Sunday, 29 December 2013

Shook Swarm Technique

Information Sheet 

Shook Swarm Technique

This sheet progresses from that on Integrated Varroa Management.
A method used to reduce the risk of foul brood diseases such as American & European Foul Brood. The respective spores and bacteria of these diseases are usually found in the brood cells and this aims to give the colony new foundation to work on every year or two, helping to maintain healthy brood frames. This technique may also be used, with the consent and instructions of the Regional Bee Inspector, when a minor outbreak of EFB is confirmed.

Secondary Purposes:

To replace the brood combs at the beginning of the season, preferably in April/May during a honey flow and as an alternative to an artificial swarm in April, May & June. This can also reduce varroa very effectively.


To remove any possible reservoir of infection from the colony by removing all brood combs that may contain bacteria. Treatment with anti-biotic for EFB will not necessarily remove all bacteria and therefore the disease can recur.
A colony must be strong enough to withstand a Shook Swarm, ie. At least 6 British standard brood frames of bees and have a satisfactory laying queen. The colony must be able to draw out the foundation and therefore the ideal months are from late April to June.
The beekeeper must have ready for use, clean/sterilised equipment for a new hive. This is your opportunity to give the colony a clean hive to start the season, similar to the hiving of a natural swarm.


  1. Move the colony a short distance from its original position.
  2. Place a clean brood chamber with clean frames with foundation, with a clean floor and entrance
    block, on the original position. Use a queen excluder between the floor and chamber, to prevent the
    queen from absconding. Find the queen and cage her for safekeeping during this manipulation.
  3. Remove approximately 3 central frames of foundation from the new hive.
  4. Shake all bees from the original hive into the centre (do this by lowering the frames, one at a time,
    into the gap and shaking all the bees into the depth of the chamber) and brush any remaining bees.
  5. Put the old frames, without bees into a bag for destruction later. In foundation replacement & swarming situations, it is a good idea to put 1 original frame of open brood into the new chamber.
    (see note below on varroa management)
  6. When all old frames have been shaken into the new chamber, replace the 3 frames with foundation
    gently into place, then carefully release the queen into the brood chamber.
  7. Feed the bees with sugar syrup until the foundation is at least 75% draw out. If there is already
    honey in a super or good nectar flow, feeding may not be necessary, but be careful.
  8. In the case of EFB, destroy by burning all old brood frames, immediately. Otherwise the frames may be cleaned, ready for new foundation. Also in the case of EFB, any supers may be required to be burnt, unless the Regional Bee Inspector gives you a license to extract the honey for human
    consumption only.
For Integrated Varroa Management: All the original sealed brood will have a large numbers of mites within, so destruction is necessary. Return 1 brood frame with eggs or open brood to the brood chamber (varroa mites will be ready to occupy these cells as they are capped.) As soon as the cells are all capped, remove the frame & destroy it, thus removing most of the mites that were on the bees. To reuse the frames, freeze the brood and them clean off the comb and renew the foundation.

Background Information:

The National Bee Unit have researched the shook swarm relative to minor infection of EFB outbreaks and found that recurrence rates are substantially reduced when a shook is used. (4% against 21%). For heavily infected colonies, destruction of the colony and frames is required and the hive parts sterilized by scorching.
Post Note: From recent experience, it is incredible how the colony will recover and produce the usual amount of honey or even more.
Information above has been helped by an article from the BBKA News – April 2002 and personal experience

Prepared by John Hauxwell (up-dated July 2010) Reference from the CSL of the National Bee Unit, fact sheet

Friday, 27 December 2013

General Husbandry Course 2014 - ADVANCE NOTICE

Advance notice

CEC Skills Workshops committee
General Husbandry Course

Date: March, April, May 2014 - dates to be confirmed - 1 weekend and three evening sessions

Venue: various around the County at apiaries of EBKA General Husbandry 'graduates'

To register your interest: please email or call 01245 381577

Trainer: Jane Ridler and guest speakers including Graham Royle NDB

Cost: to be advised

Equipment: to be advised

Prerequisite:  Fully paid up member of EBKA for 2014

This course will be timed in March, April and May, beginning with a weekend Introductory Day with Graham Royle NDB. There will follow 3 evening sessions (at the apiaries of our General Husbandry ‘graduates’ who are also our Basic Assessors.) with Essex members who have the General Husbandry qualification. Graham will return for another day’s workshop running through some ‘mock assessments’ as well as other hands on procedures .

Topics that will be covered include – good record keeping, case studies of the assessment experience, preparing your apiary and honey extracting facilities, and weak areas requested by delegates e.g. those processes which have to be demonstrated at the assessment, and knowledge of disease.

If you are interested in doing this assessment course, please email your details.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

Need a grid reference for your hive location?

Its that time of year - memberships are due as of 1st January 2014. 

Help us to help FERA with the accurate re ording of our hive locations throughout the Dengie 100 & Maldon District.  Although not a strict requirement, as yet, this information is vital for ongoing research. 

If you need help in identifying your grid reference go to the following website:

Enter your postcode - see page below ...... Then

If your pin is shown a distance from where your hives are - just "right click" your mouse on the precise location.  A pop out window will appear giving you your grid reference! That's all there is to it.

See below

For more help, call or email the Secretary at

Happy beekeeping for 2014

Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeepers

Merry Christmas

Varroa mites needed for research


Varroa are needed as part of a collaboration by Rothamsted Research . It links to a paper that will hopefully be published soon (already accepted): Gonz├ílez-Cabrera , J., Davies, T.G.E.,, Field, L.M., Kennedy, P.J. and Williamson, M.S. An amino acid substitution (L925V) associated with resistance to pyrethroids in Varroa destructor. PLOS ONE. The paper describes how molecular biology / chemist colleagues at Rothamstedhave identified a mutated gene that is likely to be involved in the mutation that has conferred varroa resistance to the pyrethroid-based varroacide products, Apistan and Bayverol. This was based on samples collected from hives in Bedfordshire & Hampshire.

They are now keen to confirm how common this single mutation is over a broader range of counties, hence the request for varroa. For the genetic analysis, it is important that the mites have not been dead for too long to avoid deterioration of DNA. Live would be even better, that is harder to achieve; they’ll take them dead or alive. Hence the request for varroa mites or board scrapings within a few days of clean boards being added under mesh floors (or trays inserted onto solid floors).

Please send samples directly to  Joel Gonzalez Cabrera, at Rothamsted (see address below). To make sense of the samples, they also need some additional information (as described below) and are particularly keen to receive samples from colonies that have received either Apistan or Bayvarol within the last 5 years (but are equally keen to receive varroa samples that haven’t).”


Collecting Mites Using Bottom Board

  • slide in your clean board (if in already, just slide out to clean first and return).
  • leave in for 24 – 48 hrs.
  • collect all mites as you count them (place in small container), or … just brush everything into a sealable bag.
  • mites from each hive in a different container/bag.

Mites need to arrive within 7 days of boards going in; e.g. set up Sunday, collect Tuesday, & post Tuesday/Wednesday.

Sending Mites

Include the following details:

  • your name.
  • your address (approximate if you prefer; postal address if you’d like to receive results).
  • colony ID.
  • dates & details of previous treatments.

Send mites & details 1st class to:

Joel Gonzalez Cabrera,Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ.

Mites need to arrive within 7 days of boards going in; e.g. set up Sunday, collect Tuesday, & post Tuesday/Wednesday.

Monday, 23 December 2013

AGM 2014

Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeepers 


Wednesday 15 January 2014
7:30pm for 8pm
The Norton, Cold Norton CM3 6JB

All invited. 

Membership subscriptions due for 2014
Bring with you - cheque or cash

Crystallised honey

Is your honey crystallised? Here is the crystallised honey fix

Honey crystals. This year's honeycrystallised  fairly quickly.
Raw, unfiltered honey will often crystallise. Certain honeys such as oil seed rape and dandelion will crystallize faster due to their higher glucose content as opposed to other honeys. Honey that is stored in cooler locations will crystallise faster than honey kept at room temperatures. Professor Elton J. Dyce (Ref Maria's Bees blog) discovered that honey crystallises the fastest at 55F (12.7C). Unfiltered honey will crystallise faster than filtered honey, because filtration removes the "starter" 

Crystallised honey, also known as creamed honey, is not as messy as liquid honey. It does not leave messy drips and trails when you use it in your tea, and it spreads nicely on your biscuits. It also retains all of its original awesome flavor. Do you like your honeycrystallised  or liquid? Leave me a note in the comments section.

Here are the basic steps (for the YouTube video click here):
The crystallised honey fix: place the honey in a pot of warm water

  • Heat a pot of water to 150F (65C). 
  • Remove the pot from the heat in so that you don't accidentally scorch the honey in the process
  • Place the crystallised honey in the pot
It took us almost an hour to re-liquefy our jar of honey.

Alternatively, you can invest in a warming cabinet or perhaps make one (for those with DIY skills)

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Thornes January Sale 2014

May we wish you all a very merry Christmas and a happy healthy New Year.

As in previous years, we have given a donation of £500.00 to Bees for Development in lieu of cards.   However, this year, we have given it through the Big Give scheme which will double it to £1,000.

Just two quick messages.   Our Winter Sale will start online on 4th January 2014 and we will send out an email with more details between Christmas and New Year.

For beekeepers, the first two National Honey Show lectures are now on You Tube so you can watch them at your leisure.    See

Gill, Rebecca, Paul and all the staff

E.H. Thorne (Beehives) Ltd

Monday, 2 December 2013

2014 Swarms and Swarm Control in Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeeping Association

Do you have a swarm?

       Do you live in one of the areas covered by the postcodes on the map?

Our Swarm Co-ordinator is likely to ask you some questions about the bees you have and will help identify them, advising what can be done.

All our swarm collectors are volunteers.

Some of our swarm collectors will move bumblebees, however, solitary bees are less re-locatable.

Please contact

Carlie Mayes
Swarm Co-ordinator
Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeepers

07979 862952
01245 381577

If you are interested in taking a swarm the Swarm Co-ordinator will take some details and include your details on our database.  Just ask.

The areas we cover include:

Maldon, Southminster, Burnham on Crouch, Danbury, Bicknacre, Wickham Bishops, Mundon, Bradwell on Sea, Steeple, Latchingdon, North Fambridge, South Woodham Ferrers, Hatfield Peverel
DMBKA Division Swarm coverage

If you are unsure if we have a swarm collector in your area, please call to find out.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Pollen - Natural News

Honey bee carrying pollen back to the hive

Bees have been in the news a lot lately, and not for good reasons. Colony collapse disorder has been debated around the world, with fingers being pointed at many culprits. Not only does this crisis affect our overall food production, but it also hampers the production of one of nature's richest and most healing superfoods - bee pollen.

A powerhouse of nutrition

Pollen on anthers of lily
Bee pollen is considered one of nature's most complete foods. It contains nearly all the nutrients required by humans and about half of its 40% protein content is in the form of free amino acids and is highly bioavailable to the human body.

Bee pollen helps correct diets that are nutrient deficient or imbalanced through its remarkable nutrient profile that is not only comprehensive but also very well balanced. It contains the richest known source of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, hormones, enzymes and fats, as well as significant quantities of natural antibiotics.

Revel in the nutrients present in this miraculous superfood:

• A rich source of carotenoids (which convert to vitamin A)
• Vitamins B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9 and B12
• Vitamin C
• Vitamin E
• Calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, potassium, silicon, sulphur and 59 other trace minerals
• 22 amino acids, which contain five to seven times the amino acids found in equal weights of beef, milk, eggs or cheese
• Enzymes including amylase, catalase, cozymase, cytochrome, dehydrogenase, diaphorase, diastase, lactic acids, pectase and phosphatase

In a nutrient-starved world, incorporating bee pollen with its exceptional vitamin, mineral, amino acid and enzyme profile could go a long way in filling in the gaps of your day to day nutrition.

Healing action of bee pollen

The overall effects of bee pollen are comprehensive, as it appears to activate systemic biological functions rather than focusing on one physiological area. After many years of testing, bee pollen has also been noted as lacking any harmful side effects, and it is easily digestible and suitable for all ages.

The many healing properties of bee pollen include:

• Promotes growth of healthy new cells
• Encourages increased tissue repair
• Enhances toxin elimination
• Reduces cholesterol levels
• Regulates blood pressure
• Increases resistance to infections
• Stabilizes the nervous system
• Improves fertility in women
• Retards growth of tumors
• Eliminates excessive calcium deposits
• Helps release excessive uric acid
Scotts Pine pollen grain
• Promotes skin tissue growth and counteracts wrinkling
• Increases calmness and relaxation
• Promotes increased concentration and memory
• Enhances sexual activity
• Promotes increased strength, stamina, endurance and energy levels
• Combats cancer, diabetes, arthritis and depression

Considering that all disease is partially rooted in nutrient deficiency, it is no wonder why this nutrient-dense superfood has such a positive effect on all the biological functions of the body.

How to incorporate bee pollen into your diet

Bee collecting pollen
When deciding to incorporate bee pollen into your healthy lifestyle, there are a few factors you want to consider, including buying it raw (not pasteurized) and as local as possible.

You also want to take care that you do not heat the bee pollen at higher temperatures (above 105°F), as it will destroy the delicate enzymes and vitamin C content.

A great way to incorporate bee pollen into your diet is by simply eating the granules themselves, or incorporating them into smoothies, yogurt, trail mixes, cereal and oatmeal.

Considering the positive effects that bee pollen can have on our diet, and the fact that they pollinate many of the world's crops, let's do our best to support the industry and feel better physically in the process.

Sources for this article include:

Alternatives Central

Learn more: Natural News

DMBKA Bee Library

Beekeeping Library

Available to all members of Dengie 100 & Maldon Beekeepers.

A full list of all the books/publications currently held by DMBKA will be published shortly.

During the winter months, why not borrow a book and read one of the many books we have on keeping bees.

If you have any beekeeping books that you are prepared to loan out to other members, please contact the secretary with details.

The Beekeepers Year - Guide to "What to do"

The Beekeepers Year

What to do and when. A helpful guide for beekeepers 

December, January & February

What to Do …

Monitor hive entrance for build up of dead bees and blockage. Wedge up the back of the hive to ensure the floor slopes gently forwards. Repair Woodpecker and other damage to stop wind / weather getting in. Ensure the roof is secure; bricks, blocks and/or a strap will do the job. Gently heft (lift) the hive to check food weight, if light put block of Candy over the feedhole, a shallow eke may be needed. Record your observations for each Hive in a book each time you visit; more reliable than a memory!

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Ply, foam, Drawing pins etc.
  • Straps, Bricks, wedge.
  • Candy in tubs or blocks, Shallow Eke to allow candy block over Crown Board.


What to Do

During early March continue to monitor the Hive entrance for damage by weather or attack, Animal or Human! Pay close attention to weight of the hive if weather is warming up the colony should be growing quickly and food consumption will increase considerably, replace Candy block if consumed. Later on consider giving a weak Syrup (weather dependent).

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • As above Later in the month possibly a liquid feeder and syrup.
  • Record Book.


What to Do

The colony should be growing very quickly now so food supply will need to be maintained if the hive is light. Feed if required with half strength Syrup. On a warm day remove the Eke, Entrance Block and Mouse Guard if fitted. Change the Floor for a clean one prepared during winter. Later remove the Feeder and put on a Queen Excluder and a Super(s) if required to give space for the growing numbers. Insert Varroa treatment for 42 Days only (2 Brood Cycles). Remove before Honey flows into the Supers. Be vigilant Swarming can begin in late April! Consider one or more ‘Bait hives’ in the Apiary to catch Swarms.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Feeder and Syrup.
  • Varroa Treatment.
  • Clean sound floor with no gaps for Wax Moth to occupy, preferably ‘flamed’.
  • Varroa Treatment Queen Excluder and Super/s.
  • Sterilise your extractor for use / consider upgrade.
  • Bag for rubbish removal.
  • Bait Hive and Swarm Lure.
  • Record Book.


What to Do

Begin thorough and regular inspections of the Brood Comb. Work old comb to the outside so that it can be removed and replaced. Old comb harbours disease and should be replaced systematically as good practice. Aim to change 35% per annum. If necessary remove outside  frames clogged with food. These can be given back in the Autumn after storing in the freezer. Ensure enough food and Pollen remains in the brood Chamber. Place new frames and Foundation  either side of the brood nest to allow the Queen to increase her nest size. Congestion can cause swarming. Additional Supers may now be required. Remove Varroa treatment before honey flow into supers. Consider one or more ‘Bait hives’ in the Apiary to catch Swarms.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • New Frames and Foundation. Spare Brood Chamber/s for carrying Frames in and out of Apiary.
  • Spare Supers  ready to use or to exchange for extraction.
  • Bait Hives & Swarm Lures.
  • Bag for rubbish removal.
  • Record Book.


What to Do

Continue to examine (and if possible exchange)  Brood Frames for any signs of disease or swarming. The brood  should be able to  occupy most of the Brood Chamber this month. Swarming will continue through June so you will have to continue to be vigilant. You may be able to take off some frames of capped Honey or even complete Supers, ensure you have empty Frames or Supers to replace those taken.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools. Record Book.
  • New Brood Frames and Foundation.
  • Spare Supers with Frames and Foundation.
  • Bee Escapes for clearing Supers. Bee Brush.

July & August

What to Do

Swarming should be over by early July allowing the Colony and you to concentrate on collecting Nectar. The Honey for harvesting and the Queen Excluder should be taken off in early August allowing the bees to collect what little remains for themselves and Varroa strips to be put in for 42 days (2 Brood Cycles)  Early August insert Entrance block to reduce entrances so the diminishing colony can defend against Wasps.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Spare Supers with Frames and Foundation.
  • Bee Escapes for clearing Supers.
  • Bee Brush.
  • Varroa Strips.
  • Entrance Blocks.


What to Do

It is time now to feed the colony for the winter replacing the Honey taken. This is done by adding 1 Kg bag of Granulated Sugar to a pint of water and heating until all the sugar is in solution, add Fumidil B for Nosema. The colony will need at least 15Kg (more for the bigger hives) of this Syrup to make it through the cold months ahead. Feeding needs to be completed before the end of the month allowing the colony to process off the excess water. Remove Varroa strips after 42 days. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Feeder and Syrup with Fumadil B. Feeders.
  • Large Eke for bucket type feeders.

October, November December

What to Do

With all the required syrup now in the brood chamber all should be well for winter. Fit a mouse guard to the entrance if not done already. Strap and or weigh down the roof against winter wind. Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build up of dead bees. Bees are dying all the time and just a few can block the entrance leaving the others unable to get out for water or toileting. Unchecked a few dead bees can lead to the loss of the whole colony. Keep a regular check for Woodpecker damage or rain getting in. Be aware that  deer or other animals could knock the hive over rubbing against to satisfy an itch. Feeding should not be required yet but keep an emergency block of Candy with you just in case, Most of the colonies that die out are due to starvation. Most important remember bees are Livestock and we have a duty to look after them as best we can.

Essential Equipment

  • Protective Clothing, Smoker, Hive Tools.
  • Record Book.
  • Blocks or bricks.
  • Straps.
  • Mouse guards.
  • Ply, foam, Drawing pins etc. Straps, Bricks, wedge.
  • Candy in tubs or blocks.
  • Books Videos and magazines.

Free Moments

What to Do

Read as many Bee books, Magazines and watch as many Video’s as you can get your hands on. The more you learn the easier and more rewarding Beekeeping becomes. It is a privilege to keep Bees; enjoy every minute!

Essential Equipment

  • Reference Books
  • Beekeeping Video guides

National Hive - Plans

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Members Meeting - 16 October 2013

Alliums for honey bees
Come and join us at

The Norton, 
Cold Norton CM3 6JP
at 7.30pm
16 October

Autumn asters attract Red Admiral

for an interesting discussion on what plants to put in your garden and what forage is beyond the garden hedge for your bees.

Flowers to attract bumblebees as well
Plantsman, Roy Carter, will be giving members the low down on what to look for and when to plant as well as when you will see good nectar flow and pollen production.

A must for a beekeeper who cares about their bees.

Daffodils in spring

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Freeman & Harding Newsletter - National Honey Show 2013

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Freeman & Harding look forward to seeing you at the National Honey Show on 24th, 25th & 26th October 2013.
We will have special prices on our most popular jars for customers wishing to collect at the National Honey Show on the 25th and 26th October 2013. Please complete the order form below.
You can also collect from our warehouse before 31st December 2013.
The items in this offer are only available for collection. You cannot choose to have these items delivered.
If you have not purchased from our online shop before then please follow the steps outlined below;
  • Create an account on our website
  • Using the Contact Us button, send a message including your BBKA membership number and the expiry date shown on your card
  • We will apply the 10% discount directly to your price list and send you an email confirmation. Once you have received this confirmation, every time you log in to your account you will see the discounted prices
  • Discounts cannot be applied after orders have been placed
  • Once you are a member of the exclusive BBKA group and have logged in to your account you will also have access to our very special show prices. These will be found in the left hand column under the heading "Honey Show" or Click Here.
This category will only be active during the run up to the National Honey Show and the Spring Convention, so don't worry if you can't see it at other times of the year

Please note that the closing date for receipt of orders is Friday 18th October 2013.  Online, postal & telephone orders will be accepted until this date.
In addition to these offers, why not see if there is anything else you like on our website. All products are available to collect at the NHS with the BBKA discount of 10%
We will have a small amount of stock available to purchase at the show but always sell out, so be sure to place your order before 18th October 2013.

On our stand we will also have candle jarscosmetic pots and gift packaging.

Come and see us for a chocolate and a chat whilst looking at the new additions to our range.
Price List
Details Form
You're receiving this because you are a valued customer of Freeman & Harding Limited.
Freeman & Harding Ltd
18, Bilton Road
Erith, Kent, DA8 2AN