Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Newsletter October 2018

Dear Beekeeper

We had a successful auction of various bits of beekeeping equipment last month, over £500 raised for bee charities with more to come in the spring when David Clark’s complete hives are empty & can be sold as well. Thanks to Len for doing the calling [who else!]

I have opened up my hives in the warm weather this week to count the level of stores they have brought in.

Most are in the 30lb region, but one has only 20lb so is being fed with strong syrup [2lb sugar to 1 pint water]. To estimate the stores your bees have collected, a full super frame holds 3lb honey & a full brood frame holds 5lb, so you can roughly reckon up what’s there. Langstroths are obviously heavier.

35-40 lb is needed for winter survival.

My bees are still active on ivy which bumps up the hive weight. Soon I shall reverse the boxes on my brood+ a half boxes 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 varroaicide]. Other techniques are available……


DDBKA Honey Show, 20th October


Sunday, 23 September 2018

Newsletter September 2018

Dear Beekeeper

The main news this month is the finding of an Asian hornet in Fowey, Cornwall. Also now in Liskeard, Cornwall, & in Hull!
Keep vigilant, look at your hive entrances. Now the hornets are settling in lower plants, hedges & bushes. Take a photo if possible of a suspicious sighting, send to: alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk
Queen hornets are looking for sites at this time.
If you have wasp traps, check carefully for Asian hornets. Reduce hive entrances

Wednesday evening sessions at Eythorne apiary CT15 4AD
These sessions are now over for the year as evenings are chillier & darker.

Winter beekeeping courses
There is no need to stop thinking about bees during the winter!
In the Spring Rob Philpott is running a six week Beginners’ Course. If you are very new to the craft or have got bees but have never been on a course, this is the course for you. 
Now is also the time for those of you who have keep bees for two seasons with the winter in between to think about doing the Basic Beekeeping Exam. The course is run by Mary Hill. It is a practical and verbal exam., no written work at all. You will learn some things you have not bothered about before and add to those you already know. It is essential if you hope to sit BBKA Modules later.

This month’s meeting

Saturday 29th September at Eythorne apiary, CT15 4AD
An auction & sale is planned as the bees will not welcome being disturbed! We have a good deal of redundant equipment after the death of David Clark. There are National boxes, roofs & floors, new frames, nuc boxes, feeders, smokers & equipment to sell.
His family has asked that proceeds go to the bee charities.
There will be a set price on new equipment and an auction for the used. All the wooden equipment has been scorched but some could do with some TLC. If members wanted to bring along any surplus equipment they want to off load, then it will be welcome.

Also:

· Mary will check with beginners that their bees are ready for winter.

· Varroa treatments will be available to purchase at the meeting, pre order from Philip by email.

· Return your Library books & choose another!

· Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. Bring your own mugs!!!! 

Hope to see you there.
Best wishes.
Maggie.


Newsletter August 2018

Dear Beekeeper

We were really grateful to Mick Delieu for hosting the July meeting at the rifle ranges at Hythe. 
Most of us would never have been allowed to set foot there before. An expanse of rough ground up a slope next to the open sea, a great site for bees with lots of useful buildings. A windy exposed spot, but the sun shone.
Thanks also to Charles Barnick who has donated to our Association a 2-frame tangential Langstroth honey extractor, handy for those who have Langstroth hives, but not a great deal to extract.

The honey yields this summer seem to be generally exceptional; Karl in Church Hougham extracted 400lb in 3 days last week! Karl also reports that he has experienced the jelly-like consistency of some of his honey as reported by Dick from Eythorne, difficult to extract!

Our club honey extractors have been heavily used, as it should be. We also have 2 tabletop 4 frame tangential extractors & one 9 frame radial one.
Contact Eric to borrow a DDBKA honey extractor (members only).

The one snag seems to be a very large wasp population this year, hanging around hives & kitchens as their nests are deserted. If you have wasp traps, check carefully for Asian hornets. Reduce hive entrances.

Best wishes.
Maggie.


Thursday, 19 July 2018

Newsletter July 2018

Dear Beekeeper

At last the bees are bringing in noticeable quantities of honey, I’m unsure of the source, round our way it’s probably blackberries & privet, but the hot weather & sunshine seems to agree with the colonies. 
Roy Pearson has been lucky with white clover this summer, which needs 21C to produce nectar, just right for current conditions.

Clearer boards are the best solution to persuading bees to leave a super box, Brushing only annoys! Put on the evening before extraction is planned.
But the Porter bee escapes must fit properly; we had an instance recently of new escapes which couldn’t fit into a new crownboard, the holes being too tight. Consequently the escapes were distorted & bees could come & go freely in both directions, missing the point!
Members can contact Eric Cattell to borrow a DDBKA honey extractor.
We have 2 tabletop 4 frame tangential extractors & one 9 frame radial one.

There should be fewer swarms now, but keep your inspection rotas going as nothing this year seems to be “normal”.


Wednesday evenings at Eythorne apiary CT15 4AD
Wednesday sessions at Eythorne at 6:30 pm, for beginners & experienced helpers to provide hands on experience in a small group are going well, though weather dependent. There are always tasks to do & you will be welcome. Check Dick’s blog at https://eythornebees.wordpress.com

Reminder from Pam Hunter, our Link Trustee, about Asian Hornets:
Please note that the contact for reporting suspected Asian hornets is alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk

Good news - an app has been launched recently -The ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app is available to download from the Apple and Android app stores.

This month’s meeting
  • Saturday 28th July at Mick Delieu’s apiary near Hythe. He has kindly offered to host us for the afternoon, the rifle ranges will not be firing for the day! It is an excellent opportunity for beginners to see a fairly recently established apiary, Mick has made great progress running his independent set-up. A map with directions has been sent to members.
  • Bring your own chair if you need one.
  • The gate will open at 1:45, lots of parking.
  • Bring clean suits, wellies & rubber gloves. We have suits to borrow for beginners & observers. DDBKA has purchased some new smaller sizes for younger visitors. Safe dress is required around bees.
  • Varroa treatments will be available to purchase at the meeting, pre order from Philip by email.
  • Return your Library books & choose another! Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. To make refreshment easier far from our apiary, will you please bring a food contribution to share, we will provide tea & coffee. Bring your own mugs!!!!
See you there! I’m really looking forward to it, the public are not usually allowed on this land, a treat for us all.
Maggie.



Newsletter June 2018

Dear Beekeeper

I feel I should apologise to those who contacted me wanting or needing swarms.
They simply have not appeared! Maybe I am out of the area where they are numerous, but chatting to others reveals that a swarm is a rare beast this year. Members have made purchases of nucs or are waiting in hope.
Remember if you have signed up to collect swarms then please do go when contacted, or ring me to organize someone else.
If you don’t need more bees there are folk who do!
DDBKA members have priority, so let me know asap if you have a box of bees to spare!


Do regular weekly inspections. The bees seem to be bringing in some honey now, so keep an eye on them to ensure they have room to process nectar into honey [below 20% water content].

EFB has broken out again in SE London, as well as in the Woodnesborough area. Make yourself familiar with its appearance.
Kay has been very active in our area, a fantastic free diagnostic visit if she comes to you!
Wednesday evenings at Eythorne apiary
Wednesday sessions at Eythorne at 6:30 pm, for beginners & experienced helpers to provide hands on experience in a small group are going well, though weather dependent. There are always tasks to do & you will be welcome. Check Dick’s blog at https://eythornebees.wordpress.com

Best wishes.
Maggie.

Tuesday, 22 May 2018

Newsletter May 2018

Dear Beekeeper

We have not yet met all together in 2018 at Eythorne after last month’s washout.
Hopefully this month will have kinder weather.
The rape flowers are fading now, washed away in heavy rains, so extract the honey as soon as you can, it quickly sets hard in the combs.



SWARMS
After last month’s request for people needing swarms to come forward, I have a list of 10 or so members who need bees to replace their losses. One member has lost every colony, from 2 different sites.
So collecting swarms is going to be vital.
Remember if you have signed up to collect swarms then please do go when contacted, or ring me to organize someone else.
If you don’t need more bees there are folk who do!
DDBKA members have priority, so let me know asap if you have a box of bees to spare!
Having said all that my phone has only rung once so far…………


As beekeepers we need to be aware of how to prevent swarms, it is not a matter of just destroying Q cells, you will be sure to miss one & they will certainly try again.
If you see Q cells, first make sure the Q is still there & find a way to separate her from the colony in an artificial swarm or nuc box. NUC: Take her & the frame she is on, add extra frames of brood, food & foundation, shake in some extra bees too. The bees remaining in the brood box will create a new queen in 2/3 weeks. Some beekeepers don’t have enough spare equipment – if you have hives then you will need a couple of nuc boxes to accommodate the summer increase, it’s what bees do! Our Association has some nuc boxes to lend to members.
If the Q has gone, then you have lost half your colony & possibly caused nuisance to neighbours.
Do regular weekly inspections.

Many thanks to the people who returned their Loan Hives to the apiary whenever the weather let them get through. I hope the new borrowers are now set up & ready to populate their hives with a nuc or swarm.

Wednesday evenings at Eythorne apiaryWednesday sessions at Eythorne at 6:30 pm, for beginners & experienced helpers to provide hands-on experience in a small group are going well, though weather dependent. There are always tasks to do & you will be welcome. Check Dick’s blog at https://eythornebees.wordpress.com


From Pam Hunter, our Link Trustee: Please note that the contact for reporting suspected Asian hornets is alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk
Good news - an app has been launched recently -The ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app is available to download from the
Apple and Android app stores. 
Martin Smith, Public Affairs Manager at BBKA, said: This new app launched by Defra is a welcome addition to current reporting methods that have enabled beekeepers and members of the public to report possible sightings. The key to containment is catching outbreaks as early as possible and allowing fast tracking of the insects back to their nest. We encourage all our 25,000 beekeepers to install the app and use it if they see what might be an Asian hornet near their hives. 
 
This month’s meeting 
  • Saturday 26th May at our Eythorne Apiary, at Eythorne Court, Shepherdswell Road, Eythorne CT14 4AD 2:30 p.m. It is along Shepherdswell Road, near Eythorne as you head towards Shepherdswell, on the left, near a black wooden building. We park in the next field. If you are a new member or visitor, please make yourself known, we get busy!
  • Mary will work with beginners, & others will demonstrate at the club’s hives, the hives have been assessed as to their quality & temperament by Dick & the Wednesday teams. Jackie & others plan to demonstrate different ways of swarm control, very relevant this month, & also using Apideas to raise new Queens. The progress of colonies can be compared with your own. Bring clean suits, wellies & rubber gloves. We have suits to borrow for beginners & observers. DDBKA has purchased some new smaller sizes for younger visitors.
  • Return your Library books & choose another!
  • Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. Bring your own mugs!!!!
I hope you will be able to come along.  
Best wishes.
Maggie.