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Annie D. Betts

Scientist, Author and Editor

Miss Annie Dorothy Betts is one of the many people who have made a huge contribution to beekeeping, but is now almost forgotten. She was born into a well known family of railway constructors on 22nd November 1884 in Surbiton, Surrey and died on 8th September 1961. Information online is rather scarce, but she is credited with being a pioneer in bee research, author, editor and worked as an aeronautical engineer during WW1.

In an article in the November 1967 issue of the "American Bee Journal" Eva Crane wrote "From 1929 to 1949, "Bee World" was edited-and indeed largely written-by Miss Annie D. Betts, to whom beekeepers and scientists alike owe a great debt of gratitude for documenting information for them throughout these 21years". She apparently wrote "thousands" of reports of other publications and 170 original articles for what was then known as "The Bee World" between the first issue in 1919 and 1949.

"Bee World" was the monthly magazine of the Apis Club that was formed in 1919. It was an international publication that benefited from Annie Betts being an able linguist. She was quite forceful and opinionated, but adhered to high standards, at times being self-critical.

Annie Betts started beekeeping in 1900. I have seen a reference to her not intending to be a beekeeper, but I don't know the circumstances. She became a very prolific writer of magazine articles often using her initials "A.D.B". She wrote several books including "The Diseases of Bees: Their Signs, Causes and Treatment", "The Fungi of the Bee-Hive" and "Practical Bee Anatomy". She apparently rode a motorcycle.

When Annie Betts retired as Bee World Editor in 1949 she was so deaf she had difficulty hearing others.

In her last issue of Bee World as Editor Annie Betts stated "I have a strong objection to receiving any kind of present or testimonial and, should anyone in their kindness think of giving me anything of the sort, will they please realize that under no circumstances will I accept it.....". It seems that she was a very private person who had little time for self- publicists, which is probably why there is little information about someone who clearly made a great contribution to beekeeping.

The above has been gleaned from several sources. I hope that what I have written is correct.

Roger Patterson.

Page created 15/09/2018