Buckle and his famous beeswax violin - doing
things with beeswax talk 2003 Bromley Beekeepers’ Association.
This month's Apis-UK brings to you a wide range
of articles and information on bees and related subjects and it
is these ‘related’ subjects
that are often of such interest to me in giving us clues about
honey bees. For instance, one of the research articles below asks
the question ‘How do insects smell?’ and from this
we can get a good idea of how our honey bees smell things, or at
least detect pheromones which are all important in their lives.
With some lateral thinking and a bit of stretching of the brain
cells, you could then branch off into the olfactory powers of crabs.
It’s true. The large Robber Crab has evolved a life mainly
on land and has developed a ‘nose’ similar to that
of insects. Don’t worry, in this issue we don’t branch
off into crabs, but it is I believe these links that make our craft
and our science so interesting. Ants, honey bee wash boarding behaviour
and more uses for pollen all feature in the research section. The
article on gliding ants may well give us clues on the evolution
of flight in bees and other insects and the short videos of ants
in directed glides are astonishing. Once you have read the article,
be amazed by going to www.metafilter.com.
Go to their search box and put in gliding ants and you will be
able to see several short videos of these beasts in action taken
by the author of the article. They can actually direct where they
GMOs don’t feature here for a change but we have received
several letters concerning a short article on the subject in last
month’s Apis-UK. It seems that for every argument there is
a counter argument and it makes one yearn for a comprehensive scientific
review of the situation from a genuinely independent and totally
disinterested organization. I think that that is necessary but
improbable. Who could possibly be disinterested in such a subject?
Everything that I have read indicates that everyone has an angle
and I believe that unless opponents of the technology are very
careful, it is upon that point that any defence against the onslaught
of GM technology may ultimately fail. And I’m an optimist!
The veterinary medicines directive will I expect
be an ongoing issue. We have received a letter suggesting that
the cost of treatments via vets will increase and I assume then
that the use of unauthorised treatments will also increase if this
is the case. It was always my fear that cost would be the down
fall of this plan and I hope that the authorities are able to control
this. I fear the worst though. My email to the Defra contact was
returned as being unable to find the address.
The Historical Note tells us much of the mind set of 17 th century
beekeepers in the UK and marks I think the hesitant beginnings
of a newer age in beekeeping bringing us from Roman times almost
to the present day in one short piece of writing. The Recipe of
the Month is possibly the strangest we have yet published, but
I have tried it and it is oddly very acceptable. Not for us the
The articles in this issue are also wide ranging
from the incredible story of how bees were taken from the UK to
New Zealand, to an article by John Yates on moving bees over somewhat
shorter distances. Chad Cryer tells us of skulduggery and wicked
goings on in the local association which reminds me of my early
beekeeping days in the UK when I was unmercifully done out of a
first place (or any place for that matter as I was disqualified)
in the local honey competition. Ruthless. However, I won’t
go on about that. We continue with our fascinating articles on
bees and magnetism and we also feature a look at beekeeping in
Denmark, a country which has an amazing record of exports in honey
and which is noted for the purity of its product. The Danes also
give us some valuable advice on organic treatments for varroa,
something dear to my heart.
And finally, do read our letters. Thank you to all those who
write in. The internet is very much a device of communication and
we always value your input, so do keep in touch. With this in mind
I present the February 2005 issue of Apis-UK.
DAMP WEATHER IS THREAT TO HONEY BEES IN THE UK
In a further sign
of the times the BBC reports that honey bee colonies in the
west region are dying out because of wet weather. The damp
autumn has meant the insects were unable to get out collecting
nectar so their numbers fell. Additionally, wasps, which were
flying around as late as Christmas, attacked and robbed bee
hives. Now experts in Somerset are launching a campaign to
help beekeepers prevent the loss of colonies in the future.
BEE STINGS 'HELP' MOTHER WITH MS
is very much a growing branch of natural, alternative medicine,
its main problem being the lack of research funds for investigation
and meaningful clinical trials. We have reported in previous
issues that when research has taken place apitherapy products
can far out gun their mainstream counterpart drugs, manuka
honey wound dressings being a case in point. However, despite
these problems we can still be cheered by reports such as
those below where we learn that bee venom may be helping a
lady with MS.
A mother-of-two who is battling against
multiple sclerosis says she is being helped by 36 bee stings
a week. Paula Cooke, 40, of Terrington St Clement, Norfolk,
has had MS for 15 years and has no feeling from her waist to
her toes. About five months ago she started a course of bee
venom therapy and she believes it has been a success.
The MS Society however has warned people that they must consult
a doctor before considering this "unproven" therapy.
Ms Cooke told the BBC News that she now wants other people
to know about this form of treatment for her condition. "I
want people to have their own opportunity to decide whether
to try this treatment for themselves," she said. "The
bee stings have brought about tiny improvements from absolutely
nothing. It is amazing." Ms Cooke, who has two children
- Danielle, 12, and Kaysie, 19 - recently found she could move
some of the toes on her feet. The treatment involves 12 stings
at a time each Monday, Wednesday and Friday. She said that at
first they got bees sent from London, but now they have found
a local beekeeper "When we first started using this bee
therapy we were told it would not produce any effects for three
months, but in the first couple of weeks she regained use of
some of her toes," she said. Doctors have concerns because
some people are allergic to bee stings. The MS Society spokesman
added that MS is a variable condition with some patients showing
differing symptoms at different times. Bee venom therapy has
been and still is used by many for treating arthritis. It is
thought that the shock of the sting cranks up adrenal glands
to produce the natural painkiller cortisol.
NEW HONEY WARNING TARGETS BATCH OF GREEK IMPORTS
Cyprus public health services yesterday announced the withdrawal
from the market of five batches of Greek honey found to contain
residues of Dichlorbenzol, a pesticide believed to be carcinogenic.
The Health Ministry said that after checking samples of Greek
honey on the market, the Ministry of Health said that five types
of honey, all made by the same Greek company ‘Attiki Pittas’,
contained unacceptable levels of the substance. They have been
listed as Fino in a plastic jar, 470g, Fino in a glass jar, 500g,
Attiki in a glass jar, 250g, Attiki in a plastic jar, 470g, and
Attiki in a glass jar, 500g. The sell-by date on all five is January
31, 2008. The Ministry said it had already given instructions
to the import company to withdraw the products, and advised the
public not to purchase any honey from the named batches. Greek
honey is the latest target in a clampdown on tainted honey on
the market. Several Cypriot batches have been withdrawn in recent
months after being found to contain antibiotic residues.
OPEN LETTER TO THE BBKA
Apis-UK has just received
this open letter to the BBKA from John Salt the Chairman of
the Morray Beekeepers’ Association
raising the thorny subject of pesticides. Ed.
Secretary Moray Beekeepers
Sunningdale, Forres, Moray, IV36 2RU
E-mail: j.j.salt @ bees-trees.demon.co.uk
National Beekeeping Centre
National Agricultural Centre
CV8 2LG 18 February 2005
BBKA sponsorship of pesticides
At our recent AGM it was proposed that a discussion take place
regarding the endorsement and sponsorship of certain pesticides
by the BBKA. It was then proposed that a letter be written to
the BBKA condemning their action which was carried unanimously.
is our opinion that it is irresponsible of a national association
such as the BBKA to endorse and sponsor pesticides as ‘Bee
Friendly’ when some of these pesticides are actually listed
on the manufacturer’s web pages as ‘highly toxic
BBKA would appear to endorse the product, not its safe use,
which has led to misleading and incorrect information being
given farmers and sprayers. This affects Beekeepers not only
in England but also in Scotland and throughout the UK. We find
the actions of the BBKA as untenable.
SAVE THE LAESOE DARK BEE!
The Laesoe population
is severe endangered as a consequence of lost protection. This
valuable population will soon be lost without massive public
pressure to convince the Danish minister of Agriculture to change
his decision. Only international public reaction can save the
Laesoe dark bee now! Your opinion counts.
You can help by:
1. Translate the following letter from the Danish beekeepers
to your own language, if necessary, for spreading the information.
2. Spread the message to all dark bee friends, not to forget
professional institutions, in your country, eventually neighbour
countries as well.
3. Let all, in their own words and their own manner express
their opinion, but you can also suggest a standard formulation.
Send a letter or an e-mail each to "Ministeriet for Fødevarer,
Fiskeri og Landbrug, Copenhagen " or e.mail to: email@example.com.
You may also use the Ministers personal e-mail address, as seen
in the letter below. Please take action! Nils Drivdal Sicamm
Danish Minister of Agriculture
Removes the Conservation order on Black Bees (Apis melliffera
mellifera) on Danish Island of Læsø.
The Danish Minister of Agriculture and Food, Hans Christian
Schmidt, Email address firstname.lastname@example.org Has decided because it goes
against his libertine instincts of how a free market economy
should function to remove the conservation orders on the unique
Danish Black Bee (Apis melliffera mellifera) which has survived
on the Danish Island of Læsø in the Kattegat Sea,
for many hundreds of thousands of years. He has decided to allow
other races of bees on the Island of Læsø as he
say" To improve the previous arrangements" (in Danish "for
at forbedre den hidtige indsats).
The Queen honey bee mates up to 15 - 16 times at a height
of up to 1000 metres in the air, male bees 'drones', are able
to fly over 15 kilometre's; as the Island of Læsø is
only 25 Kilometres long therefore, no where on the Island the
unique black Læsø be free not to be mated by other
species of honey bee. The Læsø Black Bee is preserved
under 1) 'The Convention of Biological Diversity! 1992 ' which
Danish Government is a signatory too 2) The Danish Government
also is a signatory to 'The Food and Agriculture Organisation'
FAO Global Strategy from 1999 on the preservation of Global
Gene resources 3) The EU Court In Luxemburg has ruled that the
Preservation Order on the Læsø Black Bee
was a requirement on The Danish Government, and that no other
race of bees were to be allowed on the Island of Læsø.
4) SICAMM 'The International Organisation on the preservation
of the Northern European Black Bee' held a conference on Læsø in
September 2004, and agreed it was important to preserve this
unique bee. A Danish Beekeeper Ditlev Blume, who shares Hans
Christian Schmidt, Libertine Philosophy has fought all the above
International Judgements, and has now got the backing of the
Danish 'Liberal' Minister of Food And Agriculture, to allow
other races of bees like ligustica (yellow Bee)on the Island
of Læsø. He has now also got the Danish minister
backing to! Ignore all international judgements on the importance
of preserving the unique Black Bee which absorbs the suns rays
better in northern Climates, and in fact is a lot older genetic
version of the other honey bee varieties.
Professor Bo Vest Pedersen from Copenhagen Universities, 'Zoological
Institute' is now convinced that another species of our planets
increasingly endangered species, the Læsø black
bee will now disappear unless International pressure can be
brought to bare on the Danish Minister of Food & Agriculture.
Danish Beekeepers a through their 'Denmark's Biavlerforening'
(Danish Beekeepers Association) Chairman Bjarne Sørensen
Email: email@example.com are appealing to all beekeepers, conservation
interested people, and friends of our planet earth, to raise
a massive 'Press & Media Storm' to this Danish government
minister who would like the world to think that Denmark is a
civilised democratic country. By emailing, or writing personally
to Danish Minister of Food and Agriculture, Hans Christian Schmidt,
Address: Friggsvang 3, 6500 Vojens, Denmark, Tel: 0045 33922002
or email firstname.lastname@example.org your own protest in your own words, or
using the information above. One of the Dainish Minister firm
supporters is Bjørn Lomborg, of 'The Danish Institute
of Environmental Research' (Institute for Miljøvurdering)
the Danish minister has given Lomborg's Institute, massive monetary
support to rubbish people with environmental concerns, and support
the Danish Governments 'Ultra Liberal Values' on the environment.
On the 28th January 2005 at a meeting in Holstebro, Jutland,
Denmark, the Danish Prime Minister Anders Rasmussen mocked and
ridiculed, NAOH (Danish Friends of the Earth) Green Peace, and
other Environmental organisation for scaring people with the
dangers of 'Global warming' which he claimed did not exist.
The author of this article has found out on 'the principle of
five', that if you send some important information to five important
people within seven days every one in the world will know about
it. Asks you to send this information to The Press, Journalists,
BBC, Opinion Formers, in fact any one you can think of. For
further information you can contact Denmark 's National Beekeeping
Advisor and President of Apimondia, Asger Søgaard
Jørgensen, on email@example.com web page www.biavl.dk Tel:
Written: by David Ashton, Agricultural Free Lance Journalist,
1st February 2005 Email: beeman @ post.tele.dk.
BULGARIA DISCUSSES BEE-BREEDING NATIONAL PROGRAM
Bulgarian national program for development and boosting of bee-keeping
was presented Feb 10th in Sofia ’s Inter
Expo Centre. The program has been developed by the Ministry
of Agriculture and Forests in cooperation with the German Association
for Technical Partnership and Bulgarian bee-keeping organizations.
The day of the presentation was especially chosen, as February
10 th the Orthodox Church marks the day of St. Haralampii, who
is believed to be the first one to discover honey’s healing
powers. Working groups discussed the natural resources, bee
breeding technologies and bee protection as well as honey production,
marketing and products’ safety. The program aims to help
Bulgaria in deriving maximum benefits from the funds, which
are expected to be granted for developing the bee-breeding sector
after country’s entering in the EU. Last year the EU enforced
new regulations allowing member-countries to receive financial
support after presenting three-year national development programs
in the sector. In 2004 Bulgaria has exported 5,620 tones of
bee honey, 70% of which flowed into the EU market.
So is the patron Saint of apitherapists St. Haralampii? Ed.
SPECIMENS FOR WING ID STUDY
I'm a PhD student at University of St Andrews , applying new auto-ID software
(DAISY) to pollination ecology. I've been identifying Kenyan bees from wing
venation (84% correct) and pollen grains in pollen loads. I would like to
look at variation in wing venation within Apis mellifera, to see if DAISY
can distinguish Apis mellifera strains. For this I will need bee specimens
from a wide range of genetic backgrounds. I would like to put out requests
to beekeepers to send me dead bees collected from their hive entrances, together
with information about the genetic background of their bees. Do you think
this idea might work? Where should I advertise? Would you be interested in
sending me some bees? Contact Atir via the BBKA message board URL: http://www.bbka.org.uk/phpBB2/viewtopic.php?t=276
This new research topic is being undertaken at St Andrew's
University and any help or advice beekeepers can give to the
PhD student would be invaluable. Ed.
DISCOVERY OF GLIDING ANTS SHOWS WINGLESS FLIGHT HAS
ARISEN THROUGHOUT THE ANIMAL KINGDOM
Most will know
that many arboreal animals have learned to glide through the
forest, from flying squirrels to flying lizards and frogs, and
even snakes. Now, add ants to that list, say biologists at the
University of California, Berkeley, and the University of Texas
Medical Branch in Galveston (UTMB).
Gliding ants - the only wingless insects known to actively
direct their fall - were first observed last year outside Iquitos,
Peru, by insect ecologist Stephen P. Yanoviak of UTMB. While
perched 100 feet up in the rainforest canopy waiting for mosquitoes
to alight and feed on his blood, Yanoviak casually brushed off
a few dozen ants that were attacking him and noticed their uncanny
ability to land on the tree's trunk and climb back to the very
spot from which they'd fallen. "I brushed them off the
branch with my hand, and I noticed that maybe 20 or 30 of them
fell in unison and then made this nice little cascade back to
the tree trunk," said Yanoviak via phone from Iquitos. "That's
when I realized something was up with this behaviour and it
was worth checking into a bit more."
By painting the ants' rear legs with white nail polish, he
was able to track their fall and establish that they come in
backwards to the tree, hit and hang on, though they often tumble
down the trunk a few feet and occasionally bounce off. They
can actually make 180 degree turns in midair, however, so even
when they fail the first time, they can execute a mid-air hairpin
turn and glide in for another try." It's an amazing discovery," say
the researchers, but apparently, it's fairly common among a
lot of tropical canopy ants.
After Yanoviak's initial observation, he conducted further
drop studies and established that about 85 percent of the ants
- a widespread tropical canopy species called Cephalotes atratus
- are able to land on the tree trunk and climb back up, as compared
to a mere 5 percent that would be expected to land on the trunk
if the ants were parachuting randomly to the ground. The researchers
believe that they're trying to get back to the tree, they're
trying to not get lost in the understorey of the forest. Once
they hit the forest floor, they're unlikely to find a chemical
trail back to the nest, and most likely will be eaten by predators.
Yanoviak said that perhaps more important from the perspective
of survival, the forests are flooded as much as half the year,
so an ant falling into the water will most likely end up as
fish food. "This is what they think is the major evolutionary
driving mechanism behind the behaviour.
The observations combined with videotaped tests in Panama established
that the ants basically reorient their bodies so their hind
legs and abdomen point toward the tree, and use their head-up
fall through the air to take them feet-first toward the trunk.
How they land is still a mystery, but evidently claws on their
back legs act like grappling hooks to snag the trunk and hang
on. "When they drop, they often glide away from the trunk, then turn
and come in backwards," Dudley said. "Their 180-degree turns are
pretty dramatic in the absence of wings."
The team found that, unlike flying squirrels that can glide
horizontally for long distances, the ants fall at a relatively
high velocity, around 4 meters per second (12 feet per second),
and approach the tree at a steep angle. This means they frequently
bounce off the trunk, though, as initially noted, they just
make a 180 degree turn and try again - usually with success.
What allows the ants to change direction so quickly is still
a mystery. They have long, slightly flattened hind legs which,
when combined with abdominal movements, might allow the ants
to reorient in midair. They also have an unusual flattened head
with flanges that could act as a rudder. "My guess is that,
by gliding backwards and using their legs and also their flat
head with flanges, they could steer," he said, though more
studies are needed before the question can be answered.
The worker ants are secondarily wingless; meaning they probably
evolved the ability to glide after they lost their permanent
wings, which were common in primitive ants. "This discovery
doesn't necessarily say something about the evolution of flight
in terms of insect lineages, but it does give us good information
about what kinds of morphologies are involved in the transition
from just parachuting, or just falling uncontrolled, to being
able to control where you land," Yanoviak
The gliding behaviour would be a definite advantage for ants,
like Cephalotes, that forage at the outer reaches of branches
and are in greatest danger of being knocked off by wind gusts
or passing monkeys and indeed there is some evidence, that these
ants sometimes purposely drop off the tree to avoid predators,
evidently secure in the fact that they can glide back to the
same tree. All told, the team dropped about 60 species of ants
from the treetops, and has found some form of in 25 species
representing five separate genera. It is the norm in only two
groups, however: the Cephalotini tribe, which includes Cephalotes
atratus, and the arboreal Pseudomyrmecinae ants.
HOW DO BEES AND OTHER INSECTS ‘SMELL’
Find How Protein Allows Insects to Detect and Respond to Pheromones
How do insects smell? Badly,
according to a new study, if they lack a certain kind of protein
critical to their ability to detect and interpret pheromones
- the insect equivalent of "smelling." Researchers
at UT Southwestern Medical Centre at dallas, USA have discovered
how a protein, called an olfactory binding protein, links incoming
pheromone signals and specific nerve cells in an insect's brain,
which in turn translate those signals. Pheromones are chemical
signals given off by animals that, when detected by others of
the same species, mediate a variety of behaviours, such as feeding,
mating and colonizing.
The findings not only shed light on insect behaviour, but
also suggest that olfactory binding proteins may be new targets
for synthetic chemicals that could trick insects like mosquitoes
into traps or could function as repellents, said Dr. Dean Smith,
associate professor of pharmacology at UT Southwestern and senior
author on the study. Humans give off signals that attract mosquitoes,
the insect responsible for spreading malaria, which kills up
to 3 million people each year. The research, appearing in the
Jan. 20 issue of the journal Neuron, is the first to directly
link pheromone-induced behaviour with the activity of olfactory
binding proteins, or OBPs. The nerve cells, or neurons, in insects
responsible for picking up on pheromone signals have been studied
for decades, as have pheromones themselves. But the biochemical
mechanism by which pheromones and other odorants selectively
activate those sensory neurons is poorly understood. "We've
known about OBPs for 20 years, but until now their function
and significance was unclear," said Dr. Smith, who works
in the Centre for Basic Neuroscience. Olfactory binding proteins
are produced by non-neuronal cells and are secreted into the
fluid bathing the dendrites, or nerve endings, of olfactory
The source of this article is the University Of Texas Southwestern
Medical Centre At Dallas. Ed.
POLLEN HELPS WAR CRIME FORENSICS
We are always
reading about the use of bees for various purposes from finding
mine fields to airborne reconnaissance missions, but what about
pollen. This too has many uses particularly in dating items,
locating origins, for example, when experts carbon dated the
Turin Shroud as medieval, pollen experts pointed to the fact
that pollen grains from the shroud were from plants only found
in bible lands at the time of Christ. Now it seems they were
right. New research evidently shows that previous tests were
carried out on patched pieces of the shroud sewn in during medieval
times. Dating of the original pieces of shroud accord with the
Recently news reports show that researchers have revealed
how a team of forensic experts used pollen to help them to convict
Bosnian war criminals. Professor Tony Brown of the University
of Exeter used the method to link mass graves in Bosnia, which
supported the case for genocide by the prosecution. He says
pollen and unchanging soil characteristics can "provide
strong circumstantial evidence placing a vehicle or person at
a crime scene".
"Forensic pollen analysis has made a significant contribution
to the investigation of war crimes in Bosnia ," Professor
Brown explained. Bosnian war criminals tried disguising their
acts of genocide by exhuming mass graves and reburying bodies
in smaller graves, claiming they were the result of minor battles.
The prosecution at the UN war crimes tribunal needed to show
that the many "secondary" burial
sites could be linked to a few "primary" ones, to
prove that mass graves had initially existed.
Professor Brown was part of the North East Bosnian Mortuary
Team which conducted forensic examinations of mass graves. The
team, which worked under constant UN guard, examined 20 sites
over a four-year period from 1997. Soil samples were taken
from skeletal cavities, inside the graves, and from around
the suspected primary and secondary burial sites.
Pollen from the soil samples was cleaned with powerful chemicals
before being analysed, and the mineralogy of the soil itself
was examined. Once complete, matches could be made between different
samples – ultimately
leading to links between primary and secondary burial sites.
Professor Brown said: "For example, one primary execution
and burial site was in a field of wheat. When bodies were found
in secondary burial sites they were linked to the primary location
through the presence of distinctive wheat pollen in soil recovered
from the victims." Independent ballistics work was in 100%
agreement with the conclusions of the pollen and soil analysis,
he added. Overall, the work formed a significant component of
the generic body of evidence used against those involved in
the Srebrenica atrocities. Professor Brown said a case in point
was the conviction of Radislav Krstic, commander of a military
unit which participated in the massacres in and around Srebrenica
in the summer of 1995.
On many occasions I have
sat in front of my hives and watched my bees rocking backwards
and forwards in groups on the front face of the hive as though
scrubbing the wood or scraping it. No one has been able to tell
me why they do this and many beekeepers tell me that they’ve
never seen it. Now, I have finally unearthed a piece of research
on the subject which although not solving the puzzle of ‘why’,
at least tells me that others are ‘onto it’.
The research was carried out by a team from the USDA-ARS
Bee Research lab at Beltsville in the USA . They believe the
behaviour is associated with general cleaning behaviour, but
nothing was known of the age of the workers, the function of
the activity or the circumstances which spark it off. They
found out that marked workers began this activity at 13 days
old with a peak between 15 and 25 days old. The activity
increased from around 0800 hrs to 1400 hrs and remained elevated
until late evening. The workers were presented with three
surfaces of different textures and found that the behaviour
increased from glass to wood to slate showing perhaps that
surface has an effect. So why do they do this? They don’t
I think that perhaps it is something from their wild days
when a smoother surface both outside the nest entrance and
in the nest facilitated colony life in some way, either by
cleaning or smoothing surfaces. Ed.
BEE PRESS Back to top
Beecraft February 2005 Volume 87 Number 2
Claire Waring Editor. www.bee-craft.com
Contents: A year in the apiary: apiary location
David Aston, PhD, NDB; Other bees: bumblebees Mike Edwards; Beekeeping
in Denmark Raymond Chamberlin; A year in the life of a beginner Lucille
Frost; Mighty mites Celia Davis, NDB; The gentle Slovenian Carniolan
bee Doug Jones; A Polish welcome Danuta Loveday; A holiday visit
to bee boles June Dennis; In the Apiary: having fun with bees (part
11) Karl Showler; Book reviews - Plants and Honey Bees: their relationships
David Aston and Sally Bucknall; Bad Beekeeping Ron Miksha; Pollen:
the hidden sexuality of flowers Rob Kesseler and Madeline Harley.
Editorial: The dreadful tsunami disaster in Asia
happened after the January issue of BeeCraft had gone to press. However,
it is not too late to offer our sympathy and support to all those,
both abroad and at home, who have been affected by these terrible
events. Of course, the first needs are for water, food and medicines
and you will find two ways in which you can help on page 29. However,
some of those affected have already started reconstruction work.
It is perhaps here that beekeepers can help in a special way by providing
assistance for their fellow beekeepers. Plans for such a fund are
already being made by Bees for Development and we will bring you
further information as it becomes available. This issue seems to
have developed a holiday feel with reports of bees and beekeeping
in Denmark, Slovenia, Poland and Cornwall! These experiences can
teach us a lot about the history of beekeeping and different traditions
and techniques. Do you still have Christmas money to spend? Why not
buy one or more of the books reviewed on page 26? Pollen by Rob Kesseler
and Madeline Harley is simply a stunning publication. With my interest
in macro photography, I am used to wondering at the marvellous detail
in this miniature world. These photos are something different. Give
yourself a treat and get a copy! More book reviews are planned in
March. In this issue, we are starting a major new series looking
at others bees, wasps and mimics. We welcome Mike Edwards who starts
us off with a first look at bumblebees. Claire
|Bee Craft February 2005
THE BEEKEEPES QUARTERLY
incorporating BeeBiz. No. 79 Winter 2005 (A4 56
Editor: John Phipps. www.beedata.com/bbq.htm
PETER MARTIN ON HONEY QUALITY; ASSOCIATION NEWS Bee Farmers' Association, John
Howat; National Diploma in Beekeeping, Geoff Hopkinson; BBKA, Geoff Hopkinson & Mike
Rowbottom; Ulster BKA; Apimondia, Asger Sogaard Jorgensen; & German Apitherapy
Society. LETTERS TO THE EDITOR Endorsement of pesticides by the
BBKA; Why strive for purity in genetic improvement; Queen rearing
the Christian Henricksen way; & Burning issues; BEEKEEPING
EQUIPMENT The Herzog fully-automatic foundation machine, Roger
White; & The Thomas integral uncapping line, Catherine Oates.
SMALL HIVE BEETLE An Overview, Jacqui Todd, New Zealand; Living
with the Small Hive Beetle, Ann Harman; Small Hive Beetle Control
using the New West Trap, Rev. James West; Formic Acid as a Repellant
for the Small Hive Beetle, Bill Ruzicka; SHB in Portugal `Current
status', Antonio Pouseiro; & Reactions to the Portuguese discovery:
Job Pichon, David Dawson, Ko Zoet &Ann Harman. THE IMPORT AND
EXPORT OF QUEENS AND BEES Is The Grass Really Greener...? Ann Harman;
The Import of Queens and Package Bees into Canada, David Dawson;
Quarantine and a New Initiatives in the Queen Rearing Industry,
Geoff Manning; Serbia and countries of former Yugoslavia: Carniolans
only! Predrag Cvetkovic; Nepal , Bhim Suval; & Queen imports
into the UK , Albert Knight. VARROA CONTROL Thymol Over-frame Evaporator
for Treating Varroa, John E. Dews; Wider Frame Spacing Helps Combat
Varroa, Alison Parnell; Controlling and Monitoring Varroa using
Icing Sugar and the West Small Hive Beetle Trap, John Phipps; & Metarhizium
anisopliae winning the fight against Varroa, Alfredo Flores. SCIENCE
REVIEW Storage proteins in winter honeybees, David Aston NDB; OUT
OF THE PAST Looking back: Brother Adam and other acquaintances,Colin
Weightman. ENVIRONMENT Geoff Hopkinson NDB; MEDICATIONS FOR BEEKEEPING
EU Directive EC2004/28/EC, Paul Metcalf; Comments and reactions
- from Max Watkins, Ken Basterfield, Eric McArthur, Geoff Manning,
David Dawson, Predrag Cvetnovik, Vitaliy Petrovsky, Asger Sogard
Jorgensen, Job Pichon, Roger White, David Cramp and Ko Zoet. TECHNOLOGY
High Temperature Wintering of TwoFrame Nucs Dr Alexander Komissar.
HONEY QUALITY: Cyprus Imported honey causes violent reaction from
beekeeper, Roger White. FROM OUR CORRESPONDENTS Ukraine, Dr Alexander
Komissar; Australia, Geoff Manning; Italy, Alison Parnell; Portugal,
Antonio Pouseiro; Brittany, Job Pichon; Lithuania, Rimantas Zugas; & Nepal,
Bhim Suwal. BEEHIVES The Alpine Hive Slobodan Z'. Jankovic' BREEDING
MATTERS John Atkinson NDB; BOOKSHELF Pollen. The hidden sexuality
of flowers, Rob Kesseler and Madeline Harley. Organisation of Colony
Reproduction in the Honey Bee, by Celia Davis An exploration of
the Public Health Challenges posed by Honey Bees and Beekeeping
in the UK, by Jeremy Voaden Traditional British Honey Drinks, Francis
BEES AND MAGNETIC FIELDS (Part 3 of 3) Part
1; Part 2
It takes about 3 weeks for the bees to fill the volume 9 inches
square, and 24 inches deep with pure white comb. The top of the
box may be removed, and the alignment of the comb revealed.
As may be seen the bulk of the comb is aligned to the East – West
compass bearing of the Earth's magnetic field, and not the East
- West direction brought about by the introduction of the permanent
However, in the top left hand corner two small sections of comb
occur which do not comply to the general arrangement and need some
When a swarm is reported, the box taken to collect the swarm
is the actual box from the top section of an inner hive. The swarm
when placed into the box on site, is positioned on the ground at
random. The swarm in the box is collected late evening, say 20:00
- 21:00 hrs, taken home and placed directly on top of the inner
hive. The bees are undisturbed. By this time the bees have been
within the box say 6 hours and although no appreciable comb has
been built, they have been thinking about it, and have decided
amongst themselves the comb alignment.
Undisturbed they work on, although being transported from A to
B and set down elsewhere, comb is being built. It takes time, but
eventually they become aware of the change of direction and further
comb takes up the new alignment.
This idea may be investigated further by noting the East - West
direction of the box position at the swarm collecting location
and placing it in the apiary in the same direction. Nevertheless
the introduced permanent magnet did not seem to affect comb construction
and this would indicate that the Earth's magnetic field does not
influence this East - West comb alignment. Let us try another type
of experiment and have a tilt at gravity and also consider the
comb construction in Hive 8 - 3.
THE BRANCH SHOW EXPOSED
Owing to the fact that
no one had thought to tell me that the clocks had changed, I arrived
at the Branch show an hour early. I was surprised to see Mr. Johnson
A and Mrs. Trelawney as I walked in, and they seemed even more
surprised to see me. Maybe surprised is the wrong word: rather
they looked caught, and I thought I saw Mrs. Trelawney put something
behind her back.
‘Evening', I ventured, as they hurriedly rearranged
things on the table in front of them. 'You're here early,'
I continued, supposing that they had also not reset their clocks,
'What's that'?' I asked, pointing at the stainless steel vat
on the table.
'It's a steamer', said Mrs. Trelawney looking sideways at
'Oh right,' I nodded, '"What are you steaming?'
Mr. Johnson shifted uneasily as I lifted the lid of the steamer.
Inside I could see that the tank contained four or five jars
of honey. 'The water's a bit hot in there for honey isn't it?'
Mr. J. and Mrs. T. exchanged worried looks.
Then, on looking again, I saw something familiar float to
the surface of the water: that unmistakable seal of excellence:
a John Chamberlain Honey jar label. I saw it fold and sink to
the bottom again. I looked up into their two guilty faces, as
the realization of what they were doing dawned on me.
'We err. ..well the thing is. ..it's just that.., Mr. J. floundered.
'Now look here Chuckle Boy,' said Mrs. T. in a defensive tone.
'There are a few things you need to know about our club.'
'Rules and things,' added Mr. J., 'circles within circles,
wheels within wheels.'
'I see,' I said, not seeing at all.
'We have standards to maintain, and, more importantly, egos
to contain,' Mrs. T. added.
'So why are you steaming off John's labels?'
'Well, why reinvent the wheel? It's what we always do. Over
the past few years we have managed to beat John Chamberlain with
his own product three times. We like to think that it keeps him
from becoming complacent.'
'So who is in this inner circle, as you put it?’
'Well, it's more a case of there being John, and err... then
there's the rest of us.'
'You mean the whole club's in on it'?'
'Even Terry?' Mrs. T. nodded solemnly and held up a jar which
had had Terry's name recently added to it.
I looked down at the jar of my own honey, which I had brought
to the show. I compared my cloudy, granulated, scum-topped jar
with a jar of the sparkling Chamberlain product.
'You'd better steam off a jar for me too then,' I said putting
my jar back in my bag.
'Marvelous,' said Mr. J. looking relieved, 'welcome on board.'
I was delighted with the second-prize rosette which Terry awarded
me; delighted as opposed to proud you understand. Indeed, there was
a great deal of delight at the show that evening. Throughout the
entire evening I noticed that John Chamberlain maintained a look
that I can only describe as agonised suspicion. I thought about asking
him how he had got on in the judging, but seeing that he was not
sporting any rosettes, I thought better of it. Chad Cryer
MOVING STOCKS OF HONEYBEES
It won’t be
long before the season in UK is underway and many beekeepers will
be moving stocks of bees for a variety of reasons; probably the
first move will be to the rape fields. It is part and parcel of
practical beekeeping and in my experience is executed very badly
by most beekeepers so perhaps it would be appropriate to discuss
the matter and outline how it should be done.
Moving bees used to be dealt with in the old BBKA Intermediate
Examination and has been ignored for many years until it appeared
in the BBKA Husbandry Examination syllabus.
Many articles have been written in the beekeeping press over
the years about moving bees, most of them involve the bees escaping
and someone being stung. I find no amusement in these stories and
believe that if bees are moved properly and common sense precautions
are taken, then no bees will be lost and no one will be stung.
Additionally, I consider that any bees that escape en route can
be attributed to negligence on the part of the beekeeper.
What follows is the text written by Dawn and me which has been
extracted from our Beekeeping Study notes for the Husbandry Examination.
2.22 Demonstrate how to prepare a colony for moving to
2.22.1 The Candidate should note that this part of the syllabus
requires the preparation to be demonstrated to the satisfaction
of the Examiner. This is likely to be done on one of the stocks
selected by the Examiner in the Candidate's apiary. All candidates
should be in possession of suitable travelling screens and other
necessary items for the examination.
2.22.2 Preparing a stock for moving starts by removing the crown
board and replacing it with a travelling screen, preferably with
a space of about 1 inch on the underside to allow room for any
bees to cluster. When being moved, the entrance should be closed
(eg. reduced entrance block with foam pushed into the reduced entrance
just before moving) and not restricted with a screen as many books
recommend. If light is showing at their normal entrance the bees
will attempt to escape at this point and there is the danger of
them suffocating in the panic to get out of the hive. When being
moved, the hive parts have to be secured one with another; this
can be done in a variety of ways:
a) Using a hive strap around everything excluding the roof which
is always removed for travelling. Two hive straps in opposite directions
are safer than one and virtually essential.
b) Screwing metal plates 4 in × 1in (100mm × 25mm)
at an angle of 45º across the joins between floor and boxes
with the screen being fastened with screws to the to box. Note
that the 2 plates on each side should be angled in opposite directions
to prevent movement. This method is considered to be superior to
all others but it is more time consuming. It should be used for
a major move over long distances, say greater than 50 miles.
c) Spring clips to join the boxes together: these use 3 screws,
2 on one box and 1 on the other.
d) Bro. Adam's method of long bolts through the screen, brood
chamber and floorboard.
e) Using hive staples; these are a bit outdated these days and
a fine way of disturbing a colony when hammering them home. Definitely
f) The entrance block needs securing to the floorboard, the safest
way is with two 'L' brackets screwed to the front and to the sides
of the floorboard.
Other preparations which are necessary before the actual move
are as follows:
a) The site and stands at the new location should be ready to
receive the stocks immediately on arrival.
b) Prepare emergency equipment for journey, ie. veil, smoker,
fuel, water spray for occasional cooling, spare ropes, wide sticky
tape for accidental bee leaks, etc.
c) Make the move during the hours of darkness.
d) When all the colonies are in position at the new site, remove
the foam at the entrances to allow free flight. The Publisher (Mr.J.S.Kinross)
has advised us that he uses a bathroom loofah in lieu of dense
foam! We do not recommend this method for a variety of reasons.
2.23 Describe procedures used for moving a colony a short
distance within an apiary and to another site beyond normal flying
distance, making reference to the difficulties and dangers involved.
The criteria to be observed when moving colonies of bees from
one place to another include optimum distance, vibration, temperature,
ventilation and water supply.
2.23.1 The distance
The distance that bees can be moved is well known, ie. 3 feet
maximum or 3 miles minimum, providing no bees are lost from the
colony concerned. Note that it is usually the stock that is moved
not the colony (BBKA definition) because it has to be moved in
some receptacle or another. The reason for the distance restriction
is twofold. Honeybees forage generally up to a distance of 2½ to
3 miles from their hive and have a 'mental picture' of this area
or recognise distinctive landmarks within the area and know how
to navigate back using these landmarks. Moving their hive within
this known area creates a condition whereby the foragers leave
the hive in the new position, re-orientate on leaving the hive
but while foraging, recognise well known landmarks and return to
the old site.
The navigational ability of the honeybee is extremely precise
(a few inches close to their own hive). Moving the hive entrance
more than 3 feet will create a condition whereby the foragers will
not find their hive and will either drift to a nearby hive or cluster
at the original position of the hive entrance. The Authors conducted
a series of experiments some years ago to test the memories of
the bees by moving them to a distant apiary and then returning
them to a different site in the original apiary. After two weeks
their memories started to fail and all foragers returned to the
new hive position in the original apiary. For periods less than
2 weeks, the bees when brought back, continued to return to their
original site. Of course during the 2 week period many of the original
foragers would have died a natural death and new foragers would
have taken their place. The only time that this is not true is
when a swarm issues; it can be hived very close to the original
site and the foragers do not return to their original hive. It
seems that something very curious happens to their memories (?),
rather like erasing a computer disc of all its information.
2.23.2 Moving the stocks
Moving the stocks involves observing some simple rules after
preparing them the day before:
a) Place foam in reduced entrance and then remove roof.
b) Place the stocks with the frames in a fore and aft direction
so that frames cannot swing if emergency braking or stopping is
required en route.
c) Ensure all stocks are roped down securely before starting.
Stop after 15 minutes and check all is secure (tension up if required).
d) Corner at slow speed to minimise frames swinging.
e) The stocks should be moved preferably during the hours of
darkness arriving at the destination about daybreak. If they are
moved during the day over heating must be watched carefully and
cooling applied (say every hour) with water spray if necessary.
f) If they are being moved on a trailer ensure that it has a
g) On arrival, set up all the stocks in their final positions,
replace all roofs and immediately remove foam at reduced entrances.
h) Next day remove screens and replace crown boards.
Any vibration excites bees and if they are closed up in transport
the temperature increase would be dangerous if insufficient ventilation
and cooling were not provided. During transportation by vehicle
there will be a continuous vibration keeping the colony in a state
of agitation and high temperature. It will therefore be clear that
vibration in general is closely allied to temperature and ventilation.
In order to minimise these adverse effects, stocks should be handled
with care during the loading and off loading process.
2.23.4 Temperature and ventilation
Temperature and ventilation go hand in hand and, of course, are
allied to vibration. Because of the rise in temperature when a
colony is disturbed it is necessary to provide adequate ventilation
when moving bees. If very strong colonies are to be moved then
it may be advantageous to provide additional space by adding another
super as well as providing the ventilation screen. Even these precautions
when moving strong stocks during the day in warm weather may be
insufficient to prevent dangerous temperature rises, enough to
melt wax comb and drown the bees in honey. Spraying the colony
with water through the ventilation screen will be required as part
of the operation.
2.23.5 Water supply
Water may be required en route as indicated above and it will
be obvious that a regular water supply will be required by the
colony when it arrives at its new location.
2.23.6 Other points related to moving bees
a) Bees should only normally be moved during the flying season,
the winter cluster should not be disturbed.
b) Continual movement of bees, for say pollination purposes,
puts them under stress and stress is the forerunner to Nosema.
c) It is better to move a stock of bees some days after it has
been inspected in order to allow time for the bees to re-propolise
all the seals which had been broken. This minimises internal movement
of frames etc.
d) Travelling screens should be constructed of a mesh of 7 to
1 inch of a wire gauge c. 28 SWG (standard wire gauge).
e) Colonies being moved to a new site should have a 10 day supply
of stores in the brood chamber.
Let us hope for a better season this coming year. © JDY.
DANISH BEEKEEPING A WIDE RANGING VIEW
By David Ashton Agricultural
Free Lance Journalist, & Beekeeper
Why so Progressive
As a small country with an agricultural based economy Danes have always tended
to link the theory of science and the practical practise of good husbandry,
or care for their animals together. In the case of beekeeping, it has been
the same, to have good beekeeping practise linked with science. This can
be seen in many ways that the Danish neighbours very quickly adopt the new
techniques and ideas developed by Danish Beekeeping. However Danish beekeeping
does not run headlong into trends, this can be seen by their pragmatic avoidance
in the official stance of not using hard chemical’s for the treatment
of Varroa, instead using Lactic Acid, Formic Acid, Oxalic Acid, and Thymol
and management methods and breeding Varroa resistant bees, for its treatment.
As we now know large number’s of European Beekeepers are faced with
the problem of Varroa mites resistant to the hard chemicals. They are now
looking, and learning from how the Danes do it, having laughed at them to
begin with at their more organic approach to Varroa control. This approach
of combining science and management in beekeeping has put Danish beekeeping
ahead of many other countries. The author who has had a Danish beekeeping
father in law, first came into contact with Danish beekeeping in 1960 when
studying agriculture in Denmark, one of the things that has always struck
me about Danish beekeeping are very few temperamental self important, prima
a donnish, beekeepers in Denmark, who wish to be the fountain of all knowledge.
The Danes tend to use scientific premise that the whole of society can move
forward and learn from any one even some one with any knowledge of beekeeping
is listened to. So the author following an article on Christian Henriksen
who is very highly regarded, yet on the other hand a very humble gentle queen
breeder, who has made many scientific discoveries about bees and beekeeping
practise. The author of this article was asked to question Christian by the
editor of the periodical about Christian’s queen rearing methods, as
it was not thought they could not work. I wish to quote in full his reply
removing the name of the questioner as I think it explains far better then
a thousand words how Danes look at a problem, to do with nature, using scientific
An answer to a question
Christian Henriksen’s Queen rearing system can be verified, and the correspondent
is welcome to visit Denmark to verify it himself. No matter how surprised
that the system could work, that your correspondent is Christian said” It
is my humble, experience that the only way to prove that an experiment or piece
of research works is too ' Do it Yourself ‘not too talk about it or discuss
it but to 'Do it in the field’, in situate, and no matter how many
hypothesis, propositions, assumptions, and other basis’s of reasoning,
and assumptions, and surprises that my questioners have! The only way he can
prove too the contrary that the system does not work is to very carefully,
and using honest scientific principles, and replication of the original see
for him self whether it works”. As Christian went on to say "I
have met lots of these Professor’s of why it will not work, before they
make a good living from it being doubters its a very well paid profession.
But the only way they can prove a method, or system wrong, and the other Danes,
Scandinavians, Dutch, and Belgium's wrong, who use the method is to copy it
he and see for himself. They can come, and see me however. But I have had them
here, and when they have gone home they have written saying it does not work,
or stood up at a public meeting of other beekeepers saying it does not work,
without even trying it themselves, in the way we have shown them we do it.
But they are always welcome to come and see how we do things in Denmark".
Polystyrene hives not mixing them and other things
The above comments are very important as many British and Irish beekeepers
have been to Denmark in the last few years or read about Danish methods. Many
things have happened from this exchange of ideas! Many bees’ beekeepers
have gone back home, and tried out the methods they have learnt or adapted
them to their own use. Others have picked, and mixed, possible the best example
of this is mixing polystyrene hives with the wooden hives! Were the effect
of the added insulation, were the bees are warm in winter and cool in summer
and can control much better their own inner climate according to their needs
in the polystyrene or polyurethane hive. Is lost, when a wooden floor, supers
and lids are mixed, or the advantages of using one size of brood chamber as
in the Danish polystyrene / polyurethane system, and not using a queen excluder
are lost. By mixing for example, British national wooden hives, with shallow
supers, and then adding a queen excluder and some were fitting in a polystyrene
hive. There are many variations of this that come to light, some have acquired
the Danish polyurethane or polystyrene hives, and not used them as they say
they would never work in British conditions; others make their own version,
of the system, forgetting what brother Adam used to tell us beekeepers “Keep
it Simple". The combinations of reasons are endless but the author rests his
case on what Christian says! Another example is the German discovery at Celle
Bee Research Institute of inverted syrup and fondant, which is inverted with
a natural enzyme, not acid to do the inversion. The reasons given by some British
beekeepers, for using British bakers’ fondant rather then the German
inverted fondant supplied by Danish firms is legendary. The author just wishes
to make the point that Christian makes, after the author has him self-suffering
endless telephone conversations or email correspondence. But add a further
point, that is that British bakers fondant which can be bought for a £ or
so, for a 15 kg box, less sometimes than the inverted fondant. British Bakers
Fondant, usually has other things then sugar added to it to cheapen it, and
make it soft, and pliable, like bean meal, various flour, water, soya, and
vegetable oils, this may well be alright for humans being who seem to have
got used to eating junk food. But for our bees it does not do, they do not
like it. As the author based on Christians assertion to tried it out in Spring
2004, whilst stimulatory feeding his bees in Cumbria, used some British Bakers
fondant and could not get the bees to eat it, so had to give them inverted
fondant which they ate straight away.
Inverted Syrup and Fondant Feeds
The feeding Invert Syrup instead of the use refined cane, beet, or corn
sugar! Has been shown in Bee Research Institutes work, in both Denmark and Germany
at Celle that it reduces stress in bees and increases health and well being,
and increases production of honey, and over wintering losses. The advent of Varroa
and the realisation that the stress it causes can have a major effect on colony,
health. It however important to have in place a system of Integrated Pest Control
(IPM) using an integrated control and checking for Varroa, as is now well know
Danish beekeepers tend to use biological control methods, were as in British
isles up until resistance to varroacides became a problem synthesised proprietary
chemicals have been used. The Danish beekeepers have found that as part of their
(IPM) it is good husbandry and improves the bees health to feed a good quality
them an inverted syrup or fondant that they not have the stress of inverting,
and it is now universally agreed in Danish beekeeping circles that the advantages
of naturally inverted syrup, and fondant feeds. That not using an acid, as is
common in the food industry, but using a natural enzyme to do the inversion of
the syrup and fondant has beneficial effects on bee health. The lower the energy
consumption by the bees to do the inversion works the better for the bees over
all health. Using inverted syrup and fondant have an added bonus on the sub-coetaneous
layer of fat is not reduced going into winter were as feeding cane, beet or corn
syrup reduces this fat layer in the bees. Less stressed bees are healthier and
better able to resist the secondary viruses and bacterial infections commonly
associated with Varroa infestation? Ambrosia Syrup and Fondant supplied by Aulumgaard
Beekeepers in Denmark Tel: 0045 96412100 Email: mp @ aulumgaard.dk and
Hamish Robertson of Struan Apiaries, Scotland Tel: (0044) (0) 1349861427 Fax:
(0044) (0) 1349861802 email: sales @ struanapiaries.com means
that the inverted syrups or fondants fructose’s prevents crystallisation
taking place in the comb, which does not mould, and the bees have a product that
is readily available either when used as a stimulatory feed between nectar flows
in Spring and Summer or as a readily available Winter Feed.
ORGANIC METHODS OF VARROA CONTROL
Treatment of Bees for Varroa
with Oxalic Acid in Denmark. By Svend Haakon Jensen sv-haa @ mail.dk Tidskrift
for Biavl 9/2004.
Oxalic acid CH 2 CO (COOH) 2 is an organic acid. It is found in our own body
cells, in so much as we use it our selves to break down sugars in our own bodies.
It is naturally occurring in rhubarb and spinach. It can be neutralised with
milk, and it is very poisonous in large quantities. A small amount of Oxalic
acid is also naturally occurring in Honey. In the beginning of October when
the queen has stopped egg lying is the best time to treat for varroa mites
with oxalic acid, (* translators note this my be latter in Gulf
stream warmed West of Scotland, England, Wales, and Ireland). Oxalic
acid can be purchased throughout in Denmark from Chemist or ironmongers, beekeeping
supplies. (* In Denmark it can be bought, and is used for various
purposes. I noticed however it is available from ebay as a ‘Deck and
Hull Cleaner for boats) The Oxalic crystals and are mixed with water and
sugar as follows: 75-gram oxalic acid crystals + 1 litre of water +
1 kilo of sugar. It is very important to take great care when mixing
oxalic acid, and observe safety precautions Use strong rubber gloves, and good
quality eye protection glasses.
When treating bees with oxalic acid mix make sure that the weather forecast
promises reasonable weather, which allows the bees to fly out and empty their
stomachs after treatment. If the bees cannot fly after treatment there is a
great risk of diarrhoea, as the bees cannot empty their bowels in the hives
with an increased risk of nosema.
The Oxalic acid mixture is dripped down on 3 to 5 frames so that it runs onto
the bees. Using 3 ml per drawn wax frames, but do not drip onto frames, which
do not have bees on. I recommend you use a measured dosing syringe as in the
picture these are available from Veterinary surgeons or agricultural supply
merchants which allows a metered dose. Translated by David
Ashton from article
in 'Tidskrift for Biavl' Danish
Beekeepers periodical September 2004.
Further Danish Information on Organic Methods of Varroa Treatment
author is constantly being asked, by beekeepers outside of Denmark, how the
Danish Varroa treatments work? As they do not use hard chemicals in Denmark,
or a least 95 % of Danish beekeepers do not, use Apistan, or Bayvarol. Now with
the increasing problem of Varroa resistant mites, in UK, and other European
Countries, I have I thought I would add this article by Danish Bee researchers,
Henrik Hansen & Camilla Brossard. This and other articles
on Danish Beekeeping are available on www.biavl.dk then
click on the hybrid Union Jack / Stars & Stripes, and get the English edition,
of Danish Beekeepers web page.
The varroa mite, together with attacks of virus is the cause of varroa disease.
The Danish strategy for combating the virus is built on a need based strategy
without the use of pesticides. Treatment is based on a combination of technical
beekeeping and physical methods. Furthermore, organic acids which occur naturally
in honey are used and do not give problems of residues. Experience has shown
that an effective treatment can be carried out using this strategy, and it
can be combined with an economically viable honey production. At the same time
beekeeping products can be kept free from problematic traces of pesticides.
If an effective treatment against the varroa mite is not carried out the colonies
will die due to virus attacks.
In recent years in Denmark, and throughout the rest of Europe, there have
been great problems with secondary virus infections in connection with Varroa
attack. These attacks have led to the deaths of many bee colonies. At the
present moment we have diagnosed the following conditions in Denmark: Acute
Paralysis Virus (APV), Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) and Sack Brood Virus (SBV).
In Sweden Unclear Wing Virus (CWV) (Nordstr·om, 1997) and in England
Slow Paralysis Virus (SPV) (Ball, 1997) have been found in connection with
In Denmark problems with DWV and APV have been registered. These virus attacks
cannot be treated. However treating for varroa in good time can prevent outbreaks.
The varroa mite can spread APV to brood and adult bees. The sting of the
adult bee can be the cause of the virus outbreak. An outbreak will result in
brood being badly cared for, and for the adult bees the loss of their orientation
abilities. Thus spreading of the virus to other bee colonies occurs, when infected
bees beg their way into new hives. Outbreaks of APV can be expected in Denmark
at the moment with the presence of 2,000 - 5,000 mites in a colony and will
result in the death of the colony. Outbreaks of DWV can be expected far earlier
than that of APV. When the symptoms of DWV are recognised, treatment for the
varroa mite should be carried out at once.
Need Based Treatment
In order to treat the varroa mite effectively it is necessary to carry out
a monitoring of the mite population in the colony. Monitoring is carried
our by laying an insert at the bottom of the hive, and counting the numbers
that fall down. Of course hive types, which have a specially designed bottom
for mite counting, can also be used.
It has been shown under Danish conditions that there is a linear connection
between the natural mite deaths as counted on a plastic insert and the amount
of varroa might in the colony and brood. Recent studies have shown the following
connection between the number of mites in a colony with a minimum of a half
frame of sealed brood and the average number of mites, which fall down on the
plastic insert per day, in the course of a week.
Total number of mites in a colony = 120 X average number of mites per day.
One can calculate at the same time that the amount of mites in a colony with
brood will double monthly, and that between 50 and 90% of them will die in
In areas with inadequate treatment of varroa mite a huge invasion can take
place from colonies on the verge of collapse. It is, therefore, necessary to
monitor several times through a season. The times are dependent on how effectively
ones neighbouring apiaries have treated their colonies. The first monitoring
should take place at the end of May, and should also take place at the end
of June, July and August. If it is not possible to carry out these four monitoring
then, as a minimum, monitoring should be carried out at the end of June and
the end of August. As far as possible monitoring should be carried out on all
colonies in the apiary.
An average colony with an outbreak of APV will probably die when there are
about 5,000 mites present. In order to save the colony treatment ought to be
carried out much earlier, when there is a maximum of 1,000 mites present. If,
on average, 2 mites per day fall onto the insert in the course of a week’s
count at the end of May, then treatment should be carried out at the latest
at the end of July. It is necessary to treat all the colonies in an apiary.
If a lactic acid treatment is carried out in the end of October, then the
numbers of fallen mites can be counted afterwards. Seen out from the expected
90% effect of treatment, the amount of surviving mites in the colony can be
estimated. Colonies should be wintered with a maximum of 50 - 70 mites.
Technical Beekeeping And Physical Methods
Technical beekeeping and physical methods have the great advantage that one
avoids traces of chemicals in honey or wax.
Removal of Drone Brood
The varroa mite prefers to propagate in cells with drone brood. With the removal
and destruction of sealed drone brood one has a good supplement to other
methods. This method ought, therefore, to be part of treatment in general.
Creation of Nuclei
It is very important that one continues to maintain the desired number of productive
colonies. This can partly be secured by creating nuclei each year. These
should be established in July. Since honey is not to be harvested from them
in the first year, they can be treated with lactic acid.
Heat-treating of sealed brood provides an effective treatment against the varroa
mite. This treatment can be carried out in a thermostatically controlled
box. In Germany a number of products have been developed specifically for
this treatment, e.g. “Apitherm”. In order to obtain the best
results (close to 100% morality of mites) and to create the least damage
to brood, frames should be treated for three to four hours at 44°C, depending
on the apparatus in use. Treatment should be carried out two or more times
over the period in which brood are present. If one chooses to treat twice,
then the first at the end of May and the second at the end of July would
Queen caging is an effective technical beekeeping operation. The effectiveness
of this can be enhanced if a pair of sealed brood frames is removed simultaneously
at the beginning of summer. Queen caging can be used in colonies not intended
for setting out on heather.
The Queen can be caged in a cassette on a frame for less than four weeks
from the middle of June. The frame is then used as bait for varroa mites and
should be changed every eight to nine days. The removed frames should be destroyed.
If one wishes to save the brood in the frames, then they can be treated with
lactic acid or using heat treatment.
Chemical Products Used In Treatment
Pharmacological products used in treating varroa mite are classified as veterinary
medicines. At present there are no recognised veterinary medicines for the
treatment of Varroa in Denmark.
There is a so-called “positive list” of products on the EU Commission
for use in the treatment of animals (honey bees included) destined for human
consumption. Lactic and formic acids are on this positive list. It is therefore
legal to use these acids in the treatment of varroa mites. Oxalic acids, on
the other hand, are not on this list, and cannot be legally used in this treatment.
Formic acid is used in the autumn after the last honey is harvested. It is
most effective when used while there is brood in the colony shortly after
the honey is harvested. This means that treatment is often carried out at
the end of July or at the beginning of August. If the bees are to be moved
to heather, then treatment should be carried out shortly after the end of
this honey flow.
Formic acid treatment can be carried out using a dishcloth, or thin fibreboard,
to which is added 60% lactic acid. Kråmer boards, which are thick wood
fiberboards, can also be used, to which formic acid in an 85% solution is added.
The fiberboards are placed in perforated plastic bags. There are several formic
acid evaporators available, all of which are used beside the hive wall. Honey
has a natural formic acid content. After formic acid treatment there will be
a slightly higher content of formic acid in the remaining honey. However, the
content still lies within the acceptable natural occurrence. Very little formic
acid has been found in wax after treatment.
The varroa mite is very sensitive towards lactic acid treatment. In order to
avoid traces of lactic acid in the honey, a dead-line of eight weeks prior
to the honey harvest should be observed for treatment. The lactic acid does
not penetrate the sealed cell. In order to achieve the best results from
this treatment, it should be carried out when there is no brood present in
the colony, i.e. early spring or late autumn. The early treatment is carried
out if one has a feeling that after the autumn treatment, there are too many
mites present in the colony. A water spray is used in carrying out this treatment,
spraying each side of every frame in the colony. The effectiveness of the
treatment is very high. Keeping within the deadline then the lactic acid
content is within the natural boundaries.
1 Brødsgaard, C.J. & Brødsgaard, H. F.1998. Monitoring
Method as a Basis for Need-based Control of Varroa Mites (Varroa destructor
- former Varroa jacobsoni) Infesting Honey Bee (Apis mellifera) Colonies.
ATLA 26, 413-419
2 Fries, I., Aarhus, A., Hansen, H. & Korpela, S. 1991.
Development of early infestations by the mite Varroa destructor (former Varroa
jacobsoni) in honey-bee (Apis mellifera) colonies in cold climate. Experimental & Applied
Acarology 11, 215-214. Written: by David Ashton, Agricultural Free
Lance Journalist, 7
th February 2005 Email: beeman @ post.tele.dk
UNUSUAL REPRODUCTIVE BEHAVIOUR OF ODD ANTS SURPRISES SCIENTISTS
is the second article in this month’s Apis-UK that looks at research
on ants and readers may be forgiven for wondering why ants figure so prominently
in a newsletter on bees and beekeeping. The answer is that many beekeepers
and particularly many readers of Apis-UK are interested in more than just the
single subject of beekeeping and want to look at the wider picture. Ants like
bees are social insects of the hymenoptera and run their colonies in much the
same manner as bees. We can always learn from them. In this interesting piece
of research we see that a genetically unusual population of ants is changing
some of the fundamental ways researchers think about social insect colonies. Ed.
Social insects, like ants and bees, thrive on the caste system – a
precise division of duties among colony members. In most of these societies,
environment is thought to influence whether larvae develop into queens or sterile
female workers, said Steve Rissing, a professor of evolution, ecology and organismal
biology at Ohio State University.
But in a new study, Rissing and his colleagues found some genetically odd
colonies of harvester ants (Pogonomyrmex), that don’t seem to abide by
the traditional rules of caste development. They found that genetics – not
environment – determines the fate of a developing ant, and consequently
the role it will play in the colony. The team was led by Sara Helms Cahan,
an assistant professor of biology at the University of Vermont.
A typical ant colony includes one queen and, in the case of harvester ants,
hundreds or thousands of sterile female workers (worker ants are always female
and, with a few exceptions, sterile. Soldier ants are larger versions of workers.)
During her lifetime, which can last as long as 20 or 30 years, a queen produces
mainly worker eggs.
Male ants, which come from unfertilized eggs, typically serve one purpose:
to mate with a queen. Males are usually in short supply, and a queen produces
male eggs only when it’s time to make more colonies. Then a queen produces
eggs that give rise to both males and queens (reproductive females). The males
and new queens swarm out of the nest, mate, and the young queens try to establish
a new a colony. Males, which have short life spans, die shortly after mating.
The type of ants in this study – harvester ants – are one of the
largest insect societies in the western United States , with ranges covering
hundreds of miles and nests so large they’re visible from airplanes.
“This is the ant that runs the west – it’s everywhere,” Rissing
said. The researchers had noticed that in certain areas – mainly southeastern
Arizona and New Mexico – some of the male harvester ants looked different.
So they collected several dozen pairs of queens and males and brought these
pairs back to the laboratory for genetic testing, with surprising outcomes. “The
DNA of some of these ants was just weird – we certainly didn’t
expect to get the results that we did,” Rissing said. It seems
that the queens in these colonies mate with males from two different genetic
lineages. And when a queen and male with the same lineage usually mated, it
usually produced a reproductive female – another queen. But when a queen
and male from different genetic lineages mated, that pairing overwhelmingly
produced a sterile worker. “This kind of reproductive behaviour is very
different from what we expect to see in ant societies,” he continued. “We’d
expect to see the same DNA sequence from all ants in a given colony. But that’s
not what happened here.” It didn’t matt er that the laboratory
experiments mimicked the founding of a new colony, which depends heavily on
workers and only needs one queen: when a queen and male of the same lineage
mated, they produced eggs that would give rise to many queens. The results
also showed that all of the eggs produced became workers when a queen mated
with an alternate-lineage male.
Traditional interpretations of social insect colonies would dictate
that the need for workers would influence the fate of an ant’s role,
thereby overriding any genetic predisposition; this study shows that isn’t
These harvester ants had two different genetic lineages the researchers referred
to as H1 and H2.
Each H1 and H2 queen was paired with either an H1 or H2 male. In nature,
ant queens mate during just one period of time but mate with many males during
that time (this causes the queen to build up a sizeable sperm bank.) Queens
can store sperm and lay eggs during their entire lifetime.
All queens in the study laid about 60 fertilized eggs, but only 0.3 percent
of the eggs from the same-lineage pairing (H1 queen and male; H2 queen and
male) developed to adulthood. The queen raised these reproductive females – genetically
queens themselves – as workers, although the researchers noted that these
ants apparently had difficulty fulfilling their role as workers. “The
same-lineage ants that did make it to adulthood had almost completely lost
their ability to develop into functional workers,” Rissing said. In contrast,
87 percent of the alternate-lineage eggs became successful adult workers.
“It’s clear what the queen must do – she must mate with
more than one male,” Rissing said.
The researchers surmised that harvester ant queens can probably tell the
difference between the males they mated with. The researchers also noted that
the males were different colours, depending on what lineage they belonged to.
In the wild, a queen may use this information to make sure she has enough sperm
from males of both lineages, which would ensure the success of the colony.
Interestingly, males apparently cannot tell the difference between females.
(Rissing said that he and his colleagues could tell the difference only with
the help of modern molecular laboratory technology.)
“If males could, that might spell the end of a colony, as males may
prefer to mate with a queen of the same lineage,” Rissing said. In theory,
a male ant wants his genes to live on. If his sperm fertilizes an egg from
a queen with a different lineage, his genes will die with the sterile female
worker that is produced.
“This population of harvester ants depends on this two-lineage system
to survive,” Rissing said. “The hybrid worker caste is what links
the two otherwise independent H1 and H2 genome-based populations. So far, this
is a fairly unusual finding. But as we gain access to more and more tools that
help us understand what’s going on at the molecular level, we’ll
likely find that a lot of social insects and other animals aren’t conforming
to our predictions and expectations.”
This report is from the Ohio State University Press release and this work was
funded by grants from the Durfee Foundation, the Swiss Society of Naturalists
and the Swiss National Science Foundation.
THE FAR SIDE OF THE WORLD
It is astonishing to think that
in this day and age, if you ordered a queen bee from New Zealand or Australia
(current laws permitting), one would appear on your doorstep within 24 to 36
hours. That is how small the world is now and I expect that future generations
will laugh at even this speed. When bees were first taken to those far lands
however it was a different matter and strategies had to be designed to ensure
that a colony of bees could last for up to 5 or 6 months completely confined.
Unfortunately many of the pioneers who took bees overseas did not commit their
experiences to print but some did and we know that the first bees were taken
to New Zealand by Mary Ann Bumby who brought two hives from Sydney in Australia
ashore at the Weslyan mission Station at Mangungu Hokianga in March 1839. (Honey
bees had been established in Australia in 1822 in New South Wales). The mission
records do not however give an account of Mary Ann’s journey or how she
accomplished this passage with bees. (Her brother was a missionary).
We have far more information however from the Reverend WC Cotton who took
bees from England to New Zealand in 1842 and he describes how he did this in
his book on bees called ‘My Bee Book’ which is well worth a read
over the winter months.
He starts his description with a written passage which should confirm in
most peoples’ minds that God is indeed an Englishman!
“The Bee of England , like the man of England ,
if he be but good of his kind, is, I think, surpassed by none in the world.
I will not get bees from India -nor bees from South
America -nor from New Holland, but carry them
direct from England, sixteen thousand miles over the
He goes on to describe how he got his idea from the ships that carried fresh
salmon from North America to Calcutta in India . The salmon were packed in
ice which if very well insulated suffered very little loss. It was found in
fact that on arrival in India, the ice commanded a much higher price than
the salmon.. The success of the venture was of course owing to the property
of ice, which conducts heat so slowly. Cotton then describes how he carried
his bees. Three colonies were placed in a barrel (a hogshead), which he had
refurbished and coppered and the joints properly fitted. He lined the whole
with thick felt. In the lower part of the barrel he packed with ice with a
tap to take off any melting water. The upper part of the barrel with the skep
like hives was completely filled around the hives with well-dried cinders thus
excluding all light and heat. He wasn’t worried about air getting to
the bees, but just in case he placed a small tube in each hive leading to the
outside world and a tap at the bottom of the barrel to take away melted water.
He reckoned that two thirds of the ice would ‘cross the line’ and
a good half of the ice would have melted by the time he reached New Zealand.
He did not however confine his himself to the ice method alone. He also decided
to try evaporation cooling as well. He suspended one hive on springs and another
on gimbals so that the motion of the ship didn’t disturb them. He placed
the hives in a double case with a wall of water surrounding them which is continually
replenished by the ship’s system. The two cylinders of zinc in which
the hives were placed were open at the top allowing evaporation to occur and
a piece of rag was placed between the two cylinders so as to transfer water
to the top of the hives thus ensuring an even surface over the hive to be cooled.
Again, he supplied a tube for air supply.
Finally, he made an observation hive which he fed with honey during the journey.
Unfortunately his book didn’t say which of the methods (or all) worked
and neither did his subsequent book “A guide for New Zealand beekeepers” written
So there we have it. An enterprising man using the latest scientific techniques
to transfer bees across the world. In those days people really had to work
things out for themselves and if you think about it, the problems and difficulties
of these pioneers put our current bee keeping problems into perspective.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH Back
This recipe is one of the strangest that I have come across, but it works.
It is very simple and eaten with a fresh mild cheese, is delicious.
Honeyed chilli tomatoes
Take several small cherry tomatoes
(enough to loosely fill a jar of your choice). Plunge them into boiling water
and then cold water so as to be able to peel them. Peel them and place them in
the jar. Don’t pack them too tightly. Mix a sufficient amount of honey
to complete the filling of the jar with an amount of chilli powder (not too much).
Warm this mix, stir well and fill the jar. Alternatively (or as well) you can
put some fresh chillies in the jar. It looks good. Leave the whole jar to settle
for a few days and then they are ready to eat. The mix is quite strong and goes
well with mild cheese, avocados, fried chicken and other bland foods.
This month’s Fact File concentrates on varroa and asks
the question: ‘Are there commercial honey bee races that
are resistant to varroa? Can hive position reduce or increase
varroa infestation? And finally, if the answers are yes to
both these questions, how should the beekeeper manage these
concepts? Little research has been done on these subjects but
in some research that will be of interest to most beekeepers,
there are some answers. The research was carried out last year
by American scientists who compared the following:
1. Colonies of commercially available varroa resistant Russian
bees in an apiary with direct sunlight all day.
of Russian bees in an apiary that received shade all day.
An Italian bee apiary that received direct sun until mid to
4. An Italian apiary that received shade all
5. A mixed Italian/Russian apiary that received sun until
mid to late afternoon.
6. A mixed apiary that received shade
until mid to late afternoon.
The results were very illuminating and briefly are as follows:
- Russian colonies had significantly smaller mite populations
than Italian colonies at the end of the experiment. As low
as 1/10 th to 1/3 rd depending on the other variables mentioned
- Exposure to sunlight retarded mite population growth.
- Prolonged shade accelerated it causing the death of some
- The numbers of mites in Russian colonies kept in Russian
apiaries were about 1/3 rd the number of mites in Russian
colonies kept in mixed apiaries.
- Overall Russian colony production was 146 pounds of honey
whilst overall Italian was 126 pounds. Mixed apiary production
was consistent with this difference.
It can easily be seen here that there are some definite advantages
in keeping Russian bees and keeping those bees in full sunlight.
(There may however be other factors here that would lessen
the usefulness of this factor such as extra resources required
for fanning and water collection etc. These factors were not
It is also evident that a susceptible stock may support the
rapid development of large populations of varroa which are
a source of mites which produce a strong invasion pressure
on resistant colonies, taxing their resistance mechanisms.
With regard to the honey production of these colonies, the
honey was harvested before the collection of mite data collection
during a period when mite numbers were low. This is thought
to be due to the Italian stocks producing large amounts of
brood during the nectar flow and so their nectar collection
was less in support of honey production. The greater responsiveness
to nectar and pollen flows demonstrated by the Russian bees
resulted in smaller food requirements in many circumstances
and therefore greater honey production.
The research was carried out by Thomas Rinderer and Lilian
I de Guzman of the USDA ARS lab at Baton Rouge ; and Charlie
Harper of Harper’s Honey farm Carenco, Louisiana .
NOTE Back to top
As the new beekeeping season approaches in the Northern hemisphere,
be minded of the various threats to your colonies such as varroa,
AFB, Viral problems and so on. In earlier times, bee diseases were
equally worrying. Let us look at the advice given by John Evelyn
the English diarist and man of affairs who lived from 1620 to 1706.
Writing on bees in his ‘Elysium Britannicum’ he had
this to say:
“The enemies of bees are very many, and some sicknesses
they are also obnoxious to, especially the rotts and the flux.
The vermin which haunt them must be taken. Their maladies are
discovered best by their looks and mortality, and much remedied
by the perfumes of Galbanum and ox-dung. But of this see Columella
BkIX Ch. 13. If (as sometimes) they fight, fling dust amongst
them, sweet water or beer which will make them all smell alike
and reconcile them. The punctures and stinging of bees is cured
by their own honey, by juice of mallows, by cow-dung mixed
There is a lot in this short statement by Evelyn. Even in
the 17 th century, they still look to Roman times over a 1000
years previously for advice as in his reference to Columella,
yet on the other hand, he knew of the worth of disguising hive
odour so that bees would not fight, which several hundred years
later, we still carry out, even though we are still in much
ignorance upon the subject. On this point our knowledge is
hardly in advance of Evelyn’s. (I wouldn’t waste
beer on them though). Finally, John Evelyn and many other early
writers on bee matters seemed to have a belief in the wonders
of dung. Perhaps this is knowledge that we in our modern world
have lost! Ed.
POEM OF THE MONTH Back
We stay in the 18 th century for this delightful children’s’ poem
written by Isaac watts.
How doth the little honey bee
Improve each shining hour
And gather honey all the day
From every opening flower.
Divine songs for children
Thanks for the newsletter. I would like to suggest that you point
out to your readers a very balanced & scientifically-backed
debate about the real dangers of GM foods as clarified at Physicians
and Scientists for Responsible Application of Science and Technology
website: http://www.psrast.org/ Why
are genetically engineered foods not safe to eat? See: "Genetically engineered
foods - Safety problems". Liver changes were found in mice fed with GE foods
in a study at the Urbino University in Italy URL: http://www.psrast.org/liverchang.htm Rgds Dr
Gerson Machado gerson
Thanks for the information and references. Most readers are
very interested in GM news of all kinds. Ed.
I read in your latest newsletter, great by the way, not
much in the way of GM material and you mention the latest piece
of text from Brooms Barn, yeuk! I have pasted two references below
for you on the subject. Bee good John Salt j.j.salt @ bees-trees.demon.co.uk.
The Daily Telegraph Wednesday January 19, 2005
Some GM crops might well be capable of being grown in ways, which are neutral
or even beneficial to farmland wildlife, but the Broom’s Barn study (GM
beet helps birds to survive the winter, January 19) certainly does not identify
Based on a meagre four sites this study has to be put in the ‘interesting
but not convincing’ category. This contrasts with the overwhelming
evidence from the Farm-Scale Evaluation study (based on 65 sites for each crop),
that farmers who ‘follow the instructions on the can’ would end
up with less wildlife in their fields of GM sugar beet than farmers who stuck
to conventional non-GM beet.
Where the recent study is interesting is in suggesting, although only weakly
because of the tiny sample size, that there might be techniques to reduce or
eliminate these harmful impacts on wildlife. What it does not do is persuade
the public that we want GM sugar in our tea! Dr Mark Avery
Director of Conservation RSPB The Lodge, Sandy, SG19 2DL.
BIOTECH INDUSTRY- FUNDED GM BEET STUDY CRITICISED Jan 19 2005
Commenting on the study published today on GM sugar beet, conducted at Broom’s
Barn Research Station, Friends of the Earth’s GM campaigner, Emily Diamand,
said: ”This research, funded by the biotech industry, is a desperate
attempt to counter detailed Government research showing that growing GM sugar
beet would have a disastrous impact on farmland wildlife. Overall, the results
do not appear to show biodiversity benefits from growing GM crops, yet they
have been spun to give a different impression. GM crops remain a threat to
our food, farming and environment, no matter how the biotech industry tries
to sell it”.
* The farmscale trials have already shown that growing GM beet will have a
negative impact on farmland wildlife. In the FSEs farmers grew the crops and
applied the herbicides as they normally would in commercial practice - this
gives a much better indication of the true impact of growing these crops than
this latest study does.
* This study was funded by the biotech industry.
* Some of the plots treated by band spraying glyphosate (spraying in strips
20cm wide) produced more weed seeds in the summer, but not in the autumn. The
plots using a single spray of glyphosate produced more weed seeds in the autumn,
but not in the summer. So to produce more weed seeds in summer and autumn (providing
food for farmland birds) would need two separate GM crop management schemes.
* The researchers claim that GM crops provide more flexibility for farmers,
but in fact these management techniques so complicated and intricate that it
is very unlikely that farmers will ever undertake them commercially.
* The study used so many different variations of treatments of the glyphosate
herbicide, and not many replications of each treatment, that it is difficult
to draw robust conclusions from the results - the statistical validity is questionable.
* And ultimately there is still no market for GM sugar beet, British Sugar
still have a GM free policy and consumers won’t buy it - latest research
by Which? showed that 61% of UK public are concerned about GM in food production.
Thanks for that John. Any information that further educates
us on this complex subject is very worthwhile. Ed.
Dear Mr. Cramp,
Following reading your article in January's APIS-UK on Honey
and Medicine I need to issue a strong warning - please do not attempt
to make this yourself using household butter - butter should NEVER
be put on burns in a domestic situation - it causes more damage,
encouraging the skin to 'fry'. Current first aid treatment for burns
- including sunburn is cold water and medical attention. Adding fat
to a heated situation like a burn just encourages the skin to 'cook'
de-naturing the protein in the skin cells causing wider damage. If
in doubt about treatment for any condition like this, please contact
your GP or local NHS Direct on 0845 4647. Thanks! Natalie
Tidy Web URL's: http://natalietidy.tripod.com/ and http://www.lancaster.ac.uk/fss/ihr/courses/doctorate/currentstudents/natalietidy.htm
Thanks Natalie, I will certainly contact the authors for further
Many thanks for the news letter it is both invaluable and
very interesting. Having written and edited a charity newsletter
for the past 15 years which ran to 40 odd pages I know just what
hard work it is and how difficult it can be to keep it fresh in every
issue. May I congratulate you ‘Apis News’ is superb.
Kind regards. Tony Starling Lark
Will you please put the enclosed advert in the next issue
of Apis-UK - many thanks. And now a question: I read an article in
a book or magazine lots of years ago telling how honeybees were transported
from Europe to Australia in the sailing ships of the day. I can
no longer find it - please can any of your readers help. Thank
you for an excellent magazine - I save them all. Kindest regards,
Bryan Hateley bryan @ hateley.me.uk.
If any readers know anything about transport to Australia (of
bees that is) in the early days, please let Bryan know. In the
meantime this edition of Apis-UK includes an article on the very
same subject but to New Zealand . Ed.
Just a quick note about your article about getting Apistan from
vets online being a farmer and beekeeper I have looked into this
before to buy from vets online you will need a prescription from
your vet but it would only be viable for a club of bee farmer to
do this as you need bulk for this also the vets might not come
out to your bees but they will add on about £15 for themselves
i.e. bottle of antibiotics from vets £22 the same bottle
from vets online £3. All the best Simon Lane mad_cowman
Thanks Simon for that very interesting piece of information.
Pricing is always the critical thing and my main worry about the
BEEKEEPING COURSES Back to top
Beginners Course at Halifax
Beekeeping beginners course to be run by Halifax and District Beekeepers
Association. The course consists of 8 weekly classes of approx
2 hours duration commencing Thursday March 3rd 2005 at 7.30pm.
Contact Edna Phillips Secretary on 01422 882144 or email:farshepherdhousefarm
Beginners Course at Tonbridge
A Beginners course
at Tonbridge will run again starting on 24th February, Thursday
evenings 7.30 - 9.30 p.m. for 6 weeks. Venue Adult Education Centre,
Tonbridge cost £32, there are concessions.
Syllabus BBKA Basic. Tutor Peter Hutton. Details from Peter Hutton
on 01892 530688 evenings, 07941 375589 mobile or Tonbridge Adult
Education Centre 0845 606 5606 daytime
and quote course 7035 TON-04-A. A second class is being arranged
during the same weeks, please state your preferred evening, Mon,Tues,Wed
or Thursdays also advise Peter Hutton or E-mail:peter.hutton @
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.
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 - Avon Beekeepers Association Spring
Day School 9.30am to 5.00pm The Old School Rooms Chew Magna (nr Bristol).
Speakers: Ron Hoskins on Instrumental Insemination & Breeding
a Varroa Tolerant; Bee Celia Davis on Mr Bee & Bees Plants and
the Environment. Fee £8.00 to include refreshments but not
lunch. Payment on the day. To book and receive directions and details
please contact Jan Davis (01934 832825) or e-mail to jandavis @ btinternet.com
before 1st April 2005.
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
Saturday 23rd April 2005 - Beekeepers’ Convention. (Formerly
Kirkley Hall Conference) Venue: Grey College , Durham Programme: “The
art of supering” Peter
Schollick; “Tracking bees with harmonic radar” Dr. Juliet
Osborne; “Working for honey sections” Peter Schollick; “Tricks
of the trade” Your chance to explain your favourite idea. “Bumblebees;
Ecology & conservation” Dr. Juliet Osborne; Trade stands & Bee
Plant sales. Convention only £17-50 Convention plus lunch £27-50.
For details and booking form contact: Stuart Johnson, Conference
Secretary, 7, Shaftoe Close, Ryton, Tyne & Wear. NE40 4UT Telephone:
0191 413 2672 Email; Stu @ rtJohnson.fsnet.co.uk Sponsored by Young’s
Breweries, Makers of ‘WAGGLE DANCE’ Honey Beer.
21st - 26th August 2005 - Apimondia held
in Dublin, Ireland.
Further details from http://www.apimondia2005.com/
Tuesday 13th September 2005 - Conwy Honey Fair,
High Street, Conwy, North Wales, 9am - 4pm. 700 year old Charter
Fair, founded by King Edward 1st. Local beekeepers sell more than
a tonne of honey by lunchtime. Stall space is free of charge. Honey
and hive products, plus crafts, plants and local produce stalls.
Many other attractions in the walled town of Conwy, which is a World
Heritage Site. Contact Peter McFadden, Secretary, Conwy BKA, Tel
01492 650851, email peter @ honeyfair.freeserve.co.uk. For the history
of the Honey Fair visit:
Editor: David Cramp Submissions
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Web Editor: Steven Turner
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QUOTE OF THE MONTH Back
Quote last month
The quote from last month was again from the great Langstroth. A
brief note on his life and times is contained in a previous issue.
Quote of this month
This quote is of some sound advice from a master among beekeepers.
Most of us will recognise the direct style, which is contained in a
very interesting and instructive book. I have invariably followed this
advice in my beekeeping and other activities. Ed.
“If you have something to accomplish, do not delay because
you are not in possession of the right tools, start the project and
better tools will be discovered along the way.”
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