Southerns Beekeeping Association

Bee defenders head to court

Wow. We’re truly overwhelmed by the response to our call to support the a small coalition of beekeepers as they take on pesticide giants Bayer, Syngenta and BASF in a crucial court battle.

It’s not often that words fail us, but this is one of those times — so we’re going to share someone else’s words instead. Master beekeeper and founder of the Bee Defenders Alliance Thomas Radetzki has a message to pass along:

As they head into court next week, the voices of beekeepers and independent scientists will be critical to defeating the pesticide lobby and upholding this ban.

When members of the Bee Defenders Alliance enter court hearings next week, they’ll be facing off against teams of corporate lawyers for Bayer, Syngenta and BASF. We want to remind them that hundreds of thousands of us are cheering them on from afar.

That’s why we’re going to bring messages of encouragement straight to the EU Court of Justice in Luxembourg for the start of the hearings.

Please take a moment to add your own words of solidarity or encouragement, and we’ll make sure they get right to the Bee Defenders Alliance.


Thank you for standing up for the bees,

Wiebke, Liz and the team at SumOfUs

p.s. Beating Syngenta and Bayer in court isn’t the only way we’re protecting pollinators. We’re about to deliver over 200,000 messages and comments supporting a proposed ban on deadly neonics to Canada’s Health Minister, we just filed a shareholder resolution at US supermarket giant Kroger calling on it to develop bee-friendly supply chains, and we’ll be working with allies to extend and expand the EU neonic ban. Click here to learn more about our past victories to protect the bees and our plans for 2017.

Credit to the photo

“Dear SumOfUs campaigners – and most importantly, dear SumOfUs members who donated: thank you for having our backs! Your support allows us to play big when it comes to protecting the bees. With your help we can fight to keep up the partial ban of neonicotinoids and for stricter regulations at the highest European court. Our bees and beekeepers say Thank You!!!”

Beekeeper Thomas Radetzki

Site for hives in Bokfontein, close to Mooinooi


My husband and I have a 10Ha plot in Bokfontein, close to Mooinooi. We are happy to offer our land for apiary sites should someone be interested. The area around is home to citrus and berry orchards so I think it would be an ideal place. We can also arrange a water source in an old unused water reservoir.
Will you be able to put us in touch with someone who would be interested? We understand that there is no monetary compensation, except for the occasional honey jar which we are more than happy withJ

Many thanks

Kind Regards,

Beehives were introduced to protect Marula trees

Jejane, one of the regions in Balule, in conjunction with Elephants Alive at the end of 2015 undertook a project whereby beehives were introduced to protect Marula trees.
The theory is that elephants do not like bees and will avoid trees where there is bee activity. This may be important as it could be used to reduce the damage caused by elephants stripping the trees’ bark. Managers and researchers alike are concerned about a lack of recruitment of young Marula trees in the APNR (Association of Private Nature Reserves) bordering Kruger National Park.
150 Marula trees were identified in the research plot. 50 were left as control trees, another 50 were protected using wire mesh and the other 50 had 2 beehives (one active beehive and one dummy beehive) hanging from their branches.

The drought conditions, lack of nectar and pests like ants reduced the active hives to 20. After a decision was taken to begin supplementing their nutritional requirements by supplying them with pollen, nectar and sugar water all the hives stabilised and one of the hives actually split to bring the number up to 21.

The preliminary results show that the trees in the control group received 50% elephant impact (includes all forms of impact e.g. strip barking, primary branches broken, secondary branches broken, main stem broken, toppling, etc.). The trees which were wire netted received 24% impact, while the bee trees only had 2% impact (broken secondary branches).
The original beehives are made from wood but an improvement using aluminium and fiberglass is now recommended and used as it makes it easier to keep the hive disease free and has less of a carbon footprint.

Thank you to Glen Thomson and Robin Cook for giving information. Additional information was obtained from

Thanks to Noel Deacon, Noel the bee man for the article.

Further information on queen breeding

Hi everyone

Many thanks to Fred Smith for a very interesting talk on queen breeding. Further to his presentation (to confirm what he was talking about) and the question of introducing Italian Queens to our African bee colonies, the following comments were made on the google group Bees SA:

University of Pretoria etd – Lubbe, A (2005) Between 1930 and 1965 Lundie imported Italian queens as he wanted to breed more docile honeybees. But the Italian bees could not get established in southern Africa. When the queen was introduced the brood pattern was good. But over time as the number of African worker bees dropped and the number of Italian worker bees increased, the colony dwindled (Fletcher, 1977)African Allelic Dominance

When virgin queens produced by European colonies mate with African and European drones, the resulting colony will be composed of paternal African and European workers. In the next queen replacement cycle, these colonies will rear virgin queens from both African and European paternal lineage, but those from African paternity have a competitive advantage. Paternal African virgin queens develop faster and therefore emerge earlier than their European paternity counterparts, which may give them the opportunity to eliminate rivals confined in their queen cells (DeGrandi-Hoffman et al 1993 and 1998; Schneider and DeGrandi-Hoffman 2002 and 2003). Paternal African queens also kill more rivals than their European-paternity sister queens, produce more “piping” sounds that may prevent emergence of virgin queens or enhance dueling success, and attract workers to perform more “vibration signals” that may promote queen survival (Schneider and DeGrandi-Hoffman 2003; Schneider et al 2001). These factors in combination may result in paternal African queens becoming more likely to become the new laying queen of these colonies. With each new queen replacement cycle, virgin queens disproportionately mate with African drones, and African genetic introgression into European colonies continues.

We do not have to make the same mistakes again if someone else has tried it before. We learn from other and thereby save ourselves a lot of time and effort. Mr John Moodie, well-known beekeeper in SA commented further on the
Not to be recommended. The hybrid strain is extremely aggressive and because the Italian queen hatching time is slower they soon are superseded. We imported queens in the 1970’s in the Transvaal – from Dr Lundie – and so have experienced the effect.

This is the web address of the forum!forum/beessa 

Many thanks to all who participated in the panel discussion and question session. Very interesting comments and valuable information were shared. Also a big thank you to all the members who freely shared their expertise and experiences. It was really made the evening worth attending!

Kind regards | Vriendelike groete

Registered Beekeeper No TA1168
Chairman of Southerns Beekeeping Association (SBA)
Member of the South African Bee Industry Organization (SABIO)
Registered Beekeeper at the Department of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (DAFF)
Cell 082 332 8007
Tel (012) 993 0960
Fax 086 641 9181

Year end function 2016

We are excited about our Year-End Function that is around the corner!  Those who attended last year’s Year-End Function can agree that it was an enjoyable evening with delicious food and good company!  This year it will be held on Thursday, 3 November.  The details are as follows:

Date:      Thursday, 3 November 2016
Time:      19h00 for 19h30
Place:     Bryanston Sports Club
Dress:    Neat Casual
Cost:    R120 per person (includes a scrumptious 3 course dinner!)

We look forward to celebrating the end of another great year with our members, family and friends.  The Sports Club management has asked that no additional beverages be brought to the event, since there is a cash bar available at the club.  Our Year-End Function replaces our monthly meeting and it would be wonderful to share this evening with you.  This invitation is for the whole family, so feel free to bring your spouse and children along!

Please R.S.V.P. by Monday, 31 October 2016 with Kai Hichert at 082561 0346 or send an email to to secure your place.  Please state clearly the names of all who are going to attend and the selection of beef or chicken.  You can bring the cash to the meeting next week or pay directly in SBA’s bank account.

Please use the form to add your details.

Obtaining wax


I’m curious about obtaining excess wax from beekeepers around SA for use in a local, all-natural lip balm product through our social enterprise business ( We would love to develop a partnership directly with beekeepers to provide added value to otherwise excess wax. What is a good avenue to pursue purchasing wax from bee keepers?
Thanks so much!
Scott Hersey
Jozi’s Nut Butters (SA)
Olin College of Engineering (USA)