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... 

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/19231897.little-girl-selsey-sussex-beloved-bee-hive-stolen/



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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Stickimedia

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 ... 


https://uk.sports.yahoo.com/news/not-vegan-still-eating-honey-101600671.html

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

Fondant

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

Beegelina

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

Honigmayr

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.


https://us2.campaign-archive.com/?u=16b653a6312b0c8ba4b72f2c5&id=92fad0f359&mc_cid=2f69c63742&mc_eid=15243fb870


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. 

http://www.eastsurreybees.co.uk/



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

Fondant

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

https://www.kentfoodsdirect.co.uk/products/bfp-fondant-icing-12-5kg



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/


 



07 December 2020

Why do the bees buzz? A Christmas Lecture with Margaret Murdin

Why do the bees buzz? Margaret Murdin,  BBKA, 22nd December 2020 2-3pm Margaret will aiming the talk at kids from the age of 7 upwards but adults are also most welcome to join the webinar too. Margaret is a Master Beekeeper and holds the National Diploma in Beekeeping 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 a...

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27 November 2020

bees can fly sideways to fit through tight gaps

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2260571-bumblebees-can-fly-sideways-to-fit-through-tight-gaps/

When  Jessye Norman was attempting and failing to squeeze through a narrow doorway, a bystander helpfully suggested, "Try sideways," to which she is alleged to have replied, "Honey, I ain't got no sideways!" (Ms Norman sued for libel, unsuccessfully, twice, about the reported remark.) 






20 November 2020

Researchers create first map of bee species around the globe

Nice article here: https://phys.org/news/2020-11-bee-species-globe.html  


The bee species Amegilla andrewsi, one of 20,000 species worldwide. Credit: Zestin Soh

16 November 2020

Waxing Lyrical with Joyce Nisbet

Waxing Lyrical, Joyce Nisbet,  BBKA, 14th December 2020 7.30pm Joyce will describe some of the techniques that can be used to produce candles and other attractive beeswax items, whether for showing or as gifts.   Having started beekeeping in 1990, Joyce is now a Master Beekeeper, BBKA Honey Judge, BBKA Trustee and Chair of the BBKA Spring Convention Committee.  After being impressed by high-quality wax exhibits in Honey Shows, Joyce improved her wax preparation skills by attending lectures and workshops on the topic.  This then led to her being involved in creating wax items for displays by North Shropshire Beekeepers at the National Honey Show.  {Please note in order to attend you will need to register via the Zoom registration link you will receive in your email once you have 'checked out' at the shop} These talks are free but we would welcome a donation to one of our appeals Save the Bees or Apiary and Education

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Waxing Lyrical with Joyce Nisbet

Waxing Lyrical, Joyce Nisbet,  BBKA, 14th December 2020 7.30pm Joyce will describe some of the techniques that can be used to produce candles and other attractive beeswax items, whether for showing or as gifts.   Having started beekeeping in 1990, Joyce is now a Master Beekeeper, BBKA Honey Judge, BBKA Trustee and Chair of the BBKA Spring Convention Committee.  After being impressed by high-quality wax exhibits in Honey Shows, Joyce improved her wax preparation skills by attending lectures and workshops on the topic.  This then led to her being involved in creating wax items for displays by North Shropshire Beekeepers at the National Honey Show.  {Please note in order to attend you will need to register via the Zoom registration link you will receive in your email once you have 'checked out' at the shop} These talks are free but we would welcome a donation to one of our appeals Save the Bees or Apiary and Education

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09 November 2020

Braintree division honey show 2020

BRAINTREE DIVISION HONEY SHOW 2020 – YES, IT DID GO AHEAD! Braintree Division held their Annual Divisional Honey Show as normally as possible under the current Covid restrictions. The show was well supported with 25 members making a total of 87 entries. A risk assessment was undertaken and measures were put in place to keep everyone safe. A gazebo was erected at the entrance of White Notley Village Hall and everyone brought their exhibits packed up in boxes and left them on the table. The Show Secretary and two stewards afixed the show labels and took the entries into the hall. Masks were worn, hand sanitisers were provided and we adhered to the White Notley Village Hall Covid guidelines at all times. Participants were able to purchase Thornes beekeeping equipment from our sales table and as all beekeeping trade fairs were cancelled this year it was a great success. In fact you could say that we held a mini National Honey Show in White Notley Village! Our Show Judge was J...

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08 November 2020

Honey bees lose sleep after ingesting pesticides, leading to greater stress and lower hive survival rates

 What baffles me is how the researcher actually completed her research. In my beekeeping year, if I don't kill 'em it's a result, let alone figure out their sleep patterns. 

More here https://phys.org/news/2020-11-honey-bees-ingesting-pesticides-greater.html  Good luck with the diagram. 



07 November 2020

Busy bees, even in early November

Here in the UK, November is generally not great flying weather, yet the bees were bringing back full pollen baskets.

05 November 2020

Honeybees disrupt the structure and functionality of plant-pollinator networks

Summary: Too many honey-bees can be bad, as can be clearly seen in the diagrams below. 

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-41271-5




02 November 2020

Holding Practicals during the Covid-19 Pandemic

How to plan training during Covid-19 Following several members contacting us, we have put together some advice for local branches planning to hold practicals during Covid-19. We would like to hear from Branch Associations and Members that have already started to do training exercises during the current pandemic on what practical guidance they have put in place and if they would like to add or give feedback on our new web page. Very little beekeeping training has gone on during Covid-19 due to the difficulties of social distancing and local lockdowns. We are collating a list of advice that associations can offer each other during the coming year. If you have tried a particular practical approach and have found that it’s worked please let us know and we will add this to this page, either as a case study or just a short description. Some associations have managed to keep their stores open to members using social distancing - this includes Chesterfield beekeepers https://www.fac...

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Beyonce the Beekeeper

Beyoncé Giselle Knowles-Carter (to give her the full monicker) is a beekeeper. 




New Exam Board Secretary

Nicky Campbell – Exam Secretary  I am delighted to be taking up the post of Examination’s Secretary for BBKA. I have been a beekeeper for five years and keep between three and five colonies in suburban Sheffield. I am a member of Sheffield BKA where I have served on the committee as Chair and Event Secretary. I have taken three of the module exams and I loved the experience and would recommend them. I am really looking forward to being involved in the process of providing these amazing learning experiences to beekeepers. Previously I have worked as an Office Manager and administrator for a software company and hope my experience will be valuable in my new role. As well as beekeeping I am a keen cook and long distance runner, two things that often go hand in hand. The prize for honey cake at my local honey show continues to elude me though. I am looking forward to talking to many of you over the coming years. Especially if you have top tips for honey cake!. Nicky Ca...

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22 October 2020

20 October 2020

Coronavirus Update October 2020

Please be aware of the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance for England, Wales and Scotland.  The updated information now include separate links to the Public Health Guidance. Covid-19_and_Beekeeping_Update_v3 COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_Welsh_Language_Version v3   If you have any queries please contact: For England: BeeHealth.Info@defra.gov.uk  For Wales: HoneyBeeHealth@gov.wales / GwenynMelIach@llyw.cymru For Scotland: Bees_Mailbox@gov.scot From the advice If you are self-isolating... If you are responsible for looking after bees, you should make alternative arrangements for their essential care if you, your family or your staff become ill or are unable to look after their welfare. If this is not possible, we would advise that you only attend to the basic needs and welfare of your bees where you can ensure you do not have contact with other people and you are able to follow all government advice on actions to minimise the risk of sp...

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16 October 2020

The gut microbiome defines social group membership in honey bee colonies

I may get around to reading this... or I may not. I think that covers it.

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/6/42/eabd3431 


  1. Cassondra L. Vernier1,*
  2. Iris M. Chin1
  3. Boahemaa Adu-Oppong2
  4. Joshua J. Krupp3
  5. Joel Levine3
  6. Gautam Dantas2,4,5,6 and 
  7. Yehuda Ben-Shahar1,

06 October 2020

Chicago: Urban beekeeping may be bad for bees

In summary, the European Honeybee is not native to North America, and rising numbers may threaten survival of local bee species. Nicely written piece here: https://www.wired.com/story/why-some-ecologists-worry-about-rooftop-honey-bee-programs/



Beehives on a 52-story Chicago highrise are weighed down with ratchet straps and cinder blocks. 
PHOTOGRAPH: SARAH LONG 


01 October 2020

Kew: Urban beekeeping may be bad for bees

 "In some places, such as London, so many people have established urban hives that the honey bee populations are threatening other bee species. Increasing evidence shows that there is insufficient forage to support current beehive numbers in London (see Figure 3). This is a problem for bee conservation, as honey bees outcompete wild bees by monopolising floral resources. Moreover, some reports suggest honey bees can transmit diseases to other wild species. So, beekeeping to save bees could actually be having the opposite effect."

Page 55 https://www.kew.org/sites/default/files/2020-09/Kew%20State%20of%20the%20Worlds%20Plants%20and%20Fungi.pdf



23 September 2020

Bee-pic in The Times


From
https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/our-photographer-suits-up-to-see-the-bees-z7g88vknl 

 

19 September 2020

Training bees... will probably lead to disaster

 From The Times  https://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/bees-can-be-trained-to-sniff-out-flowers-3xk9dg98c


It has long been understood that if you want a dog to hunt you can train it to follow a particular scent. Now it appears that something very similar is true of bees.

Scientists have taught honeybees to seek out the odour of a specific species of flower. The researchers behind the work believe that coaching the insects in this way could enable crops to be pollinated more efficiently.

My comment: By teaching bees to fees on just one species, will they suffer from lack of diet variation? Probably. Is this project wise? Probably not.

Scientists introduced food to a hive with a substance that mimicked the smell of sunflowers



18 September 2020

EFB reported in Norfolk 'hotspots'

News from West Norfolk and King’s Lynn Beekeepers’ Association (WNKLBA) 

https://www.lynnnews.co.uk/news/serious-honey-bee-diseases-reported-in-norfolk-hotspots-9123216/ 

https://www.wnklba.co.uk/

17 September 2020

Summer's done

 The bees enjoyed the pollen, the squirrels loved the seeds! The end of the summer's giant sunflowers...

Garden gloves for scale (and I have big hands!)




15 September 2020

BBKA YouTube Practical beekeeping Videos

BBKA's YouTube Channel is available here  There are videos about Asian hornets, a message from patron Jimmy Doherty, and a collection of other videos. There are a few short videos of practical beekeeping help listed below. This video set will be added to, so please subscribe to the YouTube Channel. Practical Beekeeping - How & why to move frames in a Super Practical Beekeeping - How to judge if uncapped honey is ready for extraction Practical Beekeeping - Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus

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14 September 2020

Isle of Wight Disease?

 Beauty is in the eye of the beholder


Vespa velutina (Hymenoptera: Vespidae)

https://www.countypress.co.uk/news/18712386.protect-island-bees-asian-hornets----island-beekeepers/

08 September 2020

Sunshine on Leith

Look at the hive designs and (notably) the chains: https://www.edinburghlive.co.uk/news/edinburgh-news/leiths-honey-bee-population-under-18891725 


But, more importantly, listen to this: https://youtu.be/9V7NYX1TOgs 





03 September 2020

Venom from honeybees found to kill aggressive breast cancer cells

Melittin, one of the major components of honey-bee venom, may prove to be an effective anti-cancer-cell therapy: https://medicalxpress.com/news/2020-09-venom-honeybees-aggressive-breast-cancer.html 


Dr Ciara Duffy at the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research.
Credit: Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research


28 August 2020

BBKA History - post war changes

Making Experts: A Post-War Decline From the mid-1950s, the wartime boom in beekeeping went into decline. The number of candidates attempting the Intermediate and Senior examinations was few and the pass rates were low. The system of visiting experts was phased out and county council beekeeping services declined. Full-time posts were replaced by part-time posts and eventually these disappeared. Local associations picked up responsibility for running courses of instruction and, to some extent, the preparation for written examinations, but this was variable from one county to another. More experts were needed who could construct courses and teach.   Greater support for candidates In 1972 the Examinations Board issued a list of recommended reading for prospective candidates; it is hard to imagine there not being one previously. In 1975 the name was changed to the Examination and Education Board and this endured until 1988, but there was no noticeable improvement in the pass rate d...

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BBKA History - dealing with disease

BBKA Experts: Dealing with Disease The Technical Education Act of 1889 enabled the BBKA and county associations to gain recognition and obtain grants from the newly formed education authorities for its educational work. This included the funding of visiting experts. A survey conducted in 1894 by the BBKA revealed that 34 out of 51 English, 2 out of 12 Welsh and 4 out of 33 Scottish counties were making grants to beekeeping associations.   Expert exam results, including foul brood, as published in the British Bee Journal. Note: The British Bee Journal is available here https://ift.tt/3hDBa5M  This is from the January 1893 edition.  The reader may presume that those days of beekeeping were free from disease, but this was not so. The following are extracts from the minutes and reports of the Bristol, Somersetshire and South Gloucestershire Association:   2 March 1893: ‘it was ...

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Beekeeper Numbers Rising

Friday 28 August 2020 The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has seen an unusual rise in beekeeper numbers in the last 18 months.  From January 2019 to August 2020 numbers rose from 23,400 to 28,300. Beekeeper numbers have remained stable for a number of years following an earlier uprise due to a successful campaign we ran in 2008 to get more money for bee research from the government.  BBKA Chair Anne Rowberry has been amazed by the rise: “The upward trend predates Covid -19, but in lockdown many have had more time to start a hobby, with online apiary courses booming. There is huge value in sitting quietly and watching the bees go about their business. The honey is just a bonus”. The vast majority of beekeepers join through a local beekeeping association. The benefits of that, one Covid-19 pandemic is over, are regular meetings with other beekeepers, the possibility of getting a hands-on mentor who will help as you learn the craft, the chance to b...

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27 August 2020

BBKA History - Making of experts

BBKA History - Making of experts is an article in three parts by BBKA Past President David Charles. This covers the history of the examination and assessments of the BBKA. Article 1: The BBKA and the Making of Experts   By David Charles, BBKA Past President   The British Beekeepers’ Association was instituted in 1874. At this time beekeeping was generally part of the rural domestic economy for cottagers as was poultry, pigs and growing vegetables, rather than being the hobby that it is for most today.   Bees were generally kept in straw skeps or in boxes. Sons learnt from their fathers and were content to continue keeping bees in much the same way as had their forebears. Swarming was uncontrolled. Most still harvested honey by killing colonies over a pit of burning sulphur, which was not only cruel, but wasteful and inefficient. There was no public instruction, little knowledge of bee diseases and a general disregard of the value of bees as pollinators. ...

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22 August 2020

Belly-dancing beekeepers

Courses ranging from printmaking to beekeeping, and belly dancing to French are among those being offered online by the Adult College for Rural East Sussex in the Autumn.

See https://uckfieldnews.com/adult-college-launches-autumn-online-courses/ and https://www.acreslearning.org.uk/