Specialist and publisher of apicultural literature
For some years I have taken to writing an essay for the Essay Class in the National Honey Show. I was delighted to be receiving either a Third or a Very Highly Commended ticket. Then in 2009 The Art of Coarse Beekeeping won me first prize to be followed by another first for Bees and Darwin in 2010. I would like to think that you will enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed writing them.
EXTRACT FROM THE BOOK:
CHAPTER 8. THE ART OF COARSE BEEKEEPING.
You must consider carefully before following the path of coarse beekeeping. Its disciples must have the same dedication and attention to fine detail as those who take up any other intricate hobby such as piano smashing.
The first steps of the coarse beekeeper are easy. Your local library will provide you with a copy of one of the many books written by an experienced beekeeper which will illustrate the equipment needed and describe in detail the life style of the honey bee. Many experienced beekeepers feel it is incumbent on them to write such a book.
Do remember to renew you possession of the book at the library before fines are imposed, that would never do.
The same library may be able to put you in touch with a local beekeeping association and give you details of their meetings. You should go to a meeting and introduce yourself as being keen to learn about the craft. At this stage a demonstration of enthusiasm works wonders. It might also get you a copy of a beekeeping equipment dealers catalogue. This will save you having to contact one since none, so far as I know, have 0800 telephone numbers. Although allowing yourself to enquire generally about membership and the possibility of free beekeeping classes your enthusiasm should not allow you to actually pay a subscription.
Reading the catalogue together with the beginner’s book will immediately convince you that your first pound of honey could be very expensive indeed. However the coarse beekeeper knows that no corner must be left uncut in the search for true perfection.
Your occasional attendance at a meeting, or the hoped for classes, will allow you time to gather up the minimum amount of such essential equipment that can’t be substituted by other items. A longish screwdriver and a paint scraper from your toolbox would replace a hive tool. A suitable length of net curtain worn over a broad brimmed hat and tucked well into a jacket could well replace safety equipment such as a veil. A more sophisticated version I have seen is an old fencing mask with further material sewn around it to prevent access by bees. A replacement for a smoker is more difficult unless of course you are a smoker yourself in which case a pipe filled with well rubbed War Horse or a small cigar will suit admirably and yes I have seen it done.
At association meetings always listen for mention of old Harry having passed away or old Jimmy packing up because of his bad back. Here are sources of cheap equipment. Not necessarily good equipment because old beekeepers are noted for putting up with much loved and familiar equipment long after it really should have been changed.
Getting bees is relatively simple. Set out a hive with some used comb in it and wait for a swarm to take up residence. Success largely depends on how far away you are from the nearest beekeeper and could take some time or even fail altogether. A more certain way is to inform local police offices and pest control of officers, both of whom are told of swarms having landed in a variety of odd spots, that you are prepared to collect a swarm within a given distance of your home. You should undoubtedly get you some bees that way. Do have a care to check before your journey that they are actually a swarm of bees and not an underground bumble bee nest.
We now look at the management of the bees. It is a fact that the less bees are disturbed by the beekeeper the better they are for it and the more honey you will be able to gather. Disease in bees has become an ever-increasing problem over recent years and must be addressed at all costs. Gone are the days when a coarse beekeeper need only take the roof off a hive twice a year. Once in the Spring to check that the bees flying in and out are actually living there and not robbing and to put some supers on and again in late summer to take off the honey supers. Unless disease is tackled there is little doubt that you will lose your bees. There is of course the short term option of requesting the seasonal bees officer visit you to check your bees. I say “short term” because success in any case depends on what you tell him and I fancy the man will soon whittle out the over-coarse beekeeper who is merely using him so learn quickly from him what you will need to do. The “term” gets very short if you try the old trick of “while you’re in there could you mark and or clip the queen for me, add or remove supers” etc?
Otherwise management is mainly concerned with swarm prevention, queen rearing and honey harvesting. Swarm control means far too many visits to and manipulations of the hive and the colony or fiddling about with multi gated boards to suit the true coarse beekeeper. If you allow the bees to swarm in their own time you can save all that work. This also has the effect that you may well be able to collect the resulting swarm from where it rests and put it into another of the late Harry’s hives. You will also get a new queen in your existing hive without the bother of all that troublesome queen rearing.
This leaves only the honey harvesting. Although it may be unusual advise for the coarse beekeeper a certain amount of time spent in the preparation will in the long run save both time and money. Buy unwired wax for your honey supers it is cheaper. Cut sheets length-wise into 4 equal strips and t one strip at the top of each frame. Only the most profligate beekeeper would use more. The bees will form their own cells along and below these strips. When it comes to harvesting the honey remove the frames, cut carefully along the joint where the bee made cells meet the provided foundation. Cut the oblong block of honey filled comb into sizes to the cut comb containers or old margarine tubs depending on the destination of the honey. Properly labelled cut comb containers can be sold. That in old margarine tubs can be used to pay any tradesmen prepared to barter his labour for your honey. They are out there, I have had roofs mended and cars repaired.
The coarse beekeeper’s preparation of the bees for winter is to go indoors and forget about them until spring. There is no need to mention mouse guards because unless the late Harry had them fitted to the hives when he died the coarse beekeeper is unlikely to own any.
Similarly wasted is the advice not to brush any snow off the hives because it helps to insulate the colony. It would never cross the coarse beekeepers mind to do such a thing.
And so the coarse beekeeper’s year ends. If the advise on the unavoidable disease control has been followed the bees should survive the winter. They have after all survived several million of them without the ministrations of “proper beekeepers”.
The crucial role that bees play in the Earth’s ecosystem is well known. Over the last decades a dramatic decrease in bee health has been seen on a global scale. This deterioration is seen on a global scale in both domestic and wild bees, precipitating a wider ecological impact. Veterinarians, animal scientists and bee husbandry specialists increasingly need to be provided with the skills to investigate and understand the situation; Managing Bee Health aims to provide an overview of the health of bees at individual and hive level, covering common and emerging diseases and preventive measures.
Beginning with an overall analysis of bee anatomy and physiology, the book then deals with the main diseases and pathogens of bees and colonies and how to treat and control their clinical impact. Providing insights on bee nutrition, insect interaction with flowering plants, and presenting helpful points of contact to report suspected conditions, such as the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE). The book looks at the global pathogen status of bees, including not only the honeybee (Apis mellifera) but also other members of the Apis family.
Managing Bee Health is a most useful guide for beekeepers, advisors, veterinarians and beekeeping enthusiasts, showing practical ways to understand bee health, treat sick or compromised hives and enhance the wellbeing and welfare of these wonderful creatures.
John Carr B.V.Sc., Ph.D., D.P.M., DiplE.C.P.H.M., M.R.C.V.S, is a specialised population medicine veterinary surgeon. He has taught production medicine and bee medicine at several universities around the world.
John also runs a consultancy practice with clients in the Americas, Europe,
Asia, Australia and Africa.
The BKQ is an international English language beekeeping journal which has been published since 1984 by Northern Bee Books and edited by John Phipps. Over the years it has developed into a 60 page full colour magazine which is available both in print and online.
The BKQ has a strong team of correspondents from many parts of the world who report regularly on beekeeping topics of local and global importance. Whilst its contents are directed mainly to beekeeping, the magazine also looks at the wider issues which have an impact on the craft especially as regards the environment, farming, conservation and global warming. Our contributors have specialised knowledge on particular aspects of beekeeping, drawn largely from their own experiences, and include both amateur and commercial beekeepers, scientists, and representatives of organisations that have an interest in beekeeping as a craft or industry. The editor is always pleased to receive contributions for possible inclusion in the magazine and to hear from beekeepers in areas of the world where we have no regular correspondents. The magazine gives plenty of space for lengthy articles, complete with photographs, which allows our designer to produce an attractive layout that is pleasing for both contributors and subscribers.
Following the Wild Bees is a delightful foray into the pastime of bee hunting, an exhilarating outdoor activity that used to be practiced widely but which few people know about today. Thomas Seeley, a world authority on honey bees, vividly describes the history and science behind this lost pastime and how anyone can do it. Following the Wild Bees is both a unique meditation on the pleasures of the natural world and a guide to the ingenious methods that compose the craft of the bee hunter.
Seeley explains how one finds a patch of flowers humming with honey bees, captures and sumptuously feeds the bees, and then releases and follows them, step-by-step in whatever direction they fly, back to their secret residence in a hollow tree, old building, or abandoned hive. The bee hunter’s reward is a thrilling encounter with nature that challenges mind and body while also giving new insights into the remarkable behavior of honey bees living in the wild.
Drawing on decades of experience as a bee hunter and bee biologist, Seeley weaves informative discussions of the biology of wild honey bees with colorful historical anecdotes, personal insights, and beautiful photos. Whether you’re a bee enthusiast or just curious about the natural world, Following the Wild Bees is the ideal companion for newcomers to bee hunting and a rare treat for armchair naturalists,
Heather Honey is the Queen of all honeys. To gain a good crop it is important to manage your stocks during the mid season in order that they are at their strongest in August. This Anthology brings together writings from all the past Great Heather Bee Masters – Francis Sitwell, Brother Adam, Colin Weightman & William Hamilton together with a contribution from one of the most successful current competitors – Peter Schollick
This important compendium has resulted from the enthusiasm and hard work of Ian Copinger, the compiler.
Bill Hesbach is a beekeeper and honey producer in Cheshire, Ct, where he owns and operates Wind Dance Apiary. Bill studied beekeeping at Rutgers University in NJ and is currently enrolled in the master beekeeping program at the University of Montana. Bill serves on the board of directors for the Backyard Beekeepers Association of Connecticut, where he helps teach new beekeepers, and designs and teaches advanced beekeeping courses. Bill has an avid interest in honey bee biology and beekeeping history. As an advocate for bees, Bill is an active speaker at local beekeeping organisations, area elementary and high schools, and regional agricultural programs. Bill is also a contributing writer to Bee Culture Magazine.
It has always been a well-known fact that products from the beehive are good for human health. However, recent scientific research has proved that various substances produced by honeybees, as well as innumerable possible combinations with plant material, possess real medical properties.
Ten years after its first publication, this book has become a work of reference in its field. Translated by Francine Sagar, this new edition tells us more about the Cuban venture, and brings essential clarification to what has, at last, been recognised within the scientific community as a true solution to natural health.
As an introduction to instrumental insemination this publication addresses the frequently asked questions about the technique. The answers are meant to give direction to further inquiry and to help evaluate the need and what is involved in mastering this skill.
Commercial queen producers recognise the need for more rigorous programs to select, improve and maintain their breeding stocks. The public awareness of “CCD” and the movement of Africanised honey bees adds to this urgency. The development of micro-breeders and programs to select locally adapted and survival stock becoming more prevalent. Given these issues and concerns, a method of controlled mating is essential in achieving the goals of selective breeding.
A fantastic and comprehensive review, designed to meet the needs of SCIENTISTS, BEEKEEPERS, AND ALL READERS WHO ARE INTERESTED IN THE NATURAL HISTORY OF INSECTS. It is written in everyday English, without scientific jargon.
Re-printed with a new foreword by Prof. Thomas D. Seeley, Department of Neurobiology and Behaviour, Cornell University & an introduction by Norman Carreck, Science Director at the International Bee Research Association, University of Sussex.
The author particularly emphasises the most recent researches, including surprising results which have hitherto only been described in scientific journals. In addition, many interesting experiments are now reported for the first time.
The author also provides evidence to show that the honeybee community is no longer something incomprehensible; he builds up a picture step by step which enables him to explain its greatest mysteries in terms which are easy to understand.
Understanding of these facts can help BEEKEEPERS in the intelligent pursuit of their craft; scientific aspects of many practical beekeeping problems are fully discussed. FARMERS AND FRUIT GROWERS will be particularly interested in the chapters concerned with pollination and with the possibility of directing honeybees to particular crops.
Jenny has been Beekeeping with husband Sid for nearly 30 years. Both of them have been involved with the Taunton and District Division of Beekeepers in Somerset. She got interested in wax after a talk at the local division. She has done talks to other divisions and held workshops in making of candles. She was awarded the West Country Honey Farms rose bowl in 2011. She was made President of the Taunton Beekeepers in 2013. This publication includes information on:
1. Salvaging Wax.
2. Making Candles with Silicone Moulds .
3. Making Candles with Rubber Moulds.
4. Care of Rubber Moulds.
5. Making Rolled Candles.
6. Having fun with Rolled Candle.
7. Dipped Candles.
This is a tale, punctuated with short myth-like stories, which describes a honey-hunting episode in darkest Africa at the dawn of civilisation. The prose is magnificent, the stories delightful, a book to take you far, far away from the despoiled world in which we live today.
The Hive and The Honey Bee. NEW EDITION 29 Chapters, 44 Authors 1057 pages (larger page format – 7 x 10 inches) colour pictures. An amazing source of information on all aspects of the bee and beekeeping. The 1000+ pages with many colour plates in 29 chapters makes this international volume the perfect 2015 Christmas present.
Winner of the 2005 Ashé Journal Book Award.
“After reading this book I felt I had been initiated into the ancient feminine mystery of sacred sexuality” Tori Amos, singer/songwriter.
Bee shamanism may well be the most ancient and enigmatic branch of shamanism. It exists throughout the world – wherever in fact the honeybee exists. Its medicinal tools – such as honey, pollen, propolis, and royal jelly – are now in common usage, and even the origins of Chinese acupuncture can be traced back to the ancient practice of applying bee stings to the body’s meridians.
In this authoritative ethnography and spiritual memoir, Simon Buxton, an elder of the Path of Pollen, reveals for the first time the richness of this tradition: its subtle intelligence; its sights, sounds, and smells; and its unique ceremonies, which until now have been known only to initiates. Buxton unknowingly took his first steps on the Path of Pollen at age nine, when a neighbour – an Austrian bee shaman – cured him of a near-fatal bour of encephalitis. This early contact prepared him for his later meeting with an elder of the tradition who took him on as an apprentice. Following an intense initiation that opened him to the mysteries of the hive mind, Buxton learned over the next thirteen years the practices, rituals, and tools of bee shamanism. He experienced the healing and spiritual powers of honey and other bee products, including the “flying ointment” once used by medieval witches, as well as ritual initiations with the female members of the tradition – the Melissae – and the application of magico-sexual “nektars” that promote longevity and ecstacy. ‘The Shamanic Way of the Bee’ is a unique view into the secret wisdom of this age-old tradition.
Simon Buxton is a beekeeper, the British faculty for Dr. Michael Harner’s Foundation for Shamanic Studies, and the founder / director of The Sacred Trust, a UK-based educational organisation dedicated to the teaching of practical shamanism for the modern world. He lives in England and teaches internationally.
‘Celebrating Bees’ first day cover with full-set of 2015 Bees Stamps and special ‘Honeybourne’ postmark. This cover has been signed by BBC Nature Presenter Chris Packham, very few remain!
2015 Limited Edition ‘Bees’ First Day Cover. The UK’s leading first day cover producer Buckingham Covers worked alongside ‘The Beekeepers Association’ to produce this stunning cover which bears the full-set of six stamps, each depicting a different bee. It also has a special Beekeepers postmark.
Limited Edition ‘Bees’ First Day Cover which uses the stamps from the 2015 Royal Mail miniature sheet. This beautiful cover also has a special ‘British Bees, Honeysett Road’ postmark.
This wonderful book shares techniques on successful microscopy accompanied by illustrations of Norman’s pollen drawings and colour photos of the plant. It was the book of the Show at the 2015 National Honey Show.
David Shannon, a beekeeper for over 15 years, has kept 30-40 colonies in Yorkshire. He has an enthusiastic interest in preparing a variety of hive products for the show in Harrogate (Supreme Champion twice) and the Royal Show at Stoneleigh (winning the most points, a Bronze Medal, and the Brydon Trophy for his mead). Whilst still showing his products, he has turned his attention to judging and gained his Senior Honey Judging Certificate at the National Honey Show in 2014, as well as encouraging and supporting new exhibitors. Additionally, David Shannon has Gained his Husbandry Certificate which allows him to examine beekeepers for their basic assessment. He hopes in the future to study beekeeping at a greater depth with the long term prospect of becoming a Master Beekeeper. With experience on both sides of the show bench, David is able to give practical, sound and detailed advice to those who wish to gain prizes at honey shows and how they can avoid the pitfalls, though often small, which can make the difference between success and failure.
This book provides an overview of bee biology, diseases, parasites, (with a large part dedicated to the mite Varroa destructor) pests and veterinary treatment and actions relating to be health. Current topics such as climate change, crop pollination antibiotic resistance and Colony Collapse Disorder are also covered. While aimed at veterinary practitioners, this volume will be beneficial to beekeepers, and animal health and environmental organisations.