Clive de Bruyn “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

Clive started beekeeping in the 1960s, and has managed colonies in 11 counties. He was employed at the National Beekeeping Unit in the 1980s, supervising disease inspection officers. He has worked in a UK beefarming enterprise (2000+ colonies), raising 1000 queens annually.  Clive’s first beekeeping exam was in 1970, whilst a committee member of the Village Bee Breeders Association (now BIBBA). He gained the National Diploma in Beekeeping in 1976. For 15 years he was the County Beekeeping Lecture in Essex. He was the British delegate to Apimondia for 16 years. Within the BBKA and NDB Clive has been a board member and is still an examiner. Clive has travelled widely to study beekeeping (30+ countries). He is the author of several books and papers. Currently he is running 100+ colonies for honey, pollination and the sale of queens and nuclei whilst undertaking overseas extension work in the winter.

Lecture Title: “BIBBA in the Isle of Man 40+ years ago”

In the 1970s I was the group’s secretary of the Village Bee Breeders Association (now BIBBA). In 1972 the committee met at Beo’s (Beowulf Cooper) house at Whitegates (Thulston, Derby), where he proposed that we should organize a conference/workshop on the Isle of Man.

Beo had visited the Island previously and discovered a drone congregation (DC). The investigation of the DC was to be the main focus of the week’s activities. Other activities were planned and a prodigious line up of speakers were booked, including the eminent Professor Ruttner from Frankfurt University. Professor Ruttner, at that time, was the world expert on drone congregations (DCs).

I will be illustrating and describing the groups work in making and assembling mini-nukes and setting up a mating apiary on the Calf of Man. I will also reveal the groups experiences with the DC area above the Port St. Mary Golf course. The drone comets that formed to chase our queen sent aloft, tethered to a couple of helium balloons, remains one of the highpoints of my beekeeping career. Our efforts culminated in watching a queen being pursued and mated at head height. …much to the indifference of my five year old son.