Southerns Beekeeping Association

Bee forage research in Piketberg part 1

Just have a look at the amazing work done by a grade 11 pupil! Bee project Part 1

Brilliant. Let’s spread this far and wide.

Robert Post
(021) 971-1022
073 080 3544

warm up pics for the comp Catogory 2

Thanks to Kai for the pictures as a start. Please don’t forget to submit your pictures to


Photo competition amongst our members

Hi all.

Southerns is proud to be sponsoring posters of Bees for the education center at Joburg Zoo. The committee has decided to hold a photo competition amongst our members. There will be 2 categories: 1. For A1 size posters, minimum 12 mega pixel cameras. 2. For A2 size posters, cell phone and lesser cameras. We need great pics that explains Bees to kids and adults. Queen , brood,honey, lava, apiary site etc. There will be 19 pics chosen with 3 winners. We need 1 pic of the cycle of life in a separate prize category. The 20 chosen pics will have the photographers’ name put on the poster with the Zoo logo and Southerns logo. Pic MUST be taken by the entrant and NOT copied. All entries to be sent to with photographers name and category entered. Closing date is 12 October and winners will be announced at our year end dinner.

Thanks to Christopher Russell for the photo

Free swarm arrival

Here are some more shots of a swarm that just arrived in my open workshop – spring 2016.

I shook them into a brood box and let them settle. they still going strong!

Regards Norman Venn

Liquid Gold – a short video on the African Honey Bee

Recent TV Interview on the SA Bee Industry

Earlier this week SABIO and Croplife were invited to discuss the Bee Industry and Pollination Services on the Grootplaas Morning Show on the Kyknet Channel. Here is a copy of the programme for your interest and to distribute to your members for their information if you so wish.

Please excuse my husky voice [Mike Miles] but I had a raging sore throat and it was a live interview at 5.30 on the Monday morning. Dirk Uys, from Crop Life came across much better.

Starke Ayres spring news

Please find Starke Ayres, spring newsletter in the link below.

Starke Ayres Newsletter Spring 2017 EMAIL

Southerns Beekeeping Association would just like to thank Starke Ayres for the support of the bees and the Association. We are looking forward to planting more bee food.

Bees and Agriculture: The Connection, the Crisis, and How to Help

Millions of people shop organic for their own health, but society is just waking up to how food choices directly affect the planet’s health. From soil-depleting monocultural farming practices to the greenhouse gas-emitting meat industry, there’s no denying food’s environmental impact. One issue everyone should be concerned about is the impact of conventional farming practices on bees.

Bees are an important part of today’s food system. On top of native bees pollinating small farms, gardens, and wild plants, honey bee hives are rented in enormous numbers to pollinate the crops that appear on grocery store shelves. Without bees, crop yields and biodiversity would plummet as food costs rise.

However, bees’ livelihood may also be the greatest threat to their health. While there’s no consensus on why honey bee colonies are dying in record numbers, some of the leading suspects are related to how crops are grown.

Concern over the effect of agricultural pesticides on bee populations led to a temporary ban in December 2013 on three common neonicotinoid insecticides in Europe. Scientists believe that exposure to neonicotinoids, or neonics, can impact foraging ability, reproduction, and pest resistance in various bee species. Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world; almost all of the corn grown in the United States is treated with neonicotinoids, along with cotton, soybeans, cereal grains, rice, nuts, and most fruit and vegetable crops.

But pesticides alone aren’t responsible for growing annual hive losses. Monocultural growing practices — that is, growing a single crop in the same area — are also contributing to declining bee populations. In diverse environments, bees move between food sources as plants come in and out of bloom. But in a monocultural environment, food is only available at one time of the year. With no other food sources in range, this environment can’t support bee populations.

To compensate for monoculture, the agricultural sector employs large numbers of honey bee hives to travel farm to farm pollinating crops. Millions of bees are used every year to pollinate almonds, cherries, avocados, squash, and pumpkins, among many other fruits and vegetables. However, this method puts a lot of stress on bees as they’re transported long distances and sustained on sugar and pollen between farm visits. It also promotes the spread of viruses, mites, and fungi that can devastate colony health.

Among honey bee pests, the varroa mite is undoubtedly the most destructive. This pest feeds on developing larva and latches onto adult bees, spreading viruses from bee to bee and hive to hive. Another pest, a fungal parasite called nosema, interferes with bees’ digestive systems and can rapidly lead to colony collapse. It’s suspected that these pests, among others, play a role in massive bee die-offs.

For much of the threat facing bees, the answer lies in a shift away from monocultural farming practices that rely on pesticides, herbicides, and fertilizers for production, and into bio-diverse growing environments that naturally attract and support pollinator life. While the opportunity for the largest impact lies with the agricultural industry, non-farmers have a role to play as well.

Average citizens can help bees by forgoing pesticides in their homes and gardens, buying from local beekeepers, and shopping for pesticide-free food and clothing — while keeping in mind that “organic” doesn’t always mean pesticide-free.

Another great way to support bees is with a pollinator garden. A backyard bee habitat is doable even for beginning gardeners, as the best pollinator garden is a wild, unmanicured space. Gardeners can get started by visiting a local garden center for advice on native flowering plants that attract bees. Native plants offer low-maintenance gardening as they’re adapted to the natural rainfall and soil type of a given environment. Gardeners should incorporate plants that flower in different seasons so that bees can forage in spring, summer, and fall. Once planted, the garden should be left to grow, flower, and reseed itself, providing a self-sustaining pollinator habitat. Check out for more tips for beginner gardeners.

Bee die-off is a major issue threatening the world’s food security, but it’s not a lost cause. With effort from agricultural corporations, farmers, and average people alike, bees, and biodiversity, can be protected.

Image via Unsplash