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Beekeepers News - October - Issue 85

Beekeepers News - October - Issue 85

The October 2023 edition of our newsletter



Next Saturday, 7th October, will be a final Sale Day of the year, and it will be a big one! Held at our Head Office & Factory in Rand, Lincolnshire, not only will we have our usual bargains on beekeeping equipment, but we will also have wax exchange, factory tours, beekeeping talks, and labels printed while you wait! The talks will be from Tony Jefferson and John White and will be covering the following topics: Chemical Free Beekeeping Using Small Cell Foundation, Simple Swarm Measures and Checkerboarding.


We will also have our ever popular thirds at our Sale Day. Prices are shown as below and will be first come, first served. National broods will be limited per customer.

Thirds Prices

For the first time this year, as well as our cedar supers, we will also be selling pine supers. These will be sold in packs of ten and will be £120. The pine is home grown in the UK and has a very low carbon footprint. Nails and runners will not included.





Thorne at the NHS



We will be at the National Honey Show later this month celebrating their 100th year! You will be able to find us in the main hall. As well as our usual bargains, we will be offering our wax exchange service. You can order online for collection from the show up to Monday 23rd October.

If you would like us to take along your entry for you, you can drop them at any of our branches. If you are dropping at Newburgh, Stockbridge or Devon, you will need to do so by Wednesday 18th October. If you are dropping at Windsor or Rand then you have until Monday 23rd October. 

We look forward to seeing you there!



Equipment Focus

Bucket Blanket

We are thrilled to introduce this new product to the market. A simple, yet effective way to heat your honey. This heated blanket is designed to wrap around a 30lb bucket to gently warm your honey. The Bucket Blanket comes complete with an adjustable digital thermostat. We suggest a temperature of around 45°C for 18-24 hours to get the honey to a runny state. The electrical workings can be fully removed so that the blanket can be washed.


Priced at £84



Bucket Blanket



Ask the Expert

How to reclaim and clean wax

When you extract honey from a hive, you normally have to slice off the wax cappings from the frames. This wax can be reclaimed and cleaned up into a nice block and used in different ways.  You may want to simply exchange it for foundation, which is a cost-effective way to restock your hives with clean wax.  Or you could use it to make candles, cosmetics or polish. Pound for pound, wax is worth more than honey, so it is worth the effort to clean it up and reuse. If you use a hive that only uses top bars, like the Top Bar Hive or the Warre hive, your wax harvest may be even higher.

Essentially the wax has to be melted down and separated from everything else in the frame: casings, pollen, brood, general dirt and any wire that may have been in the frame. This can be a little tricky and messy partly due to the fact you can’t simply boil down wax on a naked flame, it has to be done using water, steam or a double boiler. Depending on what you are melting down, it can be more or less smelly – if you are simply melting down clean wax cappings from honey extraction you should have little dirt in the process and the beeswax will come up nice and clean almost straight away. If you are melting down old brood frames that have old casings in, pollen (and potentially a bit of mould too!), the process is a lot dirtier and a lot smellier!

After you have your block of beeswax, it is always worth checking it over and removing any dirt that is on the underside of the block as this is where it tends to congregate. If you want to trade the wax in, you won’t get anything for this layer of dirt and a bit of weight might be knocked off, so it is best to just have it reasonably clean in the first place to make sure you are getting a fair exchange.

Below are a few ways you can make the process of reclaiming and cleaning wax a little easier for the small and large beekeeper.


For the small beekeeper: (just a few hives)


This is a very easy way to melt down whole frames or pieces of comb. You simply put a box with frames (or just the wax) you want to melt out onto the stand with the floor on and place the roof on top. The roof is specialised to fit a steam generator which produces the steam needed to melt the wax. Once on, simply place a bucket or similar container below the spout and watched the contents flow out. Leave the bucket to cool and the wax will separate out on top. Once fully cool, you can remove the wax in a block from the top. Scrape the bottom of the block as this inevitably has a bit of dirt on and then you can use this block to do with what you want.






Wax/Honey Separator

Once you have uncapped your frames, you will have wax and honey everywhere! If you are using a heated uncapping tray you can place one of these wax/honey separators underneath the spout to catch the wax and honey as it melts and drips out from the uncapping tray. It works on the basis that wax always floats to the top, which therefore separates wax from honey. The honey will flow out of the baffle spout and the wax floats to the top to flow off from the spout on the other side. You will have to have two buckets underneath here obviously to catch the wax and honey but using this means they are both already separated and you won’t have to wait for the wax to harden on top to take it off.


Steam Wax Extractor

This is another very easy way to melt down entire combs into clean blocks of beeswax. This wax extractor comes in two sizes, small and large to suit your needs. As with the Easi-steam, the premise is that steam is used to melt the wax down. Once steam is being generated, you simply place the combs inside the extractor and watch as the clean beeswax pours from the spout at the front. Any condensate will come out from the bottom spout so you will need two buckets or other containers to catch both this and the beeswax. Casings and other general dirt will be caught in the mesh insert so as not to clog up the spouts.




For large beekeepers (lots of hives)

For the beekeeper with more hives, the process of uncapping and reclaiming wax can be labour intensive but most will know that it is well worth the effort. Essentially the processes for the large beekeeper are the same for the small, but with time more of the essence, it is imperative to have equipment that does a good job and quickly too.



Konigin Wax Melter and Centrifuge 

Similar to the small and large steam wax extractors, this wax melter can hold up to approximately 40 broken combs. Again, it uses steam energy to heat the wax, however, it can also be used as a centrifuge to spin out frames cold without using the steam generating facility. Made from stainless steel and with sturdy legs, this is a useful piece of equipment for a beekeeper with more than just a few hives.


Cappings Melter and Honey Liquefier

This machine heats honey and wax together using a thermostatically controlled heating element in the lid. It is fan assisted which helps to make sure there is even temperature distribution all over the tank. Up to 20kg of wax/honey can be placed into the grid at any one time. Honey and wax are drained off out of separate spouts, making the next stage in the process easier as you don’t have to wait for the beeswax to cool before removing it from the honey. The tank can also be used as a warming cabinet for liquefying honey in jars or buckets when set to 40°C.






National Honey Show

Latest news for our Centenary National Honey Show later this month: 26 to 28 October 2023


HRH The Princess Royal will attend and open the National Honey Show on the occasion of its Centenary, at Sandown Park Racecourse, Portsmouth Road, Esher, Surrey on Thursday 26th October.

National Honey Show


Call for stewards
Fantastic welcome at the show for all our stewards! If you can spare half a day or a couple of hours of your time you will be part of the team ensuring the show runs smoothly. Do spread the word around your associations, your help is invaluable for many, varied roles. Please chat to Bill chiefsteward@honeyshow.co.uk if you have any questions and if you can help, please complete and send Bill the form in the first paragraph:


Planning your journey to Sandown Park

Please note, there will be major roadworks at the M25-A3 junction making delays likely. If your journey to Sandown Park takes you via this route, please allow extra time.

London’s new, expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ), to 'help clear London's air and improve public health' will, from end August 23, cover pretty much the whole of Greater London ie most of the area within the M25. It incurs a daily charge for non compliant vehicles. The entirety of the M25 road itself will not be covered by the charge.

Esher is not within the extended ULEZ. However, please check your vehicle is compliant if you will be travelling through or into London boroughs:


When you arrive, there is plenty of free parking for show visitors (to the right) at Sandown Park.


Lecture timetable
Due to last minute events, there will be some changes to the main lecture timetable.  Please check for lectures you are particularly interested in.


Show Entries
Last date for entries: 9th October approaching fast!!! Don't leave it to the last minute, send your entry forms to Jill now. Variety of classes in addition to honey and hive products. Be part of our fantastic centenary show. Special classes for the centenary include shop window displays and the decorated cake for the centenary. Check out the classes in the schedule. Schedule and entry forms can be found at:



National Honey Show

Any questions? Ask our team: scheduleconvener@honeyshow.co.uk


Check our website and social media for the very latest.



Look forward to seeing you at the show, Sandown Racecourse, Esher, Surrey, UK

Thorne Blog


Well, this month certainly came up trumps with the warmer weather we had hoped for in the summer! We have seen some really lovely, warm sunny days up here in Lincolnshire this September, which we were thankful for, not only because it gave the bees a chance to get out of the hives, but also beekeeping in nice weather is just…nicer.

One of our main jobs this last few weeks has been to consolidate a lot of our equipment. As we pack bees down for the winter (yes, already!), we end up with parts of feeders and other bits of equipment such as queen excluders that need tidying up. It is one of those jobs that is slightly tedious but does clear things out of the apiary and we are always happy once it has been done.

Another small job we have been carrying out during each trip to the apiaries is to check the Asian Hornet traps. Thankfully no hornets so far but with the nest found this month just up the road in Hull, we realise that the problem may not be restricted to the south of the country. With that in mind, we think it is important to keep an eye on the traps and report anything if we find it.

Even with the sunnier weather, there has been a bit of a gap where the bees have not been able to get out much to forage so we have fed the bees this month. We used syrup this time and had to be extra careful not to spill any because wasps and bees get whipped up into a frenzy at any sign of a drop of honey at this time of year.

Going forward, we will be looking at putting mouse traps on and making sure every colony has enough food going into winter.  



Book Review

‘The Asian Hornet Handbook’

by Sarah Bunker

Sarah Bunker’s The Asian Hornet Handbook is a very timely addition to any west European beekeepers’ library, a must-have for Asian Hornet Actions Teams (Ahats) and an intriguing tale for anyone interested in the natural world. In three distinct sections and with contributions from a few authors, she covers Asian hornet biology, the British context and the range of control measures. The message is clear: the Asian hornet causes us two main problems: it eats honey bees and other pollinators and, if its nest is disturbed, it can become very defensive.


The Asian Hornet Handbook


The biology section is a fascinating account of what we are rapidly learning about this once little-known insect from the hordes of hornet species in Asia. It contains lots of new information about what has been discovered about the insect’s habits in France: the different structures of primary and secondary nests, how nest densities can be as high as 12 per square kilometre, the preference for urban areas and why honey bees form such a high proportion of their diet (they are rather meaty and we conveniently keep them in apiaries). Bunker’s diagram of the hornet life cycle is featured on page 11 of this issue.


The British context gives some intriguing and little-known information about the attempted invasions so far. Bunker has spoken to a very wide range of people who have encountered the hornet and she synthesises this information well to produce very readable copy that even includes the tensions surrounding the setting up of Ahats and agreement on their roles.

The variety of ways of trying to combat the invader are discussed in the control section which accounts for about one-third of the book. The current state-of-the-art control techniques are discussed and even with hindsight in five- or ten-years’ time will probably still provide compelling


The Handbook is well-researched and includes the growing body of literature on the hornet as well as the observations of many people who have direct experience of the hornet. It is clearly written with lots of colour diagrams and photographs and provides an enthralling and timely read for those who are trying to learn how to control the pest or how to thwart the establishment of the would-be invader.



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