BIBBA Groups - News
6th October 2000

As the beekeeping activities are now winding down for another year, this seems to be an opportunity to write to all groups to try and get some form of communication going.
Ideally groups should have much in common with one another seeing that they are all engaged in bee breeding in one form or another. Inevitably some will have experiences that could prove useful to other groups, and these could be shared by someone in each group taking on the task of writing about these.
This sheet is going out to all groups that I know of, and to others who I think may have interests in starting a group.
It would be useful to hear from all groups, even if it is just to say they are active and would welcome getting this occasional newsletter to groups.

How can groups help one another?
Apart from the obvious tips that can be passed on, groups can offer practical help such as:-
Providing grafts of larvae to help in establishing some good genetic material.
Offering the use of a mating site.
Helping to develop skills in some of the methods of grafting, Morphometry, use of computer methods.

At this years AGM I stood down as BIBBA Secretary and have taken on the role of Groups Secretary from Tom Robinson who had three jobs. Tom has offered to visit groups especially those at great distance to help me with the travelling.

At the moment I have two trips planned to speak to two County Beekeeping Associations, and hopefully any interested in forming a group in those associations will take the opportunity to mention this to me. The two associations are the Lancashire BKA on 11th of November 2000, and the Somerset BKA on 10th February 2001.

Computer developments
Many beekeepers now use computers, and some use them in various ways to help
in beekeeping. BIBBA have available free of charge some computer files that have been specifically designed to help in beekeeping and in queen rearing in particular. These can be downloaded from the BIBBA site or can be transferred on to a floppy disk if one is sent to me with a S.A.E.
  or from
One of these is for use with Morphometry where the data for cubital Index and Discoidal shift can be entered. This then is processed automatically by the computer to produce two graphs and to present the data into useful tables. However it does mean that the wing measurements have to be made by projecting the images on to a wall and physically measuring them using the Herrold Fan and the measuring device for Discoidal shift. Now this may well change, for Hull University are working on a programme that will allow a film scanner and a computer to do this work automatically. We hope to hear more on this shortly.

The 'Hygienic' bee project started last year with the identification of colonies showing this tendency by using the liquid nitrogen test, and has been followed up this year by selecting colonies that gave the best results, and raising queens from these and inseminating them with drones from similar colonies. Some of the selected colonies had over several years, also shown that they were damaging mites. Whilst it is still too early to make definitive statements as to the success of this project, the signs are good. John Dews has eleven colonies headed by inseminated queens (there were twelve originally, one queen ceased laying and was killed by the bees) these are being monitored for mite drop and for mite damage. At the time of writing 656 mites have naturally dropped through the Varroa screens (no treatments) and of these 272 had legs bitten off or pieces bitten out of the carapaces, giving 41% of the mites showing damage. This compares to the apiary average for the rest of the colonies of 31%.
It will be interesting to see the results of 'Hygienic' tests on these colonies next season.

John Dews is co-ordinating a bee-breeding project by the Whitby and Ryedale beekeeping associations known as the North York Moors Honey Bee Conservation Project. This is based on using native bees of the area in a programme aimed at mono-straining a wide area of the North York Moors.

A similar project in the Hope Valley in the Derbyshire Peak District is also being carried out. This is echoing the work of the Galtee Bee Breeders in Tipperary where a vast area has been mono-strained with the native bee.

I know others are attempting similar projects and it would be good to hear from them.

Bee Improvement Magazine
We are concerned at our failure to get four copies per year published and letters have now gone out to 53 possible authors of articles in an attempt to provide articles that will enable us to get the magazine out quarterly.
Deadlines have been set for copy to received by the editor, and publication dates have also been set, these are as follows:-

Copy deadline dates to editor Publication Dates
15th December 15th January
15th March 15th April
15th June 15th July
15th September 15th October

If Groups would note the copy deadline dates and try and let me have information about their group before these dates, I would be able to compile an article about Group activities for each issue of the magazine.

If any group has someone with a computer who has an E-mail address this newsletter could be sent by that means, please let me know of such addresses.

Groups can make this newsletter much more interesting if they will contribute information and comments. If you wish to continue to receive the newsletters please at least acknowledge receipt of this one.

Albert Knight
BIBBA Groups Secretary.

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