Beekeeping page

A Hive from an Old Fridge

Dripping Feeder

Beekeeping Exhibition

Personal Home Page
e-mail me
My status

XIIIth Convention of Innovators and International Beekeeping Exhibition in Prague 2002

[The story | Commertial part | Non-commertial part]

One misty October morning last Autumn I found myself in a Prague city-bus. As I woke up I realised soon, there is something odd with the passengers. They didn't look much alike ordinary passengers in a large city! Elder age, gala dress out of fashion, weathered faces and hands but eyes full of expectations: the bus was full of beekeepers going to the exhibition! No wander, it was the first opportunity for the most of beekeepers around Prague to see it. The Convention was first time organised in Prague, it is bi-yearly and it is mobile. It actualy moves not just from one city to another but also from one country to another (alternating The Slovak and The Czech Republics).

A history

The Convention of Innovators was a clever idea in seventies: supply of commercially made beekeeping equipment was rather limited, during communist era, whilst beekeepers had always been known for their creativity. Almost every beekeeper made his own "improvement" to hives, tools, extractors, swarm catchers etc. A lot of ideas were published in a BKA magazine, but "it is better to see ones than to read ten times". The Convention helped to disseminate the best ideas among other beekeepers; some were also utilised commercially afterwards. On every Convention 40 to 50 devices created by enthusiastic beekeepers were presented besides to commercial exhibition.

The present

Last Convention/Exhibition, held in Prague, was extraordinary in many respects, one of them being it was organised together with many other events under a common name Praga Agro. The other events were XIVth Congress of Apislavia (Slavonic and Danubian analogue to Apimondia) and Nation Exhibitions of Pigs, Sheep, Goats and Diary Cattle and International Agricultural Tradefare. Exhibition of beekeeping attracted most of the visitors despite it occupied just one sixth of the area. I guess that visitors of non-beekeeping parts of the event were also beekeepers who just lost their way! At least they got a rest from the enormous crowd! Exhibition area is expensive which caused that especially stands of innovators were confined for space. Innovators are usually elderly but enthusiastic beekeepers who wish to share their knowledge and ideas with others for free but can hardly bear exhibition charge! Present times are not in favour for such people! Fortunately all their expenses were paid by BKA. Much more place - in contrast to previous years - was occupied by wide range of commercial goods. It revealed that commerce gains ever more power in beekeeping nowadays.


1) Non commercial ideas and devices

There were not many really new, most of them appeared on previous exhibitions already. I liked especially two glass hives presenting wild build combs and demonstrating an idea of a diagonal hive entrance. It is well known that a swarm shaken in a brood box but provided with no frames and foundations builds its wild combs rather diagonally. Meta Lengal, a beekeeper and the largest Czech producer of honey-jar-labels from Pilsen, placed a board with a diagonal slot on the standard bottom to discover that the swarm builds its combs in a normal cold way in such case. He concluded, that as long as we use frames in a cold way we should use secondary bottom with a diagonal slot as a bee way to make ventilation more natural.
Another nice device was a water level feeder made using an old carburettor and yards of plastic hoses. I still remember a pleasant afternoon spent in John Atkinson's matting house and his enthusiasm when he showed me almost identical feeder who used to feed his nucs! Good things are often reinvented many times! Other innovators presented unusual uncapping devices (a large fixed fork uncapping a comb moving in a track) , tilted long hives, dry pollen cleaner etc. Innovators from Austria presented a well designed multi-mould to nail many frames together in one go, rotating bee- brush made from recycled polythene-bag cut into strips and submerge pump dissolving sugar to make syrup in a barrel. The later device by Austrian beekeeper Schmitzberger won the first price. The winner kindly presented the price (money) to Czech beekeepers who suffered during floods.

2) Commercial goods and equipment

Beside of gallons of mead (its quality improved enormously within the last few years!) single walled hives and large efficient honey-extractors prevailed. Several local hive producers make Langstroth hives recently - let's hope that exports allow cut prices a bit. Also Dadant hives presented by Tomasz Lyson from Poland were perfectly made and full of interesting details . They were made from foam styropore unfortunately, a material not in favour among beekeepers. On the other hand a plastic introducing/delivery cage by Thomas Lyson is much favoured, I use it too for a couple of years with great succes. Using a simple trick the cage allows bees go in and out first and disperse the queen's smell thrue a hive whilst the queen is released few hours later. I found also Marburg box presented by Povco quite useful for queen rearing, I used it last season to fill mininucs (it allows to separate young bees from foragers and drones).
Reversible and radial honey extractors by Apidomia , powered by synchronic motor controlled by a computer were much to my taste. Computer controlled power source with variable frequency allows to extract honey within much shorter time than it would be possible with ordinary (universal or DC) motor.
Bee Research Institute presented the Golden Nut of the Czech success in treating varroa i.e. atomiser for Autumn application of anti-varroa remedy. Atomiser allows to treat bees even in frosty days (down to -5 °C) that is in time when there is hardly any brood in hives and treatment is therefore most efficient. Not surprisingly the stand of the only present foreign anti-varroa remedy producer (Laboratories Biove with Apivar) was quite ignored by visitors. Beekeepers seems to be satisfied with current treatment and not looking for another.
When I was tired by the crowd I went to enjoy cattle and non-beekeeping stands. A nice surprise were students of Agricultural College in Podebrady making "skeps". They in fact didn't know what the skeps were, but they used the same technique to make vases and bowls for flower dressing !

Commertial part:

Povco - Jaroslav Frk, hives, protective clothing and equipment

adress: POVCO, Horni Cermna 240, CZ-563 01 Horni Cermna, Czech Republic
tel.: +420 465 393 457
mobil: +420 604 127 025
web: (also in German)
Marburg box for artifitial swarming

Langstroth, Dadant and local types of hives by Vaclav Brinek

adress: Vaclav Brinek, Namesti Miru 95, CZ-270 33 Jesenice u Rakovnika
web: (also in German)

Dadant Hives made from hardened styropore by Tomasz Lyson (Polland)

adress: Lyson Tomasz 34-125 Sulkowice k/Andrychowa, ul. Raclawicka 162 tel. (033) 875 99 40, 875 93 24, fax (033) 870 47 60
web: (also in Swedish and Polish)

Queen shiping/introducing cage by Tomasz Lyson (Polland)

adress: Lyson Tomasz 34-125 Sulkowice k/Andrychowa, ul. Raclawicka 162 tel. (033) 875 99 40, 875 93 24, fax (033) 870 47 60

Apidomia - honey extractors

adress: Apidomia, Sentice 162, CZ-666 03 Tisnov

Atomiser and compressor for varroa treatment by Bee Research Institute, Dol

adress: Bee Research Institute, Dol, CZ-252 66 Libcice
web: (also in English and German)

Hand powered uncaping device

adress: Stanislav Dlouhy, Borek 68, CZ-277 14 Drisy
phone: +420 326 911 847

Havlickova Borova a.s. - honey-extractors

adress: Havlickova Borova a.s., Pivovarska 162, CZ-582 23 Havlickova Borova

Honey melter for use in barrels

adress: SOUV, Slatinanska 135, CZ-538 25 Nasavrky

Zdenka Koppova, Import and export of beekeepers equipment

adress: Zdenka Koppova, Trida Miru 129, CZ-779 00 Olomouc
web: (also in English and German)

Non-commertial part:

The Czech BKA presentation

adress: CSV, Kremencova 8, CZ-115 24 Praha 1

Gingerbread by students of Beekeeping College in Nasavrky

Meta Lengal presented an influece of the entrance on the way how bees build combs

Combs build by a swarm using ordinary front bottom entrance.

Combs build by a swarm using diagonal bottom entrance (diagonal slot in the bottom)

Arts made by children

Watter-level carburator feeder

A joke: "This old skep is my favourite!"

Another joke: "See, that your bees polinated me!"

Students of Agricultural College in Podebrady making "skeps"

Langstroth hives promoted by Langstroth-Hives Working Group (Die Arbeitsgemeinschaft der Magazin-Imker)

address:Jindrich Bohac, Jizni 467/59, CZ-513 01 Semily
phone: +420 481 621 337
e-mail :