Thursday, 23 November 2017

Newsletter Nov 2017

Dear Beekeeper

Thanks to all who entered & attended the Honey Show at Shepherdswell last month.
Chris has sent a note appreciation & a list of the 2017 results to members with the emailed Newsletter. A great turnout for the new venue, considering the weather, but we need more set honey entries next year, please - more everything really!

Winter approaches. Your bees, which worked so hard for you in the summer, should now be well-fed & tucked up in their hives with a mouseguard or low entrance at the front & protection from woodpeckers around the exposed woodwork [or polystyrene - vulnerable too!]

Check every so often that your hives are safe from strong winds, animals, vandalism, etc and that entrances are clear. Otherwise, they should be left alone till you decide on a varroa treatment in early January. That will give an opportunity to briefly check that the bee cluster has accessible food. 

Thank you:
DDBKA owes a vote of thanks to Allyn Thomas who has re-roofed the apiary shed & fitted it with gutters & a water butt. It should now be serviceable for another few years. Well done!

Annual General Meeting
The year draws to a close & it’s time for the AGM.
Members will have received with the Newsletter the minutes of the 2016 AGM and an agenda, plus the accounts from the Hon Treasurer.

All the association offices will be up for election at the AGM.
It is important to broaden the pool of members willing to take on responsibilities, so please, if you're a member of DDBKA, do not be shy about standing - your contribution is needed.
But please note: Only Registered members can be nominated & hold offices.

If nominating some-one, please check in advance whether your nominee is willing to stand.
Each nominee needs a proposer and seconder.
You can nominate yourself if you wish to take a role, but still need a proposer and seconder. Associate members may nominate and vote, but cannot stand.
Please phone or email nominations to the Hon Secretary before the AGM as she will need to prepare ballot papers in the case of any contested elections.
Most post holders are willing to stand this time, but that doesn’t prevent posts being contested.
As you see, we need a Vice Chair; Jean stepped in & served well for 2 years, many thanks to her.

Think of a member who gives regular help to DDBKA, maybe with catering, demonstrating, mentoring, giving advice, helping at the apiary etc. Ask if they’d like to join the committee, get them nominated!

Current holder
Dick Bunting
willing to stand again
Vice Chair
Jean Mozley
Secretary & Membership Secretary
Maggie Harrowell
willing to stand again
Philip Nicholson
willing to stand again
Show Secretary
Chris Holdstock
willing to stand again
Examinations  Secretary
Jackie Thomas
willing to stand again
Training Secretary
Mary Hill
willing to stand again
Peter Crow
willing to stand again

Consider also if you might like to become a mentor to a beginner,  loan a hive as a beginner [only 2 left!], host a summer meeting, go on the 2018 swarm collectors list.

This month’s meeting – the last of the year

Saturday 25th November at 2:30 p.m. at Alkham Village Hall CT15 7BU

·         Any outstanding library books to be returned please.

·          Tea [£1] and raffle as usual.

·          Following requests from members, we will have a small sale table at indoor meetings. Bring along any redundant/surplus equipment you’d like to sell or pass on to others.

·         Please try to bring a small contribution to the refreshments to give an early festive feel.

Hope to see you there,
Best wishes,

Thursday, 9 November 2017

Newsletter October 2017

Dear Beekeeper
Your bee colonies should now be well fed & have decent stores to see them through the winter. The sunny weather has seen them flying & active, but nights can be chilly & they will be clustering. 

I will be reversing my brood + a half boxes soon to put the full super box underneath. This leaves the brood mainly at the top, well-placed for the January varroa treatment of Api-Bioxal [an approved varroacide].

Mouseguards can be put on entrances & woodpecker protection added around the hives. You can purchase wraps to protect the hives or try chicken wire around them.

News of Beginners’classes in the spring 2018
Rob Philpott will run the DDBKA beginners’ course in a new heated workshop that is now near completion at his home address right next to their apiary in Temple Ewell.
A copy of the application form and timetable is available HERE; the course covers 6 weekly evening sessions in February & March 2018, covering all aspects of bee society & management through the season.

Best wishes.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Honey Show Announcement


is to be held in the

Shepherdswell Village Hall
Cox Hill, Shepherdswell, Dover
CT15 7N


Saturday 21st October 2017 at 2.30 pm
Trophies to be presented at approx. 3.15 pm

Monday, 25 September 2017

Newsletter September 2017

Dear Beekeeper
Tremendous thanks to Steve & Linda Boyce for their hospitality at the August meeting on Romney Marsh. Not that easy to find, as I discovered, but a lovely spot for bees. A car load of beekeepers from Walmer never actually made it - forced to seek refreshment! It was hot & the 27 hives were all active, one was defensive. 
We removed the full frames for Steve to extract, lucky man. Thanks to all, especially those who brought food.
Kay Wreford, our Seasonal Bee Inspector, explained why certain beekeepers were inspected more than others, on the traffic light system:
Green:   left alone unless request a visit, probably rural & isolated
Amber:  still almost under the radar as not in areas of previous infections
Red:       yearly visit, near docks/port, a likely point of entry for Asian hornet, small hive beetle.
But inspectors will come if requested by a beekeeper.
Disease Alert: EFB identified again within 3 km of Nonington - make sure you're registered on BeeBase for alerts.
This month in the apiary:
Varroa treatments should be removed by now & concentrated feeding should aim to be done by the end of this month. Use strong sugar syrup [1kg white sugar to 630ml of water] or Ambrosia syrup. 35-40lb of stores is recommended for a normal sized colony.
The queen excluder can be removed as bees use the space as they wish.
Depending on the weather I’ll let mine go a bit longer to see how much ivy nectar they bring in, that’s their preference after all. But many beekeepers find ivy honey a nuisance as it sets very hard & the bees never seem to eat it all. You may be left with frames needing to be melted down next spring.
DDBKA Honey Show!
October 21st Shepherdswell Village Hall 2:30 pm (note the new venue for this year)
I hope you have had time to look at the 2017 schedule & see what you’ll enter. Personally I have no honey left after a poor summer season & local demand, so will try harder with wax & confectionery! 
So choose your best jars, make sure they are clean & clear & the right weight & go for it! 
And do remember that members can enter open as well as members’ classes.
The wax classes are a steep learning curve, but very satisfying, also mead making.
The closing date for entries is 14th October. Chris will send you the stickers in the s.a.e. which you must enclose with your entry form. 
Confectionery entries don’t have to be made with your own honey – it may be your first year!
Read the regulations carefully. They may seem picky, but it leads to fairness for all.
This month’s meeting:
The last outdoor meeting of the year!
Saturday 30th September at the DDBKA out-apiary CT15 4AD 2:30 p.m.
It is along the Shepherdswell Road, near Eythorne as you head towards Shepherdswell, on the left, Parking in the next field. 
  • Mary will work with beginners; she may discuss equipment & tools with the group. Others will demonstrate at DDBKA hives. 
  • Each hive will have its stores assessed & counted for the winter, 3lb for a full super frame, 5lb a full brood frame. Feeding of Ambrosia to start if not already started. DDBKA has 3 English feeders & 2 budget wooden feeders. The poly hive has its own feeder.
  • Bring clean suits, wellies & rubber gloves. Bring glasses if you wear them! We will have suits to borrow for beginners & observers.
  • Return your Library books & choose another.
  • Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. Bring your own mugs!

Hoping for fine weather!
Best wishes,

Monday, 14 August 2017

Newsletter August 2017

Dear Beekeeper

What a strange July meeting! Too wet to bother the bees, yet 55 people turned up to chat, stand in a field or under a gazebo & think about bees. Amazing! Thank you all, especially those who brought food.

A disappointing summer honey crop seems to be my lot, as well as many of you. The dry weeks followed by what we have now, wet, windy & cool, have made the bees stay at home & consume what little they had. 

So the need now is for treatment against varroa mites and making sure the bees are settled for winter. There will probably be an influx of stores in September when ivy flowers come out, much loved by bees for their abundant nectar & pollen.

The National Bee Unit has issued a warning re high varroa mite numbers.
We have Apiguard varroa treatments for DDBKA members @ £1.75 per tray. You need 2 trays per colony, plus an eke or shallow box, so get yours at the August meeting.
This link shows how to apply Apiguard for those who have not used it before:

Don’t forget to put in an insert & count the mite drop weekly & divide the number by 7 to find the daily drop. Over the 4 week period it is reputed to be 93% effective, numbers should decrease after an initial high drop. Clean the insert between monitoring counts.

We also hope to have Ambrosia bee syrup for sale to members at this month's meeting.

Apiary Wednesdays
Dick & Peter’s Wednesday 6:30 pm sessions at our Eythorne out-apiary CT15 4AD are successful & busy, people needing a problem solved, hands-on experience, or some equipment.
Beginner members are especially welcome.
Dick now has a blog which you can check to see if a session may be cancelled due to poor weather, check from 3pm on the day:

This month’s meeting
Saturday 26th August at Steve Boyce’s apiary on Romney Marsh at Marshlands, TN29 0PY.

Steve has now put all his bees into polystyrene hives, a real enthusiast for bee health in these hives. He will convert you, or try to! There is a purpose-built apiary which he has created giving shelter from the marsh winds.

Steve has also arranged a visitor; Kay Wreford [bee inspector] will be there to go through with us what an inspector does & is looking for, when they come & inspect our hives, to make us less nervous!

To get there, consider a car share. The route obviously depends on your starting point, but once you arrive at Marshlands, there is a turning between 40 & 42 which leads to the apiary.
Bring clean suits, wellies & rubber gloves. Bring glasses if you wear them! We will have suits to borrow for beginners & observers.

Return your Library books & choose another.

Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. To save a lot of carrying, please can you bring a small contribution of food to share at this meeting, DDBKA can provide tea & coffee. Bring your own mugs!

I hope you come along; it is very useful to see other apiaries.
Best wishes.

Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Newsletter July 2017

Dear Beekeeper
Colonies should now be at their peak numbers to collect nectar for the usual summer flow.
To that end members have been uniting small colonies and spare nucs to achieve a maximum gathering population. 
Some of the uniting has been forced due to instances of laying workers or drone-laying queens.
These two problems have the same result if left – a colony full of drones & little else – doomed!
Laying workers can develop when a colony has been queenless for over 3 weeks.
Laying workers show multiple eggs in worker cells leading to lumpy, distorted comb. To rectify, shake the entire colony off the combs at a distance from the hive; unite the ones which fly back to a good nuc or small colony.
A drone-laying queen is viable, but useless & must be killed & replaced. She may have been poorly mated.
Varroa Mite
The National Bee Unit has issued a warning re high varroa mite numbers.
We have purchased Apiguard varroa treatments for DDBKA members @ £1.75 per tray.
You will need 2 trays per colony, so come & get yours at the July meeting.  You will also need an eke or shallow box to allow space for the tray above the brood after you have taken off your honey crop. It is essential that you treat your colonies against this constant problem, whether with Apiguard [a thymol treatment] or an alternative.
Apiary Wednesdays
Dick & Peter’s Wednesday 6:30 pm sessions at our Eythorne out-apiary CT15 4AD are successful & busy; members needing a problem solved, hands-on experience, or some equipment.
Beginner members are especially welcome.
Dick now has a blog which you can check if a session may be cancelled due to poor weather, check before 3pm on the day:
International Meeting of Young Beekeepers
The BBKA report that the International Meeting of Young Beekeepers (IMYB), held recently in England, was a big success. It was reported on BBC Radio 4 Farming Today [before 6 am!] but can be accessed via this link:
It will also be covered on BBC1's Countryfile on July 23rd 7pm.
Wasps and Hornets
More things to worry about! An Asian Hornet nest has been found in Jersey. Wasps are becoming evident here. Also hive thefts in Sellindge. Stay vigilant! Get your wasp/hornet traps out.
This month’s meeting
Saturday 29th July at Beech Grove, Forest Drive, Nonington CT15 4FB.
  • There is a purpose built apiary with Langstroth hives, very interesting to see, in a woodland setting. Bring clean suits, wellies & rubber gloves. Bring glasses if you wear them! We will have suits to borrow for beginners & observers.
  • Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. All refreshment monies will go to our hosts, the Bruderhof community, who provide lovely food & friendly hospitality.
  • Return your Library books & choose another.
I hope you come along, it is very useful to see other apiaries.

Best Wishes.