BIBBA would be prepared to take a travelling workshop to a group of
beekeepers provided there were sufficient beekeepers attending to make
Obviously expenses would have to be met, this would involve mainly
petrol and photocopying of handouts plus a fee for the work put in by
the demonstrators. If long distances were involved it could mean
accommodation may have to be provided. Expenses could be funded either
by making a charge for those attending or meeting these out of the funds
of the Association being visited. It would up to the Association or
group to decide.
What a travelling workshop could offer.
The idea would be to have demonstrations on grafting of larvae, making
up mini-nucs and Morphometry. This would mean colonies being available
to show how to collect bees for sampling, and how to make up nucs with
A suitable hall and one or two slide projectors would be required
also. A team of BIBBA members would come to carry out the demonstrations
and there would be opportunities for those attending to have 'hands-on'
If required a nucleus could be brought along by the demonstrators with
pure bred Apis mellifera mellifera bees to provide the larvae for
grafting, and these put in a cell-raiser if this was prepared beforehand
by the group being visited.
The queens raised could be sold by the group to help with funding the
If you would like more information please contact the BIBBA Groups
BIBBA Web site
Angus Stokes has been refurbishing the BIBBA web site, and this is now a
really attractive Internet resource. It has many pages and a navigating
system that makes it easy to find what one wants.
To get to the site the Internet address is:
The opening banner is a bee on a dandelion flower, clicking on site
map lists the various options, and by clicking on say, the News,
accesses that page.
Among the many pages are past magazine articles, these are at the moment
being constructed. There are options to download BIBBA software, links
to other beekeeping sites, read about BIBBA Groups, and a host of
others. If you have a computer or have a friend who has one, have a look
at this interesting site.
The AGM will soon be upon us (29th April) and nominations for committee
members should be received by the Secretary at least 28 days before
then. There must be BIBBA members who could offer their services to
serve on this committee to help to steer BIBBA through what promises to
be a very interesting period.
If you feel you would like to know more about what is involved, give our
Secretary David Allen a ring on 01302 885813.
Contributions to this Newsletter
Any news from Groups would be very welcome for inclusion in this
Newsletter. You may feel what your Group is doing is not
earth-shattering news, it doesn't have to be, we'd like to know you are
at least active, so get writing.
GBBG - Year 2000 - OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES.
At our A.G.M. at the end of each year we arrange a programme of
activities for the coming year in which all members may take part. Of
necessity these activities must take place in the spring or early summer
so as not to clash with other beekeeping events, holidays etc.
Generally about four events are arranged to take place on Sunday
afternoons during April, May and June. We have the occasional indoor
meeting such as a Morphometry workshop but mostly they are outdoor
activities and usually include one event in which non-beekeepers such as
family members are more than welcome to participate. In the past we have
had such popular events as garden walks, woodland walks and hedgerow
walks. These are usually led by one or two members who have a fairly
good knowledge of plants, shrubs, and trees, including bee flora. We
have found that all these activities both the beekeeping ones and those
dealing with related flora and fauna of the countryside afford members
and their families a wonderful opportunity to get better acquainted. We
try to further promote this social aspect of our activities by having a
little picnic at the conclusion of each event.
Evaluation and Recording.
The year 2000 was a typical example when we started the season with a
visit to Carrigmore, an apiary in the Galtee/Vee Valley in Co. Tipperary.
This was a demonstration on the manipulation of bee colonies and the
main theme was colony evaluation and recording. Each member present was
given the opportunity of handling the bees and assessing their behaviour
under manipulation as well as evaluating the condition of the colony
including development, strength, stores of pollen and honey, evidence of
queen cell production, and presence or absence of disease. Particular
emphasis was placed on the performance of the queen as this apiary
contained a number of queens that had been earmarked for selection for
breeding as a result of their colonies' appraisals on the previous
year's evaluation records. The catching, clipping and marking of queens
The results of each colony's evaluation were written up on a display
board and the importance of these records in the process of bee
improvement through selection and culling was fully discussed. Each
member was provided with a handout giving details of the group's system
of evaluation and recording which is being practiced by many members for
a number of years and appears to be quite adequate for our bee
improvement programme. An added benefit of this demonstration was the
experience of working bees under circumstances that were far from ideal.
On the day the weather conditions were not ideal for opening hives. The
afternoon was reasonably fair to start with, dry but quite cool and
breezy. As the demonstration progressed we had the odd thunder and flash
of lightening. However all colonies were capable of being worked without
gloves except for one which was unacceptably aggressive. The record book
showed this colony to be aggressive the previous year and its queen was
down for culling. Even though we found that the queen of the previous
year had been superceded naturally the previous autumn the aggressive
behaviour still persisted. A subsequent visit confirmed this position
and the colony was then requeened. At the end of the demonstration the
party had the usual cup of tea and a chat beside the apiary and we were
just finishing the second cup when the rain started and we were forced
to run for the cars. We felt that the weather clerk had been most kind
Michael Woulfe's Apiary.
Our second outdoor meeting took place at the apiary of Michael Woulfe in
Co. Cork. This demonstration again consisted of colony evaluation and
recording. This facilitated members from the western end of our breeding
zone or who were unable to attend the demonstration at Carrigmore.
Despite the odd heavy shower most of Michael's bees were reasonably well
behaved. One over-aggressive colony had been previously dequeened and a
queen was introduced to that one after cutting out all the queen cells.
One other colony was deemed to be too aggressive also and was marked
down for requeening as a matter of urgency.
Mount Congreve Gardens.
Due to the involvement of so many of our members in the Varroa
information seminars which took place in various parts of the country on
Sundays, we had only one other outdoor meeting in the year 2000. This
proved to be a most enjoyable occasion when we visited Mount Congreve
estate in Co. Waterford. Family members and friends came to join with
the group on a lovely Sunday afternoon in June for a wonderful walk
through the famous gardens and well-wooded demesne. The sun shone
gloriously and a most enjoyable social outing was had by more than forty
people who took part in this event in such pleasant surroundings among
the trees and shrubs and flowering plants.
Next Year - 2001
Each year we try to vary our activities both in the content and in the
location. Thus most of our members' tastes are catered for and we are
indeed fortunate in our area to have such a variety of facilities and
such good contacts among our members. We look forward in 2001 to
visiting James Power's apiary at Carrick-on-Suir on the border of
Tipperary and Waterford, and Sally Perceval-Maxwell's apiary and garden
near Tallow in West Waterford. The group is most grateful to Sally and
James for their kind invitations. We look forward also to the first
visit of the group to our new Dun Aonghusa breeding apiary in the Galtee/Vee
Valley with demonstrations in the various methods of queen rearing
including grafting and also instrumental insemination. Another
suggestion that we may follow up is the investigation of some possible
Drone Congregation Areas. Whatever the event the weather is
all-important. So let us hope that the sun will shine on our outdoor
activities as well as our beekeeping and queen rearing during the year
Michael MacGiolla Coda
What an excellent idea; to have pleasurable outings that help
beekeeper's to become more knowledgeable of the flora of the
countryside, and to make these social occasions to involve
Dartford Bee Breeding Group.
The group consists of three members; two having a background involvement
with Brian Palmer and the Hadlow Bee Unit. I personally had been
producing queens based on material from BIBBA and Ireland (Michael
Although the season was a bit hit & miss, we managed to re-queen 10
of the apiary's
colonies and produce 9 x 5 frame nuc's. Including queens used by
members, in all we produced 25 viable queens, I am hoping to arrange
some Morphometry assessment
during the winter.
As apiary manager of Dartford Branch, I suggested at the AGM that we
should incorporate a bee-breeding programme as an interesting project
for our summer meetings and a source of gentle bees for our members.
Dartford Branch has suffered from falling numbers and apathy amongst
some of the remaining members, so this project was also an attempt to
inject some beekeeping
interest into the branch. The first meeting of the group was used to
identify the material we could use. This consisted of an Apis m. m.
queen from a French commercial queen breeder. Also available was some
first and second cross queens mated in an apiary flooded with selected
drones. Using the branch apiary as the mating site, we incorporated
queen rearing as part of our summer programme of demonstrations. We were
fortunate to have Brian Palmer come along to speak. After a practical
demonstration of simple methods to produce queens, he gave some useful
advice to help the project.
Our summer programme also included the making up of mini nuc's, 5 frame
nuc's and re-queening colonies. This complemented the breeding project.
I am involved with "Local Agenda 21" and have included the
native bee-breeding project as part of the "Bio Diversity programme".
Dartford Council has shown an interest as part of their commitment to
I hope you find this information of interest and I will keep you
informed as the project develops.
Report from the North Tyneside Group
By Bill Tindal
The North Tyneside group are planning to have a better season in
2001. I always say we are going to do better next year, in fact every
beekeeper I know says the same.
Here are some thoughts on ventilation and hygienic behaviour. Some years
ago I picked up a National brood box from a beekeeper who gave up the
craft, this had a 50mm hole drilled in the centre, and for several
seasons I have used this hive at the oilseed rape, clover and heather,
with a normal floor, the lower entrance left open to facilitate the
removal of debris. The bees seldom use the lower entrance but favour the
higher one, and this winter I have blocked the lower entrance to test
the bees ability to clean the floor.
I have a hive with a metal floor (manufactured), the rear half is
perforated and invariably gets gummed up, the front has an aluminium
landing board. This tends to chill the bees early in the season when
they are water carrying so I inserted a thin sheet of plywood at the
entrance. In spite of all the floor ventilation I noticed a slight
amount of mould on the outer combs.
I have made some mesh floors and I find there is a lot of pollen in the
debris below these. Pollen is invaluable in the early part of the year,
and I believe the metal causes heat loss by the bees due to conduction,
and is not conducive to brood rearing. I have some 5 frame nucs that I
have used for many years and these have two 3 inch circles of mesh in
the floors at the rear, this seems to solve the problem of the bees
chilling on the cold mesh early in the season.
Metal mouse guards can cause heat loss due to conduction of heat from
the bees, so I use wooden blocks with just a bee space and I provide
plenty of top ventilation.
Hygienic behaviour is difficult to assess, all the colonies I have
tested by destroying bee larvae with a needle were removed within a few
hours, so I decided to monitor floor cleaning as a guide to hygienic
behaviour, and regarding any colony that had a clean floor as hygienic.
The mites found on the floor being examined under a microscope to see if
they have damaged inflicted by the bees.
We all want hygienic bees that will kill Varroa mites and I think the
cure/prevention is in the hands of geneticists and scientists.
I am the Director of an organic farm and it really hurts me to have
to resort to chemicals to keep our bees.
There has been a good response to the appeal for articles for the
January Bee Improvement magazine that should see this magazine out by
the end of January. However it must be an ongoing effort in getting
articles, for without copy no publication can fulfill the aspirations of
the organisation producing it.
It is not intended that this newsletter should deprive the magazine of
articles, the aim of the newsletter is intended to be news about groups,
even if this is just a mention of the existence of a bee breeding group,
for I often get asked by BIBBA members for information of a group near
where they live, so I will list below the groups I know.
Dartford Bee Breeders
East Midlands Group
Galtee Bee Breeders
North Devon Bee Breeders
North Tyneside Group
North York Moors Honeybee Conservation Group
Peak Bee Group
If your group is missing from this list please let me know.
I hope the reports in this newsletter will inspire others to adopt
some of the ideas these groups have discussed. Beekeepers are helpful,
and are noted for this, and I am sure groups can mutually benefit in
many ways from co-operating with one another.
The next newsletter is planned for April.
Albert Knight Email: email@example.com
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