01 December 2021

Algarve beekeeping in “state of calamity” due to wildfires and lack of support


The Alentejo and Algarve account for around 20% of Portugal’s beehives and produce over 1.1 tons of honey, much of which is exported. However, wildfires, climate change and droughts have taken a toll on production levels, explains Melgarbe expert Paulo Ventura.

“In the Algarve, 6,000 hectares housing around 3,500 beehives will be sterile for at least two years,” Ventura said, adding that between 700 and 800 beehives were lost in the Eastern Algarve’s fires last summer and that others are dying due to the harsh conditions.

19 November 2021

Bees & Refugees

I like this story:

A charity founder and Syrian refugee has said beekeeping helps refugees to “break connection with any trauma”.

Ali Alzein started Bees & Refugees to save the native British black bee from extinction as well as foster “a sense of belonging in the UK’s refugee communities” by providing therapeutic workshops and a Build-Your-Own-Beehive project. 


17 November 2021

News from Brian: promises to swap jars of honey with Jordanian beekeeper


His Royal Highness Prince Charles pledged to send a jar of his honey to a fellow beekeeper after he saw first hand Jordan’s efforts to support refugees.


08 November 2021

BBKA Spring Convention 2022

BBKA Spring Convention 8-10 April 2022 @ Harper Adams University, Shropshire, TF10 8NB Planning for BBKA Spring Convention Any beekeepers starting after April 2019 won’t have had a chance to come to a face- to-face Spring Convention, so this is aimed in part at you, and other beekeepers who’ve never made it to the event. For those of you Zoomed out by online lectures and workshops, this is a great opportunity to look forward to meeting up in person. Spring Convention is held at Harper Adams University, near Telford in Shropshire. The dates for 2022 are April 8th – 10th . The full programme will be available here in mid-January. The event is held across the campus, with beekeeping lectures, workshops, the (Saturday only) commercial trade show and the not-for-profit area where you’ll find the BBKA trustees and staff. There are places to sit and have a coffee and catch up with beekeepers you know and the opportunity to meet beekeepers you don’...

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27 October 2021

Bees at the Institute of Directors


Jonathan Geldart, the Director General of the Institute of Directors, said:

“Bees are one of the most important animals on the planet, but their numbers are plummeting rapidly. I am delighted that we are able to play a small part in protecting bees and the vital role they play in the natural ecosystem.

“Quite apart from the environmental, educational and wellbeing benefits the bees will bring, I am also excited by the prospect of IoD members being able to enjoy honey made by our own little captains of industry.”


09 October 2021

East Lothian Courier: Congregations swarm to fund beekeeping


Abbey Church in North Berwick and Dirleton Kirk are supporting Bees Abroad, a UK-based charity that provides opportunities for people in low-income communities around the world to learn practical beekeeping skills to generate income and improve lives.

Members of the two congregations contributed more than £2,000 to support the Rwenzori Rural Talent project, which is expected to last for three to four years.

06 October 2021

Defra launches Healthy Bees Plan 2030

See https://www.gov.uk/government/news/a-boost-for-bees-as-defra-works-with-beekeepers-to-implement-the-healthy-bees-plan-2030

02 October 2021

Migratory beekeeping - is this Good or Bad?

Kashmir beekeepers head southward for warmth, honey and cash...

Fascinating to compare the life of these beekeepers with those in the US.


29 September 2021

Becoming a Beekeeper

Where do I start? Contact your local BBKA Association for advice, tuition and support and consider becoming a member.  Most associations run ‘Taster Days’ which are ideal for obtaining a basic understanding of bees and what is involved in beekeeping.  This can be followed by an ‘Introduction to Beekeeping’ course where you can learn some of the theory required to be a good beekeeper and gain valuable practical experience before you make any investment in equipment and honeybees.  Your local association will also be able to assign you a mentor who will be able to help as you start to keep bees for yourself. There are over 270 area associations and branches who serve their local area with support and education.  To find your nearest branch click here. What equipment will I need? Minimum equipment needed for keeping bees:- A suitable hive Protective clothing – a beekeeper suit and disposable ‘Marigold’ type gloves that ...

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27 September 2021

Honeyed sounds


400-year-old score based on bees inspires part of artist’s first major UK show

Australian artist Angelica Mesiti adapted a 17th-century composition based on the sound of bees in the hive for her exhibition in Edinburgh.

The choral piece was written by Elizabethan polymath Charles Butler, a pioneer in English beekeeping.


18 September 2021

Angelina Jolie Will Return to Cambodia in 2022 to Establish Next Women for Bees Program

For what it is worth, I hugely admire Ms Jolie. Story from https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/angelina-jolie-return-cambodia-2022-200423388.html

10 September 2021

Trending beekeepers

Beyoncé, David Beckham, Angelina Jolie, Morgan Freeman, Scarlett Johansson, Flea (eh? who he?), Jennifer Garner (eh? who she?), Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Obama, Bruce Springsteen, Sylvia Plath (where's her apiary?), Gordon Sumner (Sting), Henry Fonda (presumably same apiary as Sylvia Plath), Jon Bon Jovi, Ed Sheeran, Sir Edmund Hillary (a little higher up than Sylvia Plath).... I could go on, and often do,

08 September 2021

02 September 2021

Are Disabilities Barriers to Beekeeping?

Living with a disability makes you rethink many aspects of life, including whether you are able to become a beekeeper, as Zec Richardson explains. All photos are courtesy of Zec Richardson. I first took an interest in beekeeping around about 1994. One summer, every lunchtime at work, I would sit outside behind the aircraft hangar where some bees had nested in an old hut that had a hole in the door. I sat close by and some of the bees would land on me before going into the hive. It was then that I became interested in bees. My wife had always said that if we had a garden over 70 feet long, I could then have a hive as she is not the most confident with bees, wasps or anything that flies near her. When we moved into the property we are living in now, the garden was 100 feet long, but she laughed and said: “no chance”, before I had said anything. So, it was a shock when one day, out of the blue she turned to me and said: “Okay you can have a hive!” Weighin...

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13 July 2021

Bees Needs Week

Bees Needs Week:    12th - 18th July 2021 The BBKA will be sharing our favourite beekeeping moments on our social media: sharing our members photos of their beekeeping and our most popular stories from the last 12 months. Follow us on social media. These are the five simple actions you can take to help pollinators and make sure their populations are sustained: Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees Let your garden grow wild Cut your grass less often Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots Think carefully about whether to use pesticides Our patron, Jimmy Doherty, sent this message in support of Bees Needs Week: YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=61X1Hpr4S-c Let's celebrate honeybees and all the other pollinators during Bees Needs Week. What is Bees Needs Week? Bees Needs Week is an annual event coordinated by Defra, working alongside charities, businesses, conservation groups and academic institutions to raise awarenes...

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22 June 2021

Thousands of bees dead and hive missing during suspected theft at Musselburgh beekeeper's apiary

Look at the size of those queen cells! By chance, I will be in Musselburgh in a few weeks' time; I might drop by the apiary. 


A beekeeper has been left feeling devastated after many of her bees were found dead and more than 2,000 missing in a suspected theft at an apiary.

20 June 2021

Sissinghurst granddad's fury at nextdoor neighbours 'who use bees as weapons'

Beyond the screeching headline, it all ends happily ever after.  Was the upset grandad asked look grumpy specifically for the camera?

The desire to attract reader attention is pushing journalists, subs, editors and publishers towards hyperbole. 


19 June 2021


I lived in Fife for a while.


18 June 2021

Swarm of bees inspires mother and daughter to create new gin

I quote: "Marie and Sally Anne Cooney are taking on the spirits world with Silks Gin – named after the silks worn by jockeys at Bellewstown racecourse." 

So, bugger all to do with bees.


11 June 2021

Professor Ian Gibson PhD

Article by Tim Lovett, BBKA Past President, published in the June edition of BBKA News. Professor Ian Gibson PhD, 1938–2021 The MP who served beekeeping so well By Tim Lovett, BBKA Past President Ian Gibson passed away on Friday 9 April 2021 after a short illness. He was elected an Honorary Fellow of the BBKA in 2010 in recognition of his seminal active support and encouragement to the BBKA in a period of great importance for bees and beekeeping. Indeed, he played no small role in putting beekeeping front and centre at Westminster and the country at large, and as a result, was hugely helpful in engaging with the public in getting key messages over to them. The corporate memory of the BBKA may have a number of lacunae, so it is worth revisiting Ian’s involvement and contribution. Ian Gibson graduated and obtained his PhD at Edinburgh University. A geneticist, he did post-doctoral research at Universities of Indiana and Washington before returning to the UK as a lect...

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10 June 2021

Untangling the Sticky Drama Between TikTok Beekeepers

Nice headline, but boring story. I share because I care. Not.


09 June 2021

New Scientist News: A single honeybee has cloned itself hundreds of millions of times.

Actually, this is a very old story about the Cape honeybee, Apis mellifera capensis.

Cape honeybees can reproduce asexually, and (were they to come to the UK) could be a major pest. 


Photo Cathy Withers-Clarke/Alamy

30 May 2021

Bumble packs a punch!

This morning a big, fat bumblebee snuck under my shirt and stung me, and it sure packs a punch. Either Bombus terrestris or Bombus lucorum.


Photo: Bill Temples

26 May 2021

Glasgow Royal Jelly Infirmary

After a year of using large amounts of plastic protective equipment, healthcare workers decided to repay nature by setting up the colony. 

Consultant rheumatologist Dr Hilary Wilson, said: “It’s a way for us to help pay back for all the plastic PPE and other vital equipment used to keep us safe in the pandemic."

Don't tell Dr Wilson about poly hives, then...


19 May 2021

BBKA Leaflets 2020

Order Form for leaflets Allotment Beekeeping (L015) Cost: £0.07 each    Size: A4 3 Fold    Edition: February 2012  ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Bees, Neighbours & Siting an Apiary (L011) Cost: £0.12 each    Size: DL 4 Fold    Edition: June 2012  ______________________________________________________________________________________________ BFTB Arable Beginners Bugology / Friends in the Fields / Mosey in the Margins Leaflets       Cost: Please download for free from the Back from the Brink website: https://ift.tt/3wgAgCV  Size: A4    Edition: November 2020  ______________________________________________________________________________________________ Collecting a Swarm (L004) Cost: Please download for free    Size: A4 3 Fold  ...

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Important Organisations for Beekeepers

Beekeeping Organisations National Diploma in Beekeeping (NDB) Welsh, Scottish and Ulster BBKA equivalents (WBKA, SBKA, UBKA) Bee Farmers' Association (BFA) In Europe Confederation of National Beekeeping Associations (CONBA) The Central Association of Beekeepers (CABK) Government groups Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) National Bee Unit (NBU) Food and Environment Research Agency (FERA) Regional Bee Inspectors (RBIs) Seasonal Bee Inspectors (SBI) BeeBase - an initiative by NBU The Chemicals Regulation Division (CRD) Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme (WIIS) - pesticide poisoning The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) The Institute of Arable Crop Research (IACR) at Rothamsted Other groups Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders' Association (BIBBA) International Bee Research Association (IBRA) British Honey Importers and Packers Association (BHIPA) The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE)...

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15 May 2021

Shake, shake, shake yer body

Neat piece about how bee swarms hang together,"What a bundle of buzzing bees can teach engineers about robotic materials."  https://theconversation.com/what-a-bundle-of-buzzing-bees-can-teach-engineers-about-robotic-materials-125194

Schools of fish and murmurations of starlings exhibit the same basic mechanisms, using sight-proximity.


14 May 2021

Novelty use of a Queen excluder

Looking through one of my colonies today, when I opened up I was surprised, to put it mildly, to see the queen excluder on the top of the top super. This hive is brood + three supers. 


Or course, the bees were totally happy, with brood spread in lovely solid swathes in all boxes except, of course, the brood box. 

From my point of view, it's a royal shambles! Why on earth did I put the QE on the top? She's a marked queen, everything is 100% normal... My notes are not much help, listing the hive as BS/E/SS, and a remark that at next trip I would consolidate to B/E/SSS. 

Was puting the QE on top senility, stupidity, or incompetence?

(Don't answer that!)

Here's an old photo of the colony before muggins went crazy...

09 May 2021

The sting is in the tale

Sorting out some spare frames etc today, I managed to get stung on the tip of one finger. No bees in sight, just the remains of a bee carcass on an old brood frame that I happened to grip in exactly the wrong manner. In 15+ years of keeping bees, catching swarms and what-have you, there's a first time for everything!

Pic from https://www.americanpest.net/blog/post/mad-truths-about-bee-stings

30 April 2021

Full to overflowing

Three colonies full to bursting; threw on two supers each as a temporary swarm-control measure (which won't work, but I lives in 'opes).

29 April 2021

28 April 2021

Save the Bees

Help British Beekeepers Association raise funds for research into the threats honeybees face  Every year the British Beekeepers Association selects scientific projects from a wide range of subjects that benefit bees and beekeeping.  These might include bee behaviour, bee husbandry, pollination, forage or the environment.  Grants are given to researchers on a rolling basis throughout the year - that way if someone has a particularly brilliant idea they do not have to wait until they can apply they can do it straight away. Current research We are currently supporting the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology who have started analysing honey samples to monitor how the pollen content of honey varies  & which plants & trees honeybees favour.  We have given funds to Sussex University to create a national database of plant/pollinator interactions which will record which plants support all pollinators including honeybees.  ...

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Apiary and Education

Help BBKA raise funds for our new schools learning Apiary which will be a live resource for learning about the environment and pollinators YouTube Video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AVWzifzgfRE Filmed by fridaysky : www.fridaysky.co.uk   Our offices in Stoneleigh provide the perfect location for our new visitor centre as we are in the heart of England and can welcome visitors from all over the UK. Children will come with their school classes and learn about bees and mini-beasts and food security and have a live bee display with one of our beekeepers. Lots of children get ‘bitten by the bug’ this way and with their interest in beekeeping awakened, will return to it in later years. It’s imperative we train a new generation too as the average age of a beekeeper in the UK is 65. What your donations have paid for The paths around the area have been laid out and the base of the cabin has been installed. The building is expected to go up in spring ne...

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26 April 2021

How much does a jar of Hilltop Honey cost?

Came across this, from Hilltop Honey https://lovehilltop.com/

Honey + chilli sounds quite revolting. I'll try some. Works out at £3.99/lb or £8.80/kg

20 April 2021

Water, water, everywhere

Bee books frequently refer to the two uses of water by bees: cool the hive, and dilute stored honey. 

That seems odd to me. 

To convert sucrose (C12H22011) to glucose (C6H12O6and fructose (C6H12O6) means that for every sucrose molecule the bee must find one H2O molecule. 

Put another way: C12H22011 + H2O [sucrase] = 2(C6H12O6)

So far I have not found reference to this requirement for metabolic water in the books. Maybe nectar - a very dilute sugar solution - provides all the water the bees need for the sucrase conversion, while water brought into the hive is indeed for cooling and honey dilution.

19 April 2021

Who'd have thought oxalic acid could be a human killer, too?

From https://www.iloencyclopaedia.org/part-xviii-10978/guide-to-chemicals/item/1029-acids-and-anhydrides-organic/

Oxalic acid is a strong acid which, in solid form or in concentrated solutions, can cause burns of the skin, eyes or mucous membranes; oxalic acid concentrations as low as 5 to 10% are irritating if exposure is prolonged. Human fatalities have been recorded following ingestion of as little as 5 g of oxalic acid. The symptoms appear rapidly and are marked by a shock-like state, collapse and convulsive seizures. Such cases may show marked renal damage with precipitation of calcium oxalate in the renal tubules. The convulsive seizures are thought to be the result of hypocalcaemia. Chronic skin exposure to solutions of oxalic acid or potassium oxalate have been reported to have caused a localized pain and cyanosis in the fingers or even gangrenous changes. This is apparently due to a localized absorption of the oxalic acid and a resultant arteritis. Chronic systemic injury from inhalation of oxalic acid dust appears to be very rare, although the literature describes the case of a man who had been exposed to hot oxalic acid vapours (probably containing an aerosol of oxalic acid) with generalized symptoms of weight loss and chronic inflammation of the upper respiratory tract. Because of the strongly acid nature of the dust of oxalic acid, exposure must be carefully controlled and work area concentrations held within acceptable health limits.

17 April 2021

Keynote address BBKA Spring Convention 2021: Tipping Points and Perceptions

Keynote Address BBKA Spring Convention 2021: Tipping Points and Perceptions It is an understatement to say that humankind faces many challenges many of which are of its own creation. Honey bees and humans have had a long relationship and species of the genus Apis, and many other bee species have contributed greatly to human civilisation around the world. The British Isles are no exception to this. Our reliance on pollinators and the particular contribution made by the honey bees should be front and centre in our society’s planning for the future. This short presentation considers several topics and introduces the question as to whether we have reached a series of tipping points in our beekeeping and whether our current practices and perceptions really are fit for purpose and in the best interests of our honey bee. Dr David Aston is a Master Beekeeper having kept bees continuously for 40 years in the East Riding Of Yorkshire. He holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping, has b...

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15 April 2021

Little girl from Selsey, Sussex, has beloved bee hive stolen

Would the story fly with "Grizzled, bearded git has crappy old beehive nicked" as the lead-in? No, I thought not... 


12 April 2021

In Memoriam

The National Bee Centre was opened by HRH Duke of Edinburgh on 5th July 2000 The then President of the BBKA, Michael Badger, and members of Her Majesty's Government were present when the Duke unveiled a commemorative plaque.  He had earlier met representatives of beekeeping associations outside the new headquarters.  -ends- 

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06 April 2021

BBKA Spring Convention 2021

This year the BBKA Spring Convention will be a virtual event starting Thurs 15 April at 19.30 running through to Sun 18 April. It costs just £10 for access to the whole event including more than 20 lectures, presentations and live Q&As as well as some more social sessions.  There is free-to-view content including a virtual trade show – the Market Place - where viewers can access information and offers from more than 40 specialist beekeeping equipment and clothing suppliers and other traders as well as not-for-profit organisations. In addition to the science and practical beekeeping sessions during the day there are some more light-hearted events in the evenings to enjoy including Locked Down with Bill Turnbull, input from our Patron Jimmy Doherty and a Bees-A-Buzzing quiz session.  Registration is just £10 - Click here to register Click here to download the full programme Complimentary registration for BBKA Junior and School members is available....

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04 April 2021

Overwintered colonies

Three overwintered colonies. Inside the WBC lifts are National frames. (The boxes at the back are empty.)


Not the most glamorous of locations!

This hive was originally empty, closed up and parked. In summer 2020 a swarm managed to wangle its way in through the roof vents! How on earth did the Q manage to get in? They're going well this year. 


01 April 2021

Beacon Schools

BBKA Beacon Schools Mission Statement BBKA Beacon School status is awarded to those schools who demonstrate sustained and demonstrable best practice in beekeeping and apiculture acting as Centres of Excellence in the provision of on-site school apiaries and bee clubs. Beacon schools encourage, enthuse, educate and inspire children and young people in the world of bees, pollinators and the environment, sharing their knowledge not only with other schools but also their local communities.  Beacon Schools should: show sustained commitment to beekeeping with an on site apiary registered on BeeBase follow an established curriculum related to beekeeping provide a beekeeping resource centre for other schools be available to give advice to other schools which wish to establish beekeeping. This may include information for parents,  teachers and governors. be able to demonstrate to others the advantages to pupils of keeping bees at school demonstrate an excellent standard o...

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Wikimedia truly is the fount of all knowledge: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Honey 

31 March 2021

Mid Ulster council to support campaign to ban import of honey bees

From the The Irish News, https://www.irishnews.com/news/council/2021/03/31/news/mid-ulster-council-to-support-campaign-to-ban-important-of-honey-bees-2273997/ 

30 March 2021

You’re Not Vegan If You’re Still Eating Honey

Well, this is from Yahoo!, so I'd take this with a pinch of salt, so to speak: if you are a vegan and eat honey, this makes you a 'beegan.' 

As usual, you heard it here ... 


27 March 2021

BBKA Talks for Children

Two brilliant lectures for children by our Past President Margaret Murdin. Margaret is a Master Beekeeper, holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping and is a Past President of the BBKA but describes herself as an ordinary, practical beekeeper, currently with twenty colonies across three apiaries. Margaret began as a member of Ormskirk and Croston Branch in Lancashire where she learnt her beekeeping over the years before moving to North Oxfordshire.   Margaret's background is in education, so she is naturally interested in furthering the education and training opportunities available to our BBKA members. 'We have a duty to our bees and to the public to be as good as we can as beekeepers. We all need to update our skills from time to time and to learn about how to deal with new threats and diseases'. So, Margaret actively encourages members to keep up-to-date with training and take the Basic Assessment if they have not already done so. Margaret Murdin, past presi...

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24 March 2021

Bear Cool Honey Company Supporting the BBKA to Save Our Bees

Help and support Bear Cool Honey Company as we support the British Beekeepers Association raising funds for research into the threats our beautiful honeybees face. Every year the British Beekeepers Association selects scientific projects from a wide range of subjects that benefit bees and beekeeping. These might include bee behaviour, bee husbandry, pollination, forage or the environment. Funds donated provide vital support to run these projects and we are happy to support the BBKA as one of our chosen charities. We already donate a percentage of funds from sales of our cards and our Adopt A Beehive Scheme and want to thank you for your support. These donations will now be added to our fundraising page so you can see the good work you are doing. Linda, Maddison & the Bear Cool Bees 🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝🐝❤️

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Petition to stop importing honeybees

The problem is that at least one beekeeping business has said that they want to import bees to the UK through Northern Ireland. The bees they are sourcing come from southern Italy where a serious invasive species and parasite of bees, the Small Hive Beetle is established. The inspections on bees are extremely limited and we are fearful that a small, clubbed antenna, beetle will be able to evade their scrutiny and be imported to the mainland.  Please Sign the parliamentary petition to stop this!  https://ift.tt/3d4dM0c And please support the work we do -ends- 

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Importing Bees "against best practice for our environment"

24 March 2021 Beekeeping Associations,  from all around the UK,  are in agreement that the importation of bees from overseas is totally against best practises for the protection of our environment. The problem is that at least one beekeeping business has said that they want to import bees to the UK through Northern Ireland. The bees they are sourcing come from southern Italy where a serious invasive species and parasite of bees, the Small Hive Beetle is established. The inspections on bees are extremely limited and we are fearful that a small, clubbed antenna, beetle will be able to evade their scrutiny and be imported to the mainland.  We have started a parliamentary petition and we are asking you all to please sign it:   Petition: Stop the importation of honey bees into GB from the EU via Northern Ireland   In 2015, the Annual Delegates Meeting of the British Beekeepers Association,  which represents more than 25,000 beekeepers, said very cle...

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23 March 2021

Donations from the BBKA Spring Convention for Beekeeping Research

Donations from the BBKA Spring Convention for Beekeeping Research If you are having a great time at the Spring Convention and consider it a bargain, or if more than one person in your household is sharing a registration to the Spring Convention and you would like to contribute further, then additional donations are very welcome.  Rather like the individual worker bee’s nectar load, every contribution, no matter how small, will contribute to the total.  Donations will enable the BBKA to support research to benefit bees and beekeepers. Recent BBKA supported projects have included: Air pollution and bees; Insecticides, fungicides & herbicides and bees; Plants and insect interactions.

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22 March 2021

Viktor & The Honeymakers

Just came across https://www.honeymakers.co.uk/, and the associated site https://www.honeybeesuppliers.co.uk/ 

Viktor looks like a nice chap, and he's brainy, too: "Viktor has spent his life working with bees.  As a small boy growing up in Ukraine he learnt from his father how not to be a bad beekeeper and went on to take a degree in Zoology and Animal Science at Kiev University."

Anyway, "Viktor & The Honeymakers" would make a great band name... 

21 March 2021

Making a mockery of it: BBKA Module Exams

Completed the mock exam test for the online BBKA Module Exams. Many congratulations to the BBKA for making online exams possible. Now the next thing is to swot up like crazy! 

20 March 2021


Even though a kind of spring has arrived in the UK, I am concerned even as the weather turns warm enough for the bees to fly and the queens to lay. Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) has blossomed and Hawthorn (Crataegus spp) will follow soon, and there are some daffs and jonquils (Narcissus spp) - but in my bones I am not convinced that there is enough forage for the expanding nest. 

All my hives have fondant packs, as insurance... 

17 March 2021

Morden Hall Honey

Very snazzy labels. The weathervane is from Morden Hall Park stables.

12 March 2021


According to The Daily Mail (so it must be true), Angelina Jolie has been named the 'godmother' of a new beekeeping programme, 2021 Women for Bees.

The scheme's goal is to have trained 50 women within the next five years, as well as building 2,500 hives in 25 Unesco biosphere reserves, and restocking 125 million bees.

So, ten beekeepers per year. Crikey.

08 March 2021

Covid Safe Beekeeping Practicals

Firstly, all associations planning beekeeping training need to carry out a Covid-19 risk assessment. This needs to be assessed using current Covid Guidelines for your area. These may vary from time to time and region by region. It is your responsibility to ensure you comply with these guidelines and to keep up to date with them. The progression through the 'Road Map' needs to take into account the numbers of people allowed to meet and any 'hands face space' guidelines in force. Do not forget to count all trainers in the total numbers of people. https://ift.tt/3kUjftQ What to include in your COVID-19 risk assessment (PDF)- Portable Document Format. You must: identify what work activity or situations might cause transmission of the virus think about who could be at risk decide how likely it is that someone could be exposed act to remove the activity or situation, or if this isn’t possible, control the risk The HSE p...

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07 March 2021

Serious Risk of Exotic Bee Pest Being Imported

Sunday 7 Mar 2021 Beekeeping Associations from around the UK are warning that import arrangements since Brexit are causing an imminent and serious risk that the exotic bee pest the Small Hive Beetle (SHB) could be introduced to the British Isles. They have put together a briefing note for the UK government and devolved administrations. It has been signed by the following organisations:  British Beekeepers Association  Welsh Beekeepers Association  Ulster Beekeepers Association  Scottish Beekeepers Association  Bee Diseases Insurance Ltd  Science Advisor Norman Carreck The notes says:  "There is clear evidence that the proposed transfer of bees from Northern Ireland to Great Britain is not part of a legitimate trade, but rather is a way to get around the law that prevents bees being imported into Great Britain. As such it is a breach of the law. "Ultimately this will need to be tested in court, but in the meantime, bees that are going to be sourc...

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05 March 2021


This amazing site is worth checking out: https://www.honigmayr.at/

02 March 2021

Natural varroa-resistant bees

 Amazingly interesting talk by Isobel Grindrod PhD (https://www.linkedin.com/in/isobel-grindrod-3494431a7/) on varroa resistance.

28 February 2021

What's occurring?

The colonies continue to eat fondant like no tomorrow. In the past the bees have largely ignored fondant, and been happy to forage instead. This year each colony (in National hives) is consuming approximately 500g fondant per week. According to some beekeepers, this is a sign that I did not feed the bees sufficiently going into winter. The alternative explanation is that I removed too much honey going into winter, as I would rather they used their own stores - and presumably that is better for them, too.

24 February 2021

Bees, Charity & Embroidery

Here's a nice piece: 

Rapidly Growing Edinburgh Based Craft Kit Business Partners With Beekeeper Charity

Visit https://paraffle-embroidery.com/ 

Story from https://www.craftbusiness.com/news/view/rapidly-growing-edinburgh-based-craft-kit-business-partners-with-beekeeper-charity

PS Are they ever tempted to embroider the truth?

18 February 2021

Trustees 2021

Trustees The BBKA was founded in 1874 and originally brought together some 26 county beekeeping associations, not to replicate their work, but to be in a stronger position to represent their interests at government level and to facilitate a nationwide educational structure supported by a common examination process. Currently we run as an umbrella to our 74 Associations. Each Association has one elected member who votes on all things beekeeping in the UK, at our Annual Delegate Meeting (ADM), at the beginning of every year.  Appointed at the ADM are the President and 12 Trustees, who collectively comprise the Executive Committee (EC) that is the governing body of the BBKA. Delegates may adopt propositions at the Annual Delegate Meeting that provide policy direction to the EC. We are now a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (CIO)  This page lists the trustees for 2021 This page also includes an email address for each trustee as well as information about which tr...

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11 February 2021

Bees for Development

How about this for an amazing story? 

Photo: Patrick Okello, who is blind, navigates his apiary using a string line, Uganda.


02 February 2021

East Surrey Bees

Great presentation by Celia Rudland of East Surrey Bees about preparing for Spring. With more than 200 colonies, she really knows how to put theory into practice. 

In the past I have bought both queens and colonies from East Surrey Bees, all of which have proved excellent. 


28 January 2021

Genetics - A talk by Margaret Murdin, Past President of the BBKA

Genetics - A talk by Margaret Murdin, Past President of the BBKA, Tuesday 16th March 2021, 7.00pm A talk by Margaret Murdin which will explain genetics very simply. It will start with human genetics and move on to honey bees. We will look at why the queen needs to mate many times, diploid drones, patrilines and worker policing. Margaret is a Master Beekeeper, holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping and is a Past President of the BBKA but describes herself as an ordinary, practical beekeeper, currently with twenty colonies across three apiaries. Margaret began as a member of Ormskirk and Croston Branch in Lancashire where she learnt her beekeeping over the years before moving to North Oxfordshire.   Margaret's background is in education, so she is naturally interested in furthering the education and training opportunities available to our BBKA members. 'We have a duty to our bees and to the public to be as good as we can as beekeepers. We all need to update ...

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26 January 2021

Why do bees have smelly feet? A Half-Term Lecture with Margaret Murdin

Why do bees have smelly feet? Margaret Murdin,  BBKA, 18th February 2021 2-3pm Margaret will aiming the talk at youngsters from the age of 7 upwards but adults are also most welcome to join the webinar too. Margaret is a Master Beekeeper, holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping and is a Past President of the BBKA but describes herself as an ordinary, practical beekeeper, currently with twenty colonies across three apiaries. Margaret began as a member of Ormskirk and Croston Branch in Lancashire where she learnt her beekeeping over the years before moving to North Oxfordshire.   Margaret's background is in education, so she is naturally interested in furthering the education and training opportunities available to our BBKA members. 'We have a duty to our bees and to the public to be as good as we can as beekeepers. We all need to update our skills from time to time and to learn about how to deal with new threats and diseases'. So, Margaret actively enco...

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14 January 2021


The bees are eating around 0.5kg fondant per week! Local temp varies between 0 and 10 C.


04 January 2021

Vespa Mandarinia

News of invasive 'murder hornets' in the North-West seabord: https://www.msn.com/en-gb/news/world/beekeepers-brace-for-next-round-with-canadas-murder-hornets/ar-BB1coQGB  

Other invasive hornets are also available: 

23 December 2020

Dragon slayers!

Nice piece here about Just Bee in Manchester, https://www.metro.news/progress-beekeeper-joe-harper-reveals-how-his-vitamin-honey-slayed-a-dragon/2214628/ and https://justbeehoney.co.uk/