Category Archives: Resources

Other sources of information to help beekeepers run a successful apiary business

Plants for Bees of the British Isles

Gardeners and beekeepers alike – all friends of the bees – will be glad to note that the International Bee Research Association (IBRA) is publishing a new book, Plants for Bees, a “comprehensive guide to the plants that benefit the bees of the British Isles.”

With both native bee and honeybee populations under threat everywhere,  home gardeners have an increasingly important role to play in helping to support these vital pollinators.  By becoming aware of which plants are most attractive as food sources for bees,  and planting more of those flowers and plants, anyone with a small patch can contribute to offsetting the rapid destruction of habitat and biodiversity on which native bees depend.

Our gardens are … fast-becoming an alternative home for many of our bee species and for our native bees to survive and thrive these spaces are crucial.

In this fascinating book, Dr William Kirk and Dr Frank Howes explain the importance of planting flowers for both long- and short-tongued bee species and sets out clearly which plants benefit which type. A simple key system allows gardeners to quickly identify the advantages of more than 300 plants for each type of bee and the information is punctuated by stunning photography.

Plants for Bees: A Guide to the Plants That Benefit the Bees of the British Isles is available now for pre-order at, or members of the International Bee Research Association may buy the book at a discount by ordering via the IBRA.

For more information:
Visit the website for the book at,
or contact
Sarah Jones, IBRA
16 North Road, Cardiff
CF10 3DY
Telephone: 029 2037 2409

Free Honey and Pollen Analysis Offered to Canadian Beekeepers

A two-year research project entitled Floral identification of Canadian honey and pollen and development of a palynological reference booklet aims to develop a Canadian expertise in honey and pollen identification. 

Unlike European honeys, Canadian honeys are not differentiated by their specific floral sources. The term "mixed flowers" categorizes the majority of honey sold in the country. Therefore, consumers cannot buy honeys from particular floral origins. In addition, the Canadian market is flooded with imported honeys of lower quality. The price of these "mixed flowers" honeys imported is much lower than Canadian honey, causing significant competition to local products. Finally, because pollen can be used to feed bees or sold as dietary supplement for human consumption, the labelling of plant composition would add market-value.

The purpose of this two-year project is to develop a Canadian expertise in honey and pollen identification of floral sources. The project will enable Canadian beekeepers to send honey and pollen samples for free analysis (shipping fees will be beekeepers’ responsibility) for the duration of the project.

Ms. Mélissa Girard, a M.Sc. graduate who has extensive training in both beekeeping and palynology (the scientific study of spores and pollen) will be in charge of the project and will continue to offer the service at an affordable price through the CRSAD when the project is concluded.

Pollen Reference Collection

In addition to honey and pollen analyses, a reference collection of pollen grains from all melliferous plant species of Canada will be created. Out of this collection, a photograph booklet and identification key of the pollen grains will be produced and made available.

The reference collection will be created with the help of research centers and universities from all over Canada sending flowers to the CRSAD. However, the help of the beekeepers, although optional, would be greatly appreciated. Potential flowers targeted for mono-floral honeys to be analysed could be collected and sent with honey samples. This would help in completing the pollen reference collection.

Procedure if you decide to collect flowers

  • Collect a full envelope (standard letter size) of freshly opened flowers from a single species.
  • Seal the envelope.
  • On the envelope, write down the plant species or common name, date of collection and the environment (forest, agricultural field, roadside, etc.)
  • Let the envelope dry under the sun for 2-3 days (through a window)

Amount of honey or pollen to send for analysis

  • Honey: 50g
  • Pollen: 50-100g of pellets (approximately 1/2-1 cup)*

*The total amount of pollen pellets must be mixed gently in order to homogenize the content prior to taking the sample. The pollen must be dried or kept frozen until mailing.

The identification form (English/French) must be filled and sent with the sample(s).

Shipping address for sample(s): Centre de recherche – services-conseils a/s Mélissa Girard 120-A, chemin du Roy Deschambault, Québec Canada, G0A 1L0 1-418-656-2131 #8876

For more information, please contact Ms. Girard at the address and phone number above.

What Would Your Garden Look Like Without Bees?

Bees are endangered, as we know, but the new is not all bad. There are many things that an individual can do -in our own gardens – to help protect these essential pollinators, and the food crops that depend on them.

While researchers are looking for the causes, honey bee populations around the world continue to decline at alarming rates. Given that more than a third of our food supply is dependent on pollination by honey bees, it is not an exaggeration to say that we have the potential for a major agricultural disaster. That’s the bad news.

The good news is that there are many things that we as individuals can do to promote the health of the honey bee.

Bee the Solution:

  • Grow bee-friendly plants
  • Create a four-season sanctuary for pollinators
  • Become a beekeeper
  • Make a drinking fountain for bees
  • Buy local, organic, unpasteurized honey
  • Stop spraying
  • Support bee research

Endorsed by Bee Culture Magazine and Brushy Mountain Bee Farm, A Bee Lover’s Garden has produced a fundraising calendar to support the Eastern Apicultural Society’s Foundation for Honey Bee Research. Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture Magazine, will chair a committee to review proposals and make the final recommendation.

Conditions and Instructions for Apivar Use in Bee Hives

apivar As announced in “PMRA Approves Emergency Use of Apivar in Canada,” the Pest Management Regulatory Agency has granted the emergency registration of Apivar® for the control of the parasitic mite, Varroa destructor, in honey bee hives in Canada.

Apivar® (active ingredient: 3.33% amitraz) is a sustained-release plastic strip designed for use in honey bee hives.

This emergency registration applies in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island for the period beginning July 1, 2009, and ending June 30, 2010 — subject to the following Conditions:

  • Honey supers must be removed from hives before undergoing treatment wtih amitraz, and cannot be replaced until 14 days after the strips are removed.
  • Residues of amitraz equivalents in/on honey and honey-derived products must not exceed 0.1 parts per million (ppm) (as per subsection B.15.002(1) of the Food and Drug Regulations.
  • End-users must be informed that various countries, including the United States, do not have a maximum residue limit (MRL) for amitraz in honey, honeycomb, and beeswax, and that they assume the risk that use of Apivar® may affect export of their product.

Continue reading Conditions and Instructions for Apivar Use in Bee Hives

Beekeeping Magazines Go Online

BeeKeepers QuarterlyThe BeeKeepers Quarterly edited by John Phipps, has just announced that it’s taking its show online. The UK beekeeping magazine can now be seen on the Web at The March 2009 and May 2009 issues will be “free samples” for beekeepers to try it out, and there will be a small subscription charge for future issues. The print edition will continue for those who prefer to receive the magazine in that format.

This news comes from Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture – The Magazine of American Beekeeping, who is a regular contributor to the BeeKeepers Quarterly). Flottum notes that Bee Culture, too, will be releasing a digital edition later this year.

Other digital beekeeping magazines include Bee Craft (UK) and MidWest Beekeeper (US). So far, the American Bee Journal is not available on the Internet, but you can subscribe to the Journal through its website, or view the Table of Contents, Covers, and an index of articles in past issues.