BEEKEEPING NEWS Back to top
The FEDERATION OF BERKSHIRE BEEKEEPERS ASSOCIATIONS newsletter
reports that pyrethroid resistant varroa has been found in the
Marlow area, and advises that an alternative treatment should be
used. At the moment only Apiguard is approved for use in this
The High Wycombe News Letter reports that tests carried out locally
during the summer indicated resistant mites are now in the area. The
Associations Marlow Apiary showed only 4% effectiveness using
current treatments, or, put another way, almost all the mites
Results from other apiaries included 6% effectiveness at Emmett’s
Farm Little Marlow 33% at Monkton Farm (Marlow Bypass), jumping to
80% upwards in apiaries around Flackwell Heath.
Go-ahead for GMO potato trials
The farm and environment ministry reports that it has given the
go-ahead for research trials on disease resistant genetically
German chemicals group BASF will be allowed to hold trials on two
sites in England, starting next year. The GMO potatoes, which have
been developed to be resistant to potato blight, will not be used
for food or animal feed. There has been strong opposition among
consumers in Britain to the use of GMOs in food crops. Environment
Minister Ian Pearson said in a statement that an independent
assessment had concluded the trials did not give rise to any safety
concerns. Several scientists welcomed the news.
"Potato blight was the cause of the potato famine in Ireland in the
1840s and is still a problem in farming today -- one which is
prevented by chemical spraying with fungicides," Chris Leaver, plant
sciences professor at Oxford University. "In my opinion using a
natural biological method to control blight is better than using
chemicals," he added.
The largest organic certification body, the Soil Asssociation, said,
however, it was dismayed by the decision, adding there would be no
market for GMO potatoes in Britain. "The government is ignoring what
consumers want to eat and their health and safety...The chances of
anyone in the UK willingly buying GM potato crisps or chips are
zero. This trial is a monumental waste of time and money," Soil
Association policy director Peter Melchett said. Similar trials are
already under way in three other European countries.
Bees in Space
In an interesting item in the Times on 18 October, it seems that
bees may hold the key to the exploration of Mars. Nasa is evidently
funding research into how bees navigate around flowers. If they can
gain an understanding of this, they believe that they will then be
able to apply that knowledge in the development of a lightweight
unmanned aircraft which would be able to explore the planet more
efficiently and faster than ground vehicles. They believe that they
can translate the bees’ ability to store complex navigational maps
in a tiny sized brain into a silicon facsimile. Nasa has given
Professor Mandyam Srinivasan of the Australian national University
£1.8 million to find out how the brains perform their complex tasks.
Bees and Bombs
Last year we first reported on Inscentinel’s new device which uses
bees held in a box to detect explosives. The device has now been
tested by American scientists and has proved so successful that the
small British company is set to cash in when its box full of
computer technology that turns honeybees into bomb detectors goes
into mass production. The boxes could be on duty at airports, train
stations and other terror targets within a year, say the scientists.
Los Alamos sniffer squad trainer Tim Haartman, an entomologist -
insect specialist - at the lab, said: "The technology is there. It's
just a case of putting it into production."
Inscentinel's managing director Stephen James thought this could be
harnessed to monitor food in warehouses and detect when it is going
bad, but then discovered that as well as food and flowers, bees
recognise just about anything that has the slightest smell, raising
the prospect of detecting explosives. They trained the bees to only
extend the proboscis when smelling a particular explosive,
conditioning them by giving them a reward of sugared water when they
Inscentinel showed the US scientists that the bees can be trained to
sniff out anything from home-made fertilizer bombs, through
demolition dynamite to C-4 plastic explosives and unlike sniffer
dogs which require three months training, it takes 10 minutes to
train the bees.
After training three or four bees are put in a shoebox-sized "sniffer
box", held in position on plastic mountings. Air is sucked by a fan
into the box via plastic tubes and wafts gently over the bees. If
they detect explosives in the air, the trained bees all stick out
their proboscises together. A miniature video camera in the box is
trained on them and is connected to a computer programmed with
movement recognition software. As soon as the movement of the
proboscises is detected, an alarm sounds to alert the security
operator. To avoid false alarms from rogue results, a single bee
sticking out its tongue does not set the system off.
The idea would be to use the box at a security checkpoint, waving it
around a person being checked, in the same way electric wands are
used as security scanners at airports.
Now Inscentinel and Los Alamos researchers are looking into other
uses for sniffer bees, like detecting dry rot in old buildings, and
drugs smugglers at airports. Interestingly, the scientists have
discovered that feeding them caffeine improves their memory, and
using this discovery, they want to breed an explosive sniffing
super-bee. Inscentinel Managing Director Stephen James said: "Bees
are incredibly versatile and their potential uses are enormous."
The National Honey Show
The National Honey Show has just celebrated its 75th anniversary
with another successful display at the popular venue of the RAF
museum, and in celebration of this has produced a series of photos
on its web site that play to the music of an acoustic guitar by
Steve Mac. The site at http://www.honeyshow.co.uk/ will display all.
Do visit the site which gives those who were unable to attend a
taste of the show. The venue is excellent in providing ease of
access, plenty of free parking and a great day out for families at
the show and the exciting hands on museum.
|Mrs J Tinsey with her winning display. (Photo
courtesy of the Honey show web site).
|The popular RAF museum at Hendon is the site of
the National Honey Show and offers easy access, easy
parking and a great day out for the family. Be sure
to visit it next year.
RESEARCH NEWS Back to top
Biological Clock of Honey Bee More Similar To Humans Than To
Following on from our report above, on the findings and results of
mapping the honey bee genome, new research undertaken by a group
from the Institute of Life Sciences at the Hebrew University of
Jerusalem has found that the molecular structure of the biological
clock of the honey bee is more similar to the biological clock of
mammals than to that of flies.
found that the molecular structure of the biological clock
of the honey bee is more similar to the biological clock of
mammals than to that of flies.
If you want to research your own circadian rhythm, look up
how to do so at:
The research identified and characterized the key genes involved
in the biological clock of bees. The biological clock is an internal
system in the bodies of living creatures that creates circadian
rhythms, derived from the Latin expression circa dies that means
“about one day.” The critical role of the circadian clock stems from
its influence on many processes, such as time of alertness and
fatigue, activity rhythms, cyclic changes in body temperature and
the secretion of hormones. Bees rely on the biological clock for
timing visits to flowers when nectar and pollen flow is at its
highest. They can learn to reach flowers at nine different points of
time during the day within an accuracy of about 20 minutes. The
clock is also essential for navigation that uses the sun as a
compass because the sun moves during the day from east to west. The
central biological clock is located in the brain and is made up of
groups of “clock cells,” each of which is capable of creating a
circadian rhythm independently. These circadian rhythms are
generated by complex interactions between “clock genes” that
accumulate in the cells and eventually close a cycle of about 24
hours when they shut down their own production. The genes which were
isolated by the research team are responsible for this process in
bees. Discovering that molecular characteristics of the biological
clock in bees is closer to the biological clock of mammals than that
of flies was a big surprise, since previously it had been thought
that there is one type of clock that is typical of insects and
another typical of mammals and the results changed the researchers
understanding of the evolution of circadian clocks. The discovery
raises many additional questions concerning the evolution of
biological clocks and the significance of differences in the
organization of the clock in different creatures. For example, why
is the clock of bees closer to humans than that of flies? Is the
similarity between bees and mammals related to the behavioural
complexity of bees? How did the clock of ancestral insects work: was
it more similar to that of bees or flies? Characterization of the
genes in the clock of the bee opens up new directions of research
concerning the understanding of the molecular base of complex
behaviors, such as sun-compass navigation, time sensing, flexibility
in circadian rhythms, and social regulation of the circadian clock.
Another reason that research on the evolution and function of clock
genes is important, is that these genes are involved in a variety of
illnesses, such as mental disturbances, alcoholism, problems of
overweight and drug addition, as well as in processes relating to
aging. The findings of the research were published on Oct. 26 in an
article describing the honey bee genome sequence in Nature and in a
companion paper in Genome Research.
Flower choice matters to bumble bees
Bees are vital players in determining which plant populations
survive through successful reproduction. If scientists could better
understand nature’s decision-making process, then they could use the
information to increase crop yields and to boost conservation of
native plant communities. It is this that has prompted some very
thorough and time consuming research by Rebecca Flanagan, a graduate
student of the University of Wisconsin. In this research outlined in
a very illuminating free newsletter dated 29 October from the
university, we can see that flowers do differ in their mating plans,
and that bumble bee flight patterns are not so random.
Flanagan, a graduate student in biological sciences, and
Associate Professor Jeffrey Karron are studying the behaviours of
bees as they gather pollen – which plant species the bees forage on,
which flowers they probe and in what order, and how many blooms they
visit before moving on to another plant.
To predict where each bee that she tracks will carry its pollen
next, Flanagan has to literally think like one.
“Once they’ve learned a foraging style that’s been successful, they
are more likely to stick with it rather than invest time in learning
something new,” says Flanagan.
But why go to such lengths to map the flight of the bumblebee? It
may seem random and inconsequential. But it is neither, says Karron.
Because there are many bee behaviours, the task isn’t simple, but
can be documented. “Bumblebees definitely have distinct foraging
patterns, both among species and even individuals of a single
species,” Karron says. In fact, some of the many different
behaviours lead to far more fruitful propagation than others.
To understanding foraging patterns, the team must manipulate every
variable they can feasibly control in a natural setting. But the
experimental garden they keep at the UWM Field Station in the
Cedarburg Bog is far from the sterile laboratory, and the complexity
of their experiments becomes immediately evident: There are more
options here than clothes in a teenage girl’s closet.
Nonetheless, Karron and his research group have developed an
unparalleled data set by testing the effects of various combinations
of plant species on their reproductive patterns.
Karron’s research centres on the reproductive biology of
monkeyflower, a wetland plant native to Wisconsin. Karron’s lab uses
several innovative methods of tracking monkey flower mating, and all
hinge on where the pollen comes from. Pollen allows the flowers,
which contain both male and female reproductive organs, to produce
seeds. Plants can only produce seeds from their own species’ pollen.
The pollen from another species deposited on a monkeyflower, for
example, is simply wasted. The most effective reproduction occurs
through cross-pollination – when pollen deposited on a flower is
brought from a different plant of the same species, either from one
pollen donor or many. When pollen is spread from one flower to
another on the same plant – called self-pollination – seed
production is considerably lower and the resulting seedlings are
much less vigorous.
Using genetic analysis to establish paternity, Karron has
demonstrated that adjacent flowers differ markedly in their mating
patterns. “It’s amazing what we’ve found,” he says. “When a bee
visits the first flower on a plant, 80 percent of the seeds are
cross-pollinated. But by the time the bees have landed on the fourth
flower on that plant, 90 percent of the seeds are self-pollinated.”
Flanagan has taken the research of Karron a step further by testing
whether the inclusion of purple loosestrife, an invasive weed that
chokes wetlands, will affect the seed production of monkeyflower.
She has set out the garden in a grid of numbered holes. In this way,
she can rotate the kinds of potted plants that are dropped in each
morning and the density of each species in the plot. On any given
day, Flanagan will trim the plants so that each has the same number
of flowers on it. Then she tracks one bee at a time, calling out its
exact foraging sequence by number to her undergraduate assistant,
Dustin Knutowski, who charts the path.
In the time she has spent working at the garden, she says, the
invader plant is the heavier “bee magnet.” And if that’s the case,
purple loosestrife is luring pollinators away from the native
plants. To investigate her hunch further, Flanagan added a third
wetland species to the garden – a native plant known as “great blue
lobelia.” So far, the bees continue their strong attraction to
purple loosestrife. “This preference for purple loosestrife or other
exotics could threaten reproduction of native plants and have
devastating effects on ecosystems,” Karron says.
Who’s your daddy?
Calculating paternity could be a nightmare. Because pollen from
multiple monkey flower plants can be deposited during a single bee
visit, seeds produced by one flower can be “sired” by pollen from up
to nine different plants.
So Karron uses genetic markers to unambiguously determine which
plant fathered each of the thousands of seeds he samples. He is
working backwards to get at the same question Flanagan seeks – where
the bees have been.
He divides each of the plants in the garden to create an exact copy
of each population.
Imagine having 20 sets of identical twins, he says, and dividing
them into two groups that are exact copies of one another. That is
what Karron has done with his garden, only he has produced many
identical sets so that he can subject them to different ecological
conditions. Karron is proud of the fine level of detail his
techniques have produced. His research group was the first to
demonstrate that mating patterns differ dramatically among
individual flowers and the first to show that the presence of
competing plant species influences mating patterns. “Using multiple
strategies,” he says, “we are able to answer questions that no one
This article has been adapted from a newsletter provided by the
University of Wisconsin USA.
Research on the honey bee genome could help breeding programmes.
With more and more concern being expressed about the decline in
pollinators and the subsequent affect on our food production
programmes and economic impact, scientists are actively looking at
ways of improving honey bee breeding in order to stay ahead of the
game. The research into the mapping of the honey bee genome reported
in that excellent report in Nature on 26 October has given
scientists many new insights into breeding and some scientists are
working hard to reap the benefits of the study.
|Bumblebees definitely have distinct foraging
patterns, both among species and even individuals of
a single species.
Three years ago, scientists pinpointed a gene called csd that
determines gender in honey bees, and now a research team led by
University of Michigan evolutionary biologist Jianzhi “George” Zhang
has unravelled details of how the gene evolved. The new insights
could prove useful in designing strategies for breeding honey bees,
which are major pollinators of economically important crops.
Scientists have long known (as have beekeepers) that in bees—as well
as wasps, ants, ticks, mites and some 20 percent of all
animals—unfertilized eggs develop into males, while females
typically result from fertilized eggs. But that was not the whole
story, and the discovery in 2003 of csd (the complementary sex
determination gene) helped fill in the blanks. The gene has many
versions, or alleles. Males inherit a single copy of the gene; bees
that inherit two copies, each a different version, become female.
Bees that have the misfortune of inheriting two identical copies of
csd develop into sterile males but are quickly eaten at the larval
stage by female worker bees. The system works fine in nature, where
it prevents the colony from wasting precious energy and resources on
abnormal males incapable of carrying out the all-important role of
mating. But in bees raised for honey or for pollinating crops, the
sex-determination system can cause problems. Beekeepers inbreed bees
to select desirable traits, but inbreeding raises the odds of
producing fertilized eggs with two copies of the same csd allele. If
too many sterile males result, the colony may die out. If we know
more details about how many alleles there are and what their
frequencies are, bee breeders can design better strategies to avoid
producing sterile males. This research work helps in this effort by
providing a direct tool to examine alleles from different
populations. In the research, Zhang and co-workers from U-M,
Michigan State University and the University of Kansas sequenced csd
genes from individuals in three closely related species of honey
bee: the familiar backyard denizen Apis mellifera and the Asian
honey bees Apis dorsata and Apis cerana. The group also sequenced
six so-called neutral regions of the genome which, unlike genes, do
not carry codes telling cells how to make proteins. Then, the
researchers constructed gene genealogies—family trees for both the
csd gene and the neutral regions.
Their results showed that csd is about seven times more variable
than neutral regions of the honey bee genome. In addition, many csd
variants are shared among the three species, evidence that the many
different alleles have been preserved in these lineages for a very
long time. Such a pattern supports the idea that an evolutionary
mechanism known as balancing selection has been at work. Evolution
works through the process of natural selection, in which genetic
mutations that offer some advantage are favored, and those that have
harmful effects are weeded out. Typically, this results in one
version of a gene becoming very common and other versions becoming
rare or disappearing altogether. When balancing selection operates,
however, natural selection favours a diverse mix of alleles, as seen
with csd in honey bees.
Honey Bee Chemoreceptors Found For Smell And Taste.
The genome map of the honey bee has resulted in the discovery of a
huge amount of information as is evident from the other reports in
this issue. Many of these findings are very surprising such as the
small number of taste receptors in the bee, considering that nectar
and pollen sources are so important to their survival, and new
explanations are coming to the for to explain why.
In this piece of research, Hugh Robertson, professor of
entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. and an
affiliate of the university’s Institute for Genomic Biology, has
studied the honey bee’s chemoreceptors for smell and taste and has
found that honey bees have a much better sense of smell than fruit
flies or mosquitoes, but a much worse sense of taste.
He has found that “the recently completed honey bee genome
reveals a remarkable expansion of the insect odorant receptor family
compared with those found in fruit flies or mosquitoes. The bee
genome also reveals far fewer gustatory receptors—those used for the
sense of taste—than we had anticipated.”
In work funded by the National Institutes of Health and reported in
the Oct. 26 issue of the journal Genome Research, Robertson and
postdoctoral research associate Kevin W. Wanner identified the
family of honey bee chemoreceptors that deals with smell and taste.
Honey bees (Apis millifera) have 170 odorant receptors, the
researchers found, compared with 62 in fruit flies (Drosophila
melanogaster) and 79 in mosquitoes (Anopheles gramblae).
It is not surprising that the enhanced number of odorant
receptors underlies the honey bee’s remarkable olfactory abilities,
including perception of pheromones, kin recognition signals, and
social communication within the hive. Honey bees also use odour
recognition for finding food.
“Foraging worker bees might encounter a bewildering number of
flowers to choose from, but they can discriminate between them using
subtle olfactory cues,” Robertson said. “A large number of odorant
receptors allows the bees to find food and communicate its location
to other bees.”
However, in striking contrast, the researchers found only 10
gustatory receptors in A. millifera, compared with 68 in D.
melanogaster and 76 in A. gramblae. The low number of gustatory
receptors for the sense of taste was unexpected, Robertson said, but
can be explained. “Honey bees have a beneficial, non-antagonistic
relationship with plants, so plants don’t have to defend themselves
with toxins,” Robertson said. “And in the nurturing environment of
the hive, bee larvae are provisioned by adults with food that is
pretty much free of toxins. Since the bees don’t have to detect
toxins, they don’t need many gustatory receptors.”
|Bees don’t expect these plants to be toxic thus
obviating the need for large numbers of gustatory
While honey bees don’t need many taste buds, they do require an
excellent sense of smell to detect chemical signals, such as
pheromones, that control bee behaviour inside and outside the hive.
As we all know for example, the sole task of male drone bees is to
mate with virgin queen bees, and so the male’s antennae are
specifically designed for the detection of queen pheromone.
“We have identified several honey bee odorant receptors that are
abundantly expressed in male antennae,” Robertson said. “This moves
us an important step closer to understanding the molecular details
of how bees, and insects in general, smell.”
(This adapted report came from a Free newsletter of the University
Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. USA).
Egg police state,what makes a bee a bee?
In an interesting piece of research which casts light on the order
and function of a honey bee colony, Francis Ratnieks of the
University of Sheffield, UK, and Tom Wenseleers of the Catholic
University of Leuven in Holland studied nine species of
social wasps and the honeybee. The workers in all of the colonies
have functional ovaries and could lay eggs, but instead they usually
raise the offspring of the queen. Why would they do this?
|These neatly laid queen eggs are safe from the
police. But why?
The answer is the "egg police". Wenseleers and Ratnieks found that
the more effective the policing, where the queen or worker "police"
worker-laid eggs, the lower the likelihood of a renegade worker
laying its own
egg (This from a report in Nature, vol 444, p 50). They found that
in honeybee colonies, the policing was so good, with 98 to 100 per
cent of worker-laid eggs killed, that less than one in a thousand
workers tried to lay an egg.
Where policing was slack as in some wasp colonies, nearly half the
workers laid eggs, especially in cases where the workers were
closely related. When workers
were not closely related they policed each other more strictly.
(New Scientist magazine, 01 November 2006).
(But what prompts the ‘egg police’ to eat non queen eggs? There must
be some kind of marker which says ‘I’m not a queen egg, eat me.’ See
the fact file for a look at this question). Ed.
WHAT MAKES A BEE A BEE? Interesting results from the Honey bee
A research consortium, supported by the National Human Genome
Research Institute (NHGRI) in the USA, one of the National
Institutes of Health (NIH), has announced the publication of a
high-quality draft genome sequence of the western honey bee, finding
that its genome is more similar to humans than any insect sequenced
Why study the honey bee genome?
The honey bee’s social behaviour makes it an important model for
understanding how genes regulate behaviour through the development
of the brain and central nervous system. That may lead to important
insights into common mental and brain disorders, such as depression,
schizophrenia or Alzheimer’s disease. Moreover, the bee genome may
also provide an important window into immunity and aging.
In a paper published in Nature, the Honey Bee Genome Consortium,
researchers describe the approximately 260 million DNA base pair
genome of the honey bee (Apis mellifera). Over 40 other companion
manuscripts describing further detailed analyses are in current
issues of Insect Molecular Biology, Genome Research, Science,
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA), and other
journals. “Comparing the genome of the honey bee with other species
separated over evolutionary time from humans has provided us with
powerful insights into the complex biological processes that have
evolved over hundreds of millions of years,” said NHGRI Director
Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. “The genome of the honey bee has
been added to a growing list of organisms whose sequence can be
compared side by side to better understand the structure and
functions of our own genes. And that will help speed our
understanding of how genes contribute to health and what goes wrong
Although only 9 percent the size of the 3 billion base pairs in the
human genome, the honey bee contains nearly half as many genes as
the human genome, more than 10,000 in the bee compared to around
20,000 genes in the human.
The honey bee is the third insect to have its genome sequenced and
analyzed. The malaria-carrying mosquito was completed in 2002 and
the fruit fly an extensively used model organism in genetics
research, was completed in 2000. The honey bee genome is 50 percent
larger than fruit fly genome but contains roughly the same number of
In the analysis, the researchers report that the honey bee has
evolved more slowly than the fruit fly or mosquito and contains
10,157 known genes. Researchers caution that this gene count will
increase as other insects are sequenced and compared to the honey
bee in the future. When compared to other insects, the honey bee
genome contains fewer genes involved in innate immunity,
detoxification enzymes, and gustatory (taste) receptors, but
unsurprisingly it contains more genes for olfactory receptors and
novel genes for nectar and pollen utilization.
Interestingly, the honey bee genome shows greater similarities to
vertebrates than insects for genes involved in circadian rhythm, as
well as biological processes involved in turning genes on or off.
Other Interesting findings from the Nature paper include:
|• Researchers discovered nine genes in the “royal jelly
protein family” which appear in the honey bee genome but not
the mosquito genome. These genes have gained new functions
through evolution and are believed to contribute to the
sociality of the honey bee. Royal jelly is produced by
glands in the head of adult worker bees and is an important
nutritional component in queen and brood care. This process
is vital in the early development of a honey bee and
determines whether it becomes a queen or an altruistic
|Researchers discovered nine genes in the
‘royal jelly protein family which have
gained new functions through evolution.
(Photo © Ron van Toor and taken from his
book Producing Royal Jelly
Bassdrum Books 2006).
|• All organisms’ genomes contain common types of
transposons, small DNA sequences that move around in a
genome that can cause mutations, but there are substantially
fewer transposons in the honey bee genome. To understand why
the honey bee has so few transposons, researchers will need
to obtain genomes from insects more closely related to the
honey bee than the insect genomes that already have been
|• While the honey bee shares similar genes with other
insects in developmental pathways, there is a dramatic
difference in how these genes influence sex determination,
brain function and behaviour.
|• In most organisms, high fertility is achieved at the
expense of lifespan. This process is regulated by a gene for
insulin-like growth factor. However, researchers discovered
that queen honey bees are able to achieve high fertility
without affecting their lifespan. Future experiments
studying this biological pathway could uncover how this
process has been modified in the honey bee, giving insights
into human reproduction and human aging.
In addition to its value as a resource for comparative genomics, the honey bee is widely used in agricultural and biomedical research. The honey bee is valued by farmers for its ability to produce honey and pollinate crops. Beside its importance in agriculture, the honey bee serves as a model organism for studying human health issues including immunity, allergic reaction, antibiotic resistance, development, mental health, longevity and diseases of the X chromosome. The honey bee is also studied for its social instincts and behavioural traits.
This report has been taken and adapted from a report published in the Oct. 26 issue of Nature.
(If you are interested in far more detail concerning the honey bee genome, please look up the
Honeybee Genome Project
at the Baylor College of Medicine).
The ‘Lucy’ of the bee world
Genome map helps with bee genealogy study.
“Every honey bee alive today had a common ancestor in Africa” is one
conclusion drawn by a team of scientists that probed the origin of
the species and the movements of introduced populations, including
African “killer” bees in the New World.
Entomologist Charles A. Whitfield led the research team that says
“every honey bee alive today had a common ancestor in Africa.”
“Our analysis indicates that the honey bee, Apis mellifera,
originated in Africa and spread into Europe by at least two ancient
migrations,” said Charles W. Whitfield, a professor of entomology at
the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who is the lead
author of a paper to appear in the Oct. 27 issue of the journal
“The migrations resulted in two European populations that are
geographically close, but genetically quite different,” Whitfield
said. “In fact, the two European populations are more related to
honey bees in Africa than to each other.”
To explore the movements of bee populations, the researchers used
simple variations in DNA called SNP (single nucleotide polymorphism)
markers. An SNP marker can tell you a lot about which bee is related
to which bee, and where a particular bee came from. While previous
studies relied upon a handful of markers, the researchers this time
used the recently sequenced honey bee genome to locate and compare
1,136 markers. The vast increase in markers provided a level of
detail never before possible in the genetic analysis of honey bees.
The genus Apis is composed of 10 species, nine of which are confined
to Asia. The one exception, A. mellifera, is distributed from
sub-Saharan Africa to Central Asia to Northern Europe, and has more
than two dozen distinct geographical subspecies.
In the New World, introductions of the western and northern European
subspecies A. mellifera mellifera began in North America as early as
1622. This was followed by introductions of at least eight
additional subspecies from different parts of Europe, the Near East
and northern Africa. In 1956, a subspecies from the savannahs of
Africa, A. m. scutellata, was introduced to Brazil in an attempt to
increase honey production. The descendants of these African honey
bees rapidly spread northward and southward from Brazil, hybridizing
with and displacing previously introduced European honey bees.
“Clearly, these African ‘killer’ bees are more aggressive and
exhibit other traits that beekeepers and bee breeders dislike,”
Whitfield said. “By studying variation in the honey bee genome, we
can not only monitor the movement of these bees, we can also
identify the genes that cause the variations—and that will allow us
to better understand the differences.”
First global estimation of crop production reliant on pollinators
Pollinators help one-third of the world’s food crop production
Pollinators such as bees, birds and bats affect 35 percent of the
world’s crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading
food crops worldwide, finds a new study published in October, in the
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences. The study
was co-authored by a conservation biologist at the University of
|Native bees and wasps, bats, butterflies and
humming birds are important pollinators in their own
rights, but also help honey bees in the all
important business of crop/food pollination. The
tiny fig wasp shown above has a remarkable lifestyle
and is worth looking up at:
This study is the first global estimate of crop production that
is reliant upon animal pollination. It comes one week after a
National Research Council (NRC) report detailed the troubling
decline in populations of key North American pollinators, which help
spread the pollen needed for fertilization of such crops as fruits,
vegetables, nuts, spices and oilseed.
Of particular concern in the report was the decline of the honey
bee, a critical pollinator for California’s almond industry. The
report pointed out that it takes about 1.4 million colonies of honey
bees to pollinate 550,000 acres of this state’s almond trees.
In an effort to better understand how dependent crop production is
upon pollinators worldwide, an international research team led by
Alexandra-Maria Klein, an agro-ecologist from the University of
Goettingen in Germany, conducted an extensive review of scientific
studies from 200 countries and for 115 of the leading global crops.
Claire Kremen, an assistant professor at UC Berkeley’s Department of
Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, is co-author of this
There’s a widely stated phrase in agriculture in the USA that says
‘you can thank a pollinator for one out of three bites of food you
eat’. As it wasn’t clear where that calculation came from, the
researchers set out to do a more thorough and reproducible estimate,
deciding to look at the impact on a global scale.”
What the researchers found fell in line with the saying. Out of the
115 crops studied, 87 depend to some degree upon animal pollination,
accounting for one-third of crop production globally. Of those
crops, 13 are entirely reliant upon animal pollinators, 30 are
greatly dependent and 27 are moderately dependent. The crops that
did not rely upon animal pollination were mainly staple crops such
as wheat, corn and rice.
The report notes that honey bees in North America have been
decimated by infestations of parasitic mites that were inadvertently
introduced to the United States. In addition, honey bees are
battling antibiotic-resistant pathogens and competition from
Africanized honey bees.
It is also evident that honey bees, particularly ones in the wild
versus those in managed hives, are negatively impacted by disease,
habitat loss and a variety of non-sustainable farming practices.
These impacts also affect native species of wild bees. There are
4,000 species of native bees in North America alone.
The researchers say that in essence, man has replaced pollination
services formerly provided by diverse groups of wild bees, with
domesticated honey bees. One of the researchers recently co-authored
another study showing that wild bees interacting with honey bees can
lead to a five-fold increase in pollination efficiency. (Reported in
the last issue of Apis UK). “The problem is, if we don’t protect the
wild pollinators, we don’t have a backup plan.”
It is suggested in the report that an approach to a more sustainable
form of agriculture, one that de-emphasizes the use of synthetic
fertilizers and builds in more of a reliance on natural ecosystems.
Some changes may involve mere tweaks to current practices, such as
allowing weeds and native plants to grow and prosper along the
border of the primary crop. Such non-crop plants, which are
currently killed off by herbicides, can sustain a variety of wild
bee species when the primary crops are not in bloom. Another change
could be to switch from flood irrigation, which drowns bee species
that nest in the ground, to spray irrigation when feasible.
The study in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B highlights what
is at stake if steps to improve pollinator biodiversity are not
taken and gives the example of passion fruits in Brazil which are
hand-pollinated by expensive day-labourers because the natural
pollinators, carpenter bees, are hardly available because of high
insecticide use in the agricultural fields and the destruction of
the natural habitats. It was noted that in the cities of Brazil, the
high prices for fruits and vegetables are pushing people to turn to
less healthy alternatives, including fatty meats and sugar products,
contributing to rising obesity rates.
The stability of crop yields not only depends on pollination, but
also on further ecosystem services, so what is needed are landscapes
carefully managed for a diversity of functionally important groups
of organisms that sustain many important ecosystem services such as
pollination, pest, pathogen and weed control, and decomposition.
(This study was also supported by the Sixth European Union Framework
ARTICLES Back to top
Bee related web sites of interest
English honey at http://www.englishhoney.co.uk/ have produced a site
which has two aims, to grow a data base of individual beekeepers’
web sites to help readers find locally produced honey and beekeepers
services, (such as swarm catching etc), and to provide a beekeeper's
'milestone experiences for those who maybe considering taking up
this fascinating artisan skill.
A visit to this interesting site will hopefully put you in touch
with the founder, Wenden’s Ambo beekeeper Caroline Guthrie who will
be pleased to welcome you to her informative site.
There is a need for a site like this and it would be an excellent
and useful PR exercise for beekeeping generally if the site is a
success. The public do need more information about local honey
sources and swarm catching services and certainly those currently
charged with informing the public such as the town council offices
etc are woefully inadequate. Join up and make the site work for both
beekeepers and the public.
Mellifica is Hubert Guerriat’s Belgian web site and takes the form
of a magazine in the French language. Take a look at
www.mellifica.be This month the main subject is the geography of the
NW European Black bee (including the UK0 and its conservation.
Hubert’s details are as follows:
Rue du tilleul 19
B - 5630 Daussois
+32 (0)71 613096
Information sheet no. 5
Melbourne, Australia 9 – 14 September, 2007
With registrations now open on our website at
www.apimondia2007.com , it is pleasing to report that as at 24
November 2006 we have 24 delegates registered. The first
registration came from Belgium.
The countries represented so far are Australia, Belgium, Germany,
United Kingdom and Yugoslavia. We want you to register so we can add
your country to the list from which delegates are coming.
The Organising Committee recently visited the site for the Technical
Tour day on the Friday of Apimondia. The program being devised is
very exciting and will have something for everyone. More details
will be published on the website soon.
The Melbourne Exhibition and Convention Centre was also visited to
firm up the program and this venue will provide a world class venue
for Apimondia 2007.
Have you started thinking about what you will enter in the World
Honey Show? Any delegate can enter the competition. Make sure you
start early and do not miss out on an opportunity to showcase your
honey or wax to the world.
It may seem a long way off but for those coming to Australia from
overseas please visit the website and look at the Travel
Information. You will need to obtain a visa to come to Australia
and, except for New Zealand residents, this visa must be obtained
before leaving home. Secure your visa early to avoid any delays.
If you no longer wish to receive these information sheets,
please contact Trevor Weatherhead at the email address
Association Policy and Guidelines No 1
Introduction to the document
The BBKA wants children and vulnerable people to enjoy their
involvement with the fascinating life of honeybees. It is important
that we inform, educate and enthuse children giving them a greater
understanding of the vital part honey bees play in the environment.
This document is in two sections.
The first deals with the Policy of the BBKA and its
applicability, the second with ‘best practice’ Guidelines to
be followed where children are involved with BBKA beekeeping
activities in any form. A model consent form is also supplied for
use where appropriate.
The Policy and Guidelines are there to help you to provide the
expected protection of children and vulnerable adults and to avoid
situations in which well-intentioned actions could be
The Policy does not contain any complete definition of what is ‘an
abuse’; to prepare a rigorous ‘legal’ definition would prove
difficult and is unlikely to include all possible circumstances. It
does state some obvious types of abuse and how these might be
extended in particular conditions. In any event, future legal
decisions would soon make any definition obsolete.
In the Policy and Guidelines document children and vulnerable adults
are collectively referred to as “children” in the interests of
readability of this policy, although the great differences in needs
must not be forgotten.
British Beekeepers Association Policy and Guidelines
Working with Children and Vulnerable people
1. The Policy
Through this Policy the BBKA aims to:
• Adopt the highest possible child protection standards and
• Take all reasonable steps in relation to the safety and
welfare of the children with whom we come into contact in relation
to our activities within the BBKA and its Member Associations.
YOU ARE EXPECTED TO:
Treat everyone with respect. THIS IS THE GOLDEN RULE. Any mis-use
of power could
be regarded as an abuse.
• Not physically, emotionally or sexually abuse any child or
young or vulnerable person.
• Take all reasonable steps to ensure the health, safety and
welfare of any child in contact with the BBKA.
• Remember that children regard adults as role models and
ensure your behaviour, language, gestures etc. are appropriate and
• Be aware of Child Protection issues in relation to the work
you do and do not become complacent.
• Ensure that no adult is ever normally alone with a child.
• Prevent any other person from putting any child in a
situation in which there is a significant risk to their health and
• Take appropriate action if you become aware of anyone
physically, emotionally or sexually abusing a child.
• Report any evidence or reasonable suspicion that a child has
been physically, emotionally or sexually abused whether by an adult
or another child to the Local Authority Social Services Child
The policy applies to:
Any member of the BBKA or a BBKA Member Association whose beekeeping
activities brings them into contact with children. This may include:
• Organised visits to the apiary.
• Children attending training courses.
• Children undertaking correspondence courses. (This counts as
• Children attending shows or events, possibly as part of
The BBKA expects you to apply this Policy to all of your work with
children and vulnerable people. You have a duty to do everything
reasonable in your power to ensure the safety and welfare of
children while they are in contact with the BBKA and to act in
accordance with the guidelines below.
Discussion of Child Protection
Open discussion of Child Protection should be encouraged since this
helps to make members more comfortable with the issues involved. Do
not keep it ‘under wraps’ for fear of upsetting or embarrassing
This section gives general Guidelines, if you have any doubt about
best practice in any specific area, contact your Local Authority
Social Services Child Protection Team for further advice.
A. Scope of your Responsibilities
1. Where children are accompanied by responsible adults, e.g.
parent, teacher, or other group leader, primary responsibility for
the children should lie with that person. The beekeeper remains
responsible for safe beekeeping within the apiary.
If, owing to illness or another unexpected event a BBKA member is
left in charge of a child or group then they should act in
accordance with this Policy and Guidelines.
2. You should NOT undertake activities where you are the only
adult present with children. In all cases:
• Plan the activities and make decisions during the event
following the principles set out in this Policy and Guidelines
• Assign clear tasks to others involved in the children’s
activities, ensure that there is clear understanding as to which
adults have responsibility for each aspect of Child Protection and
that procedures are followed, Maintain appropriate child-to-adult
ratios as required by the relevant Local Authority (the guidelines
for local schools for the appropriate age group are the best guide)
and ensure that your decisions are based on the principles described
in the Guidelines in this document.
This must underpin your main aim of providing an enjoyable and safe
experience for the children.
3. Non-beekeeping Volunteers at an event.
Offers of help are always welcome and should be encouraged. However,
take considerable care if the volunteer is not very well-known to
you or you have the slightest reason for concern. When a volunteer
assists to work with children they must have read the Policy and
Guidelines and agree to work in accordance with it.
B. Emergency Aid or First Aid
A first aider should be in attendance, together with a mobile phone
(which works at that location) and vehicle, if appropriate, in case
of emergency. Members should follow the advice given in BBKA
publications concerning emergency aid. (See references at end).
Permission to treat the child must be obtained, if possible, from
both the responsible adult and the child. Ideally, the responsible
adult should have obtained their own prior, explicit permission (or
otherwise) to administer First Aid to the child. Failing this, it is
best to obtain permission to carry out emergency aid in advance of a
problem occurring using a simple permission form. (See the example
at the end of this document.) Your Local Authority Education
Department has guidance forschools which could be used. Make a
written record of all First Aid given, regardless of who administers
C. Dealing with allegations of abuse
It is to be hoped that you will never have to deal with an alleged
incident of child abuse, but it is sensible that you are prepared to
do so if necessary. You have a responsibility to report ANY concerns
regarding the welfare of children and vulnerable persons.
There are three likely scenarios which you should be aware of and be
prepared to deal with if necessary:
a) There is suspicion or evidence that a person associated with the
event is abusing a child
b) A child accuses a person associated with the event of abusing
c) A child discloses abuse happening elsewhere e.g. at home
In all cases you must:
• Act in a calm manner and as quickly as you can without
causing any further distress to the child.
• Keep any details strictly confidential and share only on an
absolute ‘need to know’ basis.
• Contact Social Services for advice ASAP. Make sure you know
the contact point.
• Do not question the child further or give any undertaking of
confidentiality to the child.
• Make your own verbatim written notes as soon as practicable.
D. Use of Information relating to children
Information about children e.g. names and addresses must be treated
in strictest confidence. It must be kept securely by a responsible
adult, used only for the purpose required, retained only as long as
necessary for that purpose and disposed of in a way which maintains
the young persons’ confidentiality.
Contact the office of the UK Data Registrar if further specific
advice is needed.
E. Photographs of Young Members and Children attending Events
Permission should be sought from parents or responsible adults to
take and/or use photographs of children attending events. Any
information that can allow the young people to be identified by name
or home/school location must not accompany the use of photographs of
children in promotion or display materials.
F. Suitability for working with children.
At present, there is no explicit requirement in the circumstances
applicable to this Policy for any checks regarding the suitability
members or volunteers to work with children under the Protection of
Children Act 1999. If you have any concerns regarding suitability,
contact your local police (or use the Home Office website) for
information on how to proceed with checks against lists maintained
by the Home Office.
BBKA Advisory leaflets referring to good practice in relevant
B1 Bee Stings
B5 Managing live bees at shows
B6 Organising an apiary meeting
Visitors are required to adhere to the following code of conduct
whilst in the apiary:
• To behave quietly calmly and avoid rapid movement.
• To walk away to an agreed area if alarmed in any way.
• If stung, to inform a supervisor immediately.
• Any person behaving in a way that is deemed irresponsible by
the Supervisors will be asked to leave the apiary and demonstration.
"I give my consent for my child:
To attend the demonstration of live bees on
(Parent or Guardian)
"I give my consent for my child
To receive any required emergency First Aid from a
suitable-qualified adult at the
demonstration of live bees on
(Parent or Guardian)
RECIPE OF THE MONTH Back to top
This month’s recipe has a taste of the East in
every mouthful (except for the wine). It is easy to make and
something a bit different to impress people with.
Figs with honey
What you need
• 12 plump ripe figs
• 200g (8oz) softened cream cheese
• 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
• 6 tablespoons runny honey
• 1 cup of good quality Riesling
Wipe the figs, and carefully cut a cross in each at the top. This
cross should extend about half way down each fig. Place the figs in
a small baking dish. Into each fig, spoon about half a tablespoon of
softened cream cheese. Drizzle over the honey, and scatter each fig
with a few fennel seeds.
Pour the wine around the figs and bake in a preheated over at 170°C
for about 20 minutes, until the figs soften and the cheese starts to
become almost runny. Serve at once with the wine from the pan poured
over each fig. Serve 2 figs per person to end a meal and finish off
with the remainder of the Riesling. (That’s why you need a good
FACT FILE Back to top
The Arms Race in the Hive and the Dufour’s
Most of us have experienced at one time or another the horrible
sight of worker cells crowded with eggs, usually stuck half way up
the cell wall, and as we all know, it is the sign that the hive is
effectively queenless and that laying workers have taken over. There
are few if any nurse bees around and the small domed worker cells
will only contain undersized drones. The colony is effectively
doomed. It is always difficult to recover from this situation as
simple requeening rarely works and the best thing you can do before
the wax moths invade is to disband the colony and at least save the
|The end result of laying worker activity. A
brood comb with small, raised drone cells and few if
any nurse bees. The colony is usually doomed at this
The usual cause of this state of affairs is of course a failing or
lost queen. But how does it all work? What exactly is going on in
the hive to bring about this situation, and is there any subterfuge
going on in a normal hive? Well the answers evidently are yes and
yes! In some very interesting Israeli research in 2002 and published
in 2003, we are able to see that in fact there is a constant arms
race going on in the hive with a series of checks and balances that
help keep order and it is all to do with glands and multiple queen
|Multiple eggs in each cell. A sure sign of
It is a commonly held belief amongst beekeepers that the queen
Mandibular Gland is the sole source of what is commonly known as
‘Queen Substance’ and that it is this that keeps the hive in order,
but in fact, it became evident as early as 1954 that the mandibular
glands were not the only source of pheromone production. Mated
queens from which the mandibular glands were removed were still
fully accepted by their respective colonies and successfully headed
their colony for a significant period. So what was going on? It
suggests that other
queen pheromones produce important cues for
worker honeybees, and that they can replace the QMP. One of the
caste-specific glandular sources found in the honeybee is the
Dufour’s gland. While the exudates of workers are composed of a
series of odd n-alkanes, the glandular exudates of queens are
different in that they are additionally fortified with wax-type
esters. It was also found that queen Dufour’s gland secretion is
attractive to workers, raising the possibility that this ester
fraction of the glandular secretion acts as a queen signal.
In the honeybee, Dufour’s gland secretion is caste specific and
constitutes a component of the multi-sourced queen signal. It is
attractive to workers, which form a retinue around the scented
source. Bioassays reveal the ester fraction and not the hydrocarbons
to be the active constituents. This function of the esters was
corroborated by assays with a synthetic queen-esters mixture, which
successfully mimicked the queen’s secretion. As predicted from the
queen-like secretion exhibited by egg-laying workers, their
glandular secretion was also attractive to nest mates, albeit to a
lesser degree than that of the queen; while that of non-egg laying
workers was totally inactive.
Worker-attraction towards the glandular secretion of virgin queens
has also been demonstrated. Both in vivo and in vitro studies have
further demonstrated that ester biosynthesis in the Dufour’s gland
is not a caste fixed phenomenon and queenless workers that start to
develop ovaries also biosynthesize the queen-type esters.
Moreover, glands from queen right nurses incubated in vitro also
produce these esters, after a certain delay. So what would happen to
those workers in queen right colonies that produced these esters?
These bees would surely be working against a queen by laying eggs as
well. Well, it seems that under queen right conditions where worker
policing is adaptive, these esters may act as kairomones that help
the nest members to identify the potential egg-layers and aggress
them. It has been shown that workers are able to detect certain
characteristics in nest mates, most likely olfactory cues that are
correlated with ovarian development, and selectively attack them.
The fact that the queen-like esters in Dufour’s gland can be
synthesized in vitro even in glands that have been removed from
queenright workers, and the seemingly obligatory link between
ovarian development and the occurrence of these esters in the gland,
suggests that they can reliably disclose potential egg-laying
workers. Preliminary studies in the laboratory revealed that bees
treated with Dufour’s gland secretion tend to be more aggressed and
suffer higher mortality than bees treated with solvent.
The researchers believe that the evolution of the multiple queen
signals in honeybees can be regarded as a component in an arms race
between queen and workers and they hypothesize that in response to a
reduced sensitivity to a certain queen signal, queen honeybees were
selected to develop an alternative signalling-source. Dufour’s gland
seems to be one of these sources.
HISTORICAL NOTE Back to top
Many beekeepers, especially those new to the
craft often ask about the composition of swarms. What is their
composition and why? The same question was asked in years gone by as
well and here is one answer from Sir John More writing in 1707.
‘Many are of the opinion that the swarm consisteth only of young
Bees, and that the old ones tarry behind; yet indeed the swarm is
not younger than the stock with the old for their defence and for
the greatest labour; and the old ones go with the young in the
swarms for their aid and guidance in the work. The drones they take
with them for the propagation of their kind; and therefore those
swarms that have many drones with them will surely prosper.’
He goes on to say:
‘The swarming months are two, Gemini and Cancer; that is, one month
before the longest day, and one month after.’
And to catch them:
‘When the swarm is up, it is common to beat a pan, kettle, mortar,
or brass candlestick, near the place where ‘tis convenient for the
swarm to pitch, and the bees will follow the sound; and if they are
got up into the air, the sound will bring them down, or else you may
fling dust or sand at them, which will cause them to pitch’.
There are some thoughts to ponder over winter while you wait for the
next spring swarming period. Ed.
POEM OF THE MONTH Back to top
Did the harebell lose her girdle
To the lover bee,
Would the bee the harebell hallow
Much as formerly?
Did the paradise, persuaded,
Yield her moat of pearl,
Would the Eden be an Eden,
Or the earl an earl?
Emily Dickinson (1830–86).
SHORT STORY Back to top
In this short story, Ian Copinger warns us of
the perils of drinking, driving and beekeeping.
Oh the joys of.... going to the heather!
2005 was the first time I tried "the heather". A beekeeping friend
got me access to a sheltered corner of an apiary on the edge of the
moors high above Stanhope and helped me to set up things ready for
the bees. An evening was chosen and, at the appointed hour, having
loaded two well wrapped up hives into my estate car with a friend,
and I went to collect the rather more experienced beekeeper.
Arriving at his house after only a five mile journey we found the
smell of petrol in the car almost overpowering. I had a petrol leak
in the engine and it was showing on the petrol gauge. The obvious
conclusion was that, even if we didn't explode, the petrol fumes
inside the car would probably kill the bees. Oh joy. The whole
exercise was put off until the next day when, petrol leak mended and
now equipped with a trailer, to everyone’s delight the journey and
the placing of the hives went without a hitch.
It was probably then that I discovered another joy of "going to the
heather" and in particular to that site. On the way back you get the
opportunity to call at The Moorcock" at Waskerley for a refreshing
and well deserved pint. Oh joy.
A few weeks later as the heather went back and the evenings drew in
dark and cold we three made the trip once more to return the bees to
their home apiary, of course via The Moorcock. Oh joy. The one thing
I learned was that it was more difficult to carry a hive filled with
heather honey the 50 yards off the site than I had expected
In 2006 as the summer began to fade towards autumn I decided to try
"the heather" again. With the previous years experience under my
belt I expected no hitches at all and together with my beekeeping
friend I set off. The journey and the placing of the hive (yes only
one this year) went smoothly and in no time we were comfortably
established in the pub. I was getting used to this.
The return trip was eventually arranged for the 14th September, that
was the day we had thunderstorms all afternoon and an inch of rain
fell in two hours. The evening however proved warm and dry so we
pair together with my girl-friend a university economics lecturer
with a keen interest in matter to do with natural history went to
collect the hive.
Now I should explain that a very rough track, no a very very rough
track, leads from the road to a gate through which we walk, say
fifty yards, to the actual apiary. This requires me to drive the car
and trailer along the track then manually turn the trailer round, do
a multi-point turn with the car and re-hitch the trailer. Not a
problem. I had also remembered the lesson of last year and brought a
heavy metal bar and some rope to aid our carrying the hive slung
under the bar carried on our shoulders to the car. The "shoulders"
in this case were to be those belonging to my university friend and
me, my beekeeping friend no longer being given to carrying large
weights like honey laden hives around.
Arriving at the apiary with enough light left to comfortably
complete the task we took the hive carrying aid equipment to the
hive and prepared to set it all up. This is the point when
beekeeping friend put a hand under the securing strap and lifted the
hive off the ground. "You can forget that gear. The metal bar is
heavier than the hive." It was true, the hive was so light that it
was easy to carry back to the trailer and as I loaded it on I
remembered it having been heavier when I brought it up there. Oh
Undaunted, oh alright I was actually somewhat disappointed, I
secured the hive in the trailer and we set off on our next
objective, the pub.
By now darkness had overtaken us and I drove across the moor rather
looking forward to a pint if only to make up for the lack of heather
honey. Another hundred yards, round a bend and the welcoming lights
of the pub would be in sight, at which point I looked in my wing
mirror and uttered those famous words. "I can't see the trailer"
Quickly pulling into the side of the road I got out and, as they say
in all the old penny dreadfulls "my worst fears were realized".
There was a big gap behind the car where a trailer should have been.
The car was quickly turned round and I drove back towards the apiary
expecting at any time to find an upturned trailer, a burst open hive
and a lot of crawling angry bees. I actually drove all the way back
to the apiary to find that the trailer had fallen off the car hitch
immediately I had moved off. It hadn't moved one inch. Oh joy.
There was another valuably lesson learned. Make sure the trailer is
securely fastened to the car other wise you can loose a load of
drinking time and get grey hair worrying.
We got to the pub albeit a little later than intended but sitting
there it did strike us, "would we have noticed the trailer missing
before we went into the pub and, if not, wouldn't we have just
assumed that it had been pinched while we were inside"
Still there’s always next year. Oh joy. “Mark C”
This account of two annual trips to the heather is true in every
respect. I was the “beekeeping friend”. Of course I just went along
for the ride, and the beer.
READERS LETTERS Back to top
Your quote of the month is from "The Life of Reason" by George
nice little challenge though.
I really wanted to say how much I appreciate the effort that goes
newsletter - There are always interesting articles that encourage
look up and stretch the horizon, and ones that you don't find
across beekeeping publications too.
Keep up the good work,
David Bancalari (Norfolk)
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Back to top
Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th and Thursday 26th July 2007
- New Forest & Hampshire County Show.
Saturday 3rd March 2007 -
West Sussex Beekeepers Association Beekeeping Convention. Venue:
Lodge Hill Conference Centre, Watersfield, Pulborough, West Sussex.
Main Speakers, Rev Stephen Palmer, Michael Badger and Richard Ball
plus a choice of attending four from a total of ten workshops.
Further details from John Hunt on 01903 815655 or email
The New Forest & Hampshire County Show is the highlight of Hampshire’s
social calendar featuring all the attractions that have made it so popular for
the best part of a century, bringing traditional country pursuits, new
exhibitions and demonstrations to this unique event. Put the dates in your
There is a full range of horse and livestock competitions plus a rabbit section,
cage birds, and honey bees. The Countryside area features woodland
activities and demonstrations of rural sports, plus terrier and ferret racing.
Other favourites include the horticultural marquee featuring many nationally
acclaimed flower entries, and the Southern National Vegetable Association
With over 600 trade stands there is a wide choice of stalls to visit many
offering goods never to be found in the shops, including antiques, crafts, and
the best of Hampshire food and produce.
We also have the Forest Fun Factory arena, a haven for children with all day
entertainment. These are just a few of the many attractions you will find at this
year’s show – you will be spoilt for choice.
A pay as you go shuttle bus service runs from Brockenhurst mainline station
right into the showground, so let the train take the strain.
Discounted tickets available on line at
www.newforestshow.co.uk or on the
credit card hotline 01590 622409 from June 1st 2007.
Show opens 08.15 to 1800
Web site full of information – www.newforestshow.co.uk
Full Title is New Forest & Hampshire County Show.
QUOTE OF THE MONTH Back to top
The question about quote for last month
has been answered by David Bancalari in his letter to the
editor. Well done David, I was sure no one would get it.
Now for this month, which well known UK commercial beekeeper
‘I suppose that, of all the factors governing bee farming, the
breeding of good stock must be the most important.’
He is of course absolutely right.
Editor: David Cramp
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