Hi and welcome to 2008. Again you must have wondered if Apis UK would be seeing the light of day again after an absence of around 5 months. Unfortunately, these things do happen but we will aim for them not to happen again. I’ve had many messages from readers asking us when we will be returning and offering good wishes and so thank you for those. Now we are back with our usual mix of science and history, hoping to keep all beekeepers and those interested in what beekeeping science can do, fully up to date. And, we speak in English, not science speak. For example, in this issue we bring you the research that will undoubtedly change the way good queen breeders measure the effectiveness of their queens. Also, we bring news of a new and very effective method of preventing the devastation caused by the Small Hive Beetle. Just as importantly, if you need to protect your elephants, we tell you how – with bees. Read on!
In our historical note which deals with the preservative properties of honey, we tell a particularly vile anecdote, and our poem of the month is by a great but comparatively little known Victorian. The recipe this month is so delicious that you just have to keep on making the things and our quote of the month will bring you food for thought rather than the stomach.
During 2007 I was able to visit Apimondia in Melbourne and a jolly good time was had by all. My thanks go particularly to the Mexican stand operatives who provided us all with copious amounts of tequila in little pottery jugs attached to neck lanyards (so that you didn’t lose the pot). Also, cheers to the honey beer stand. Marvellous stuff for thirsty show goers. I was also able to visit the show stalwarts such as Thornes and NBB and it was great to see that they had travelled so far. The only sad note was news of the death of Dr Eva Crane. Now there was someone of standing who contributed so much to beekeepers’ understanding of the importance of science to the industry that she literally set the ball rolling for a revolutionary change in the way we progress our knowledge. She founded IBRA and has stayed with it through all of its transformations, and it was IBRA that set me off on my beekeeping career.
Other organisations/journals/laboratories have now come on the scene and IBRA’s role has changed dramatically, but it was IBRA that started it all off after WWII. IBRA brought scientists and scientific knowledge together at a time when communications were difficult and the information age not even a dream. When I first read my initial ‘how to keep bees’ books, I thought, ‘there must be more to it than this’. Ekes, Frow chemicals, Isle of Wight disease! It was dreadful stuff. But there was more, and it was IBRA that showed me the way forward. We hope that Apis UK in its much smaller way can carry on spreading the good word about the importance of science to beekeeping.
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