A Local History of Varroa and Breeding Tolerant Black Bees

Foreword by Sheila Rawson

There can be no doubt in any beekeeper’s mind of the complete commitment of John Dews to the conservation of Apis mellifera mellifera. He has devoted over 60 years to beekeeping and there can be little he does not know about bees through his assiduous observations of bee behaviour, bee breeding and his research into varroa tolerance.

We have been privileged to have had John as a member of WBKA since he retired to the area from West Yorkshire. He has a national reputation for an analytical mind, meticulous work and fastidious attention to detail. He is articulate and coherent when lecturing, and his demonstrations at his home apiary, not to mention the scones and honey, are enjoyed by everyone within our association! John’s careful, methodical handling of his gentle bees are an example to novice and experienced beekeepers alike.

He has contributed immensely to our knowledge of bees, and is an inspiration to us all in encouraging the cultivation of the best strain of bees for our locality. Regarding chemical treatments for varroa as an anathema, his single minded determination has led to his tireless work in the fight against the mite, often conferring with some of the foremost scientists in the field from Europe and the USA.

I have regarded John as a mentor for a number of years, spending many a pleasant afternoon leaning over assorted hives sharing his wit and wisdom, and tapping his phenomenal memory on a number of subjects. Yet he is someone who will keep his council in public until asked for an opinion. That old Yorkshire adage “See all, hear all, say nowt!”

These qualities exhibited by John are reflected in the papers that follow, in this booklet of some of his published works.

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