How times change, and how time flies. 5 years ago this month I
didn’t have a computer and I didn’t have a proper roof on my new
house which at the time was a 400 year old ruin. So I sat in my
sitting room (the only room in the house) under a large umbrella and
typed out the first ever edition of Apis UK on an old Canon word
processor. I saved it in text on a floppy and walked 5 Km up a very
wet, muddy and steep track to town, (the car couldn’t handle it that
day), converted it to Word in what passed for a cyber café with the
help of the café owner and sent it off to the web master. There were
no photos and I had no real idea of what I was doing. Some will say
little has changed in that respect, but what I can say is that the
Apis readership has grown; Apis itself now has its own identity and
that identity is different from its neighbours. So now that Apis has
established itself, it may now be time to advance it in the sense of
gradually (we never do anything in a hurry) introducing new features
and new ways of looking at things for the thinking beekeeper. That
then will be the trend I hope and the future of this
newsletter/magazine. If any reader wants a particular subject to be
featured, or a new section of the newsletter put in place then
contact me. After all, a magazine contents is dictated by the
As for this 5th anniversary issue, we take a good look at various
pollination themes, and we also investigate what could be a defining
moment in beekeeping. A new way of controlling and looking after
your bees. Can you do it all from the sitting room? It seems that
you will be able to do just this! See below.
What have a Morrison’s bumble bee, a calliope hummingbird, a lesser
long-nosed bat, a Southern dogface butterfly and a certain type of
gecko got in common? Actually they have a lot in common and we take
a look at this theme in our research news section. Pollinators are a
fascinating subject and one I think that most beekeepers will be
interested in as they realise that honey bees are not the only
pollinators around, but just one insect in an illustrious band of
other creatures that keeps the planet healthy.
Still on the subject of pollination; do bees need to know about
toxic nectar? If so, can they remember which nectar is toxic and
which isn’t. See below for the answer.
In the news section we report on a new – or rather rediscovered hive
beetle which is alive and well in the SW of England. From the
reports, I learn that these beetles eat bees and honey! Is this so
or is it a journalistic mix up confusing this rediscovery and the
modern threat of the other type of hive beetle. If anyone knows, do
let me know because I hadn’t heard of it before.
In our other sections, we look at another discovery about the causes
of hay fever, Chad contemplates Spring (for those of you up North),
the historical section and the poem of the month go to America, and
the recipe is truly splendid and fattening – but healthy as well.
Hubert Guerriat has published his latest edition of Mellifica which
features a new multi purpose small Dadant Nuc type of hive useful
for queen rearing purposes. See www.mellifica.be for this
information, and the Federation of Berkshire Beekeepers sent in
their newsletter which took a look at that latest threat to bees –
Colony Collapse Disorder. I enjoy reading these newsletters very
much as not only are they interesting and show a lively beekeeping
theme in the UK and Europe, but they also keep me in touch with
beekeeping matters in the Northern hemisphere.
We have two interesting letters, one from Arshad Farooqui asking for
advice on beekeeping for heart attack victims – anyone got any
ideas? And one in reponse to the article on hornets in last month’s
issue. I do intend an article on hornets and bees and this will
probably appear next month.
So please enjoy this rather late (but we wanted to include something
on the show) 5th anniversary edition and try and work out the
beekeeping significance of this photo.
BEEKEEPING NEWS Back to top
Hive! Beetle Alive and Well
A species of beetle thought to have been wiped out in Britain almost
60 years ago has been found living near the holiday resort of
Salcomb in Devon. Short-necked oil beetles, which ooze toxic
secretions to ward off predators, were last seen in 1948. Mr Bob
Heckford, an amateur entomologist, found one while counting insects
on a coastal strip close to Salcombe, Devon. The National Trust,
which owns the nature reserve, has since found another 39. They were
last recorded in Britain at Chailey Common, in Sussex, in 1948 and
their survival in Devon has been attributed to the absence of
intensive farming in a small area of land. The flightless beetle,
Meloe brevicollis, mines beehives and feeds on bee eggs and pollen
This last piece of information (about its activity in beehives) is
news to me. Does anyone else know about this? If so, please let us
know. Even Wedmore doesn’t mention it, and he mentions everything!
|Meloe brevicollis, thought to
be extinct in Britain is in fact alive and well.
Can Honeybees detect toxic nectar? Do they need to?
In last month’s Apis UK we looked at how plants can increase their
pollination by offering a toxic nectar to pollinators. This month we
look at a similar subject from another angle. In some interesting
research carried out by Dr Geraldine Wright (Newcastle University),
she looked at whether honeybees can learn if certain nectars contain
toxins, and does this influence their ability as pollinators? She
presented data on how toxins in nectar affect a honeybee’s
willingness to eat floral nectar on 1st April at the Society for
Experimental Biology’s Annual Meeting in Glasgow.
|Can this honey bee detect
toxic nectar and does it need to do so?
Honeybees are very clever and can learn to associate almost any
colour, shape, texture or scent with food. The newly-sequenced
honeybee genome has revealed that honeybees do not have as many
genes for taste receptors as other animals of a similar size, such
as flies and mosquitoes. This prompted scientists to think that
perhaps honeybees had a reduced need to detect and learn about
toxins, despite the fact that some floral nectar contains toxins.
Work carried out by Dr Wright and colleagues suggests that honeybees
may have the ability to react to toxins, even if they cannot taste
They found that both the sugar content and the toxins in nectar
affected a honeybee’s memory for learned odours. Honeybees learned
not to respond to odours associated with toxins within 20 min of
eating toxins, and would retain this ability up to 24 hours after
eating a toxin. This suggests that honeybees can react to toxins in
nectar, but that this ability may mainly be after they have ingested
How to Get Some of Your Taxes Back
|The MOD has paid out a
substantial sum to a beekeeper in the Balkans for
upsetting his bees through low flying by RAF/RN
Have your bees been worried lately? Do they suffer anxiety due to
low flying aircraft of the RAF? Then be the first in Britain. Sue.
In our modern day society where you can be sued for glancing at
someone, the Ministry of Defence has paid out record compensation
for disruption caused by low-flying military aircraft, including
payouts to a beehive owner in the Balkans and a farmer who lost
pedigree cattle when Chinook helicopters were sent in to demolish
hilltop sites in Northern Ireland. The bill for claims arising from
low-flying aircraft increased more than threefold last year to £4.1
million, against £759,000 the previous year.
Back to top
The Peril of the Lost Pollinators Destroyed by Humans
National pollinator week USA 24 30 June 2007
Quote: Orley “Chip” Taylor, professor of ecology and evolutionary
biology at Kansas University. “We’re losing six thousand acres of
habitat a day to development, 365 days a year. One out of every
three bites you eat is traceable to pollinators’ activity. But if
you start losing pollinators, you start losing plants.”
This astonishing statement should surely bring it home to most
thinking people that there is a problem here. A problem for all of
us. So now, University of Kansas researcher and a world-famous crop
artist are behind a nationwide campaign to publicize the peril faced
by species that transfer pollen between flowers.
Taylor works with the North American Pollinator Protection Campaign
(NAPPC). That group has successfully worked with the United States
Department of Agriculture and U.S. Senate to designate June 24
through June 30, 2007, as “National Pollinator Week.” The NAPPC also
has convinced the United States Postal Service to issue a block of
four “Pollination” stamps this summer depicting a Morrison’s bumble
bee, a calliope hummingbird, a lesser long-nosed bat and a Southern
dogface butterfly. To call more attention to pollinators at risk,
Taylor has enlisted help from noted Kansas-based artist Stan Herd.
Herd executes masterful large-scale earthworks around the world,
including rock mosaics, natural-material sculptures and crop art.
He’s very much aware of ecological issues and he wants to become
Herd will take an image from one “Pollinator” stamp — the Southern
dogface butterfly — and create a vast facsimile at Pendleton’s
Country Market, a family farm between Kansas City and Lawrence. The
image will be best viewed aerially from a nearby silo or an
aircraft. Herd’s immense stamp reproduction is to incorporate plants
that conservationists urge for use in backyard butterfly gardens.
Herd wanted to add my artistic statement to the equation. “I’m a fan
of the flora and fauna and know that with migratory critters like
butterflies there are increasing problems because of loss of
habitat. My work is about my ideals. It also catches young people’s
attention and we’ll bring school kids out to get involved in this
piece.” Taylor and NAPPC are grateful for the awareness Herd’s work
could bring to the drop in pollinator populations. “We can use this
larger image to attract the attention of the public to this cause,”
said Laurie Adams, who manages NAPPC. “Beautiful green lawns are
wonderful but we need to do more with our cities, farms and the
habitats that we control to provide for wildlife. Creating
pollinator gardens or Monarch butterfly waystations through
MonarchWatch are easy to do. And they are important.”
This story has been adapted from a news release issued by Kansas
|A painting by the Stan Herd,
an American environmental artist from Protection,
Kansas. Stan is now involved in assisting with
This is a good idea. So few people in the UK and Europe actually
know that bees, bats, humming birds and so on are pollinators and so
are vital for all of our health, that a good dose of education on
the subject in schools would be a good idea. Two years ago when I
asked a young person what a pollinator was, he wasn’t sure whether
it was a film or something that caused hay fever! Ed. Perhaps the
BBKA education committee could advise.
Altruism or Sex War
Beekeepers will know tht for the good of the colony and bee-kind,
worker bees have given up their ability to effectively reproduce.
This evolutionary trait also occurs in other social insect species –
or does it?
In a very interesting piece of research entitled Spiteful Soldiers
And Sex Ratio Conflict Among Parasitoid Wasps we read that even
though the social insects provide some of the most fascinating
examples of altruism in the natural world, with sterile workers
sacrificing their own reproduction for the greater good of the
colony, altruism is not always the motive for this behaviour.
Research carried out in Canada and the United Kingdom reveals that,
for a peculiar group of parasitic wasps, this sacrifice is more
sinister. For years the function of sterile ‘soldier’ larvae in
polyembryonic parasitoid wasps has been controversial.
Traditionally, these have been viewed as bringing a benefit to their
broodmates as a whole, for example by protecting them from attack by
other species of parasitoids. More recently, it has been suggested
that soldiers are primarily involved in a battle of the sexes, which
they wage against their own siblings. Andy Gardner, Ian Hardy, Peter
Taylor, and Stuart West, in a theoretical study of how natural
selection shapes the behaviour of these larvae, published in the
April issue of the American Naturalist, have rejected the
brood-benefit hypothesis and found in favour of the view that their
behaviour is altogether spiteful.
Andy Gardner, now at St John’s College, Oxford University, explains,
“We found that the bizarre genetics of these wasps means that
brothers value their sisters more than sisters value their brothers,
and so if sterile larvae function for the good of the group then it
should be brothers who more willingly make the sacrifice.
Alternatively, if the sterile larvae are used by each sex to wage
war against the other sex, then it should be primarily females who
are interested in killing their brothers. As it happens, most
sterile larvae are female, suggesting a primary role in sex
conflict.” This work also explains the often strongly skewed sex
ratios in these wasps, where female outnumber males, due to sex
differences in killing behaviour. More generally, it reveals how
Darwinism can be used to explore the function of puzzling animal
Andy Gardner, Ian C. W. Hardy, Peter D. Taylor, and Stuart A. West,
“Spiteful soldiers and sex ratio conflict in polyembryonic
parasitoid wasps” The American Naturalist, volume 169 (2007), pages
Nitric Oxide Allergic Reaction Linked To Hayfever
Hayfever is a major irritation for up to 20% of the population in
most economically developed countries. Pollen is the cause of this
allergic reaction but what causes it and why? In an interesting news
release issued by the Society for Experimental Biology, scientists
may have found the answer to these questions. Nitric oxide could be
|Pollen is a major irritation
for up to 20% of the population in most developed
countries. But how does it cause this reaction?
Dr Jo Bright and Dr John Hancock of the University of the West of
England have found evidence that nitric oxide (NO) and nitrite is
released by pollen grains, and they suggest that this could be what
triggers the allergic response in the nose. Their research was
presented at the Society for Experimental Biology’s Annual Main
Meeting in Glasgow on 3 April. Dr Bright says, “Our research is the
first to show that pollen which is allergenic releases much greater
amounts of NO and nitrite than a non-allergenic pollen.”
Evidently the discovery of the potential link to hayfever was
made almost by accident. Whilst working on a separate project on
plant reproduction they found that pollen was producing NO as a
by-product. They then realised that this might have implications for
the allergic response many people have to pollen.
This current study has enabled the researchers to look closely at
how the plant produces NO, but they now need to carry out further
research so that they can prove the link between the NO and the
allergic reaction. These findings are very exciting and it is
believed that they could have implications for how hayfever is
treated in the future—but there is still a lot of work to do before
the link can be fully established the researchers are now searching
for funding to carry on this research.”
Previous research indicates that the male parts of the plant (the
pollen) may produce NO as a signal to the female parts (the stigma)
during reproductive processes. NO and nitrite signalling are also
important mechanisms in mammals and Dr Bright and her colleagues
intend to investigate what role the pollen-derived NO and nitrite
plays in human cell inflammation and irritation during hayfever.
Hiscock, S., Bright, J., McInnis, S.M., Desikan, R. & Hancock,
J.T. (2007) Signaling on the Stigma: Potential New Roles for ROS and
NO in Plant Cell Signaling. Plant Signaling & Behavior, 2, issue 1.
McInnis, S.M., Desikan, R., Hancock, J.T. & Hiscock, S.J. (2006)
Production of reactive oxygen species and reactive nitrogen species
by angiosperm stigmas and pollen: potential signaling crosstalk? New
Phytologist, 172, 221-228 This research is a collaboration between
the University of the West of England, University of Bristol and
University of Cardiff and is funded by the Wellcome Trust (grant no.
077614/Z/05/Z “The release of Nitric oxide from hay fever-causing
The chemical compound nitric oxide is a gas with chemical formula
NO. It is an important signaling molecule in the body of mammals
including humans, one of the few gaseous signaling molecules known.
It is also a toxic air pollutant produced by automobile engines and
power plants. Nitric oxide is a key biological messenger, playing a
role in a variety of biological process. Nitric oxide, known as the
'endothelium-derived relaxing factor', or 'EDRF', is biosynthesised
from arginine and oxygen by various nitric oxide synthase (NOS)
enzymes and by reduction of inorganic nitrate. The endothelium
(inner lining) of blood vessels use nitric oxide to signal the
surrounding smooth muscle to relax, thus dilating the artery and
increasing blood flow. The production of nitric oxide is elevated in
populations living at high-altitudes, which helps these people avoid
The Long Tongue Trade Off
Orchid bees use their extraordinarily long tongues to drink
nectar from the deep, tropical flowers only they can access.
Researchers have long suspected that this kind of exclusive access
came with a mechanical cost. According to common sense and a classic
law of fluid mechanics, it’s just plain hard to suck thick, viscous
nectars up through a long straw.
Now, Brendan Borrell at the University of California, Berkeley
has confirmed this prediction for the first time: orchid bees with
long tongues suck up their nectars more slowly than bees with
shorter tongues. Borrell spent three years collecting bees in
forests all over Costa Rica and Panama and measuring their feeding
rates at artificial flowers. He found that the smallest bees
sometimes had the longest tongues and the largest bees sometimes had
the shortest tongues. But after taking into account all that
variation in body size, he says long tongues really do impose a
mechanical cost on bees.
Everyone knows just how busy bees can be, but orchid bees are
basically sacrificing speed at flowers for exclusive access to them.
Borrell thinks this may be because the rewards at these flowers can
be tremendous, up to ten times the quantity of nectar provided by
typical bee flowers.
Brendan J. Borrell, “Scaling of nectar foraging in orchid bees”
American Naturalist, 2007, 169: 569--580. DOI: 10.1086/512689
Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by
University of Chicago Press Journals.
For those interested in these fascinating bees, the following
information is given:
Orchid bees use long tongues to gather nectar in deep flowers,
but this slows them up considerably. Is there a trade off?
Orchid bees are also known as gold bees. There are more than 175
species. They occur only in the western hemisphere in tropical and
subtropical regions from northern Mexico to Argentina. Many species
of orchid bees collect nectar, pollen, and other substances from
orchids. Orchid bees are among the most brilliantly coloured
insects. Many species are green, blue, purple, gold, or red. Some
are black with yellow or white hairs and resemble bumble bees, to
which they are closely related. Orchid bees range from 8 to 30 mm
(0.3 to 1.2 in) long. They have tongues that, in some species, may
be twice as long as the body. The long tongue allows them to reach
nectar in deep-throated tropical flowers.
Orchid bees are fast, strong fliers and can travel great
distances. Some are known to fly as far as 45 to 50 km (28 to 31 mi)
in search of flowers. Orchid bees drink nectar for energy. Male
orchid bees are especially attracted to orchids, from which they
collect fragrant oils that are stored in specialized receptacles on
the hind legs. The orchids often produce no nectar or pollen, but
they have special mechanisms that attach the pollinium, or pollen
bundle, to a specific location on the bee as it gathers oils or
searches for nectar. The pollinium releases its pollen on the next
flower of the same species that the bee visits. Males of some
species are easy to observe because they can be attracted to
artificial fragrances. Females are less attracted and thus less
frequently seen. Orchid bees display very interesting foraging
behaviors and are believed to be important pollinators of many
tropical plants. Plants in the tropics do not grow in groups, and
individual plants of the same species are often miles apart. Orchid
bees are believed to forage on specific plants along set routes, a
behavior known as traplining.
The nests of only a few orchid bee species have been found. Nests
are constructed in cavities in wood, in fern roots, in the ground,
in bamboo stems, in termite nests, under palm leaves, in crevices,
under bridges on rocks, and on roofs of houses. Nests are lined with
resin collected by the female. Some species seal up the nest
entrance with resin at night. Some nests are constructed of wood
chips or bark mixed with resin. Many species nest in groups. Some
nests are shared by a number of individuals, but each female
constructs her own brood cells (compartments for the young)
independently. Nests may be used continuously by different
generations of orchid bees.
Orchid bees in one genus have lost the ability to make their own
nests. Instead, they parasitize the nests of other orchid bees.
Other types of insects also parasitize the nests of orchid bees.
Scientific classification: The orchid bees comprise the tribe
Euglossini in the family Apidae, which includes honey bees and
bumble bees. The largest orchid bee genus is Euglossa. Bumble
bee-like species belong to the genus Eulaema. Parasitic orchid bees
are in the genus Exaraete.
Articles: "Orchid Bees," Microsoft® Encarta® Encyclopedia.
http://encarta.msn.com © 1993-2007 Microsoft Corporation. All rights
Pollination Games with Geckos
This piece of research news is about geckos, not bees and you may
be wondering why on earth I’ve
included it in Apis UK. Well although not about bees, it is about a
very specialised pollinator and it illustrates the dependency of
plants and pollinators to an extraordinary degree. With pollinators
rapidly disappearing from our landscapes, every bit of knowledge we
can glean about them may be of importance in the future. In a
nutshell, this article shows how if you cut down one plant, another
one cannot exist.
Neighbours gone, sex gone, fruits gone, species gone.
the ultra-short conclusion of the findings in a study by Dennis
Hansen, Heine Kiesbüy,
and Christine Müller
from Zurich University, and Carl Jones from the Mauritian Wildlife
Foundation, who found that an endangered plant in Mauritius depends
on a neighbouring plant to provide a safe home for its pollinator, a
Understanding indirect dependency is critical in protecting endangered species.
Trochetia blackburniana, a rare endemic Mauritian plant, produces large red flowers that are pollinated by the endemic day gecko Phelsuma cepediana. Day geckos of the genus Phelsuma are inquisitive animals. However, they cannot move around freely all the time, if they want to avoid predators. Thus, the geckos spend a lot of time hiding. A favourite hideout of Phelsuma cepediana is the maze of spiky leaves offered by dense patches of Pandanus plants. In an experiment carried out in 2003 and 2004 and reported in the April issue of the American Naturalist, Hansen and co-workers showed that Trochetia plants growing close to Pandanus patches had a higher chance of being pollinated and produce fruit than plants further away. Thus, Trochetia enters an indirect dependency with its neighbour Pandanus via the geckos. The case of Trochetia and its pollinator is only one of many examples of the complexity and fragility of island community interactions. When an island ecosystem is altered by humans, the outcome for both plants and animals are hard to predict. “We need field experiments such as this one to understand the potentially disastrous effects,” says Christine Müller. “There has been a long tradition of studying direct interactions in pollination biology,” says Dennis Hansen, “but only little focus on indirect interactions, even though they often have large effects.
This study illustrates how important it is to know as much as possible about the community-level interactions of an endangered species before deciding on conservation management. For example, to conserve Trochetia blackburniana, who would have thought we would end up saying ‘plant more patches of Pandanus’?”
Dennis M. Hansen, Heine C. Kiesbüy, Carl G. Jones, and Christine B. Müller, “Positive indirect interactions between neighbouring plant species via a lizard pollinator”
The American Naturalist, volume 169 (2007), pages 534--542 Note: This story has been adapted from a news release issued by University of Chicago Press Journals.
The Mauritius Wildlife Foundation has a very interesting website at http://www.mauritian-wildlife.org for those interested in this fascinating Island.
Flowers Shape Themselves For Their Pollinator
As most beekeepers realise, and as most of the general public
don’t realise, bees are there for pollination, both for the
flowering plants and for us and our food supply. The subject of
pollination and especially the evolution of the relationship between
plants and pollinators of all types is complex in the extreme, but
gradually we are finding out more and more about this fascinating
subject. In this interesting piece of research described in a news
release from the University of Miami in the USA, scientists looking
at other pollinators found that flowers actually shape themselves so
that their particular pollinator can ‘fit’ better and to better
guide their pollinators to the pollen.
They began by asking why do flowers specialize on different
pollinators? For example, both bats and hummingbirds pollinate
plants in tropical forests; why adapt to just one instead of using
both? Biologists often assume that tradeoffs contribute to such
specialization (the jack of all pollinators is master of none), yet
surprisingly little evidence exists in support of this idea.
These desert flowers have shaped themselves for their chosen
pollinator: The bat.
Nathan Muchhala from the University of Miami explored pollinator
specialization through experiments with bats, hummingbirds, and
artificial flowers in cloud forests in Ecuador. In a study published
in the April issue of the American Naturalist, he reports that the
fit between flower and pollinator is key: bats pollinate wide
flowers better, while hummingbirds transfer more pollen between
narrow flowers. Videotaping demonstrated that a poor fit fails to
correctly guide the pollinator while feeding.
This trade-off in adapting to bats vs. hummingbirds is strong
enough to favour specialization on one or the other. While all
leaves tend to look similar, flowers come in a spectacular variety
of shapes and colours. This study suggests tradeoffs in adapting to
different pollinators may have played an important role in the
evolution of such diversity. Adaptive trade-off in corolla shape
mediates specialization for flowers pollinated by bats and
Reference: The American Naturalist, volume 169 (2007), pages
494--504 DOI: 10.1086/512047
ARTICLES Back to top
Research That Could Revolutionise Beekeeping
More research on bees and poisons. This research may have some
very practical applications for beekeepers and may even provide
diagnostic information to the beekeeper about diseases in the hive.
So in future, if you want to know what’s wrong with the colony, just
ask the patients! Ed.
Soon, health inspections like this will be done from the sitting
Everyone knows about the use of canaries in coal mines, which die
in the presence of poisonous gas and so warning miners that there is
a problem. Now a University of Montana research team has learned to
understand the collective buzzing of bees in their hives, which can
provide a similar biological alert system.
The researchers have found that bees are able to provide a lot
more information than canaries. The researchers, from Bee Alert
Technology Inc., have found that the insects buzz differently when
exposed to various poisonous chemicals.
“We found bees respond within 30 seconds or less to the presence
of a toxic chemical,” said Research Professor Jerry Bromenshenk. But
astonishingly, the sounds bees produce can actually tell what
chemical is hitting them.”
The insects also make different sounds when attacked by honeybee
maladies such as varroa mites or foul brood. This may lead to
applications that help beekeepers maintain healthy hives.
The researchers found that they could tell not only whether the
colony has mites or not, but also the level of infestation they
have. The sounds they make change with every stressor in
characteristic ways. Scott Debnam, a Bee Alert field technician and
self-described “bee whisperer,” said people have known for centuries
that hives make a different sound when the queen is removed. Now
modern listening equipment and computer software have revealed a
secret bee vocabulary much more intricate than previously thought.
Bees lack sound-making organs, but they buzz by vibrating their
wings and bodies and pushing air through spiracles—tiny airways used
for respiration. Bee Alert technicians have discovered the unique
hive sounds two years ago while studying how bees react to a
poisoning event. The bees were filmed, recorded and counted, and it
soon became apparent that sound was the best medium for determining
if something toxic had entered the hive.
“We poisoned them with off-the-shelf stuff like acetone and
malathion—the types of poisons they might encounter in an
agricultural situation,” he said. “They responded within 30 seconds,
which is amazing.”
Debnam said bees recycle the air in their hives every three
minutes and never sleep, so they can provide 24-hour air monitoring,
seven days a week.
“With some chemicals you can hear they don’t like it,” he said.
“With the solvent toulene, for example, you hear their buzz go to
BZZZZZZZZZZ just like that.”
For most chemical agents, however, a more exacting instrument
than the human ear is needed. UM electronics technician Dave Plummer
designed a listening device that’s basically a human hearing aid on
a stick. However, if you leave it in a hive for an extended period,
all you will hear is “crash, crash” noises as the bees try to pull
the foreign object out of the hive or plug the end of the
microphone. So Plummer had to create a special screen cage to
protect the microphone. The device records the same type of “.wav”
audio files used for digital music. University of Montana software
engineer Larry Tarver designed a mathematical algorithm that allows
a computer to analyze these files. “Most of the time for bees their
normal sound range is 200 to 400 hertz, when they get dosed with
something, they really go to a high amplitude.”
He said his program creates a running average to weed out
incidental noises such as doors slamming or horns honking. Bee
Alert’s Colin Henderson, a faculty member at UM’s College of
Technology, then examines the audio samples with statistical
analysis software. The end result is an electronic signature for
each type of chemical or malady affecting the honeybees.
At first, the researchers thought that their investigations just
weren’t working, but then they realised that they were wrong. You
just can’t hear this stuff with the human ear.”
Bee Alert uses “smart hives” filled with electronics to monitor
bee colonies, and these can be adapted to monitor hive sounds. So if
a hive is sprayed with chemicals or invaded by pests or diseases,
the sounds can be analyzed and a signal sent immediately via
satellite to a beekeeper’s computer or cell phone.
The researchers also hope to create a handheld listening device
that beekeepers can use on hives to instantly tell whether the bees
“What we are trying to do is revolutionize bee technology,” said
Steve Rice, an electronics engineer and COT instructor. “Patents are
pending on a lot of this.”
The new audio technology also helps distinguish different bee
species. Debnam said there already is a device that can tell the
difference between 100 percent European honeybees (the agricultural
standard) and 100 percent African bees (also known as killer bees).
However, European and African bees interbreed, and the Bee Alert
audio technology seems to detect when they have intermingled.
“You don’t want Africanized bees,” Rice said. “They get angry
easily.” There also is some evidence the audio technology can
differentiate between the multiple types of beneficial European
honeybees used in agriculture. This can be useful to the Montana
beekeeper, for example, who needs Russian honeybees instead of the
Italian variety that are more susceptible to mites. A simple swipe
of a handheld device and the beekeeper knows if the bees ordered are
Besides doing statistical analysis to study bee noises, Bee Alert
is using artificial neural networks to examine the buzzes.
Information systems manager Robert Seccomb said ANN technology can
recognize complex patterns on sonograms and is used a lot in
voice-recognition software. “It’s not 100 percent accurate, but it’s
a lot quicker than statistical analysis,” Seccomb said. “Once we
build up a sufficiently large library of recordings, I’m pretty sure
ANN will give another method of analyzing the sounds.”
He said if the statistical analysis method and ANN both agree on
the meaning of a buzz, “we’ll know pretty much what the answer is.
If one says ‘yes’ and the other says ‘no,’ then we will say this is
a questionable one, and you should check it out anyway.”
Honeybees are vitally important to the success of humanity—not
because they produce honey but because they pollinate the majority
of our crops. Debnam said Albert Einstein once claimed that if all
bees disappeared tomorrow, then all people would follow a scant four
years later. “We think this new technology can help bees and
revolutionize beekeeping,” Debnam said. “If you took a picture of
beekeeping from 1947, it would look just like a bee yard today—with
the same smoker and other tools. Our audio technology might be one
of the bigger things to come along.”
Note: This article has been adapted from a news release issued by
University Of Montana.
In this article Chad Reflects on Spring.
Hammering in the Spring
You may have seen the wife on Countryfile (A BBC TV program
covering country issues). I personally feel a bit put out, I hung
around that camera crew all day hoping they would preserve me for
posterity; I made tea, provided cake, fetched, carried and stood
about in the rain and cold, yet for nothing. They chose instead to
film my pigs and dog.
Today was spent knocking up flat pack hive floors, I was managing
to nail them together in just under three minutes each, that’s 20 an
hour, that’s faster than the rate at which spitfires were being
produced at the height of WWII. If only we’d been able to fight the
Luftwaffe with hive parts.
This year my goal is to have 100 hives or more and my business
has seen a marked investment of late. The internet is a wonderful
thing; it really does pay to shop around. I have ordered brood boxes
and roofs from Newcastle, floors from Gloucester and frames and wax
from Wales. It should all be arriving next week so I’ll have a blitz
on assembly for three days. I was toying with the idea of buying a
nail gun for the job but my wife is teaching me not to live beyond
our means. I am therefore going to employ a local lad to help me
with the hammering. Young people wouldn’t fall into drugs and crime
if beekeepers gave them more meaningful employment.
I have recently discovered the delights of ‘first’ equipment. I
usually buy ‘seconds’ which according to my father in law is because
I am a Northerner. You certainly get more frames for your money when
they’re seconds and of course, you get that warm bargain feeling
that lasts all day, however, it wasn’t until last week that I
realised just how nice it is to deal with firsts. The joy of
effortlessly pushing frame pieces together, it’s like they were
designed to fit. Amazing. No splits, splinters, no knots, warps:
it’s magical. When I am a millionaire I will buy firsts all the
time, then, as I promised myself when I was eleven, I shall take a
year out and collect as many different species of dragonfly as I can
catch, and display them in an oak cabinet.
I heard a chiffchaff today, my first migrant of the year. It sang
as I hammered, both of us enjoying the sun. I saw the long range
forecast on Countryfile; uninterrupted sunshine all week, could we
hope for a better start to the beekeeping season? I gave into
temptation last weekend and looked through all my colonies, bit
naughty really, as it was a little on the cold side. I just had to
know how many colonies I had so that I could work out how much
equipment to order. Last year I only observed flying bees as an
indication of winter survival and later in the spring discovered
that there were 3 colonies with living workers but no queens. By
opening up the brood box I was able to see evidence of laying and
queen survival. My investigation was very pleasing, I have only lost
two colonies and the range in amount of brood between different
hives was remarkable. Two of my hives had three frames of brood each
whereas a couple only had a patch the area of a 50p. Most of the
colonies had a frame’s worth of brood. Also, while I think of it,
owing to the fact that there relatively few bees in the hives at the
moment, the queen is either obvious or reasonably easy to spot. Next
week I’ll be back to mark them all with some nail varnish. I am not
going to clip my queens this year, in recent conversation I was told
that laying queens, though already mated during their nuptial
flights, may try to mate again and having only one wing may hinder
them somewhat. I deem it less of an evil to loose the odd swarm
rather than to lose the whole colony through collapse of a
On an entirely unrelated subject to beekeeping…I have two
constant reminders of the fact that I got married last summer. The
first of these is my wife, who seems to be there whenever I turn
around. The second is a sound system that I bought for the wedding
day. I thought it would be nice to hear music from wherever you were
on the farm (a range of 170 acres) the two 500W speakers I bought
were just the ticket. Now, on hearing that the neighbouring farmer
had employed a Ukrainian farm-hand to help him with his cows I
thought it would be a neighbourly extension of goodwill to play the
Ukrainian national anthem on my farm so that he would hear it on
his. That was my honest intention. Sadly the true effect was less
pleasing. The poor Ukrainian had been having a bad morning of it, up
at 4.30am, covered in muck, troublesome cows in the parlour and what
should he hear as he walked through the collecting yard? Booming
down the valley from half a mile away comes his national anthem. The
poor chap stood proudly in the yard, crying his eyes out, realising
just how homesick and unhappy he was. Oh dear, did I ever get an
earful from his employer. This particular farmer is Dutch but has
excellent command of four letter expletives. I learned a valuable
lesson that day.
And finally, if you ever go on the internet, look at the
www.youtube.com site and look at the clip entitled crazy bee
footage it shows an American beekeeper catching a swarm. It
isn’t humorous, just informative; it would have been useful for me
to see this before I began catching swarms. Enjoy the spring.
Information sheet no. 8
Melbourne, Australia 9 – 14 September, 2007
That magical date of 15 May for the close of Early Bird
registrations for Apimondia 2007 is fast approaching. Looking at our
website www.apimondia2007.com shows the cost for registration
increases after 15 May. I am sure that all beekeepers would want to
save money on their registration costs by making the Early Bird cut
Registration is easy online but if you do not have that facility,
you can ask for a registration form to be faxed or posted to you.
GPO Box 128
New South Wales
Phone 1300 799 691 (within Australia)
+61 2 9265 0890 (international)
Fax +61 2 9265 0880 (international)
There are still sponsorship opportunities available for Apimondia
2007. Have a look at the website www.apimondia2007.com and click on
“Sponsorship” to see what is available. One that could be attractive
to some businesses is the opportunity to insert a double sided A4
page in the conference satchel for the reasonable price of A$1100.
It is a good opportunity to put your business before the beekeepers
of the world.
Has your group entered a lady in the Honey Queen Competition? Our
website www.apimondia2007.com has the Conditions of Entry and the
Entry Form can be downloaded from that site.
The BBKA Spring Convention
The BBKA Spring convention was held on 21/04/2007 and the the weather was good. Over 2,000 people attended the convetion and this year more people booked tickets ahead of the event than last year.
Queuing at the spring convention
The exhibition halls were packed and UK Beekeeping suppliers were well represented, there were also three Beekeeping suppliers from Germany and one from Denmark. This years early start made the Spring Convention the ideal place to be to purchase equipment.
Northern Bee Books and Thornes Sale Items.
The Friday (members only day) was well attended and lectures were very popular. Popularity of the event carried over to Saturday and many lectures were well attended. Several were over subscribed and this meant that people were unable to attend.
Bill Turnbull attended the Spring Convention and made a video of the event. The video can be found at url:
To see the video:
Click Videos, then Click Insects, finally click BBKA Spring Convention (You might have to scroll the recordings to find it)
BOOK AND FILM REVIEWS Back to top
Ronald O. Kapp's ‘Pollen and Spores’
PREFACE TO THE SECOND EDITION
"How to Know Pollen and Spores" by Ron Kapp was published in 1969,
by William C. Brown Publishers, DUbuque, Iowa. The volume quickly
became a standard reference for the identification of auatemary
pollen and it has remained one of America's favorite palynology
texts, particularly among beginning students. Certainly, a primary
attraction is the clarity and simplicity of its illustrations. drawn
primarily by Rick Hall, then a student at Alma College, where Ron
Kapp spent his academic career. Kapp credited Rick with "all
illustrations except those of fungal spores," but Kapp's initials
can also be seen on some illustrations.
Kapp planned a revised edition that he began in 1985; however, this
was cut short by his untimely death in March of 1990. With this
edition. King and Davis have endeavored to continue the clarity and
simplicity of Kapp's work while updating and correcting the text.
Their goal is to provide an inexpensive introduction and guide to an
area to which they are devoted, in hopes of continuing Ron's work
and advancing the remarkable field of palynology.
Some conventions introduced in the second edition include a
consistent format for each taxon's of Latin binomial, followed by "CN"
common name, SIZE in micrometres (JIm), (geographical) RANGE, and
NOTES. Keys to several groups have been expanded and the literature
has been updated to reflect the many advances in palynology since
the original 1969 edition.
Many palynologists have provided suggestions and ideas for this
edition, which have been incorporated wherever practical. Students
over the years have provided invaluable insights through their
questions and comments, we thank them all. And we are particularly
thankful for the efforts of Phil Jenkins, of the University of
Arizona Herbarium, who edited the plant taxonomic nomenclature in
this text. We gratefully acknowledge the technical support of
several persons in preparing this Second Edition, including Philip
D. Jenkins, Jo Ann Overs, and Becky Meyers.
Richard C. Hall is a medical illustrator whose office is near Jim
Richard and his students Terence Condrich, and Ross Papalardo,
repaired many of his original drawings, and produced several new
The absence of a miracle cure and the necessity of using our
expertise in a more rational way, have led the authors to take stock
of the current knowledge through a richly-illustrated practical
manual, by applying their experiences as acarologists and beekeepers
Post paid from NBB at £12.50 post paid in the UK.
RECIPE OF THE MONTH Back to top
I found this recipe on an excellent web site (see below) and
tried it almost immediately using 30+ active manuka honey. The site,
‘About Home Cooking’ has all sorts of wonderful recipes put into
different classes and is a must for all foodies. This recipe is
truly delicious and takes me straight back to Spain.
Apis UK rating: Delicious/Healthy/Fattening.
Grilled Figs With Thyme Honey and Gorgonzola Toasts
1/4 cup mild or medium-strength honey, such as clover or blackberry.
(I used manuka).
6 (3-inch) sprigs fresh English thyme (I used NZ stuff from my
12 large ripe figs
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing (Spanish
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1 best-quality artisan-style baguette
6 ounces Gorgonzola cheese, at room temperature
Simmer honey in small saucepan, and add thyme sprigs. Let cool for
15 minutes or more while grilling the figs and bread.
Start a charcoal fire in an outdoor grill or preheat a gas grill.
Cut figs in half, and toss them in a small bowl with 2 teaspoons
olive oil and thyme leaves. Set grill rack 4 inches from fire. When
the charcoal is ashed over and glowing, or the gas grill is
medium-hot, grill figs quickly until they are heated through but not
collapsed, 1 to 2 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter.
Cut 24 1/2-inch-thick slices from the bread, and brush both sides
lightly with olive oil. Toast bread on both sides on the grill away
from direct heat. Spread cheese on toast, and top with figs.
Remove thyme sprigs from honey with a fork and discard, then drizzle
honey over figs and toast slices. Serve at once.
Yield: 8 to 12 servings
See more at: http://homecooking.about.com
HISTORICAL NOTE Back to top
An Idea for the Control of Wax Moths.
Most of our Historical notes have been taken from UK sources so this
month I decided to look further afield and from the USA comes this
offering. It comes from a very interesting US site (see below) and
gives us an illuminating insight into early American thinking on how
to control wax moth. I was given 7 hens on my birthday in February.
The dog (a ridiculous looking poodle/terrier cross) got 5 almost
straight away but two survived with which I could try this out. If
anyone anywhere in the world has any historical sources which give
us an insight to beekeeping in their countries in early times,
please send any items to me.
The wax moth was accused of destroying healthy bee colonies. Today
we know that the wax moth is almost always controllable by a healthy
bee colony, and that its presence in a hive is usually a symptom of
another problem. One creative beekeeper's way of controlling wax
moth follows below, quoted from a book titled "Moore's Universal
"HENS MADE TO PROTECT BEES. - A bee raiser has patented an invention
for the protection of bees from the attacks of the honey bee moth,
which enters the hives at night, and rifles the stores.... Hens, he
observed, retire to rest early; but bees seek repose earlier still;
no sooner are they sunk into slumber, than the moths steals into
their abode and devours the produce of their toil. He has now built
a stand of hives with a hen house connected. The bees first betake
themselves to their dwelling and settle themselves for the night.
The hens then come home to roost on their perch, and as they take
their places upon it, their weight sets some simple mechanism to
work, which at once shuts down the doors of all the hives. When the
day dawns, however, the hens leave their roost, and the removal of
their weight from the perch raises the hive doors, and gives egress
to the bees in time for their morning's work."
Oil pots with flaming wicks were also used to attract and kill
Thanks to John’s Beekeeping Notebook. Created by John Caldeira,
Dallas, Texas, USA
POEM OF THE MONTH Back to top
FAME by Emily Dickinson
Fame is a bee.
It has a song—
It has a sting—
Ah, too, it has a wing.
Born Dec 10 1830. Amherst Massachusetts
Died May 15 1886. Amherst Massachusetts
This photo of the young Emily Dickinson taken around
1846 – 1847 was once the only known photo of the
LETTERS Back to top
I read with interest the short alarming item on Asian hornets Vespa
velutina nigrithorax the subspecies found in La belle France. I
received an early indication from the email review for Beecraft also
seeig a report on the European Bee forum, I nipped onto
Hymenoptera.de to which I also subscribe. Here as I expected I found
the unambiguous version of the facts which I am gradually
translating into English. I did a short precis for Beecraft but
Claire Waring decided to leave it till the next edition for more
I have an interest in hornets, I live in the UK in Kent where
hornets were last seen just after the end of WW2.
We have had them back for the past 5 years now and I have regularly
3 to 5 nests each year around my home apiary. We had Vespa
dolichmedian from France possibly 15 years ago, the queen looking
just like a crabo worker in colouration and size. quiet to moderate
in temperament, stings no worse than common wasps. V. crabo is even
more docile, biting rather than stinging, they take far more more
wasps than bees, they do pick off bees in flight when they are
alighting but not to any detrimental effect. The first year they
were on my farm they occupied and empty hive alongside one with a
wasps nest in it, I was able to demonstrate the difference in
temperament. I have had two nucleus hives and an empty single brood
chamber used by hornets ever since.
This is on a six acre holding. Hornets fly at night just as well as
in daylight. That is the first thing I learnt. I have moved a nest
and not been stung, I have regularly moved wild honeybee colonies
out of buildings so applied that knowledge on the hornets. I was not
V velutina is smaller than the European hornet, I think the papers
have mixed it up wth the V mandarina hornet the giant japanese
hornet that so decimates European colonies in Asia whereas A cerana
has a specialised heat treatment to dispatch V mandarina.
Wenn Sie deutsch lesen koennen dann besuchen Sie href="http://www.hymenoptera.de">www.hymenoptera.de
If you read German then
visit the aforesaid websiteowned by Frau Dr. Melanie Orlow.
I'll write to you again when I have got the facts as I understand
them correct and verified.
It’s nice to see your new improved and more interesting newsletter. I used to a very active beekeeper in Falkirk (Central Scotland). Since I suffered a heart attack in June 2005, I can not lift honey or brood chambers any more. I want to back to my normal activities but every time I examine my bees I end up in Hospital. Doctors wanted to know why I go back to hospital so often but I am scared to tell them that I am a beekeeper. Due to my poor health can anyone suggest me how to carry on my beekeeping hobby without lifting heavy weights? Or I should just spend my rest of life reading beekeeping books, magazines and your newsletters.
How about writing one Arshad? Anyone else got any suggestions? Ed.
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY Back to top
Upcoming Beekeeping Events, Worldwide.
BEES FOR DEVELOPMENT.
Bees for Development Beekeepers' Safaris. For an amazing beekeeping
adventure, chose from one of our four award-winning Safaris -
friendly holidays run by BfD in partnership with our colleagues
12-21 June 2007 - BEES AND
FLOWERS IN SWEDEN
Organised by Bikonsult of Sweden in co-operation with BfD. A unique
opportunity to celebrate 300 years since the birth of Carl von
Linnaeus, 'Father of taxonomy'. Options include watching the
midnight sun north of the Polar Circle.
14-23 September 2007 - AFTER
APIMONDIA - AUSTRALIAN LIFE AND BEEKEEPING
Organised by Bikonsult of Sweden in co-operation with BfD. See the
Australia that you will not find through tour operators, and meet
local beekeepers and their families.
14-28 November 2007 -
With Njiro Wildlife Research Centre, Arusha. Experience African
bees, visit local beekeepers, apiaries and markets. See the
spectacular Serengeti and the animals that live there.
21-31 January 2008 - TRINIDAD
With Gladstone Solomon, Presidentof Tobago Apicultural Society.
Enjoy sand, sea and Africanised bees. See European bees, stingless
bees, pan yards and humming birds.
For details visit our website at: www.beesfordevelopment.org
E-mail email@example.com ~
Phone +44 (0)16007 13648
Sunday 10th June 2007
YORKSHIRE BEEKEEPERS’ FIELD DAY.
Sunday 10th June 2007.
Location – 5 mins walk from York station
Themes – Bee Health and Bee Products
Speakers – Dr David Aston, Richard Ball - National Bee Inspector,
Norman Carreck, Paul Metcalf, Heather Robson
Subjects – Integrated Bee Health Management,
Bee Disease Research, Microscopy,
Tickets - £12.
Book early to select options.
Colin & Debbie Hattee
Tel: 01430 860972
IBRA International Conference on Recent Trends in Apicultural
Mikkeli – Finland, 10 - 14 June 2007
Further details from / Plus de détails / Más información /
nähere Auskünfte: University of Helsinki & IBRA, Tel.:
+358 44303 2212 (GSM) Fax: +358 152023 300
9th International Pollination Symposium
Iowa State University – USA 24 - 28 June 2007
Further details from / Plus de détails / Más información /
nähere Auskünfte: Email:
1er Congreso Antillano de Apicultura
Guayanilla - Puerto Rico, 28 Junio - 1 Julio 2007
Further details from / Plus de détails / Más información /
nähere Auskünfte: Apiarios de Borinquen, Tel.:
6th NATIONAL BEEKEEPING CONGRESS
Organised by Bangalore University in Association with All India
Beekeepers' Association, India
Bangalore – India, 15-18 July 2007
Further details from / Plus de détails / Más información /
nähere Auskünfte: Dr. M.S. REDDY
Organising Secretary, 6th National Beekeeping Congress
Centre for Apiculture Studies, Department of Zoology
Bangalore University, Jnana Bharathi, Bangalore - 560 056 INDIA
Tel.: +91 80 22961565, 22961551, Fax: +91 80 23219295
Tuesday 24th, Wednesday 25th and Thursday
26th July 2007 - New Forest & Hampshire County
Show. 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 diary
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
A pay as you go shuttle bus service runs from Brockenhurst
mainline station right into the showground, so let the train take
Discounted tickets available on line at http://www.newforestshow.co.uk/
or on the credit card hotline 01590 622409 from June 1st 2007.
Additional information Show opens 08.15 to 1800 Web site full of
information – http://www.newforestshow.co.uk/
Full Title is New Forest & Hampshire County
EAS (Eastern Apicultural Society) Conference
Organised by Bangalore University in Association with All India
Beekeepers' Association, India
University of Delaware - Newark - Delaware - USA
6 - 10 August 2007
Further details from / Plus de détails / Más información /
nähere Auskünfte: Web:
Conwy Honey Fair
Conwy - North Wales – UK, 13 September 2007
Further details from / Plus de détails / Más información /
The National Honey Show
The RAF Museum - Grahame Park Way - Hendon - London
18 - 20 October 2007
Further details from / Plus de détails / Más información /
nähere Auskünfte: Web:
A VERY USEFUL WORKSHOP ON A VERY TOPICAL SUBJECT
Please find attached information for our forthcoming Biodynamic Bee
" The Mystery of the Disappearing Bees - A Warning to Humanity"
Thursday 24th to Saturday 26th May 2007 £85 (Including all meals)
Horsley Mill, Old Bristol Road, Nailsworth GL6 0LA
The Mystery of Disappearing Bees A Warning to Humanity!
Bee keepers in North America are facing a strange new challenge.
numbers of bees are simply disappearing from the hives never to be
again. It is occurring across 22 states and no one knows why. It
appear to be related to Varroa or any other known disease. They seem
have lost the desire to live in their colony. The stress on bees of
with long distance travel, large scale intensive systems and the
chemical and GM pollutants is surely a major contributing factor.
threat to honey bee survival is not only worrying for bee keepers,
everyone since a large number of our food plant crops depend on bees
for pollination. Albert Einstein is reported to have said that “If
become extinct, human society will follow in four years.”
Respect for the nature and integrity of these remarkable insects is
essential for anyone wishing to be a successful biodynamic bee
keeper. In this workshop Michael Weiler will share his imaginative
and practical understanding of bees and how they should be cared for
in a species appropriate and respectful way. There will also be a
presentation on the various pests and diseases that can affect
colonies and suggestions of how to treat them. The workshop will
take place at Ruskin Mill and include a visit to the hives on site.
A specially designed (and nearly completed) bee house will also be
on view. Newcomers as well as experienced bee keepers are very
welcome to attend.
On Friday evening there will be a public talk (included in the
“The Mystery of Disappearing Bees - a Warning to Humanity”
Michael Weiler was born in Germany in 1956. He studied agriculture
and after graduating in 1986 worked as an agricultural advisor. He
then undertook a training course in Waldorf education and taught for
several years at a school for children with special needs. He has a
family with five children.
He has managed his own apiary since 1982 and regularly gives
lectures and courses on biodynamic bee keeping. Since 2003 he has
been living near Stuttgart in the context of a village community
(similar to Camphill) and runs a health food shop alongside being a
biodynamic bee keeping advisor.
19.30 “Bees, Flowers and the Bee Keeper”
9.00 “Bees at Work in the Summertime”
11.00 “The importance of Swarming”
12.30 To Gables Farm and lunch
14.00 Visit the hives and the new Bee House
16.30 “Hives and Housing Structures that reflect Bee Integrity”
19.30 “The Mystery of Disappearing Bees – a Warning to
A public talk at Ruskin Mill (Can be attended separately £5.00)
9.00 “Recognising and Treating Diseases in the Hive”
Presented by Justus Klaar (Beekeeper from Stourbridge)
11.00 “Ways of Strengthening Health and Disease Resistance”
14.00 “Principles of Demeter Bee Keeping”
16.00 General Discussion
Michael Weiler has written a fascinating and accessible book: "Bees
Honey from Flower to Jar" (available from BDAA £8.99).
Rudolf Steiner's nine lectures on bees published as "Bees" offers
remarkable and very unusual insights (available from BDAA £10.95)
Please contact us for a registration form on: "BDAA Office" <firstname.lastname@example.org
QUOTE OF THE MONTH Back to top
A very well known person who was shot dead uttered these
words. Who was he?
“When I hear a man preach, I like to see him act as if he were
Last month’s quote came from that great and well respected French
beekeeper Pierre Jean-Prost whose inspirational writings started me
off on my University post grad researches into Drone Congregation
Areas. Here it is again.
“Observation, experimentation, improvement of one’s knowledge as
well as physical prowess, acceptance of practical realities – all
accomplished with precision, conscientiousness and rectitude – have
ensured that apiculture, like other branches in which science and
technology are combined, has provided material for multidisciplinary
instruction and intellectual and moral training.”
Editor: David Cramp
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