View Full Version : Bee Aware in Moray

19-11-2012, 11:03 AM
Hi Guys, following suggestions at the L.A. Secretary's meeting in Perth at the weekend I am posting information on Moray Beekeepers Association Honeybee Conservation and Education project that will run from now until the end of December 2013. We managed to get £42k of funding for the project and it hasn't cost us anything yet! (apart from a lot of pain and sleepless nights :) just kidding!). If you follow the links below it will take you to the presentation I made to the meeting (the pdf file), a summary of the actual project and a document explaining the change process we have gone through this last 7 months.

Please feel free to use or copy anything you want to and ask any questions.




Tony Harris
Moray Beekeepers Association

20-11-2012, 08:42 PM
I know exactly what you mean about the pain ... having organised an Awards for All grant for the local beekeeping association, been involved in a bigger beekeeping project (sadly defunct) and some other community projects. When you have a budget to spend you have to spend it more or less as you said you would, and you need the right kind of evidence to prove that you did. The other bind is the 'match funding' aspect, particularly when it is the time of an assorted bunch of volunteers that is matching the grant rather than real cash. Not always easy to motivate yourself or others to complete the paperwork required.

Anyway folks, the Moray group are operating right at the pinnacle of ambition found in local beekeeping associations. Most impressive. Many associations will be much more modest in their aspirations, and that is fine too. But if anyone out there is planning to organise grants and enhance the communal beekeeping effort in their areas, this is the place to ask questions.

East of Scotland Beekeepers Association

20-11-2012, 11:44 PM
I could say so much about all of this as a former (and now resigned) member of the Moray Beekeepers Association committee. It all reads like MBA has become a limited company/incorporation rather than the beekeeping association it was set up to be.

But as you've put all of this in the public domain Tony I feel entitled to ask a few questions. Also as a paid up member of the association I have that right as well.

So let me start by asking if you'd tell everyone where you're sourcing your bees to set up your community apiaries and your queen breeding programme?


21-11-2012, 12:16 AM
Well as Scotland is one of the last strongholds of our UK native bee it would be important to source some good local native stock from the likes of Andrew Abrahams on Colonsay or Jim McCullough at Rosneath.
Failing that, we have some good stock in Ireland and guys like Steve Rose have done a lot of work in North Wales to conserve and promote the native bee.

As an aside, there is an inaugural meeting of the Native Irish Honeybee Society taking place this Sunday which I will be attending. The initiative for that came from MicheŠl Mac Giolla Coda, the founder of the Galtee Bee breeding group. He has got about 100 local beekeepers working together to conserve and promote the native bee which is threatened by imports of other races and strains.

21-11-2012, 12:44 AM
Jon - I know where the bees are coming from but I want it said publicly. And let's just say native stock couldn't be further from the truth.

21-11-2012, 06:31 PM
Hi Tony.
I read through your documents and can see the massive amount of work that has gone into this.
I did notice that there is no commitment to working with local beekeepers with regard to the strain of bee used in the project.
Your background bee population is likely to be native or near native AMM.
If you bring in anything different, it will seriously setback local bee breeding initiatives and your own colonies are likely to become very aggressive hybrids by the second generation. AMM crossed with Carnica has a terrible reputation and AMM crossed with Buckfast is similar. Ruttner did a lot of work on how heterosis affects the level of aggression when you have random crosses between different bee races.
The only way to go is to work with the local beekeeping community as bringing in genetic material from outside will stir up the gene pool to the detriment of everyone.
Haplodiploid genetics is a complicated subject area and the majority of beekeepers have little or no idea about how bee genetics actually works.
I run a bee breeding group in Belfast and the only way it can work work is by getting everyone on board with regard to bee improvement. If beekeepers in a given area keep different types of bee it is a lose lose situation for all concerned. If what Gerry says is true and you are not using compatible stock I think the project will be making a serious error. If you plan to work with schools the temper and character of the bees is critical. I have worked hard to develop docile bees but I still come across nightmare colonies owned by other people which scare the living crap out of me. These are bees which follow for 100 yards and sting anything anywhere in the area of the hives. Steve Rose has a few horror stories he can tell about hybrids.