation of the simple sugars enters the
process adventitiously, either brought in by insects or settling
on to large and small cakes of the mold conglomerate (qu) from
the rafters of old buildings. As many as 100 special herbs, including
wormwood, are used today to make qu, and some have been shown
to increase the yeast activity by as much as seven-fold.
WASPS FAKING IT
Some time ago, Apis-UK reported
on the hierarchical nature of wasp societies and on the fact that
facial markings are important in this hierarchy. For readers interested
in other social insect societies, the following research may
be of interest. Ed.
When wasps sporting the high-quality symbol of a blotchy face
turned out to be wimps, they got harassed more than wasps whose
abilities were honestly reflected by their faces, report researchers
in the USA and Canada. It's the first conclusive report that
animals that don't signal their qualities honestly receive social
sanctions. Moreover, it's the first report of such quality signals
"It's the most conclusive evidence that these dishonest
visual signals have a social cost," said Elizabeth A. Tibbetts,
a postdoctoral fellow with the Centre for Insect Science at
the University of Arizona in Tucson. "If you fake it, you'll
get beaten up." She and her co-author James Dale of Simon
Fraser University in Burnaby, British Columbia, Canada report
their findings in the Nov. 11 issue of the journal Nature.
Many animals sport visible indicators of the bearer's quality.
Such signals include the redness of a cardinal or the size of
the black spot on a house sparrow's chest. However, biologists
wonder what keeps other animals from cheating by displaying
a mark that indicates "I'm great" while
actually being just average. Scientists hypothesize that social
interactions discourage cheating, but demonstrations of such
interactions have been elusive.
Tibbetts noticed that for wasps in the species Polistes dominulus,
the facial markings varied among individuals. Because these
wasps are social insects that form multi-queen nests, she wondered
whether the markings had significance to the wasps.
Researchers already knew that in such nests, the wasps establish
a dominance hierarchy by fighting. The winner, the top or alpha
wasp, gets to lay more eggs and do less work than the other
wasps. To see whether they could detect what signalled an alpha
wasp, Tibbetts and Dale decided to stage wasp fights. She captured
wild wasps and brought them back to the lab. There she paired
up wasps of equal weight, put them in small plastic container
and let them fight. The wasps decided the issue it using a combination
of pacing about, having staring contests and grappling with
one another. It took the wasps between 5 minutes and two hours
to sort out their differences.
By analysing videotapes of 61 wasp fights, the researchers
found that the winning wasps generally had more broken-up, spotty
or wavy black patterns on their faces' yellow centre. But if
the subordinate, or beta, wasp also had a broken or mottled
facial pattern, the alpha wasp was more likely to keep hassling
the subordinate wasp.
So having a "dishonest" face, one that signals being
higher quality than you are, is a liability in the wasp world,
Tibbetts said. As a final test of their hypothesis, the researchers
decided to stage some fights where one wasp had been experimentally
altered so her face didn't reflect her true quality.
After chilling wasps in a refrigerator, Tibbetts used a toothpick
to apply Testor's model paint to their faces. Some wasps were
given blotchier faces, some wasps had blotches covered up, and
some wasps were just handled and had paint put on their existing
blotches. The wasps established dominance hierarchies, but in
the cases where one wasp had a dishonest face – one that
didn't match its original face – the fighting was more
intense. In some cases, dominance was established and then fighting
continued and the hierarchy flipped – something that never
happened in wasp fights with unaltered wasps. Even if the dominance
hierarchy was maintained, the unaltered wasp was much more likely
to continue to harass the altered wasp.
"Changing the face interfered with their establishment
of a dominance hierarchy," said Tibbetts. "Our best
explanation is that there's some other information about wasp
quality that doesn't match the altered face." They hypothesized
that there are some other signals, either chemical or behavioural,
that wasps use to determine one another's quality. When a wasp
transmits mixed signals, it gets punished.
"That kind of aggression has lasting repercussions," she
said. "They have less time to feed and to take care of
their offspring." Dale said, "Wasps have really sophisticated
visual signalling systems. We're just starting to get a window
into the kinds of messages they're telling each other."
THE BEES AND THE DINOSAURS
A new bee mystery
We have all heard the various theories about why the
dinosaurs became extinct and most now accept the theory that a large meteorite
strike caused such a dramatic decline in light and warmth levels
on earth that these large creatures were unable to adapt swiftly
enough to the changed conditions. BUT…
The tropical honeybee may challenge this idea that a post-asteroid
impact "nuclear winter" was a big player in the decimation
of dinosaurs 65 million years ago.
Somehow the tropical honeybee, Cretotrigona prisca, survived
the end-Cretaceous extinction event, despite what many researchers
believe was a years-long period of darkness and frigid temperatures
caused by sunlight-blocking dust and smoke from the asteroid
impact at Chicxulub.
The survival of C. prisca is problematic and telling, asserts
palaeontology graduate student Jacqueline M. Kozisek of the
University of New Orleans. Late Cretaceous tropical honeybees
preserved in amber are almost identical to their modern relatives,
she says. If no modern tropical honeybee could have survived
years in the dark and cold without the flowering plants they
lived off of, Kozisek reasoned, something must be amiss with
the nuclear winter theory. "It couldn't have been that
huge," says Kozisek of the Chicxulub-related temperature
drops asserted by other researchers. Kozisek will present her
work on 8 Nov at the Geological Society of America annual meeting
Modern tropical honeybees have an optimal temperature range
of 88 to 93 degrees F (31-34°C) in order to maintain vital
metabolic activities, according to entomological research, says
Kozisek. That's also the range that's best for their food source:
nectar-rich flowering plants.
Based on what is known about the Cretaceous climate and modern
tropical honeybees, Kozisek estimates that any post-impact winter
event could not have dropped temperatures more than 4 to 13
degrees F (2-7°C) without wiping out the bees. Current nuclear
winter theories from the Chicxulub impact estimate drops of
13 to 22 degrees F (7-12°C) – too cold for tropical
honeybees. "I'm not trying to say an asteroid impact didn't
happen," says Kozisek. "I'm just trying to narrow
down the effects."
To do this, Kozisek took a novel approach for a palaeontologist – instead
of looking at what died out, she dug through the literature
to find out what survived the massive extinction event.
"I made a list of all survivors and picked those with
strict survival requirements," said Kozisek. She determined
that those survival requirements were by calling on studies
of the closest modern analogues -- which wasn't always easy
for some species, she pointed out. There was, for instance,
a very early primate that crawled out of the Cretaceous alive,
but there is really no comparable small primate around today
with which to reliably compare, she said. On the other hand,
a good number of tropical honeybees haven't changed a lot in
65 million years and a great deal is known about modern tropical
honey bees' tolerances to heat and cold. What's more, amber-preserved
specimens of the oldest tropical honey bee, Cretotrigona prisca,
are almost indistinguishable from – and are probably the
ancestors of – some modern tropical honeybees like Dactylurina,
according to other studies cited by Kozisek.
BEE PRESS Back to top
Beecraft November 2004 Volume 86 Number 11
Claire Waring Editor. www.bee-craft.com
Contents: Hidden allies against varroa Gillian Davidson, Caroline
Birchall, Judith Pell, Brenda Ball and David Chandler; Here's one
I made earlier... Claire Waring (includes a recipe!); The beekeeping
year: November Pam Greg ory , MSc, NDB; Beehives for ornamental use
(part 1) Ernest Weston; Living with resistant mites (part 1) Joe
Dod; Breaking and entering Ann W Harman; Sorting out the youngsters
Celia Davis, NDB; From the lab: how do bees tell eggs apart Adam
Hart, PhD; Report from the North Colin Weightman; Beekeeping in Ireland
Eddie O'Sullivan; Letters to the Editor.
Editorial: As we go to press, small hive beetle
has been confirmed in Portugal . It arrived in an illegal consignment
of queen bees imported from the USA . Two suspect larvae found in
the queen cages were confirmed in the laboratory as being small hive
beetle. The apiaries have been isolated, the colonies and associated
equipment destroyed and the soil treated. This is bad enough, but
there are also unconfirmed reports that package bees from the USA
have been imported into other EU Member States. If so and they also
contain small hive beetle, then the situation could already be out
of control and it will simply be a matt er of time before the pest
arrives here. Check out the latest at the National Bee Unit website www.nationalbeeunit.com
comes on top of Defra’s announcement of a 20% (£250,000)
cut in funding for the Bee Health Programme by March 2008 (see
page 29). Varroa is to be deregulated in early 2005 and the National
Bee Unit will no longer look for pyrethroid- resistant mites. The
plan is to deregulate European Foulbrood by March 2008 and if this
happens, bee inspectors will not be looking for this either. BBKA
is planning a campaign against the cuts and needs your support.
This is a case where numbers count! Full details will be available
next month. Ask the secretary of your local association for the latest
news or check the BBKA website at www.bbka.org.uk
What this does mean is that we must be even more vigilant in checking
our own colonies for both pyrethroid- resistant mites, EFB and exotic
pests. However, beekeeping isn’t all doom and gloom. It can
still be fun, even if that means taking colonies down to London and ‘extracting’ honey
on 1 October! You can read about my adventures in the Blue Peter
garden on page 6!
|Bee Craft November 2004
|Bee Craft December 2004
Beecraft December 2004 Volume 86 Number 12
Claire Waring Editor. www.bee-craft.com
Contents: Your bees need your help Ivor Davis, PhD; Questions for
Defra Mike Rowbottom, PhD; A summer course for beekeepers Graham
Hall; Celebrity beekeepers: Bill Turnbull Sue Hull and Adrian Jakeman;
Living with resistant mites (part 2) Joe Dod; West Sussex Honey
Festival success John Stevens; The beekeeping year: December Pam
Gregory, MSc, NDB; Honey bee beginnings; Celia Davis, NDB; Honey:
the perfect gift Ann W Harman; From the lab: queens, drones and sperm Adam
Hart, PhD; ‘Bradford and Bingley’ Roderick Middleton; Dr Watson
and the Italian virgins Dr James Watson; Index 2004.
Editorial: You know what they say about the Apathy
Society? It has very few members because nobody can be bothered
to join! However, I am sure that this cannot be said of Bee Craft
readers and your bees are relying on you to take action over the
proposed cuts to the Bee Health Programme that does so much to
keep foulbrood under control and assist us as we tackle the spread
of pyrethroid-resistant varroa mites. There has been talk of a demonstration
outside Parliament with smokers blazing (and even a live bee demonstration!),
but what will probably be more effective is if every beekeeper
in England writes to their MP protesting that the government is
seeking to cut £250,000
from the support for an industry that is worth at least £120
MILLION to the agricultural economy. Barmy, isn’t it?
Well, it’s up to us. If we are in the Apathy Society, by default,
then we cannot moan when our Bee Inspectors disappear, our bees get
sick and die, and we are left with an epidemic on our hands. Once
the Bee Inspectors have gone, they’ve gone. If the Bee Health
Programme is cut, then it will never be restored. And this cut is being
proposed by a government whose own report emphasises the need for biosecurity
to protect our honey bees and ensure their survival! You will find
details of the BBKA campaign against these proposed cuts on page 4.
Please write to your MP. Questions you might like to ask are on pages
5–6. Don’t join the Apathy Society. Your bees need you!
Wishing you all a very Happy Christmas and full supers in the New Year.
BEES FOR DEVELOPMENT JOURNAL No.73 December 2004
Dr Nicola Bradbear Editor. www.beesfordevelopment.org
Contents: Inside information; Transferring Apis cerana colonies;
Apis cerana in LaosHoney trade issues; Beekeeping co-operatives
Symposium; Spotlight on Ethiopia; A day in the life of ; Project
news from ICIMOD; Look and Learn Ahead; Notice Board; News around
the World; Book Shelf .
||Cover picture: Ethiopia,
Amhara Region, 2003. A beekeeper walks to market to sell
his calabash of honey © Nicola
Friends, Residues of medicines used to treat honeybee diseases
must not be present in honey.: this is the current problem facing
beekeepers and the world honey trade. The issues are discussed
on pages 6 and 7, and in this edition of BfDJ you will find plenty
more information about honey: judging it in the Caribbean (page
8), criteria for honey standards in Asia (page 9) and efforts
by projects to market it in Ethiopia (pages 10 and 11). Argentina
is one of the world’s largest honey producers, and constantly
has to meet requirements of importing countries and regions.
For this reason, beekeepers’ co-operatives must be very
well informed and organised: their recent Symposium is reported
on page 7. You will also find news of many other beekeeping initiatives
around the world: enjoy this wider view of apiculture!
THE BRITISH BEEKEEPERS' ASSOCIATION (BBKA)
The new look website was re-launched in the
Spring of 2004. Site statistics have logged over 26,000 visitors; on
one occasion 33 visitors were on the site at the same time. The site
was designed to guide casual visitors with an interest in beekeeping
in the right direction with basic advice on getting started.
The heart of any online community are the message boards
which the public and beekeepers can participate in. Users can register
on the system and be contactable with private messages and write
freely in any of the nine different discussion forums. Over 180 beekeepers
have already registered and a large number are helping the public
with bee/beekeeping related problems. Beekeepers and the public have
been surprised how quickly responses are received and report a positive
experience of using the forums.
Read all about beekeeping events for 2004 and beyond and
download related information like honey show schedules etc. This
system relies on individuals adding local and national beekeeping
events using the ‘add event’ link.
Catch up on the latest beekeeping news from the BBKA. Other webmasters can
BBKA members are encouraged to send beekeeping news stories and photographs
to the webmaster for possible inclusion.
This is the most important
listing on the BBKA site. If your member association is not listed
or inaccurately listed you should contact the webmaster using the
link at the bottom of this page.
You have instant access to download
BBKA syllabuses and correspondence course application forms.
The articles section is a good place to look for beekeeping related information.
A number of small organisations closely linked to beekeeping have a dedicated
page including BDI, First Honey Co-operative, CONBA-UK and the Brother Adam
Memorial Trust. You will also find many useful practical beekeeping and educational
articles for viewing and downloading.
Only individual or affiliated
members of the BBKA will have access to members’ only
area of the site. The username and password to login with is on the back of
the BBKA membership card and on the back page of BBKA news (footer section).
Once in the members’ section you can use key words to search our huge
range of BBKA support files and newsletters for downloading and printing. Members
can also submit or update information to a number of searchable website databases
using a personal login, for example: beekeeping tips, beekeeping courses and
beekeeping websites links. The BBKA also run a beekeeping discussion mailing
list. Subscription information and clickable links are under support mailing
list. Mailing list supplied by www.zbee.dircon.co.uk
Purchasing BBKA merchandise through
BBKA have an online store using the payment gateway PayPal which
allows purchasing of BBKA individual membership and other BBKA merchandise
with a credit card. Popular purchases are hive plans, individual
membership and advance spring convention ticket sales.
In association with amazon.co.uk
You can support
the BBKA in its work by purchasing your DVDs, CDs and books from
Amazon by always using the clickable link “In
Association with amazon.co.uk” from bottom of most pages. The
BBKA earns a percentage commission from sales if you use our links.
How to get the most from the BBKA website
- Get involved in the support boards - it is fun
- Join the BBKA internet mailing list
- Add your local or national beekeeping events to the calendar
- Send in beekeeping news
- Make sure your member association has the correct contact details
including email links and website links, don’t wait for somebody
else to this. Notify the webmaster and BBKA HQ so that all records
can be kept up-to-date.
- Add to site searchable databases and remember it’s your
responsibility to keep this information up to date (see members’ area)
Steven Turner (website administrator contact via the site)
BEES AND MAGNETIC FIELDS (Part 1 of 3)
If one takes a side view
of comb 3 as produced in Hives 7-3 and 13-3, the shape of the comb
is not symmetrical, it has a leading edge on the right hand side
and a trailing edge on the left. In fact it looks similar to a
fin or wing shaped to cleave its way through water at 10 mph, or
air at 100 mph or some other medium at 1000mph, in a streamlined
fashion, offering a minimum resistance against a force approaching
from the East. There is an indentation of the comb on the top left
hand side which may be caused by a vortex.
Let us assume that this unknown force may be influenced by magnetic
This being the case we should be able, with the aid of a magnet,
to modify the Earth’s magnetic field within the hive in a
predetermined manner and observe any change in comb manufacture
which may occur.
As our hive has an inner and outer body, the placing of a magnet
in between these two bodies would be easily accomplished and hopefully
outside the knowledge of the bee.
What kind of magnet should we use? Where should it be placed?
Having only one magnet, which is horseshoe shaped and stands
readily on its own two feet, it will be placed on top of the roof
of the inner hive.
We now come to the small matter of representing the resultant
magnetic field within the inner hive due to the positioning of
As one has difficulty in appreciating horizontal gravity, vertical
magnetic fields measured by a compass are equally elusive. In fact
we only use a crude representation in either case concerning a
medium we are not aware of with our five unaided primary senses.
No matter, as will be seen, diagrams may be obtained. Ian
THE SORCERER'S APPRENTICE
At the age
of 89 my mother still has the same razor-sharp sense of humour
she displayed in the Maternity Ward back in 1942 when she tried
to swap me for a better-looking baby (yes, I know, “must
have had plenty to choose from” …thank you, dear Reader,
it’s singers we need, not comedians). Apparently she was
even prepared to thrown in half a book of ration coupons as an
incentive. Back in late August this year she suggested that my
favourite nephew would be ideal to help me lift off my supers.
Let me tell you about the lad (he’s actually 37 now, going
on 12.) He is 6 feet 3 inches tall, has the strength of a Titan
and is known in the family as Un-even Steven, due to his tendency
towards uncontrollable feet. In fact he is so clumsy that he has
a government health warning stamped on his forehead. You may think,
knowing my own tendency to find the most awkward way to do things,
that it runs in the family. You could be right, which is probably
why he is my favourite nephew. Actually he is one of nature’s
nice people but don’t tell him I said so.
He is also very gullible. Like the time when he was a kid and
I was out walking with him.
Spying a rather dilapidated seagull flying overhead he asked
me what it was. I replied that it was a white buzzard and at his
request wrote down its Latin name, Raptus regalitur. It
was several months later in the classroom that he apparently corrected
the teacher when she said that the Latin name of the buzzard was Buteo
buteo. In fairness she did have to go and ask the languages
department who advised her that Raptus regalitur meant “royally
He is married to a delightful lady (who I genuinely adore) whose
mission in life is to control his every waking moment – for
his own good of course.
When I arrived at his house to pick him up for the apiary harvest,
she sternly beckoned me into the kitchen and said, “Right,
turn out your pockets!” She then confiscated my poker cards
and dice before allowing him out of the house. Of course, like
most sensible beekeepers, I keep a crib board and a couple of spare
packs of cards under the roof of one of my hives but she wasn’t
to know that.
When we arrived at my Apiary in Barnmead Road, just down from
Kenthouse Station, I kitted him out in my spare suit – it
was small on him but fitted okay inside his size 13 wellies. Looking
like a white-clad version of Darth Vader, he immediately started
waving furiously at a passing Eurostar train on the nearby track
and became the first beekeeper’s assistant in history ever
to almost cause a rail disaster. After a few well-chosen words
from the driver, shouted from the window of the cab, he managed
to release his air-brakes and proceed onwards. Steve just sniffed
and said he must be French. If so, all I can say is that he must
have been a brilliant linguist to produce such a wide range of
I guided him warily towards the hives and was relieved to find
that he only tripped over once – flattening a nearby plot-holder’s
spinach in the process. Just as well, can’t stand the disgusting
Having explained that the idea was to lift off the supers in
one go and carry them fifty yards on the wheelbarrow to where the
car was parked, I lit the smoker. Taking my eye off him was a mistake,
of course. He had bent down and picked up an entire hive with two
supers and was effortlessly strolling off with it in his arms before
I noticed. Having got it back onto its stand I showed him what
we needed to do using chemical-clearer soaked cloth, smoker and
hive tool. A disaster was narrowly averted when I snatched the
cloth away from his face just before he could throw-up inside the
veil. The mind boggles doesn’t it?
Whilst waiting for the bees to clear he decided to help me by
fixing the door on my hut. Actually it didn’t really need
fixing until after he had fixed it but the thought was there.
Having successfully moved the supers from three hives I told
him firmly that the last hive was the one that was not full
of gentle bees. I draped the cloth over the top of the supers,
went and sat down on my bench, well out of the way, and waited.
But demonstrating that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing,
he went over after a few minutes, lifted the cloth and peered in.
“They’ve gone down,” he said firmly. Without
further ado, he levered up the three supers on top with the hive
tool, spoke sternly to the bees and wandered off with the boxes.
To my amazement no bees chased him; there was not even a murmur
of discontent. Of course, when I went to replace the roof they
stormed out like a plague of winged piranha-fish and sent me packing.
I am still trying to work that one out.
Having successfully loaded the car, I took the supers home and
then we walked down to the local pub, the Joiner’s Arms,
for a beer and sandwich before going over to sort out the other
apiary in Addiscombe.
Now, Steven has the face of an Adonis* which had got him into
some difficulties with older women when he was a youngster. He
still has that effect on mature ladies who serve behind bars in
pubs. I ordered a pint of Boddington’s for him and a pint
of Diesel for me and two ploughman’s. The landlady shouldered
the barmaid out of the way, exhibited what I seriously believe
were not her own teeth in a broad grin and simpered all over Steven
as she took over the pint-pulling. Sickening. He then proceeded
to tell her all about beekeeping with authority of an expert. I
could see the glazed look on her face just before she made her
excuses and crept away.
There were no problems at the other apiary, as long as you don’t
count the cold frame and the avalanche of apples, and gracefully
declining his offer to assist with the extracting, I took him home
to his dear wife, who insisted on counting his pocket money to
make sure I hadn’t appropriated it.
- Incidentally I am reliably informed, by a Greek teacher of
history that the reason the Greeks don’t use lettuce in
a Greek salad (or even grow the stuff apparently,) is to do with
the legend of Adonis. As you know he was the fairest of the Gods
and had gradually worked his way through all the (very willing)
Goddesses. When he got to the point where he was about to boff
Zeus’s wife Hera, the old boy himself thought enough was
enough. Adonis fell asleep in a field of lettuce and was found
the next morning changed into a wilted lettuce. Hence to this
day the Greeks regard lettuce as an anti-aphrodisiac.
Last weekend, while tinkering
with my motorbike, I made a horrible discovery. Jammed into the
seal between the head lamp and the front fairing, I found the body
of a dead honeybee. Having spent part of that day with Paul Templeton
at his rather informative frame-assembly seminar, I was anxious
that I hadn’t
reduced his colony of bees. Thankfully, Paul assures me that he
had not noticed any such reduction, but as a general mention, should
any member feel that this bee may be one of theirs, I will
happily compensate them for their loss.
Later that same day, while at Tescos, shortly before being
forcibly removed for acting suspiciously in the car park, I took
time to examine the radiators of several parked cars. I cannot
relate to you the horror of what I saw, tens upon tens of squashed
bees. The vehicles on our roads must be taking an incredible
toll on bee stocks all over the UK. Something has got to be done:
whether it is to the design of the cars; to the speeds at which
cars travel on the roads or to the motoring habits of the general
public. It is very likely that the national bee population will
not support such a level of needless bee mortality for much longer.
If non-essential, non-emergency motoring activities were limited
during the hours of 8am - 7pm in the spring and summer months,
I imagine that national honey production could double if not
I have been working on designs for a simple nose cone that
can be fitted to most vehicles. This will aim to reduce bee-intake
whilst not affecting the overall aero-dynamics of the vehicle.
Plans are in their early stages at the moment" but I am
hopeful that a design will be made available in the very near
future. Until you obtain a nose cone for your car I advise
you to cut down on non-essential journeys during the day time
and, if you should need to travel during the day, you should
travel at no more than thirty miles an hour.
Meanwhile, I have included a picture of the bee that I found
so unnecessarily squashed on the front of my bike. Again, if
anyone recognises it, do let me know. Chad Cryer
This month, we bring you a few ideas to think about in the fight against varroa.
We all know of the problems faced by beekeepers using standard fluvalinate
based acaricides. Resistance and residue issues arise and they are comparatively
expensive, but both these and other methods are still valid. The aim is to
provide beekeepers with a greater armoury in the fight against the mite. Be
careful though. Some so called ‘bio methods’ may well leave residue
problems in greater measure than miticides designed for varroa. I use thymol,
but with caution. Many appear to believe that thymol is not a chemical, let
alone a dangerous one. It is both, and if used incorrectly can ruin a colony
far faster than the varroa it is meant to destroy, and contaminate the honey.
If any readers know of other methods please share the ideas with readers and
we will continue with this column in future issues.
Apistan and Bayvarol
From my own experience, and the experience of commercial beekeepers, and from
suggestion by the manufacturers, it appears that whilst apistan and bayvarol
are based on the same class of chemical, mites that have developed a resistance
to apistan, may not be resistant to bayvarol. Strange, but apparently true.
Soapy sugar water
This one has been around for a long time and there is much anecdotal evidence
to suggest that it works. Some researchers in the department of entomology
at the University of Nebraska carried out an evaluation of powdered sugar to
reduce mite populations on adult bees that were driven from the nest using
Bee-Go into cages placed over the colony entrance. Three treatments at 7day
intervals were carried out and the colonies were treated again after brood
rearing had ceased. Both the summer and the autumn treatments significantly
reduced varroa treatments suggesting that this method can be used in an integrated
varroa management regime to reduce varroa during summer and autumn.
Kim Flottum the editor of Bee Culture wrote
in a recent article in that journal that soapy sugar water applied to bees in
the form of a course spray. Soapy water as a pesticide has been used since Victorian
times in the garden but this new bio pesticide is a simple octanoate ester solution
called Sucrocide. Once applied, the solution acts directly on the mites and with
increased grooming involved, even more mites are displaced.. The treatment can
be used as a spot treatment when and where necessary.
(On a similar theme, the Health and Safety plan adhered to by the company
that I am working for advises orchard workers to use soapy water against bee
attacks and all trucks used in the orchard/apiary contain soapy water. It renders
the bees temporarily stingless but doesn’t kill them).
Food Grade Mineral
Dr Pedro P. Rodriguez of the USA is the great exponent on the use of FGMO against
varroa and has been studying the subject for many years. He has now refined
his method by combining FGMO with thymol and applying it with a fogger or
with emulsion soaked cords. A useful discussion of his methods together with
instructions are contained at www.beesource.com
This next article is a selection of letters and articles we agreed
to publish in Apis-UK for the Durham Beekeepers' Association. Note: Articles
may contain scanning errors. Ed.
DURHAM BEEKEEPERS' ASSOCIATION
Proposition to the BBKA Annual Delegates' Meeting January 2005
Our members are most concerned about the relationship
that presently exists between the BBKA Executive Committee and several agrochemical
companies. In exchange for financial sponsorship through the trading arm BBKA
Enterprises Ltd. they are endorsing certain products as "bee friendly".
The active ingredient in some of these products, such as Lambda Cyhalothrin,
is known to be "highly toxic to bees". This fact is set aside by
BBKA spokesmen on the grounds that "the products are perfectly safe if used
We all know that products are not always used correctly and strict regulations
are often put in place if they go wrong. The BBKA have for a long time had
a good working relationship with agrochemical companies and boast that their
plan for safe spraying was readily adopted by the industry. Many beekeepers,
and their associations, entered into a voluntary relationship with local farmers
and spray operators to ensure that products were used correctly.
The financial agreements between BBKA Enterprises Ltd and the agrochemical
companies have been made, and contracts signed, without prior referral to the
members; the first reference to the arrangement was in the Financial report
to the ADM in 2003. Information published in the BBKA News sometimes seems
to lack clarity and openness over the arrangements. We feel that entering a
financial agreement such as this is unnecessarily too close an arrangement,
and provides a different slant to the earlier relationships where neither party
The income from the companies has been compared to £1.50 per member,
giving the impression that the money is saving an increase in affiliation fees.
This is not the case; the Charity Commission rules forbid members to benefit
directly from such income. The proceeds have, in fact, been used to purchase
equipment such as curtains for BBKA headquarters.
Durham representatives have raised the matter at BBKA open forums and at
the ADMs. A response from a member of the Executive Committee was that if Durham
is not happy with the situation they should put a proposal forward to the next
ADM. The proposal that we intend submitting is:
"That BBKA and BBKA Enterprises Ltd end their financial relationship
of product endorsement with all companies that manufacture and sell products
that are toxic to bees as soon as is contractually possible".
This will, at least, force a debate at the ADM and allow delegates to express
the degree of support for this venture. It should be fully understood that
this is not a general attack on either the BBKA Executive Committee or the
BBKA Enterprises Ltd; it is about one small but, nevertheless, very important
issue, which could have been and which should have been shared with members
before the event.
In order to submit this proposal it needs to be seconded.
Durham BKA are asking for likeminded beekeepers either to agree to second this
proposal or to write to the BBKA Executive Committee to show support for it
to be accepted for the ADM 2005. George Eames,
Email: george.eames @ durham.ac.uk.
Durham Beekeepers' Association President Ian Copinger wrote in 2003
1. I have written this note as no more than a basis for
discussion on the grounds that you've got to start from somewhere. It contains
all the published announcements and dealings between BBKA Enterprises and
the agrochemical industry that I can find, mostly in BBKA news. There may
well be more somewhere??
2. I thought BBKA Enterprises Ltd, in the form of Mr. Badger, would welcome
this proposal. It is an arrangement which the company directors have made without
any referral to the membership. I suspect that Mr. Badger will believe that
he can convince the delegates at an ADM that his cause is right and that, on
a vote, he will carry the day. Suddenly BBKA Enterprises Ltd will have our
permission to do whatever they want.
3. Proposal: That B.B.K.A. and B.B.K.A. Enterprises Ltd. end their present
financial relationship of endorsement and sponsorship with all (or with agrochemical-)
companies as soon as contractually possible.
4. BBKA Enterprises Ltd., hereafter called "the company"
is the trading arm of the registered charity BBKA. Its formation was made necessary
by the rules governing charities.
5. Over the last two years it has come to light that the company have, without
reference to or discussion with the members come to arrangements with some
agrochemical companies to endorse certain of their products in return for financial
sponsorship. The company has signed contracts with these manufacturers.
6. It might not be quite fair to say that the transactions were carried out
under a veil of secrecy but equally it cannot be said that they were carried
out in the full glare of publicity.
7. in BBKA news 129 May 2001, Mr Davies the Chairman, announces "new
financial management through our trading company BBKA Enterprises Ltd., and
newly negotiated sponsorships with interested national companies and trusts".
On page 4 is published the announcement by FMC Corporation that BBKA endorses
Fury as a BEE SAFE product. It is also stated that Fury contains zeta-cypermethrin.
There is nothing in the chairman's statement or FMC's announcement to necessarily
link the two together since the chairman carefully failed to mention agrochemical
companies being involved in the sponsorship.
8. BBKA news 139, February 2003 carries a statement by the treasurer of the
company announcing a "turnover of over £12.000 which mainly came
from sponsorship and donations" The short article specifies the receipt
of £5,000 from Aventis, £5,000 from BASF and £2,000 from
FMC. which was mostly spent on the purchase of equipment. It is perhaps unfortunate
that the article does not specify that these are agrochemical companies or
make it clear that the sums involved were not donations but money paid for
our sponsorship of insecticides.
9. It took until BBKA news 140 April 2003 for the words "income", "negotiated
contract", "agrochemical companies", "endorsements" and "specific
chemicals" to come together. Even then it was not in an announcement by
the chairman or any of the executive committee or the directors of the company,
(who are largely the same people). It came from the Middlesex Federation Delegate
in an article giving "A Delegate's View of the 43rd ADM". He wrote:
"The BBKA Enterprises last year produced an income equal to plus £1.50
per member by negotiated contracts with agrochemical companies. These were
endorsements of the applications of specific chemicals, all very bee friendly".
The wording, whilst mathematically correct unintentionally gives the impression
that the income is being used to bolster the BBKA purse against the need to
raise capitation fees. In fact the money was used to finance the purchase of
10. "Beecraft" of July 2003 carries a letter from
Mr Harty of Suffolk who rightly questions the lack of openness by BBKA and
indeed questions the propriety of the relationship. The editor, who I consider
to have been absolutely unbiased in publishing the letter, replied that the
sponsored pesticides were "certified as bee-friendly" and had "been
rigorously tested to international guidelines arid met the conditions laid
of course these have not always been faultless qualifications.
11. In none of the publications has it ever been made openly public exactly
who the companies were, which of their products were being endorsed in return
for financial gain or what there active ingredients were.
12. They are, or at the time I enquired, were:
|Bayer Crop Science (Aventis)
||Decis & Pearl Micro
||Hallmark with Zeon Technology
||Fury 10EW Minuet
(Syngenta have already notified an intended change in the name of their
13. Deltamethrin is also the active ingredient in an American product `Delta
Dust' which is marketed as an insecticide and "Provides quick control
of ants, bees (especially carpenter bees), etc.,"
Lambda cyhalohrin appears on a web site of 'Extoxnet' a pesticide information
project maintained by several USA universities. Under the heading Effects on
other animals (Nontarget species) it notes that "Lambda cyhalothrin is
highly toxic to bees"
Zeta-cypermethrin is the active ingredient in an American product `Mustang'.
In accepting it's registration the relevant authority note that "It is,
however, extremely toxic to bees"
Perhaps through my in expertise I have found nothing good or bad about Alph cypermethrin.
In my ignorance I am nevertheless puzzled. If two other "...methrins" are
toxic to bees can somebody explain why Alpha methrin isn't.
Is there anyone out there who has the knowledge to search the Internet properly
for information on these products? 1 suspect that you are more likely to find
fuller information on USA sites than UK sites.
14. At the open forum in 2003 the pronouncement was made
by one of the company directors that "they are perfectly safe if used
properly". It cannot
possibly be advisable to `endorse' a product the safety of which relies wholly
or entirely on proper usage. My memory is that the incorrect use of sprays
was the problem in the first place. Add to the ever-present possibility of
human error the fact that farmers frequently mix several chemicals together
into a spraying cocktail. This is quite contrary to the manufacturers instructions
is therefore incorrect usage and is inevitably a recipe for an eventual disaster
to somebody's bees. At some time in the future some ones bees are going to
be seriously damaged by a product endorsed by the BBKA as BEEFRIENDLY.
15. The company cannot pretend that their endorsement of these products is
anything less than a money making exercise. At the same forum it was stated
by a director of the company that a manufacturer had approached them for endorsement
of a product. The endorsement had been refused. Not because of any shortcoming
in the product but because the manufacturer had not offered enough money for
the endorsement. That surely is totally dishonorable.
16. For some years BBKA has boasted of an increasingly improved relationship
with the agrochemical industry with whom they could discuss better and safer
methods for the use of sprays. They are particularly proud of a safety plan
which they drew up and which has been voluntarily accepted by the industry.
I applaud that relationship but I persist in my opinion that an engagement
in financial sponsorship and product endorsement forms too close a relationship.
17. Proposals are supposed to carry an estimation of the cost to BBKA of
carrying it out. I suggest that the cost is "Nil". It is true that
BBKA have had an income from the company of some thousands of pounds. It's
continuation is not guaranteed in any case.
18. I do not pretend that, through the ADM, we can stop
the use of these chemical but we can stop them being used in our name, an arrangement
which we never agreed to in the first place. We should circulate all other
associations with information about the proposal and urge them to consider
this matt er seriously and to mandate their delegate to support our proposal.
We should also invite them to consider writing to BBKA General Sec. asking
to be associated with the proposal when it is circulated prior to the ADM.
CONCERNS ABOUT SPONSORSHIP
This letter was published in Beecraft July 2003 - Page 27
I am writing this letter out
of genuine concern regarding what I consider to be the 'dubious' relationships
that have developed between the BBKA and various agrochemical corporations.
I have tried, unsuccessfully, to contact members within the BBKA hierarchy
since 2002, with the exception of a Technical Committee member who has had
the courtesy to respond regularly.
As I understand it, synthetic pyrethroids of varying toxicity are being endorsed
by the BBKA as 'bee friendly' in return for corporate fiscal sponsorship. The
issue is further exacerbated by BBKA's obstinate manner of not being accountable
for its decisions, apparently made in the best interests of UK beekeepers,
whereby my pertinent probing questions remain unanswered.
This lack of openness raises serious creditability issues regarding BBKA's
claim to be an important national environmental organisation. If its environmental
policy is solid, why does it continue not to answer the relevant questions?
A BBKA regional representative actually told me that pesticides have no adverse
effects on flora and fauna and BBKA did not promote or advocate them.
In an effort to attract financial support, I believe the BBKA is now trying
to adapt its values to suit the wishes of commercial partners. BBKA claims
to promote farming practices that encourage bees in the environment, yet how
toxic pesticide endorsements actually contribute to the resilience of agro-ecosystems
relating to ecological interactions, when such chemicals have always been environmentally
detrimental, defies logic. The bee-friendly label is based on the assumption
that pyrethroid pesticides have repellent properties yet a number of their
active ingredients do not do this.
The BBKA totally ignores the Precautionary Principle (a principle to be invoked
when lack of scientific evidence means that outcomes are uncertain) at the
expense of our ever-dwindling bee populations. I have been told the established
BBKA policy regarding the agrochemical industry gives agrochemical companies
the opportunity to put money into beekeeping to offset the harm done through
aggressive use of pesticides 20 years ago.
The BBKA endorses a toxic pesticide as supposedly bee-friendly, yet it
opposes the addition of genetically modified (GM) maize to the national seed
list by the same corporations, and claims that agrochemical companies have
a massive concern for the environment's welfare.
In September 2002, the BBKA organised a conference to discuss GM standards
relating to honey, to which only pro-government or uncommitted representatives
of the larger and more commercial beekeeper associations were invited. I believe
this was a 'rigged' conference designed to undermine GM-free honey standards
where the BBKA Technical Committee consistently agreed with the industry line,
foresaw no potential dangers and were prepared to abandon the six-mile limit.
It is no wonder that the BBKA adopts a 'sit on the fence' stance towards
the GM debate especially as it becomes more financially dependent on the agrochemical
industry. I think it is crucial for UK beekeepers to start asking questions
and take stock of what is happening to 'our organisation', where a spurious
policy is being spun.
Martin Luther King sums up my feelings 'Our lives begin to end the day we
become silent about things that matter'. Paul Harty, Witnesham,
[Beecraft Ed: I understand that pesticides which are certified as 'bee-friendly'
have been tested rigorously to international guidelines and meet the conditions
laid down All Area Associations of the BBKA were invited to the GM conference,
reported it Bee Craft, November 2002, page 4.]
A fast developing
colony killer with a weakness
there are bees, bee pests will follow and it is highly likely
that one day beekeepers in the UK will be faced with the appearance
of this mite. Tropilaelaps clarae, like varroa is an external
parasitic mite that feeds on the larval and pupal stages of
developing bees. They are visible to the naked eye but are
smaller than varroa. They can be distinguished from varroa
by their shape. Varroa are crab shaped whereas T. clarae is
T. clarae is a tropical pest, and the original host species
is the giant honey bee, Apis dorsata, but like varroa it has
jumped over to Apis mellifera which are highly susceptible
to the pest. It has been recorded on both Apis florea (the
dwarf honey bee) and Apis cerana, but it uses these for dispersal
and does not breed on them. Research and observation has shown
that the mite exists at relatively low levels in Apis dorsata
colonies from around 7% to a high of about 30%, and from the
existence of dead damaged mites, it appears that dorsata can
kill them. Apis mellifera can’t.
T.clarae is a faster killer of Apis mellifera colonies than
varroa due to the fact that they have a higher rate of development
and the time they start laying eggs relative to the capping
of the cell. The mites are usually all developed by the time
the adult bee emerges from the cell. They are able to produce
three adult female progeny with each cycle of brood compared
to varroa’s average of less than two, and the males can
mate with females in the cell and also outside of the cell
during the dispersion period. A colony would die in less than
a year without human intervention.
T.clarae has another strength and that is that a greater proportion
of the mites remain in cells reproducing and damaging bees
prior to emergence. They cannot feed on adult bees because
they cannot pierce the segments and so the phoretic period
(that period where they disperse outside the cell) is short.
10 times as many varroa will be found on adult bees. This is
also a weakness for T clarae however because as they cannot
feed on adults, any broodless period will be fatal to them.
The length of time they can survive on adult bees is still
not known but some researchers suggest that an egg bearing
female will die within two days if she is unable to deposit
her eggs. This means that an effective non chemical treatment
can be effected by creating brood free periods. Other treatments
with standard varroa miticides or formic acid application are
the current preferred treatments.
T.clarae is smaller than varroa. It is more elongated in shape.
It develops at a faster rate the varroa and can kill a colony
in less than a year. It can out compete varroa where both are
present in a colony. It cannot feed on adult bees and so cannot
live through broodless periods.
If you think you have seen T. clarae in one of your colonies,
contact the NBU through your local BDI as soon as possible.
Some more mite facts
Some 86 or more species of mites have been recorded in association
with Apis species and their nests. Very few of these mites
that are found in beehives or that occur on adult bees are
harmful. Beekeepers should be able to recognise the three mites
that can cause problems: varroa, T.clarae and the more controversial
NOTE Back to top
As I am currently in New Zealand, let us look at a piece of
advice given to beekeepers here in 1848 in the manual for New
Zealand Bee Keepers written by the Rev WC Cotton who carried
bees to that country in the 1840s whilst accompanying the first
Bishop of New Zealand on church business. Here, cotton talks
“One precaution alone I recommend: tie your trousers
lightly around your ankles with a piece of string (if knee
breeches and gaiters are your common wear, so much the better;
you want no extra dressing; for such bees as fall on the ground
will often crawl up the operator’s leg, and when pressed
between his clothes and flesh, sting him in self defence. A
lady’s dress I cannot pretend to regulate.”
In next month’s Apis-UK we will take a look at the ingenious
way in which Cotton transported his bees on the then six months
or more journey to the far side of the world.
My husband has always been interested in bees, and I have been looking
on the website to find out who I can contact to arrange a holiday where he can
may be able to have some 'hands-on' experience of bee keeping under the guidance
of an experienced Beekeeper. Are you able to help? Thanks Mary
whitemary3 @ aol.com.
I thought you might like to see this picture of my
hives (only 3) on the garage roof (only accessible by ladder).
The semicircular hut on the left is a WW2 bombshelter. Regards,
Christopher Clayton Email: christopherclayton
Thanks Christopher, an interesting situation, and please allow
me to use this picture to remind readers that WE are always interested
in your photos of beekeeping activities. Ed.
To supplement my last posting "One man Demo " .... 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" Please now find supplement and a list of those chemicals and
their ecological effects at: http://www.bees-trees.demon.co.uk/news_and_views.htm#know Bee
good John Salt Email: j.j.salt @ bees-trees.demon.co.uk.
I have not received an Apis-UK News since July. At first I thought it was the
well deserved summer break, but am sure you are back in action now. I Would
love to receive them again please. Many thanks. Christopher Beale.
Email: gsdvoss @ hotmail.com.
You can check that you are still on the Apis-UK mailing
list by adding your email address again. If you get a message saying “you
are already on the list” you will be sent email notices when
each new Apis-UK newsletter is published. If you keep failing to
receive Apis-UK email notices than check your ISP and spam filters
to make sure that message sent from the domain name 'beedata.com'
are allowed to get through or check our website regularly for new
Apis-UK newsletters. Ed. http://www.beedata.com/apis-uk/index.htm
The quotation was made by Andy Card jnr, US migratory beekeeper. I
have the book "Following the bloom" across america with
the migratory beekeepers, by Douglas Whynott, bought in the US
on holiday this year, I intend to finish reading it this winter!
Thanks for reminding me. Christine
Clifton. Email: cc.dab
FOR YOUR DIARY Back
are welcome to forward dates
and details of their events
to the editor (by e-mail) for
incorporation on this page.
Saturday 26th February 2005 - West Sussex
Beekeepers Association Integrated Pest Management Workshop.
At Brinsbury College, North Heath, Pulborough, West Sussex (on
A29). From 9.30am until 4pm. Lecturers include James Morton, Alan
Byham and Richard Ball. Tickets £5
in advance from Andrew Shelley, Oakfield, Cox Green, Rudgewick, Horsham,
West Sussex RH12 3DD. £6 on the Door if there is space. Download
the Programme PDF. Contact: John Hunt E-mail: john_bateman_hunt
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
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
per person, £25 per family, Friday only, £10 per
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.
Saturday 9th April 2005 - 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 PDF
16th April 2005 - BBKA Spring Convention and Exhibition
Further details from http://www.bbka.org.uk/convention.php
Editor: David Cramp Submissions
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QUOTE OF THE MONTH Back
This month’s quote comes from a more
home grown figure than Andy Card of the USA and is advice worth
following for all novice beekeepers. Apis-UK is dedicated to
ensuring that this view is followed. Who said the following?
“It is a very good rule, when you are trying to pick up
knowledge of beekeeping, or any other matter, to be careful whose
ideas you accept. If you have no ideas of your own, you are in
a position to take in the views of others; but you know what happens
when the blind lead the blind, and many a beekeeper has found the
ditch through lack of judgement in choosing a good guide.”
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