Midnite Bee-Beekeeper's: Reports
An Hes is the monthly Newsletter of
West Cornwall Beekeepers Association
An Hes October2000
An Hes is the monthly newsletter of the West Cornwall Beekeepers Association
Registered charity No. 800278
Editor James Kilty ph/fax 01736 850373
Due to forgetfulness it is your editor who is now making up An Hes. The deadline
is 2 days past and we cannot wait another week. So, all mistakes are mine. Not
that there have been many but maybe when I receive my copy one will jump out
as is the way of things.
I have included a short piece on propolis recipes. Tincture uses alcohol. I
am told you can buy 100% alcohol as "Polish Spirit" which should be better than
100 proof in which case use a much lower temperature - alcohol boils at 70C
if my memory serves me. I am also told that 200F is likely to be too high for
safety even though 100 proof is about 70% alcohol and 30% water. Readers with
experience of working with propolis, especially scrapings, please let us all
Propolis is such a well known health supplement (anti-viral/anti-fungal/anti-
bacterial) high in bio-flavonoids tha we should all consider its value as part
of our harvest. I saw my first colony with 2 queens working in it recently.
I had suspected some colonies from time to time and confirmed colonies where
the mother was still laying after the virgin hatched but was not after the new
This time I actually saw a fat new queen and her marked mother. From the point
of view of furthering the breeding line I am disappointed because it was not
a well colony, having sac brood and chalk brood without being hygienic. So there
were lots of dead brood left to see. I was about to replace the queen only to
find a supersedure cell which I decided to leave. The new brood seems healthy
enough and I gave it a cleaned brood chamber, flamed the floor, and now hope
for the best. It will be interesting to check how long the old queen stays fed
since she wasn't laying that fast.
How many readers have suspected or actually confirmed 2 (or more) queens in
a hive? I made the mistake of ignoring advice I had put in last issue regarding
wax moth. I quote "Never leave comb or wax in an unoccupied hive or in an outbuilding
awaiting your action". Well, I did. A stack of supers awaiting extraction, held
over a 60 watt lamp were opened after a couple of weeks. Two supers were badly
contaminated with maybe up to 100 larvae of all sizes from tiny thread-like
tings to the fat grey horrors I hate so much and their cocooned brothers and
sisters in corners and between combs.
Fortunately only about 6 frames were affected and larvae, runs, cocoons and
faeces could all be removed completely. This took some considerable time as
I did not want to jar honey which had contacted the faeces. The comb was all
pristine and white though the grubs had worked their way through cells with
pollen in. The moral of the story is that here is a lot of galleria melonella
about. Store combs according to last month's advice: freeze, fumigate or spray
them (or all 3!) before sealing them with parcel tape or similar. Some beekeepers
leave them on the hives for the bees to deal with. If you do, take care they
become water tight after your last inspection with propolis or a good fit. Watch
out for late unsuccessful queen supersedures. See thoughts below for one way
of handling this.
Some thoughts from Berkshire
By now, there should not be any drones in the hive. If there are it is probably
queenless and should be united on top of a Queen-right colony with a sheet of
newspaper between them. Make a few slashes in the paper to give them some help.
- Wait a moment - "probably queenless"? Make sure, and if after a search you
are still in doubt, shake all the bees well away from the hive stand, preferably
over an excluder. The bees will return and usually leave any unmated queen behind.
Ivy produces pollen very late in the year, so don't be in too much of a hurry
to get your mouse guards on, as they tend to knock the pollen off the bees as
they enter. Wait until activity has slowed. The most common mouse guard in use
is a galvanised strip punched with a series of holes. To aid the bees, cut each
hole on the bottom row to resemble an archway, this will allow the bees to walk
in retaining any pollen they may be carrying. By the end of this month, you
should have completed your feeding programme and depending on the date you inserted
your Varroa control, the manufacturer's instructions for its removal should
have been obeyed. You will probably find that the bees have stuck the strips
with brace comb and you may need pliers to remove them. Apistan strips appear
to be somewhat flimsier than Bayvarol ones, so take care that you don't leave
part of the strip in the hive. >From Berkshire Newsletter
Step1: Measure the propolis granules and add an equal measure of 100-proof
vodka. Heat the closed bottle in a 200 degree F. oven and shake the bottle every
30 minutes. Maintain the heat until the propolis granules are dissolved and
the mixture is uniform.
Step 2: Strain the mixture through paper towel or nylon stocking. Bottle into
'dropper bottles' and label the tincture. The shelf life is several years. Propolis
tincture can be used full strength, internally or externally, on cuts, scratches
Propolis lip balm
1 tsp. beeswax
1 tsp. propolis granules
1 tsp. lanolin 3 tsp. mineral oil (UK probably liquid paraffin)
A few drops wintergreen essential oil
Melt the ingredients in a microwave or make a small double boiler by placing
a can in boiling water. Stir until it cools.
1 tsp. beeswax
4 tsp. liquid paraffin
1 tsp. propolis granules
1 tsp. honey
Melt the ingredients in a microwave or make a small double boiler by placing
a can in boiling water. Stir until it cools. Adrian Kyte firstname.lastname@example.org
Editor's note: for tsp. read any measure multiplying by 3 or 4 as needed.
Big impact science - Wow!
We have an observation hive. This afternoon they finished off a round of syrup
in the boardman feeder. I replenished the syrup and within a minute many workers
began to Nasanov in the direction of the feeder. A minute more and a half dozen
workers began to round dance. It was remarkable! Often when I am talking to
kids I scramble for BIG IMPACT demonstrations to catch their attention. I am
thinking that a demonstration, where a description of Nasnov pheromone and round
dancing is given, and then a feeder is put into place, and the kids witness
the dramatic change in behavior would leave a lasting impression. Now, I just
have to repeat it on cue. I guess the trick will be to have many bees ready
and waiting for feed to have them react so dramatically. Anybody try this on
a regular basis before? Adony Melathopoulos
EFB responds to patties?
Since approximately 1996, we have suffered severe outbreaks of very virulent
EFB during pollination of pears and apples in spring. International enquiries
proved that very little is known about this disease. Based on the articles on
"fat patties" in the bee press, we decided to give these a try. They are effective
against TM, as Diana Sammatoro proved conclusively, but also apparently reduce
EFB. They work! These patties are now part of our standard pre-pollination preparation
routine. The mix is simple: one part pure vegetable fat (warmed to liquid for
mixing) three parts sugar, and one part (discarded) jam (this binds the patty
as it is high in pectin). This patty is firm and does not need any backing.
It does not dribble down the combs (possibly harming the queen), but simply
sits on top of the brood frames. These patties are also an extremely useful
identifier of HYG colonies. The slower the colony take the patty, the less HYG
and the more likely that they will die out before the season is out. Robert
There are many myths surrounding bee stings and bee allergies. Two of these
relate to people being allergic to bees. This is a fallacy -- we don't say people
are allergic to cows. People are allergic to milk or milk products -- how many
are allergic to beef or leather? Likewise, if someone is allergic to bee sting
venom, they are absolutely NOT allergic to bee pollen, royal jelly, honey etc.
There is zero evidence to suggest otherwise. Bee product suppliers are doing
themselves a disservice by putting warning labels on products regarding people
allergic to bees -- no such allergy exists regarding bee products. Secondly,
it is believed that a lot of people die from bee stings. This also is not true.
In fact people have a greater chance of dying from being struck by lightening
that being killed by a bee sting.
In the USA for example, less than 20 people die each year from stings -- including
bee stings. Compare that with between 100,000 and 160,000 people dying every
year from properly researched, properly regulated, properly prescribed and properly
used drugs each year. Add to that the 45,000 - 90,000 people who die as a result
of preventable medical error in our hospitals each year and you have some idea
of the comparative risks involved with bees.
There is no evidence to show that people with asthma or other allergies are
any more susceptible to bee stings. Studies show that about 0.8% of both have
allergies to bee stings. People with asthma have a slightly more severe reaction,
but the frequency is no more.
There is no significant evidence to suggest that bee keepers are more or less
prone to allergic reactions to bee stings, although there is good evidence that
the longer one has been beekeeping the less allergic one is. This could be because
allergic people quickly quit the business or that people are desensitized. Another
myth is that you should use a sharp instrument to remove bee stings so that
you don't pump bee venom into the skin in the process of removing the sting.
The following article is from the British medical journal called The
Lancet and demonstrates that speed of removal is the best means of reducing
exposure to venom from bee stings. People who are known to suffer serious allergic
reactions called anaphylaxis should carry an epinephrine syringe with them at
all times. Their colleagues/friends/family should also know where it is and
how to use it as it is a proven life saver. People involved in Apitherapy, however,
suggest the most important factor in anaphylaxis with bee stings is not to panic.
In summary: the chances of dying from a bee stings are infinitely less than
dying from a visit to the doctor, and much less than dying from being struck
by lightning. I would suggest that dying from stress thinking about it more
likely too. Ron Law
Prof. Freidrich Ruttner advised John Dew to use low efficiency treatments so
as to identify colonies that showed signs of resistance to Varroa, then to selectively
breed from these. John decided to follow his recommendation and has been following
that advice now for over three years and regularly monitors natural mite drops
when no treatment is being given. Mites are examined under a microscope for
damage, and this recorded.
The percentage of mites damaged for the whole apiary was showing an average
of 31%. Selective breeding using instrumental insemination has resulted in lifting
the average to 40% in the 12 colonies headed by instrumentally inseminated queens
in this programme. Such colonies would not have been identified using Bayvarrol
or Apistan. Whilst this is still only partially on the way to total resistance,
at least it is a step in the right direction.
The damage inflicted is mainly legs bitten off, sometimes the edge of the carapace
damaged, and often accompanied with dents in the carapace, although the latter
by itself is not recorded as a damaged mite. It could be that the dents in the
carapace that coincide with a leg bitten off immediately below it, are due to
a single bite with the bees mandibles. We tend to look to bee research institutes
to carry out such studies, and few beekeepers would undertake such a task as
John is doing, but he is fasinated by the work and has aroused the interest
of others, in particular BIBBA who are supporting him, as is the beekeeping
organisation of his district (Whitby BKA). Such support and encouragement for
those who undertake such work is good, and values their work and dedication,
and assures them that others both admire and appreciate their work. Albert
Editor's note: John uses thymol and lactic acid in order to avoid the more
efffective bayvarol and apistan so he has a decent number of varroa to assess
in the normal mite fall through the season. Results are impressive. Should we
be doing similar assessments of our colonies' ability to kill the mites themselves?
Removing bee stings P Kirk Visscher, Richard S Vetter, Scott Camazine
Body of article available from your editor.
Discussion: Our sting weal bioassay accurately reflected the quantity of venom
received. The increase in weal area with increasing time between sting delivery
and removal reflects continuing pumping of venom into the flesh by the detached
sting, and it illustrates the importance of even short delays in removing the
sting. The method of removal does not seem to affect the quantity of venom received.
This finding contrasts sharply with conventional advice on the immediate treatment
of bee stings. Probably this advice derives from a misunderstanding of the structure
and operation of honey bee stings. The sting continues to inject venom, but
it is the valve system, not contraction or external compression of the venom
sac (the wall of which contains no muscle) that pumps the venom.
Our data indicate that the advice often given to patients--that they should
be concerned about how bee stings are removed--is counterproductive in terms
of minimising envenomisation. The method of removal is irrelevant, but even
slight delays in removal caused by concerns about the correct procedure (or
finding an appropriate implement) are likely to increase the dose of venom received.
The advice should be simply to emphasise that a bee sting should be removed
as quickly as possible. Of course the most important response to bees defending
their nests should be to get away from the vicinity of the nest quickly. An
alarm pheromone is emitted at the base of a honey bee's sting;8 when detected
by other bees it makes them more likely to sting, and aids them in locating
the victim. This effect is particularly important with Africanised bees, since
they are likely to respond in greater numbers to the release of alarm pheromone
than do European honey bees, with a consequently larger number of stings. In
such a situation, reaching safety is more important than removing the stings
immediately. Lancet Volume 348, Number 9023 3 August 1996
Further on EFB
EFB is a stress related problem. It is widespread throughout the world. In
a recent disease survey in South Africa it was confirmed that EFB is widespread,
not a major disease problem and appears not to spread significantly within an
apiary (Capensis Research Programme Final Report 8/5/2000(CRP)). The belief
is that every colony actually contains EFB, but only shows symptoms when under
The Australasian Beekeeper (AB) (PMB 19, Maitland, NSW) pamphlet on EFB states:
"Hives can become initially infected by the introduction of infected combs/food,
drift or bees watering from infected supplies ... Once present, M. pluton constantly
remains in the hive. Hives which are stressed, having not wintered well due
to ... are prone to outbreaks ..". It is important to note that secondary bacteria
are responsible for the decay and other symptoms associated with EFB. M. pluton
is apparently also extremely difficult to isolate in vitrio (CRP). "There is
an increasing trend away from the use of antibiotics and a greater awareness
that with care European foul brood can usually be successfully held at tolerable
levels with management. In fact more beekeepers are turning to management primarily
because it keeps their hives free of undesirable antibiotic residues and since
they have fewer susceptible hives, management has become a least cost alternative.
As a matter of fact Oxytetracyclene (OTC) is banned in many countries, as it
masks the EFB and related pathogens, while the original stress inducing problem
persists. Information and summary provided by Robert Post Getting bees off box
edges Most of this year it has been possible to work the bees without smoke,
but as the bees have gotten more numerous, smoke at the end of the work to try
to clear the box edges has become necessary to avoid crushing bees. The smoke
sort of worked, but was marginally satisfactory and stinks. I had tried spraying
sugar syrup last year without success. Today I tried syrup again, but carefully
sprayed it on the top bars of the outside frames and the combs thereof ONLY,
getting NO syrup on the box edges. The bees abandoned the box edges for the
syrup. They were occupied and seemed very content. Now it's practical to herd
the bees with breath and fingers for most manipulations, and the syrup provides
a good way to clear the box edges. Bill
Cell size... a study
This short article is put here because there is some controversial discussion
on the Internet at the moment in 3 newsgroups on cell size of foundation in
relation to bees tolerance of varroa. I have asked Thorne's about how they selected
5.7mm cell size. Our bees are supposed to be larger than Italian and Carnica
and Caucasian bees all widely used in the U.S. where 5.3 and even 5.2mm cell
sizes are customary.
The article quotes 3 cell sizes: 711/sq dm or 5.7mm (Thorne's size); 857/sq
dm or 5.2 mm and 1004/sq dm or 4.8mm (smaller even than the Africanised Honeybee
Here is a summary of a study conducted by the USDA: Harbo, J. R. 1991. "Effect
of cell size on quantity of brood and weight of worker bees." Am Bee J 131:
Small colonies (bees covering 3-frames, @ 6,000 workers), of roughly equal
size, were established on colonies containing either; 1) 711 cells per sq decimeter
(6 colonies) or 2) 857 cells per sq decimeter (a natural sized foundation -
claimed here) (9 colonies).
A second experiment was conducted where an even smaller cell size (1004 cells
per sq dm) (4 colonies) was compared to the largest cell size (711 cells per
sq dm) (4 colonies). 'Colonies compensated for the large cells be increasing
their brood area to maintain about the same number of broodcells. Colonies with
larger cells (711 cells per sq dm) produced larger areas of brood than colonies
with smaller cells (857 cells per sq dm), but the two groups never differed
in the number of brood cells.
Larger cells produced larger bees. The difference between worker bees from
the large and medium sized cells was 6mg (113 and 107 mg) in the first experiment.
The difference between workers from the largest and smallest cells in experiment
2 was 11 mg (117 and 106mg)' Adony
Melathopoulos Apiculture Biotechnologist
October meeting AGM
Rosewarne 30 October 7.30 pm
This is the meeting to hear from the outgoing team of officers and elect the
new team. The way we run the Association for your benefit is the primary task
of the meeting. This is your chance to have a say.
|Mondays at Rosewarne 7.30pm
|Oct 30 AGM
|Nov 27 John Kinross: Moving Bees by Trishaw
|Dec 11 Social & Honey Show
|Jan 22 Brian Sherriff Slide show on Beekeeping in Tanzania
|Feb 26 James Kilty The Internet and Beekeeping at James
Officers and Committee
||5 North Parade Penzance TR18 4SH 01736 361294
||Forest Farm Four Lanes TR16 6NA 01209 713441
|Varroa Liaison Officer
|Editor An Hes
John Kinross on November 27th.
John is a good friend of WCBKA having supported our library and students well
since moving to Cornwall. He is very knowledgeable and offers us a very unusual
subject which he takes around Association branches.
Honey Show and Social on December 11th.
This is our annual get-together and chat time. Very informal apart from the
judging and declaration of prize winners. Bring something to eat and drink to
share out. Mince pies and anything made form honey are especially welcome treats.
The schedule will be more or less as last year: the usual honey, wax and cooking
classes plus mead, photographs and objects. Prepare your honey now. Make those
cakes of wax and candles. Details next issue.
Brian Sherriff on January 22nd. Brian is
well known as manufacturer of high quality and effective bee suits exported
around the world. He is well travelled and should liven up our winter evenings
James Kilty on February 26th is offering
a live Internet session at home. Demonstrations and hands on to see the main
Usenet group, email discussion Bee Lists, web sites from around the world: Beekeepers'
Associations, manufacturers and suppliers, University and Government. Bring
requests and URL's. This session requires no prior expertise.
Annual General Meeting This will take
place in our usual venue at Rosewarne classroom 14.
1)Minutes of 1999 meeting
3)Reports from Officers
4)Members Items Election of Officers and Committee
The main election is for a new Chair (Andrew has resigned this time). As our
President has been nominated to fill the gap if no other nominee is put forward
this would leave us with another senior position to fill!! Please note that
to be truly democratic we need a true election more than one person nominated
for the positions!!! Some officers are offering themselves again knowing they
would prefer someone else to do the job. How about volunteering???