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+44 (0) 1673 858 555 or sales@thorne.co.uk

Beekeepers Rule

Beekeepers Rule

In stock

Product Code: M8024


A clever device developed by Professor Robert Pickard to assist the beekeeper to maximise the honey crop, queen propagation, breeding, or even siting of an apiary.


Here are three examples of its use:


A beekeeper should know from experience the plant species in the neighbourhood of their apiary from which their bees are likely to gather most of their nectar for honey production. They should also know the approximate flowering periods of these plants, making due allowance for seasonal variation. The apiary should be managed in such a way that maximum numbers of foraging bees will be available in synchrony with maximum nectar flow. 

For example: An apiary may be sited beneath lime trees in an area where limes usually produce nectar from 24th June to 22nd July. If the slide-rule disc is rotated to align the four week forager period with these dates, it can be seen that eggs to produce foragers at this time must be laid from 13th May by syrup feeding, ensuring adequate pollen stores and giving queens ample laying space in the form of newly drawn comb, will help to produce a maximum labour force for when it is required.



To produce young queens, a beekeeper may remove a laying queen from a hive to encourage the workers to construct emergency queen cells.

For example: If the laying queen is removed on 13th May, the rule indicates that an egg laid in a queen cup on that day, prior to queen removal, could be expected to result in a virgin queen emerging on 28th May. However, a two day old worker larva may be reared as a queen. If the two day queen larva slot on the slide-rule is aligned with 13th May, it can be seen that a virgin queen could emerge on 24th May. Swarming will not take place until at least one virgin queen has emerged UNLESS the old laying queen has been returned to the hive or a second laying queen is also present. In which case, a swarm containing the laying queen may issue after the first day of queen cells being capped. With a strong hive and a clipped, laying queen, inspections at nine day intervals with the destruction of queen cells may be necessary to forestall spontaneous virgin queen production and swarming. The rule facilitates calculation of such a checking schedule.



To selectively maintain a given strain of bees, the beekeeper needs to increase the likelihood of preferred matings by synchronising the production of drones and virgin queens from colonies selected usually for their good manageability and productivity.

For example: By 2nd September, a beekeeper might reasonably expect that most apiaries neighbouring their own will be producing few if any drones. To produce drones in their breeding stock that will be young and flying on 2nd September, the rule indicates that drone egg production should be stimulated around 2nd August. This can be achieved by placing drawn drone comb in the selected hive, ensuring ample food stores are present and temporarily removing the laying queen to a nucleus box if the colony appears reluctant to raise drones. Drone production and maintenance can be stopped in all other colonies by restricting their food stores, although this is often unnecessary at the end of the summer. To produce selected virgin queens for 2nd September, the rule indicates that appropriate action must be taken on the queen propagating stock on 18th August.


Beekeepers Rule

Height: 140mm

Length: 140mm



Standard UK delivery is FREE on all on-line orders over £100 (including VAT) and all telephone and postal orders over £200 (including VAT).  Excluding glass jars, fondant, syrup, some large hives and some pieces of extraction equipment.

Glass Jars are sent at the consignees own risk. We regret neither ourselves or the carrier will take responsibility for breakages.

It's also free for orders of any value if you opt to collect from one of our branches (some items do not apply). This is subject to availability.

There may be an additional carriage charge for some heavy and bulky items to Northern Ireland, the Scottish Highlands and islands, Isle of Man and off-shore islands.

Products may be sent out from multiple locations and therefore may arrive separately, but you won't incur additional delivery charges as a result.

Orders are sent out as quickly as possible but there may be occasional delays during the busy season or if an item is out of stock.  We will contact you if there is expected to be a significant delay with your order. 

Although we try to send out complete orders there will be occasions when some items are out of stock.  In these instances we may send your order in several parts.  You will not incur additional delivery charges as a result.

If you'd like to have items sent to separate UK addresses, please complete a separate order for each address. A separate delivery charge will be made for each address if applicable.


Orders weighing less than 2kg are sent standard 2nd class Royal Mail.  If you would like your order sent 1st class then please contact us for a quote or choose 1st class in the delivery options.

All orders weighing over 2kg are sent via carrier.  We use Parcel Force and FedEx for UK and international parcels.  We may also send large orders via a pallet service.

On receipt of your order, please check the goods thoroughly. Ensure any consignment note from the carrier is clearly marked ‘unexamined’ – deleting the words ‘in good condition’.  We regret we cannot replace any damaged goods unless this has been done.  Shortages and breakages must be advised within 10 days of delivery.

If there is a problem with the carrier, please contact us immediately on 01673 858555 or e-mail sales@thorne.co.uk.  Please do not attempt to contact the carrier as we are able to deal with this more quickly and efficiently.

Carriers may leave parcels in a safe place at our instruction.  If you do have a safe place the parcel can be left or a neighbour that will accept the parcel then please tell us when you place your order.

Orders will be sent to the billing address unless an alternative delivery address is specified.


Queens are sent on a 1st class Royal Mail.  Queens are sent in a travelling cage with several attendants, candy and full introduction instructions.

Our Queens are British Hybrids and are extremely balanced, user friendly bees.  They are all mated but not clipped or marked.


Our bees are sold in a travelling box in a six frame nucleus.  These can be collected from either our head office at Rand, Thornes of Windsor, Thornes of Stockbridge or Thornes of Devon.  Bees are pre-ordered and a non-refundable deposit taken.  We will contact you when your bees are ready for collection.

All our bees are sourced from reputable breeders in England. 

Collection Only

Due to the nature of some of our products, certain items are collection only.  These include Acetic acid and six frame nuclei.

Returns and Refunds

All our products are guaranteed for 12 months.  Konigin extractors have a four year warranty.

Goods may be returned to us for a full refund or exchange within 28 days providing they are undamaged and we receive proof of purchase.  Goods that may have been ordered as a gift can also be exchanged for Thorne vouchers if the product is not required.

Goods can be returned to our head office at Rand or to any of our branches.

We cannot refund or exchange personalised labels unless they have been incorrectly supplied. 

We cannot accept returns or refunds on AVM-GSL medicines (MAQS, Apivar, Apilife Var, Apiguard, Apistan, Api-bioxal, Oxybee).  These medicines can only be refunded if they were sent in error or damaged in transit.

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