CATCH THE BUZZ – Bees for Development Technical Bee Notes

Hello, we are delighted to be able to send you the latest edition of Technical Bee Notes.

Bees for Development - BUZZ

Testing honey for adulteration The current, standard laboratory test to detect sugar adulteration of honey is the stable carbon isotope ratio method. The test, officially known as AOAC Official Method 998.12 [1], is based on the fact that within any honey there is a certain ratio of carbon isotopes – and it is expected that the ratio in the honey as a whole, and the ratio in the proteins in the honey, are similar. The difference between these values is used to measure the amount of C4 sugar that has been added. C4 sugars are produced by sugar cane and corn – cheap sugars which are occasionally used to bulk up honey and cheat buyers. Though widely used, this test does sometimes produce false positives i.e. it indicates adulteration where none has occurred. Some non-adulterated manuka honey fails the test, because natural processes in the honey appear to cause a change in “apparent” C4 sugar content [2]. Some Ethiopian honey has also failed the same test, despite other tests showing no adulteration in the same honey. Traceability [3] is the ability to track any food through all stages of production, processing and distribution. Traceability is therefore a useful and important tool to guard against problems of adulteration in market chains with several actors, and helps to create trust between importers and consumers.

1. AOAC Official Method  998.12 C4 Plant Sugars in Honey

2. Why New Zealand Manuka Honey Fails the AOAC 998.12 C‑4 Sugar Method

3. Achieving traceability in market chains

Honey with manuka-like properties found in Wales, UK

Read here how Cardiff University have discovered a local Welsh honey with the antimicrobial properties of the highly-valued manuka honey.

Clean beeswax is in demand

On a recent visit to the British Wax Refining Company in the UK, Bees for development learned that clean beeswax is in high demand. Managing Director, of the British Wax Refining Company, Mr Rob Case-Green said, “The best quality beeswax has nothing added, and has been melted in hot water to stop it burning. I am always interested in good quality, clean beeswax from new sources”.

Interest in propolis from Africa Bee Vital is a family-run UK company specialising in making health products using propolis. A member of the family, Hugo Fearnley, is planning to visit a number of African countries in 2016 as part of an Apiceutical development project. If any potential propolis producers would like to meet with Mr. Fearnley contact him at  Please mention Bees for development in your email.

TECA discussion on ‘Measuring honey and beeswax trade’ moderated by Bees for development Join the discussion with TECA 8-29 February 2016

NEW! Bees for development Blog Read here to find out latest stories from Bees for development

Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association beekeeping photography competition. Open to people from all countries who wish to submit their own unpublished photographs. Details here:

Would you like to read the whole story about The Flow Hive? Watch this documentary on Australian Story website.

Websites with information about grants

Apiculture meetings in 2016

APIMONDIA Symposium on Indigenous Bees, 1-4 February, Philippines

Asian Apicultural Association 13th Conference, 13-16 April, Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

8th Caribbean Beekeeping Congress in Tobago, 12-16 September

ApiExpo Africa in Kigali, Rwanda, 21-26 September 2016.

To find out more about Bees For Development go to