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Beekeepers News - November - Issue 86

Beekeepers News - November - Issue 86

The November 2023 edition of our newsletter



In October we hosted the last of our Sale Days for 2023 at our Factory & Head Office. The day was a huge success including many factory tours and three excellent beekeeping talks. Thank you to everyone who attended and all our staff for making it a superb day! 

Rand Sale Day - Factory Tour


Rand Sale Day - Kitchen Staff


Rand Sale Day - Factory Tour

Last month also saw the centenary celebration of the National Honey Show, and it was bigger and better than ever - including ours hives! Check out our Managing Director, Paul, with our double sized WBC hive.


The Princess Royal opened the show. HRH took a look around the Thorne stand and spoke to Thorne Directors, Gill and Rebecca.


A big thank you to the organisers for putting on a brilliant show and all the customers that visited our stand.


MD at the National Honey Show

Our Flash Sale went live online on the 29th October and it will be running until Monday 13th November. All our usual bargain items are available plus Britsh WRC hive parts and second quality frames. We are also discounting many of our clothing lines, budget plastic extractors and VarroMed.


Sale orders over £100 are carriage paid within the UK and over £150 carriage paid to Northern Ireland.



VarroMed Offer



Christmas Tree Moulds


Equipment Focus

Thorne Silicone Candle Moulds


These highly detailed moulds are hand crafted at our Scotland branch in Newburgh. These moulds produce excellent results time after time.


TS336 Traditional Santa

All are pre-holed for wicks and come with wick-laying channel to ensure the mould stays erect when you are pouring the wax. The moulds are very easy to use and, with care, will last several years.


Pictured are an example of our favourite Christmas themed moulds. Click any of the images to shop particular moulds.


We are always expanding this range - keep an eye out for what comes next!


Prices start from £6.50



TS228 Gonk

TS337 Winter Scene

T335 Snowflake Hexagon


TS333 Contemporary Angel


TS334 Snowflake Square


TS332 Contemporary Tree





New In!


We are pleased to be stcoking the highly researched and sort after Gard'Apis Asian hornet trap.


The Gard’Apis trap is : 

  • Designed to be highly selective and only trap Asian Hornets
  • Designed to do no harm to other insects
  • Easy to use
  • Quick to re-deploy


Each Gard'Apis kit comes with red and orange nozzles that fit into the cones. Use the coloured nozzles at different times of the year to catch emerging queens and later the worker hornets.

Full instructions included.



New In!

Asian Hornet Identification Labels

Self adhesive labels with images of Asian and European hornet. These are ideal to put on honey jars to educate your customers about the Asian hornet. Available in small rectangles and small squares.

Priced at £5 for approx. 100



Asian Hornet Identification Labels



Ask the Expert

Woodworm in Hives



Woodworm is actually an umbrella term for a group of wood boring insects which are not worms at all! The adults are beetles and the larvae of the beetles are what cause the holes in the wood. In the UK, we have three types of wood boring insect and only one of these is very common, aptly named the Common Furniture Beetle. The larvae of this beetle cause the small holes that we often see in wooden furniture or building timbers.

How can I tell if I have woodworm in my hive?

Woodworm infestation is characterised by very small holes in the surface of the wood. You may find the adult beetles emerging.

However, woodworm is unlikely to cause problems in your hive if it is made of cedar. This is because cedar contains a natural oil that is repellent to a lot of bugs and insects. That said, if the hives have got damp, it is not impossible to find woodworm in your cedar hives, as woodworm larvae thrive in damp conditions.

Is the woodworm active?

If the woodworm is still active there will be signs of droppings or frass, which looks like fine sawdust, around the affected area. You can knock the wood too, to see if any frass comes out, which is a good indicator that the woodworm is still there.

Can woodworm spread to other parts of my hive?

Yes, like with furniture, woodworm damage can spread to other parts of your hive if left untreated. Beetles are notorious for moving about as they have legs and wings! This obviously means that they can essentially rear larvae wherever they please. Again, it depends quite a lot on the type of wood your hive is made from and also the condition it is kept in.

How do I treat my hive for woodworm?

There is little option for treating your hive parts for woodworm. Obviously, there are treatments out there for general use on furniture or structural timbers, but as a chemical this comes with the potential to harm the bees. Alternatively, it is believed that freezing the infested parts over a period of about 3 weeks may kill woodworm larvae, but not many people have a freezer big enough that they are willing to keep large hive parts in for weeks on end! It is also important to remember that honey is a food product. If consumed by humans (or bees for that matter), you will have to seriously consider what effects treating your hive for woodworm might have on the safety of the honey.



National Honey Show

What a fabulous show to mark our Centenary, and what a heroic input from the team ensuring all the special displays were in place in good time for the show.

The shop front for honey sales in the main foyer, along the lines shown in pictures from early shows, looked splendid; the exhibition of photos by Eric Tourneret was breathtaking; and alongside our usual amazing display, the special centenary classes stood out in their unusual nature and professional presentation.


National Honey Show - October 2023


National Honey Show - October 2023

The show enjoyed a short visit Thursday morning by an observation hive, supplied by our two royal beekeepers, John Chapple and John House, and from the Champagne Bar, they were among the first to greet and chat about bees with our Royal visitor, HRH The Princess Royal late on the Thursday morning.

National Honey Show - October 2023


HRH The Princess Royal spent an hour and a half looking at various aspects of the show, meeting people running our workshops; traders including Thornes’ own Gill, Rebecca and Paul; seeing the honey exhibits; meeting judges; giving the opening speech; and finally planting a bee friendly tree just at the entrance to Sandown Park building.

Many aspects of the show, including the royal visit; interviews with people associated with the show, lecturers and our judges steward, Enid and more are available to view on Facebook and our National Honey Show Youtube channel:


If you missed any at the show, lectures from the main programme will be released at 5.15pm UK local time, on the first Friday of each month throughout the coming year. Don’t forget to ‘like’, ‘subscribe’, and ‘follow’ The National Honey Show, it costs you nothing yet helps the show a great deal.

As you know, it takes a lot to run the show. It is ‘staffed’ entirely by volunteers, yet incurs expenses to bring you the very best ‘gold standard’ show every year. If you are thinking of supporting the show by making a donation, please do between noon Tuesday 28th November and noon Tuesday 5th December 2023 via our Christmas BigGive Campaign:


Your contribution will help support the provision of our first class educational programme for beekeepers and apiculture, and its continued availability, worldwide on our YouTube Channel. We are grateful to our campaign champions, The Reed Foundation.


Do add next year’s date to your diary, and come along to enjoy another fantastic show which the committee are already planning for you:
24th to 26th October 2024, Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey, UK



Bees for Development

Bees for Development are taking part in The Big Give Christmas Challenge to raise £50,000 in just 1 week, that could be doubled to £100,000! 

If you want to be more involved and make an impact why not ask your friends to help by organising a coffee morning, honey sale, or lunch to raise funds together?

These funds will be used to help young people in Ethiopia save towards their future. Through beekeeping, Tagegn Adela has been able to save, reinvest, and borrow, demonstrating that beekeepers can maximise their income from beekeeping beyond just honey harvest times.

With your donations, we will train 240 young families to start beekeeping and set up 12 more Village Savings & Loans Groups. Please help us to train more young people - beekeeping provides them with a livelihood for life. 

From 12 noon on 28 November, all donations to Bees for Development will be doubled by Big Give’s Champions - meaning your money will support twice as many.  You can be confident that your money will reach the people who need it most. 

So, we are not asking you to donate quite yet - instead, we ask you to save any contribution you can make until our Christmas Appeal during the week 28 November - 5 December. There are champion funds available - and while they last - your donation has twice the impact! 

Click here for more information on the campaign

BfD - Big Give - Christmas Challenge




Thorne Blog


What to say about October..? ‘Wet’ is one word that springs to mind! Lincolnshire, like a few other places, has been hit really hard by the floods this month so we have been really lucky that the apiaries are all ok and the hives are still in sound condition. It is still very wet underfoot however and we just about managed to get the work van onto site without getting stuck.

With the wet weather, we have a lot of very damp undergrowth, as you may be able to see from this picture. This will need trimming back but shouldn’t be too much of a difficult job now that the bees are starting to cluster and we are seeing less activity from them outside the hives. In addition, at this time of year going into winter, we should see less growth and so the apiary should stay under control somewhat.

We are still feeding syrup at this time of year, despite the weather cooling. We have found that the bees are clustering high enough up so far that having syrup on is still the quickest way for them to feed and use the food.


October Blog

October Blog


As you can see from this photo, the last lot of syrup got taken down completely, but you will notice that the little holes that allow the syrup into the area with the cup are blocked with propolis. Before adding more syrup in here, we would give the feeder a quick clean up and remove the propolis. For now, we have fondant ready to go for when the temperatures really drop.

Next jobs will be to get all the hives strapped up. We have some already with straps on, but some just have bricks on the roofs. With all this bad weather, the last thing we need are toppled over hives! Another job which we always look forward to with great anticipation is clearing out the bee shed. Not really, but it always needs a good clean and tidy by this time of year!



Book Review

‘Alternative Approaches to Beekeeping’

by Dr Fred J Ayres
Lune Valley Community Beekeepers

Published 2020


24 pages

Illustrated in colour



Alternative Approaches to Beekeeping

Like many beekeepers Dr Fred Ayres has looked back on his score of years as a beekeeper and questioned the way in which he has managed his colonies during that time.
Pick up a beekeeping book from the Edwardian era and the management systems described then are in reality those still adopted by the conventional beekeepers of today. Thus, the basic operations carried out through the seasons - from the time of the first inspection in spring up to when the bees are well fed and safely housed for winter - including swarm control, increasing stocks and queen rearing, have not changed. Yes, new techniques not found in the older books have been proposed, tried - and often failed; a variety of innovative items of equipment have been manufactured to help beekeepers; but still there is the regular requirement for the hive to be opened so that the basic operations can be performed.
Each disturbance of the hive, Fred Ayres reminds us, can set the bees back by forty-eight hours before the colony is restored to its former state. And this can happen many times during a beekeeping season!
Fred Ayres is aware of the resurgence of sustainable beekeeping practices - which in the main has moved away from beekeeping with frames, the use of wax foundation and frequent colony inspections - and believes there is a half-way house between this and the more traditional techniques which will benefit bees and find favour with beekeepers. Thus, through this important little book, ‘Alternative Beekeeping’, he hopes to attract some beekeepers who like him wish to follow ‘a responsible middle path’ and gain more satisfaction from the craft than just using their stocks as providers of honey.
Part of the book describes the well-insulated long hive that has been developed at Lune Valley, which has some important features which will help the bees to live in a more natural way: no foundation is used nor are queen excluders and the ’eco’ floors allow the occupancy of small beneficial micro-organisms which can provide a symbiotic presence.
As regards the beekeepers’ involvement with the bees interventions are to be minimal, swarm control is not practised, colonies are not treated for varroa, feeding with syrup should only be used when an emergency occurs, and only small amounts of honey - surplus to the bees requirements for winter stores - are to be harvested, the combs being pressed to produce wonderful raw honey.
Delightfully illustrated in full colour with photos, diagrams and cartoon-type drawings makes this little book a pleasant change from the usual beekeeping manuals.

- Review by John Phipps,

Editor of Natural Bee Husbandry Magazine and The Beekeepers Quarterly Magazine.


'Natural Bee Husbandry Magazine'                  'The Beekeepers Quarterly Magazine'

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