A short history of the International Bee Research Association

1945 The British Beekeepers Association appoints a Research Committee, composed mainly of beekeepers who are also professional scientists with experience of research and research methods. Dr Eva Crane is the Secretary of this committee. Their task is the organization and coordination of research in the UK on beekeeping and allied subjects.

1948 It becomes clear that the task is impossible without funding beyond the means of the BBKA. Plans are drawn up for an independent organization to take on the task.

1949 The Bee Research Association (BRA) legally comes into existence on 24 January, with Dr Crane as its Director, and its headquarters in her house. Membership is £1.00, corporate membership £5.00.

1950 Apicultural Abstracts  is founded as a constituent part of Bee World

 

BRA’s original home at 55, Newlands Road, Hull.

I952 Bee World, founded in 1919, becomes a BRA journal, having been "sailing under two flags": The Apis Club and BRA, since 1950 when Dr Crane had become Editor. The most important single achievement of the year is the publication by BRA of Dorothy Hodges’s fine work The pollen loads of the honey bee . This year also sees the creation of what has become one of the most famous logos in the beekeeping world: F V Botley's projection of the world map in three hexagons.

1953 The year in which Mount Everest is climbed for the first time, and climbed by a beekeeper, Sir Edmund Hillary. As there is no other body to do so, BRA opens a fund for a commemorative presentation and a collection of bee books is duly given to the climber, with a specially designed bookplate marking the achievement.

 

The book plate designed for Sir Edmund Hillary.

1955 The Cranes move house, and therefore BRA HQ, from Hull to Woodside House, Woodside Hill, Gerrards Cross, Buckinghamshire. The still fledgling BRA has already managed to accumulate over 4 tonnes of publications and other material by this stage. At this point 53% of the members are from outside Britain, so it is a truly international organisation.

1958 The tenth anniversary of BRA witnesses the decision to include members from other countries on the Governing Council, reflecting the international character of the organization. The second volume of the brilliantly conceived Dictionary of beekeeping terms is published. The journal exchange scheme is expanded.

1960 By now, BRA is literally reaching to the ends of the earth and it is not surprising that there is a desperate need for financial help and for a new headquarters, as even the Cranes large house is reaching bursting point.

 

The BRA office in Woodside House in the 1960s.

1962 This year sees the publication of H A Dade's masterly Anatomy and dissection of the honey bee. The year also sees the birth of The Journal of Apicultural Research which aims to fulfil the need for a regular, reputable, English language peer-reviewed journal to publish new research and original papers.

1964 The behaviour and social life of honey bees by Ronald Ribbands is published.

1966 BRA moves into its very own offices at Hill House, Chalfont St Peter, Buckinghamshire.

 

Hill House drawn by Dorothy Hodges.

1967 With increased governmental and grant support, IBRA's position strengthens, as does its status around the world undoubtedly helped by Eva Crane's tireless travels. In the year she visits the USA, Kenya, India, Australia, Hong Kong and Mauritius in a typically packed itinerary.

1969 The computerisation of Apicultural Abstracts is brought about through the help, cooperation and support of Prof. Gordon Townsend and Guelph University, Canada.

1972 There is growth in the role of BRA as conference organizer with important meetings held in Scotland and Kenya.

1973 There are advances in the computerisation of data in cooperation with the Commonwealth Agricultural Bureau (CAB).

1974 The Silver Jubilee of BRA sees the globe-trotting Director visit: Argentina, Brazil, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa and Senegal. 

1975 Honey, a comprehensive survey  by Eva Crane is first published.

1976 BRA becomes IBRA with the addition of the word "International" to the title. This is long overdue as it had, from its very beginnings, encompassed a global view and worldwide membership. The first International Conference on Tropical Apiculture is held in London.

1979 British Bee Books: a bibliography 1500 - 1976 is published.

1980 The Second International Conference on Tropical Apiculture is held in New Delhi, India. One of the greatest names in entomology, Professor Charles D Michener of the University of Kansas, USA, becomes an IBRA Vice President.

1982 Two authoritative articles published by IBRA foresee the impact the varroa mite will have on bees and beekeeping as it spreads across Europe.

1983 At the end of this year Dr Crane retires after 35 years as Director. She remains Scientific Consultant to IBRA but is free to concentrate on her own writings, including The archaeology of beekeeping published in this year. Reg Shuel becomes Editor of the Journal of Apicultural Research.

 

Dr Eva Crane with one of her major books.

1984 Dr Margaret Adey takes over as Director. The Directory of important world honey sources is published and The pollen loads of the honey bee is reprinted. The Third International Conference on Tropical Apiculture held in Nairobi, Kenya.

1986 IBRA moves to North Road, Cardiff. Robert Pickard becomes Editor of the Journal of Apicultural Research.

 

16 and 18, North Road, Cardiff.

1987 Dr Adey resigns and Vince Cook becomes Director. IBRA undertakes a project to look at the viability of beekeeping in the rice fields of Bangladesh.

1988 Vince Cook dies suddenly and David Francis takes over as a temporary Director for a fixed period of two years. The Fourth International Conference on Tropical Apiculture takes place in Cairo, Egypt. Pamela Munn becomes Editor of Bee World.

1991 David Francis steps down as agreed and Andrew Matheson becomes Director. Tom Rinderer becomes Senior Editor of the Journal of Apicultural Research.

1992 Following the discovery of varroa in the UK, a conference is organized in London on the theme of Living with varroa  and this becomes an important IBRA publication. The Fifth International Conference on Tropical Apiculture is held in Trinidad and Tobago.

1993 A conference Pastures new is held at Cambridge, which becomes the publication Forage for bees in an agricultural landscape.

1994 A varroa conference is held in Řež, Czech Republic, and becomes the publication New perspectives on varroa. A colour guide to pollen loads of the honey bee by William Kirk is published.

1995 An international symposium The conservation of bees is held at the Linnean Society in London. A conference Bumble bees for pleasure and profit is also held in London and becomes a publication.

1996 The major publication The conservation of bees is published. Richard Jones becomes IBRA Director. The Sixth International Conference on Tropical Apiculture is held in Costa Rica. The conference Varroa! Fight the mite is held in Cardiff and becomes a publication.

1997 IBRA has a stand at the Apimondia congress in Antwerp, Belgium.

1998 A forum on Habitat management for wild bees and wasps is held in Cardiff and results in a publication with the same name.

1999 IBRA has a stand at the Apimondia congress in Vancouver, Canada.

 

The 1999 IBRA AGM: L to R: David Francis, Mrs and Dr Hachiro Shimanuki, Richard Jones.

2000 The Seventh International Conference on Tropical Apiculture is held in Chaing Mai, Thailand, and a conference on Honey and healing  is held in Cardiff, again giving rise to a bestselling publication. Apicultural Abstracts becomes available on CD ROM.

2001 IBRA has a stand at the Apimondia Congress in Durban, South Africa.

2002 An IBRA conference on European apicultural science Bees without frontiers is held in Cardiff and becomes the forerunner of the biennial EurBee Conferences. 

2003 Sees the publication of Dr Leslie Goodman's unique and most beautiful book Form and function in the honey bee, as well as Insect bites and stings - a guide to prevention and treatment by Harry Riches, and Making a beeline by Eva Crane, in which she tells of her world travels in the pursuit of bee knowledge. The newsletter Buzz Extra is first published. Keith Delaplane becomes Senior Editor of the Journal of Apicultural Research. IBRA has a stand at the Apimondia Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

2004 The Eighth International Conference on Tropical Apiculture is held in Ribeirao Preto, Brazil. IBRA has a stand at the EurBee Congress in Udine, Italy.

2005 publication of Apicultural Abstracts is suspended after over fifty years. During most of this time, up to the advent of the electronic super highway, it has provided the only and much needed source information on which careers were built and bee research maintained in many parts of the world. IBRA has a stand at the Apimondia Congress in Dublin, Ireland.

2006 Publication of Bee World is suspended. IBRA has a stand at the EurBee Congress in Prague, Czech Republic.

2007 The IBRA International Conference Bees under the midnight sun is held in Mikkeli, Finland. Norman Carreck becomes Senior Editor of the Journal of Apicultural Research. Death of Dr Eva Crane.

2008  The first Special Issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research devoted to the small hive beetle, is published. The festschrift Eva Crane bee scientist is published. The IBRA AGM is held at the EurBee Conference in Belfast.

2009 IBRA’s new refereed scientific journal the Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science is launched with Rose Cooper as Senior Editor. Richard Jones retires as IBRA Director. A revised edition of Dade’s Anatomy and dissection of the honey bee is published. IBRA has a stand at the Apimondia Congress in Montpellier, France.

2010 A relaunched Bee World replaces Buzz Extra as the IBRA Members journal with Richard Jones as Editor. A special issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research on colony losses is published. IBRA has a stand at the EurBee Congress in Ankara, Turkey.

2011 An international conference Varroa - still a problem in the 21st century is organised at Worcester and becomes a publication. The Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science ceases publication.

 

Speakers at Worcester: L to R: Dave Chandler, Stephen Martin, Max Watkins, Joachim de Miranda, Norman Carreck, Keith Delaplane.

2012 The important book Plants for bees by William Kirk based on Plants and beekeeping by F N Howes is published and becomes IBRA’s bestselling publication. IBRA has a stand at the EurBee Congress in Halle, Germany.

2013 The IBRA office moves to Treforest. The COLOSS BEEBOOK is published as two special Issues of the Journal of Apicultural Research and as two hard copy books. IBRA has a stand at the Apimondia Congress in Kiev, Ukraine.

 

IBRA at Kiev, L to R: Jane Jones, Julian Rees.

2014 The special issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research on honey bee genotypes and the environment is published. The IBRA BeeWorld Project and Education Pack are launched.

2015: Kirsten Traynor becomes Editor of Bee World. Publication of both Bee World and the Journal of Apicultural Research are taken over by the Taylor & Francis Group on behalf of IBRA. The IBRA Bookshop moves to Quince Honey Farm, Devon. IBRA is represented at the Apimondia Congress in Daejeon, South Korea.