ISSUE NO 97, DECEMBER 2010
WALES FOR AFRICA WEIGHING TOP-BAR HIVES BOUNTY OF BOOKS ORGANIC BEEKEEPING APIEXPO WWW.BEESFORDEVELOPMENT.ORG
COVER PHOTO © BEES FOR DEVELOPMENT
Beesfor Development Journal 97
ApiExpo Africa 2010
The second ApiExpo Africa event was held in October 2010 in Lusaka, Zambia. Delegates from Cameroon, DR Congo, Ethiopia, Italy, Kenya, Mozambique, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, UK, Zambia and Zimbabwe had the opportunity to discuss African honey and beeswax trade issues, share experiences and information. The event provided a fantastic display of African beekeeping, with opportunities for producer groups to showcase their products and services, to create business networks and explore ways of improving the performance of the sector.
Within the region, some governments and institutions are making great efforts to develop the honey sector, however ApiExpo noted with concern that key issues must be addressed. For example:
• Policy for the sector is at different stages of development in most countries of the region.
• Efforts are needed to harmonise standards for African bee products and their trade. There are multitudes of standards and regulations among the countries in the region.
PHOTO © APITRADE AFRICA
Congratulations to delegates from Ethiopia who won the opportunity to host the next ApiExpo Africa in Addis Ababa in 2012. From left to right, David Wainwright, Rebecca Howard and Michael Tchana, with beeswax rendered from a wood fired tank, surrounded by bricks for insulation, being tested as part of Bees for Development's Africa Wales Honey and Beeswax Trade Project
ISSUE No 97 December 2010 In this issue
Africa-Wales Honey and Beeswax Trade Project ......................................3 Look/Learn Ahead...............................5 Weighing top-bar hives ......................6 Recent research............................7, 11 Organic beekeeping – a response.......8 International Honey Commission ........9 EU honey update ................................9 News around the World ....................10 Resources ........................................11 Bookshelf.........................................12 Notice Board ....................................15
Distributed to readers in over 130 countries and published quarterly by Bees for Development Editor Nicola Bradbear PhD Co-ordinator Helen Jackson BSc Bf D Trust UK Registered Charity1078803 Membership includes BfD Journal at no extra cost (see our website), readers in developing countries can apply for a sponsored subscription - see p16. Copyright You are welcome to translate and/or reproduce items appearing in BfDJ as part of our Information Service. Permission is given on the understanding that Bf D contact details are provided in full, and you send us a copy of the item or the website address where it is used.
Bees for Development Post
PO Box 105 Monmouth NP25 9AA, UK Phone +44 (0)16007 13648 email@example.com www.beesfordevelopment.org
His Excellency, Dr Kenneth Kaunda, the First Republican President of Zambia (right) is delighted by the bee products presented at ApiExpo Africa by Uganda’s Kitgum Women Beekeepers Association
6th Caribbean Beekeeping Congress
Following a meeting of the Grenada Association of Beekeepers, the 6th Caribbean Congress (postponed from November 2010) will take place in Grenada in May 2011
More details in the next issue of BfDJ
SUPPORT: Bees for Development Trust acknowledge: Panta Rhea Foundation, Synchronicity Foundation, E H Thorne (Beehives) Ltd and the many beekeeping groups and individuals who support our work. Please encourage your friends and colleagues to help.
Bees for Development Journal 97
AFRICA-WALES HONEY AND BEESWAX TRADE PROJECT
Rebecca Howard, Guiding Hope, PO Box 15753, Yaoundé, Cameroon David Wainwright, Tropical Forest Products Ltd, PO Box 92, Aberystwyth, UK draining table, made of local timber and imported stainless steel mesh with 3.3 mm holes and 0.9 mm wire.
Keywords: beeswax extraction, Cameroon, honey extraction, Welsh Assembly Government Wales for Africa Grant Scheme
PHOTOS © GUIDING HOPE
The aims of the Project
• To identify the most cost effective and efficient equipment for processing comb honey harvested from fixed comb hives. • To maximise the recovery rate of liquid honey extracted from comb honey. • To improve the quality of beeswax harvested.
Bees for Development has been working with Tropical Forest Products (TFP) and Guiding Hope (GH) on an 18 month Project to improve the efficiency and quality of honey and beeswax harvested from local style hives by beekeepers in Cameroon. This honey and beeswax are to be sold on national and international markets. TFP began trading with GH in 2007 and provided the young enterprise with valuable support and guidance. Bf D is interested to share the learning from the Project with other potential honey and beeswax exporters through their extensive network. The Welsh Assembly Government provided funding for the Project through the Wales for Africa Grant Scheme. The Project is being implemented in three stages:
The first stage of the Project took place at GH’s processing plant in Cameroon in December 2009. This involved designing an improved system for separating liquid honey from beeswax comb. GH buys high quality honey in comb from over 600 beekeepers who are using local style hives across the savannah of Adamaoua. The liquid honey is separated from the beeswax comb at GH’s central plant. Before the Project, GH could process 1,950 kg of comb honey in a 24 hour period, using a series of 20 bottomless enamel basins lined with a layer of straw (as a filter) and placed over a second set of smaller enamel basins (see below).
The draining table made from local timber and imported stainless steel mesh
The new process had the following advantages:
Cleaner honey Honey was cleaner when drained through the stainless mesh rather than straw.
Increase in capacity Eight draining tables took up the same space in the warehouse as 20 basins, but could filter twice the amount of honeycomb in the same amount of time. Reduction of labour The new method is less labour intensive since employees are able to stand upright to pour the honey and then leave it to drain, whereas with the basins, they needed to regularly adjust the filters and change the collecting basins. Cost Each draining table costs USD100 (€74) for mesh plus USD150 (€110) for local materials and construction.
Using the old method, after the first draining the remaining residues were typically filtered in the sun, producing a second grade honey for sale on the national or regional market. The comb was then washed to prepare it for wax extraction. The honey washings still contained a significant amount of honey, a product which in other regions of Africa is commonly sold for honey beer brewing, but has no market in the region where GH operate because there is little consumption of honey beer. This honey separated from the comb during washing was therefore considered a waste product. However, during our investigations we found that at least 10% of total honey was being thrown away in these washings.
Before the Project, Guiding Hope used enamel basins lined with straw to separate liquid honey from beeswax comb
All across Adamaoua honey to be sold on national and regional markets is processed by leaving these basins in the sun to speed up the filtration process. However the heat created causes the HMF in the honey to increase. Therefore in the new process the honey is drained indoors, to prevent warming of honey and increase in HMF. In 2009 GH reached maximum filtration capacity because there was no space for any more enamel basins in the warehouse. With David Wainwright’s advice, GH worked with a local carpenter to design a
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AFRICA-WALES HONEY AND BEESWAX TRADE PROJECT All of these devices were equally efficient at extracting honey from residues under ideal circumstances. However, this was not our only consideration. We need a device to process several tonnes of residues per day, to be largely free from maintenance, and able to handle variations in the consistency of the residues. Machines supplied by conventional beekeeping appliance manufacturers are designed for processing the cappings removed from honeycomb contained within frames (from frame hives) before centrifugal extraction: such machines are not designed to handle combs of honey harvested from local style hives, which often contain a mixture of light and dark beeswax.
During David Wainwright’s stay in Cameroon, he worked with GH to quantify how much honey, beeswax and waste were obtained from each batch, with these results: Contents of batch
Solar-filtered honey Beeswax
Honey lost in washing Residues Total
1st grade honey for export
Quantity by weight (%)
2nd grade honey for regional or national market
Contain some wax
The aim of the second stage of the experiment was therefore:
12 3 8
We eventually settled on the heated tank method, and eliminated the other devices for the following reasons:
Screw press When working properly, this machine produced nearly dry wax with all the honey being extracted. It is a continuous process so has the potential for handling a large volume of residues per day. However, it does not work well if the temperature, or the proportion of honey in the residues, varies from optimum. It requires a skilled operator, regular maintenance and replacement of bearings.
• To recover maximum honey from the residues in an efficient and cost effective way. • To improve the yield and quality of wax recovered from the residues.
Bladder press Extraction rate is good but output is slow because this is a batch process and it takes about 30 minutes to empty the press of wax and refill it for the next batch. The bladder can be easily damaged by a sharp object such as a thorn or piece of wood. Any pollen in the comb is squeezed into the honey.
Two representatives from GH travelled to Wales in March 2010 to take part in this research, which involved a series of honey extraction and wax processing trials carried out in TFP’s factory using Welsh comb honey. David Wainwright designed two different prototype stainless steel, double jacketed settling tanks. The first was an electric tank fitted with a thermostat, and the second was a wood-fired tank. Because there is little capacity for stainless steel fabrication in Cameroon, the idea was to finalise the model, purchase it in the UK, and export it to Cameroon.
Cappings melter This does not cope well with comb from local style hives which contains dark wax. It is designed for white cappings which melt easily and leave little insoluble comb behind. When used with dark comb it quickly blocks with comb debris so that the honey and molten wax cannot flow away, and they become over heated.
Four different methods for extracting honey from the comb residues were tested:
3. Cappings melter A thermostatically controlled hot tray melts the honey and wax mixture, both liquids run down channels into a settling tank, where the beeswax floats on the top.
The heated tank we preferred was heated by electricity and controlled by an easily programmed thermostat. The wood fired tank also worked adequately, if run at a slow boil. However, as electricity is cheap in Cameroon, there was no advantage in the wood fired option. We trialled a 400 kg capacity tank but in practice we will use several 1,000 kg capacity tanks that will be purchased second hand. They will be insulated, double jacketed stainless steel tanks, with an open top and conical base sloping down to a central outlet, with a height about 1.5 times their width. They will be fitted with a 2.5 or 3.0 inch (1 inch = 2.54 cm) valve at the base for honey, and two further valves at different heights above, for wax. They will be heated by 3-phase electricity, controlled by a programmable thermostat.
Draining tables in use in Guiding Hope’s warehouse
Honey draining through the mesh
1. Screw press Similar in design to an oil press, an electric motor and reduction gear box drives a shaft with a variable pitch screw thread which continuously forces the honey and wax mixture against a perforated sleeve.
2. Bladder press A batch of honey is placed in a perforated stainless cage and forced against the mesh by means of a compressed air operated rubber bladder.
In operation the tanks will be filled with residues and set to about 80°C. After one hour the tap can be opened and honey run off until half melted wax starts to come through. The tap is then closed to allow more honey to settle out. The aim is to have the honey running out at about 60°C. The wax on the sides of the tank melts and rises and the
4. Heated tank Two versions were tested: one electrically heated, the other wood fired. The honey and wax mixture melts and the wax floats on the honey. The honey can be tapped off as it settles. Eventually it is mainly wax remaining in the tank: water is then added and the wax floats up through a fine stainless mesh.
AFRICA-WALES HONEY AND BEESWAX TRADE PROJECT
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Tropical Forest Products Ltd is a Welsh Company specialising in the import and sale of honey and beeswax from Africa, as well as marketing their own British honey.
honey sinks to the bottom. Eventually a slurry of wax, comb debris and just a little honey is left, which will settle out very slowly and only very small amounts of honey can be tapped off at this point. This remainder of honey is not worthwhile extracting. A fine mesh sieve made to fit tight above the wax slurry is now bolted into the tank and water added to bring the level up above the sieve. This is left to heat overnight, the wax melts and comes up through the sieve. This clean filtered wax can then be tapped off.
Guiding Hope is a honey and beeswax trading company in Cameroon. It was established in 2007 by young entrepreneurs with the aim of developing responsible, fair and profitable trade of apiculture products. In 2008 GH won the SEED (Supporting Entrepreneurs for Sustainable Development) Award. GH promotes the harvest of high quality, high value honey and bee products. The Company organises the collection, processing and export of these products and conducts market research and outreach to strengthen the apiculture sector in Cameroon. GH is now an exporter of honey to TFP in Wales in the EU (Cameroon’s Residue Monitoring Plan was accepted through EU Directive Guidelines in October 2009), and intends to upscale operations significantly over the next few years.
In our trials, about 98% of the honey in the starting material was extracted by a combination of this tank and a draining table, as well as producing good quality, clean beeswax. The honey from the tank was on average heated to about 60°C which caused the HMF to rise to around 10 mg/kg compared to the drained honey which had an HMF of less than 5 mg/kg. Therefore the honey from the tank is not ideal for export, because the export process will further increase the HMF. However it is fine for sale as long as it is not reheated or stored for long periods, as it easily meets standards for HMF content such as the Codex Alimentarius honey standard maximum which is 40 mg/kg.
HMF stands for hydroxymethylfurfural, a compound formed when sugars are heated. The level of HMF in honey is used as an indicator of how much the honey has been heated. HMF levels also increase slowly during storage of honey. Fresh honey will have a low level of HMF, for example 5 mg/kg.
The third phase of the Project is to manufacture, ship and install the settling tanks in Cameroon. GH is currently building a new warehouse in the port of Douala which will house the new equipment.
HMF is not poisonous - other food products containing heated sugars such as jams and sweets will have HMF levels more than 100 times that found in honey.
We thank the Welsh Assembly Government Wales for Africa Grant Scheme for their support of this Project
ARGENTINA APIMONDIA: 42nd International Apicultural Congress 21-25 September 2011, Buenos Aires Further details see page 16 INDIA Nagaland Honey Fest 23-27 November 2010, Dimapur Further details firstname.lastname@example.org MALAYSIA 11th Asian Apicultural Association Conference 2012 Details when available MEXICO ICPBR Pollination Symposium 27-20 June 2011 Cholula (Puebla) Further details www.uoguelph.ca/icpbr THAILAND 3rd International Beekeeping Congress 3-5 March 2011, Chiang Mai Further details www.cenfoundindia.org.in Global Conference on Entomology 5-9 March 2011, Chiang Mai Further details www.entomology2011.com UK BBKA Spring Convention 15-17 April 2011, Stoneleigh Park near Coventry Further details www.britishbee.org.uk UKRAINE APIMONDIA: 43rd International Apicultural Congress September 2013, Kiev Further details www.apimondia2013.org.ua
David, Michael and Rebecca with beeswax rendered from the wood-fired tank
Bees for Development Sustainable Beekeeping Course
Ragman’s Lane Farm, Gloucestershire, UK, 7-8 May 2011 and 1-2 October 2011
Bf D Beekeepers' Safaris
Trinidad & Tobago, 7-17 February 2011 Rodrigues and Mauritius, 13-24 November 2011 (dates to be confirmed)
Further details for both events on our website
If you want notice of your conference, workshop or meeting to be included here and on our website send details to Bees for Development, address on page 16 5
WEIGHING TOP-BAR HIVES
Bees for Development Journal 97
Marieke Mutsaers 1 and Christopher Campion 2 2
Trichilia ABC, Noordermeerweg 65 cd, 8313 PX Rutten, The Netherlands
PHOTOS © MARIEKE MUTSAERS
Integrated Tamale Fruit Company, Tamale, Ghana
Keywords: colony weight, hive weight, honey bee, scale
A beekeeper can assess the condition of a colony from outside the hive. The behaviour of the bees, and the presence of drones, indicate whether the season is going up or down. The presence of a ‘beard’ of bees indicates that the hive is full. With experience, the beekeeper knows exactly the seasons in the local area. However, the number of combs within the colony at any time can be known only by internal inspection of the colony. There is a way to gain objective data without opening the hive, and this is to weigh it. This is an especially good option for top-bar hives, as they contain only natural combs. Subtraction of the empty weight of the hive gives the weight of the colony - that is combs and bees. A very good and cheap design for weighing hives is given by Hillyard (1968). It can be made with a fruit carton, which can hold about 100 kg in weight. Lay the scale on top of it, upside down, and mark the place where the dial is, then cut a hole in the carton. Next a semicircle is cut at the side, so that the scale can be read using a mirror placed underneath the carton. A similar design is then made of wood. Abdallah Ibrahim, carpenter for the Integrated Tamale Fruit Company, made this design as well as the hives.
Reading the weight of a hive
is 40 kg (WBC). A hive of 50 litres contains a maximum of 25 kg, and one of 100 litres a maximum of 50 kg. Seasonal management of colonies can now be based on objective data. If weighing is done monthly, a graph can be made to give a good insight into colony development during all seasons (see next page). A good insight into colony development: the graph shows seasonal weight of a large top-bar hive in Africa, northern hemisphere. Hillyard (1968) put a periscope (double mirror) at the back to read the weight easily, and put a hive permanently on the scale. However, I found that everyone soon learns to read the weights easily in the mirror, and African bees do not like the hive wobbling on the scale and can become defensive. Crane (1990) described the weighing of hives with this scale but did not subtract the empty weight of the hives, just registered the increase and decrease of weight. With top-bar hives this is possible and it gives us a better idea of the status of the colony.
To weigh hives in the apiary, three people are needed: two to hold and lift the hive, and one person to shift the scale underneath and let it stand properly. The weight can then be read. Two readings must be taken to be sure. The operators have to get used to the mirror reading, while the hive is standing free. The first reading is noted down and then the second before the hive can be lifted again to remove the scale.
The hives are numbered. The empty weight of the hive is obtained beforehand. If hives are already colonised it can be obtained later if the colony absconds or is transferred into another hive. The top-bars are laid in place, the lid put on and the weight is recorded in a table with other data, including the name of the beekeeper and where the apiary is located. A full registration of hives with exact data on the colonies comes into the picture. The hive does not need to be opened to have an idea how full it is. I found that the maximum weight of bees and combs in kg (WBC) is about half the volume in litres. This is at the peak of the honey flow when the colony has its maximum weight. For example, if the volume of the top-bar hive is about 80 litres, the maximum weight
References CRANE, E. (1990) Bees and beekeeping: science, practice and world resources. Heinemann, Oxford, UK. pp 165-166. HILLYARD, T.N. (1968) Simple hive scales. Bee World 49 (3): 102-103. MUTSAERS, M. (2008) Visit Report, Integrated Tamale Fruit Company. Unpublished report.
The scale is reflected in the mirror
Lifting the hive and moving the scales 6
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= = =
weight of bees and combs maximum weight of bees and comb in a small hive (50 litres) maximum weight of bees and comb in a large hive (100 litres)
RECENT RESEARCH Landing lights for bumblebees
Gardeners could help maintain bumblebee populations by growing plants with red flowers or flowers with stripes along the veins, according to field observations of the common snapdragon Antirrhinum majus at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, UK. "Stripes following the veins of flowers are one of the most common floral pigmentation patterns so we thought there must be some advantage for pollination," said Professor Cathie Martin.
The study compared the number of visits by bumblebees to various cultivars of the plant, and the number of flowers visited per plant. Red flowers and those with venation patterning were visited significantly more frequently than white or pink, and more flowers were visited per plant. "Stripes provide a visual guide for pollinators, directing them to the central landing platform and the entrance to the flower where the nectar and pollen can be found. We examined the origin of this trait and found that it has been retained through snapdragon ancestry. The selection pressure for this trait is only relaxed when full red pigmentation evolves in a species," said Professor Martin.
PHOTO © BIOTECHNOLOGY AND BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES RESEARCH COUNCIL
WBC 25 kg dotted line 50 kg dotted line
Bumblebees are the main pollinators for snapdragon because the weight of the bee is needed to open the flower. Pollinators learn and memorise floral signals, such as flower shape, scent, colour and patterns of pigmentation. They return to flowers from which they have previously found food. Simple changes due to single gene changes can have dramatic effects on which flowers pollinators visit, and how often.
Collaborators on the project from New Zealand also analysed how the stripy patterns are formed along the veins of the common snapdragon. They showed that two signals interact to create the stripes. "Complex colour patterns such as spots and stripes are common in nature but the way they are formed is poorly understood," said Dr Kathy Schwinn from the New Zealand Institute for Plant & Food Research. "We found that one signal comes from the veins of the petals and one from the skin of the petals, the epidermis. Where these signals intersect, the production of red anthocyanin pigments is induced."
Zoe Dunford, JIC Press Office
Citation: SHANG,Y.; VENAIL,J. (2010) The molecular basis for venation patterning of pigmentation and its effect on pollinator attraction in flowers of Antirrhinum. New Phytologist no. doi: 10.1111/j.1469-8137.2010.03498.x
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ORGANIC BEEKEEPING - A RESPONSE Chris Slade, 13 Church Road, Maiden Newton, Dorset DT2 0AB, UK
PHOTOS ©CHRIS SLADE
Keywords: Africanised honey bee, frame hive beekeeping, importing bees, international honey standard, Nosema, organic honey, UK Soil Association, top-bar hive, Varroa There are probably nearly as many ways of keeping bees as there are beekeepers and, thanks to the adaptability of the creatures (the bees that is!), most methods work well enough most of the time. The range of motives for beekeeping extends from those that do it for the sake of the bees, to those that do it for the sake of the bank balance. Most people reach a compromise somewhere between those two extremes. The organic labelling system (according to chemists organic simply means ‘containing carbon’) enables people at the ‘bee friendly’ end of the range to extend a little way towards the ‘bank balance friendly’ end without compromising their standards too much. This is because many customers are prepared to pay much more for an organic product even though they probably cannot taste any difference. As I understand the organic ethos, it is to work with nature, rather than against it and to resist the creation of yet more deserts caused by industrial agriculture, beekeeping being only a small part of their range of interest. As pointed out in BfDJ 96, there are international organic standards which are adapted and applied locally. This may explain why, in the UK, the Soil Association standards appear to have been translated from a foreign language by a non-beekeeper. Where else would you find references to ‘male brood’? Why do they think that crystallised honey is unsuitable for feeding to bees although our bees have been using it for many thousands of years? Even if the beekeeper thinks it might be a little ‘chewy’ s/he could always add water in the same way as non-organic beekeepers would with bag-sugar. The UK Soil Association does approve of feeding bees with organic molasses – a certain recipe for diarrhoea and thus spread of disease including Nosema. The UK Soil Association also states: ‘You should encourage resistance to disease and prevent infections by: [among other things], renewing the queens regularly’. There is no explanation as to how this helps or what is meant by ‘regularly’. I renew my queens regularly every five years whether
I recently did the maths and found that the comb area is very similar to that of the National hive brood comb.
they need it or not (not really – a four year old holds the record in my apiaries), as longevity of the queens in colonies that are satisfactory is an indication of health and disease resistance, and the offspring may have inherited the useful longevity trait. So ‘regularly’ is not to be confused with ‘frequently’.
Looking at the article in BfDJ 96 (see further reading), clearly Mr Staples in Chile is in the ‘Bank Balance’ end of the range: he needs to make a living from his bees, but has ambitions to become organic. Bailey (1984; 1986) described how the worst enemy of a hive of bees is - another hive of bees because problems multiply in apiaries, and especially in large apiaries.
This was borne out more recently by Seeley (2007). His widely separated colonies, although infested with Varroa mites, were able to cope without treatment, but when these bees were aggregated in apiaries, they succumbed.
Doubtless Mr Staples and other commercial beekeepers need, for economy of scale, mechanical handling and to meet the demands of pollination customers, to keep hives much more tightly clustered than is ideal from the bees’ point of view, and so a compromise must be found if organic standards are to be met.
My top-bar hive was built using scrap pallet wood and it cost me nothing. The top-bars are 43.2 cm long to be compatible with UK Standard frame hives and form the diameter of the hemi-cylinder which is 91.4 cm long. Occasionally I have put a couple of wet supers on for the bees to clean up, taking out bars to give access. This picture illustrates the 'footprint' of straight comb to avoid curves across top-bars in fresh comb building.
Hive being restocked with a swarm 8
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Mr Staples cites the problem of an outbreak of Nosema after moving large numbers of apparently healthy colonies (he does not say how many but refers to ‘one block of 600 bee colonies’ so I would guess he moved thousands). The Nosema did not appear out of thin air: the colonies had it already but it became a problem only after the move. Maybe it was the move that caused the problem: being shut up and stressed by the move would have caused defecation within the hive. This would have been cleaned up at the first opportunity by the bees, using their tongues, at the same time food sharing and feeding the babies using the same tongues. Thus a few bees with Nosema become very many bees with Nosema. What, organically, can be done to stop the same thing happening again? How about, instead of moving the hives, move the bees as packages, installing them at the other end in empty hives with brood frames fitted with starter strips? Drawn comb (preferably sterilised with acetic acid) could be in the supers above the queen excluder. The bees would, at first, have no brood to feed and nowhere but the supers to place honey, maximising the crop. There would not be any brood comb to contaminate until they had drawn some, giving them a chance to ease their bowels outside first. What to do with the brood that the bees left behind when the bees were packaged? Use it to reinforce selected colonies in the home apiary for queen rearing and nucleus raising for replacements and sale. This could be the start of Mr Staples becoming the first organic producer of queen honey bees in Chile. No doubt, if Mr Staples is reading this, if he is not howling with mirth or with rage, he would consider trying these ideas out on a small-scale before venturing further. Mr Bröker writes that “under European conditions organic apiculture seems to work”. Europe is a big and varied place and he may well be correct in parts of it, but I cannot think of anywhere in my part of the continent (the southern half of the UK) where it would be possible to keep bees organically, following the UK Soil Association criteria. He mentions the disastrous effects of distributing queens across climate zones and hemispheres. The examples he cites are well known. Here is another waiting to happen: we are importing queens into Europe from Argentina, a country where the Africanised bee has been known since 1965. I conclude by echoing Bf D’s point that swarms, resulting from bees doing what comes naturally, ought to be regarded as organic.
colonies persisting with Varroa destructor in the northeastern United States. Apidologie 8: 19-29.* Further reading Organic beekeeping – a discussion. BfD Journal 96 (September 2010)* The need for organic beekeeping. BfD Journal 50 (March 1999)* *Articles on the Bf D information portal at www.beesfordevelopment.org
INTERNATIONAL HONEY COMMISSION
The International Honey Commission (IHC) was founded in 1990 and is a European working group with the objective of harmonising the standard analytical methods for honey and other bee products. The IHC consists of 214 international members from research and trading organisations. Members are divided into different working groups covering topics including pollen, royal jelly, residues, honey characterisation, melissopalynology and organoleptic properties. In May 2010 Gudrun Beckh succeeded Werner von der Ohe as IHC Chairperson. As a first objective Ms Beckh is seeking to extend the available data on honeys of non-European origin. The results will be published through a planned new website. The next IHC meeting will take place during the 2011 Apimondia Congress in Argentina (see page 16) Dr Cord Lüllmann, Quality Services International GmbH, Germany
MACEDONIA AND MOLDOVA MEET EU CRITERIA
Honey residue monitoring plans submitted to the EU Commission by Moldova and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia have been accepted and these countries have been included in the list of ‘Third Countries’ eligible to export honey to the EU, according to the Annex to Decision 2004/432/EC. More information at www.beesfordevelopment.org Sign up for the Information Portal, then follow Markets and Trade/Legislation/External links The evaluation and approval of residue monitoring plans from third countries
References BAILEY, L. (1986) Beekeeping by numbers. Central Association of Beekeepers, UK. BAILEY, L. (1984) The effect of the number of honey bee colonies on their honey yields and diseases. Central Association of Beekeepers, UK. SEELEY, T.D. (2007) Honey bees of the Arnot Forest: a population of feral
ILLEGAL HONEY PRACTICE
The True Source Honey Initiative applauded actions by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and the Department of Justice (DoJ) in September, in stemming the tide of illegally imported honey. The 44-count indictment means that defendants face up to 20 years in prison, USD250,000 (€190,000) fines on each count, and multi-million dollar reimbursements for unpaid antidumping duties. The serious problem of illegally traded honey is threatening the continued viability of the US honey sector. The DOJ indicted 11 individuals and six corporations on federal charges for allegedly participating in an international conspiracy to illegally import more than USD40 (€30) million of Chinese honey. The honey was mislabelled to avoid nearly USD80 (€60) million in antidumping duties and included honey that was adulterated with antibiotics not approved for use in honey production. Source: www.TrueSourceHoney.com
The undulating aluminium for the hive roof came from the roof of my neighbour's shed (with permission!) 9
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NEWS AROUND THE WORLD CAMEROON
A one-day workshop organised by the Fako Chapter of South West Bee Farmers Union was held in February at the Regional Delegation of Livestock, Fisheries and Animal Industries, Buea. The 2009 Annual Report revealed that honey was sold to the Chapter by its members at FCFA2,000 (USD4; €3). The Chapter sells honey for FCFA2,500 (USD5; €4). Within the harvest period 180 litres of honey were sold. Two of the reported difficulties were: a. Supply of poor quality honey b. Members selling honey outside the Co-operative (estimated at 210 litres in 2009). Future objectives include improving honey quality and marketing - thus enhancing the livelihoods of SOWEBEFU members, increasing honey production from 390 to 980 litres, and increasing top-bar hive numbers from 156 to 336. Resources provided by Bf D Trust will be kept in the SOWEBEFU office and copies of BfD Journal were distributed to workshop participants.
Awudu Ngutte, Minepia, Buea, SWP
Beekeeping Extension Society (BES) is a voluntary organisation. We received a grant of USD4,962 (€3,556) from the FAO 1% for Development Fund* for the development of beekeeping and conservation of bees and the environment. Between 2001 and 2010, total funding received by BES has reached USD130,000 (€93,170). More than 10 overseas beekeeping volunteers have been welcomed and currently BES is collaborating with seven international organisations. Idris Barau, BES, Shika
* see Notice Board on page 15 PHOTO © IDRIS BARAU
PHOTO © AWUDU NGUTTE
Participants of the South West Bee Farmers Union Workshop receive resources
Getting started with beekeeping at a household level was a three day training event organised by me and my assistant, Mr Mosty Hamoonga. The aim of the event was to integrate beekeeping into farming activities to enhance income and lessen rural poverty. We received a resource box from Bf D Trust: colour pictures from copies of BfDJ were used as visual aids and we consolidated our own text with extracts taken from the Journal. James Chanda, Forestry Officer, Kamaila Forestry Station, Lusaka
PHOTO © JAMES CHANDA
Shika Beekeeping Group
Varroa in tropical Africa
I support BfDJ 96 (page 2): ”the worst thing that African beekeepers can do is to begin using chemicals in their colonies... Varroa tolerant colonies will not have the opportunity to be identified.” From our accumulated field experience working with African honey bees in Nigeria I would like to point out: 1. Our bees have natural potential to resist, overcome or tolerate any abnormal condition or pest, if managed naturally.
2. Details of how Mike Ukattah manages his colonies are needed to provide natural solutions to the problem – he should contact me.
3. Our bees use propolis - a natural antibiotic - to seal the respiratory tracts of many pests in their nests and will sting predators to death and embalm them with propolis, thus assisting the beekeeper to remove them.
Participants of the training event held at Kamaila School and Forestry Station
Christian C Akpoke, Nigeria 10
RECENT RESEARCH Wild bee conservation
Scientists at the University of Cambridge UK, led by Professor William J Sutherland, have brought together scientific knowledge and experience about how to conserve wild bees around the world, in a free online resource Bee Conservation: evidence for the effects of interventions. The synopsis summarises evidence for 59 different actions you could take to help bees, from planting flowers in farmland to supporting beekeepers keeping indigenous species. Developed in partnership with an international group of bee experts, the synopsis will inform people taking action or spending
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money to benefit bees – from farmers to international NGOs – about what works and what does not. Evidence from 29 studies shows that providing nest boxes on agricultural land can benefit solitary bees. In several parts of the world solitary bees, including endangered species, will use nest boxes. Three studies show that numbers of nesting bees can double over three years with repeated nest box provision. Bees can be problematic in places they are not indigenous, and there is some evidence about how to reduce the impacts of invasive nonindigenous bee species. For example a concerted effort to eradicate European bufftailed bumblebees from small patches of Japanese countryside increased numbers of the indigenous bumblebees, but did not remove the invaders altogether. “Habitat preservation and the proper
application and use of insecticides are the most important issues in bee conservation now,” says Peter Kwapong, of the International Stingless Bee Centre in Ghana, a member of the Advisory Board.
The bee synopsis is part of a project called Conservation Evidence, which aims to make conservation practice more science-based. The project has an open access journal where conservationists can document their experience and an online database of evidence. The series of synopses, of which Bee Conservation is the first, will cover major species groups and habitat types. Synopses are already being prepared for birds, butterflies, grassland and farmland. The Bee Conservation synopsis is available at: www.conservationevidence.com.
Lynn Dicks, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge
Steps to sustainable and community-based NTFP management
The purpose of this excellent manual by Mary Stockdale is to provide the reader with a practical guide to working with a community towards sustainable NTFP management. The manual has special reference to south and southeast Asia where forest-dwelling communities have managed non-timber forest products (NTFPs) for generations, including products such as mangos from India, rattan from the Philippines, or honey from Indonesia.
Download at: www.iapad.org/publications/ppgis/stockdale_book.pdf
Mazao ya Nyuki (Bee Products)
Now also in Kiswahili with translation by Emmanuel Muterere.
Booklet 42 in the Agrodok series published by the Agromisa Foundation introduces the products provided by bees and how the beekeeper can capitalise on them.
Entering the organic export market
Booklet 48 in the Agrodok series is a practical guide for farmers’ organisations. Honey is one of the products covered.
These booklets are available as pdf downloads at www.agromisa.org. Printed versions can be purchased from the Bf D Store.
The Agrodok series is also now available on CD. 50 titles in English, French and Portuguese dealing with smallscale agriculture and rural development in the tropics.
See Bookshelf and page 16 for more resources
BUYING FROM BfD
For all publications, media and Bf DT Membership, order through our secure online store. Or send us an e-mail, or post us a note of what you want. Payment is required with order DELIVERY UK addresses: FREE delivery on orders up to 1 kg Outside UK: Orders dispatched by airmail post. Add 10% for delivery to Europe; 25% for outside Europe Orders over £500 please request our quote) WAYS TO PAY • Secure order and payment at www.beesfordevelopment.org • to email@example.com • Credit/Debit card Amex/Maestro/Mastercard/Visa. We need card number, name on card, valid from and expiry dates, card issue number (if given), security number on back of card. 11
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AVAILABLE FROM Bf D NOW AT WWW.BEESFORDEVELOPMENT.ORG
BEE’S EYE VIEW OF FLOWERING PLANTS Nectar and pollen source plants and related honeybee products
Masami Sasaki 2010 413 pages Hardback £115 (€1175) S905 This gorgeous book presents a lifetime’s study of honey bees by Professor Masami Sasaki of Tamagawa University, Japan. Each page contains many perfect pictures of bee plants, foraging bees, flowers or fruit. There are also pictures of honey, pollen grains, other insects, (a few) birds, and of beekeeping and horticulture, with several thousand pictures in total. The main part of the book details the 647 plant species occurring in Japan that are utilised by bees for nectar, pollen, propolis or honeydew: 57% are indigenous to Japan. Also provided are floral calendars, colours of pollen, and scientific explanation of some topics such as pollination, the honey bee species present in Japan, and honey bee foraging. The text is in Japanese language, with an English summary. However all the plants are listed by their Latin names, together with common names in English, therefore this book can be of great interest for people interested in honey bee plants of any temperate zone. There is in existence no comparable English language book covering temperate zone bee plants so extensively.
Thomas D Seeley 2010 273 pages Hardback £22.95 (€333) S910 A wonderful new book by Tom Seeley. Contained here is explanation of how honey bee colonies reach consensus to make the right decisions, and hence the title: Honeybee democracy. Understanding how a honey bee society (i.e. one colony) collects facts, debates them and then acts upon the majority decision, will enhance your appreciation of bees: by taking information from a large number of individuals, the best decision is made. There is guidance here for running our own societies and how groups can best achieve optimal decision making. The book explains the recent work of many researchers, which together with Seeley’s own research, provide excellent insight into how simple but ingenious research can be designed and then interpreted. The book contains much information about natural nesting of honey bees, and this is used to explain how swarms arrive at decisions on nest site selection. This involves accumulating a diversity of knowledge, enabling a competition between the variety of ideas (the different nesting places identified by the scout bees), and voting by the population. The book contains an extensive notes section that provides further helpful explanation of many topics. Seeley’s compelling writing style, combined with a beautifully produced and illustrated text, make this a highly attractive and informative new work that will deepen your admiration for honey bee societies.
HONEY NATURE’S GOLDEN HEALER
Gloria Havenhand 2010 160 pages £13.99 (€221) H800 Another beautifully produced book with excellent pictures of bees and their products. It describes the links between the products of honey bees and good human health. As the book describes them, bee products are ‘a treasure trove of foods, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics and industrial processes that bees have freely offered to our human population for thousands of years’. Full of recipes, remedies, hints, and information about bees and their products.
Peter Miller 2010 283 pages £20 (€330) M800 Peter Miller uses examples from nature - ants, fish, starlings, termites - to show how good decisions are made and communicated, and proposes that smart humans can learn from these methods that have developed over millennia. From the bee world, he cites Tom Seeleys’ work (see above) describing how bees use consensus. Miller explains how this type of behaviour, tapping into the wisdom of crowds, enabled a huge organisation like Boeing to develop the complex distribution logistics required for manufacture of the new Dreamliner aeroplanes. This book enables us to gain a little more awareness of the intelligent life surrounding us on earth.
STOREY’S GUIDE TO KEEPING HONEY BEES
Malcom T Sanford and Richard E Bonney 2010 244 pages £14.99 (€222) S915 A new text for beekeepers in North America. This book is very clearly laid out and describes all that a beginner beekeeper needs to know: installing a colony in the hive, keeping bees healthy, understanding and preventing disease (with excellent coverage of Varroa ) and harvesting honey. It is up to date, with line drawings of city roof top hives, listings of blogs, and discussion of small hive beetles. The text is interspersed with interesting case studies, hints, letters and facts. 12
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WHY DO BEES BUZZ?
Elizabeth Capaldi Evans and Carol A Butler 2010 229 pages £20.50 (€330) C800 A fun question and answer format offers easily accessible information. More than 100 questions such as ‘can a bee hear?’, ‘do bees forage at night?’, ’what is bee venom?’ The answers are scientific, with extensive references. An easy way to learn facts about bees.
THE BEE-FRIENDLY BEEKEEPER – A SUSTAINABLE APPROACH
David Heaf 2010 160 pages £25 (€337) H805 The book begins with the story of two swarms, one natural and one artificial. This comparison between what the bees do when left to themselves, and what ‘is done to them’ by the beekeeper, runs through the whole book. Later sections expand on the differences, pointing out the impact of, or sustainability of, the two different approaches. Heaf makes use of a matrix to introduce agricultural and environmental ethics into his argument, fitting the fundamental attitudes of beekeepers into four types of relationship between beekeeper and nature – that of dominator, steward, partner or participant. Sustainability is environmental, economic, social and – vitally – bee-friendly. He then goes on to discuss the three primary needs of a bee colony: shelter, seclusion and sustenance. Two chapters on disease and making increase answer to modern concerns. Finally, two chapters on the People’s Hive of Abbé Warré describe in detail Heaf’s own use of the hive, and tips on management. This is very much a beekeeper’s guide: it assumes a good working knowledge of conventional frame hive management processes. Heaf’s own choice is for the People’s Hive – a vertical top-bar hive – being simpler to build and manage than conventional frame hives. Heaf backs up his call for more ‘natural’ conditions in the brood nest with extensive research into the literature of beekeeping, acknowledging the bee colony as a superorganism, and principally as a warmth organism. Intensification, regular opening of the hive, stress from lack of forage diversity or poor management, and pesticides are all practices which create conditions for disease. The book’s underlying theme is that problems with colony losses are nature’s response to inappropriate beekeeping. It takes us a huge step forward towards a focus on the bee colony itself, inside the box: bee health and perhaps ultimately our own sustainability will depend on beekeepers’ better understanding of what it means to be bee-friendly. Dr Monica Barlow (see full length review at www.beesfordevelopment.org/catalog)
THE ROSE HIVE METHOD
Tim Rowe 2010 128 pages £16 (€220) R800 Tim Rowe manages 100 colonies of bees in Ireland. Like Abbé Warré and David Heaf (see above), he has considered the way bees live in nature and endeavoured to create a simpler hive, enabling better and simpler management of honey bees. As the author says of Langstroth–style hives: ‘They are restrictive and awkward and difficult to keep clean and healthy’. Instead the Rose hive uses boxes that are all of the same size (when full they are the maximum weight that can be carried comfortably), each containing 12 frames. These boxes are added or removed from the colony, above or below the brood nest, or between two occupied boxes, according to the season and cycle of the colony. This book describes the method very clearly indeed, and like Warré beekeeping, Rowe advocates that bees overwinter only on their own honey. Plans for the Rose hive are included in the book, and have been downloaded by people in more than 40 countries. You can do so too at www.rosebeehives.com
INSIDE A BEE HIVE
Valerie Rhenius 2010 36 pages £10 (€115) V805 French translation Audrey Langlassé; Spanish translation Laura González This book shows close up pictures of frames and combs with bees, inside a brood box, in August in London. Turn the page, and you see the other side of the frame. Good for teaching about life inside a honey bee nest. The brief text is provided in English, French and Spanish languages.
HONEY IN THE KITCHEN
Joyce White 2010 updated edition 54 pages £10 (€115) W800
This book was first published in 1978, with a second edition in 2000, and is now reprinted. A wide range of recipes using honey.
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Bees for Development Journal 97
DIARY DATE Sunday 6 March 2011 Bf D Trust is the beneficiary of the UK’s BBC Radio 4 Charity Appeal. The broadcast will take place at 7.55 am and 9.26 pm. This will be available as a podcast at www.bbc.co.uk/radio4 Please support the work of Bf D Trust FREE BOOKS The British Ecological Society and NHBS Environment Bookstore are offering free ecology and conservation books to readers in developing countries. The aim of this scheme is to spread ecological knowledge as widely as possible. See www.nhbs.com/Conservation/gratis-books PROJECT FUNDING FAO, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN, supports beekeeping projects in developing countries. TeleFood Special Fund Beekeepers’ groups and associations may apply for small project funding of up to US$10,000. Request documents should include a brief description of project objectives, proposed food production or income-generating activities, work plan, number of participants, detailed list of inputs with cost estimates and reporting arrangements. Submit your request to the FAO or UNDP office in your country. See www.fao.org and please inform Bf D of the outcome of your application. 1% for Development Fund Small grants to enable community based beekeeping projects in developing countries to get off the ground. Applicants must clearly define objectives and how they are to be attained. Contact One-Per-Cent-Fund@FAO.org BEE FRIENDS WORLD-WIDE Have you joined our Network Centre? Go to www.beesfordevelopment.org and then Network Centre, and meet beekeepers in your own nation or any other country worldwide. Visit our official Facebook page to keep in touch with latest developments at Bf D. If you like the page, you can comment on our wall, access pictures and videos. VOLUNTEERS WANTED Kikandwa Environmental Association, an RDO based in Mityana, Uganda seeks assistance from beekeeping volunteers. Contact Bf D and we will put you in touch LINKS The International Symposium Linking biodiversity conservation and poverty reduction: what, why and how? organised by IIED, and PCLG took place in April at the Zoological Society of London. Report available to download at: www.povertyandconservation.info/en/ BEE CRAFT The UK’s leading monthly beekeeping magazine. View a digital copy and subscribe on line at www.bee-craft.com ULUDAG BEE JOURNAL News, practical information and research articles Published quarterly in Turkish with English summaries. See www.uludagaricilik.org IT PAYS TO ADVERTISE Bf D Journal offers a great opportunity to reach thousands of readers. Prices start from GBP35 (USD60, €42) with various sizes available. 15
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SUPPORT FOR TRAINING Bf D Training Booklets and Training Cards are for use by beekeeper trainers in Africa. Each booklet provides one day of training on one topic. The cards provide pictures and plans illustrating techniques discussed in the booklets. These are included in our Resource Boxes for training events and workshops.
BfD Beekeepers Safaris Bee-themed holidays to superb locations
Trinidad and Tobago
in partnership with Gladstone Solomon
7-17 February 2011 Rodrigues and Mauritius
in partnership with Care-Co Rodrigues
13-24 November 2011 (dates to be confirmed)
Projects and associations in developing countries are welcome to apply for a Sponsored Resource Box by filling out an application form on our website, or request the form by email. Projects in other areas can purchase Resource Boxes through our website store
If you would like to receive BfD Journal but you cannot pay the £20 subscription, apply for a sponsored subscription. Download an application form from our website, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Or send a letter. We need to know your name, organisation, full postal address, email address (if any), plus a few details about your beekeeping activities. Our sponsored subscription service is available to resource-poor beekeepers, projects, and groups in developing countries and is supported with funds raised by Bf D Trust.
Telephone +44 (0) 16007 13648
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