Monday, 29 December 2014

Newsletter December 2014


Dear Beekeeper

The AGM was well-attended, old & new faces.

Office Holder 2015
Chair Aniela Smith
Vice Chair  Dick Bunting
Secretary Maggie Harrowell
Membership Secretary Maggie Harrowell
Treasurer Philip Nicholson
Show Secretary Chris Holdstock 
Examinations Secretary Jackie Thomas 
Training Secretary Mary Hill

The present committee was re-elected en bloc and minor changes were made to the swarm collector list. Thanks to Mavis, Pam & Maggie M for the great tea & also those who brought goodies to eat.

One prospective member was interested in loaning a hive and 5 members offered to be mentors.

An apiary offer of land from Veolia in Alkham caused interest, not as yet the one in Elham.

Interest was shown in a summer visit to a French apiary & museum

A bee & general knowledge quiz will be held on 28th February, tables of 8.
A cup is at stake!

If you haven’t already signed up for the BIFA Day [Bee Improvement for All] on February 21st, do so asap, we will hold the cost of the day at £5 for DDBKA members till the end of January, so even more of a great offer. The details and forms are on our website.

NEWS of KSRC Sittingbourne

Bob Smith has been in contact, KSRC has found a new location! At present the equipment is in storage. The new venue is about a mile from Sittingbourne station in the Swale Skills Centre. This building is used for engineering training but the adjacent building will be re-fitted with labs and the KSRC equipment re-instated there by September 2015.Meanwhile, there are classroom facilities in the existing building and Bob can provide a pop-up microscopy lab if required. Initially, this facility will only be available Monday-Friday.

A programme of courses will be put together which, again, will be aimed either at Improvers or at providing courses on beekeeping-related topics (eg skep-making) where individual clubs may struggle to fill places. Bob would be delighted to hear from you if you have suggestions for courses or you would like to become part of the tutor team at KSRC. They aim to have a schedule ready in the next few weeks.

Beecraft Hangout Wednesday 17th December at 8.00pm when the topic will be 'Hive products other than honey'. A number of guests have been invited to join the discussions which will include the making of seasonal gifts (cosmetics and candles), seasonal drinks (honey beer) and more. Join us live, or watch the recording after the event, via this direct link through our website: http://www.bee-craft.com/beekeeping/hangouts

Ray Checksfield has been in contact, alarmed at the weight his colonies have lost during the nice weather of autumn; the queens were laying late and the brood had to be fed! Check yours for weight & make or buy fondant as a precaution. Mary will have more Apifondant at the January meeting. Vanes, 120 High St Dover 01304 206325, or Elizabeths Bakeries, 59 Cheriton High Street Folkestone 01303 275576 sell Baker’s fondant. Ring first; it is usually sold in 12.5 kg boxes. Heavy, but it keeps well if cool & wrapped.

Try and make your own candy!

Candy Recipe [there are lots of variations] increase quantities as desired.
200ml water, 1000g [1kg] white sugar ,1 teasp glycerine. Boil all together, stirring, for3 minutes, cool slightly over cold water, then beat or stir rapidly. Turns opaque, pour quickly into plastic containers
e.g. “take away” ones. It sets fast! Invert over the feed hole in the crownboard.

SUGARWATCH Poundstretcher [near Morrisons, Dover] 1kg granulated sugar = 49p

Check your hives
If using oxalic or lactic acid as varroa treatment in the broodless time in December/January, wait for a calm day and work quickly. It provides an opportunity for adjusting frames, making sure the winter cluster is in contact with stored honey, to avoid “isolation starvation”.
Take some fondant or candy with you in case they are low on stores.
Watch out for a buildup of dead bees behind the entrance and clear them.
Otherwise, leave alone and wait for the days to lengthen, when your queens will begin to lay.

Visit of Irish Beekeeper [flyer attached] Wisborough Green Division W Sussex, is bringing over Jim Ryan from Thurles, Co Tipperary 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th February. Jim is well-known as a very good demonstrator of making beeswax products. His methods are simple, he makes these items with minimal equipment.

Enjoy the beekeeping break, read some new books, do some repairs, and make your plans ready for the new season. Always good to have a plan, even though events usually intervene.

Happy Christmas and good health for 2015 to you, see you in January.

I have attached the 2015 subs form, Philip will be glad to hear from you!

Best wishes

Maggie

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Newsletter November 2014

Dear Beekeeper

A few words from Chris Holdstock, DDBKA Show Secretary:

What a great show! The response this year gave a fantastic display of honey, frames, wax & mead. In fact we were just short of breaking records with 39 entrants & 191entries in total. Next year let’s do it! So a massive thank you to all who entered, special thanks to those from other Associations who joined us (and cleaned up on the silverware!). It's always a relief to see the hall full, as it was this year; it is a lovely venue, so thanks to David and Holly Stevenson and all at the Bruderhof Community for inviting us again and providing many helping hands to get things set up. The judges, Mary Hill, Doreen Clarke and Brian Marlow had their work cut out with so many entries but ably assisted by stewards Mannetta Ferguson, Pam Pearson, Mavis Carter, Paula Gardner & Roy Dyche finally finished after 3 hours of deliberation. As ever a wonderful lunch was provided for judges & stewards by Maggie Marlow and Mavis Carter with afternoon refreshments catered by Holly & the Community. A great team effort all round, thank you all very much. Here's to 2015!

The complete results for 2014 are HERE.

If you haven’t already signed up for the BIFA Day [Bee Improvement for All] on February 21st, do so asap, we will hold the cost of the day at £5 for DDBKA members till the end of January, so even more of a great offer. If you have paid more, refunds will follow.

The details and forms are on our website.

AGM

This is our next meeting, an opportunity to have a say in the affairs of DDBKA.

ELECTIONS

All the association offices will be up for election at the AGM. It is important that we broaden the pool of members willing to take on responsibilities, so please do not be shy about standing, your contribution is needed, a chance to voice your views about any aspects of DDBKA.

NB Only Registered members can hold offices.

Please check in advance whether your nominee is willing to stand.

Each nominee needs a proposer and seconder.

You are at liberty to nominate yourself if you wish to take a role, but still need a proposer and seconder. Associate members may nominate and vote. Please phone or email nominations to me before the AGM. I shall need to prepare ballot papers in the case of any contested elections.

Current Office Holders 
Remarks - All willing to stand again
Chair - Aniela Smith
Vice Chair - Dick Bunting
Secretary - Maggie Harrowell
Membership Secretary - Maggie Harrowell
Treasurer - Philip Nicholson 
Show Secretary - Chris Holdstock 
Examinations Secretary - Jackie Thomas 
Training Secretary -  Mary Hill 

Think about speakers and topics you might like to hear about, consider becoming a mentor/mentee or librarian, going on the swarm collector list or loaning a hive to start your beekeeping life in 2015.

NB This is not the meeting to pay 2015 subscription fees, that’s January!

Dick will be asking for your opinions on the motions to be put forward to the Annual Delegates meeting on January 10th. To look at the propositions in advance, all papers will be available from the Members Area of the BBKA website - www.bbka.org.uk.

SUGARWATCH Poundstretcher [near Morrisons, Dover] 1kg granulated sugar = 49p

Maggie

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Newsletter October 2014

Dear Beekeeper

Another lovely meeting day last month, with a large attendance, lots preferred to pick up tips from Mary for prize- winning honey. Thanks to the stores counters who totalled up the honey in our hives. Only one was low, the rest varied between 25 and 64 pounds, a reflection of the warm September, generous feeding and abundant ivy.

The weather has changed, wet & windy. Bees will be starting to cluster, brood and a half hives should have queen excluders removed and the full half broods moved to the bottom.

Diary Dates

October 25th DDBKA Honey Show at Beech Grove, Nonington CT15 4HH 2:30pm

Please support the show with entries and also by coming along on the day to see the range of talents we have. Remember, you do not need to use your own honey to enter the confectionery classes; you may not have any yet! If you cannot get to Beech Grove on the Saturday morning, Chris Holdstock will deliver entries for you if he receives them by prior arrangement on Friday 24th evening; 36 Lower Road, Temple Ewell, CT16 3DY 01304 828041

Bring any honey you wish to be sold for you correctly labelled for sale.

Don’t bring your entries to Beech Grove till after 7:30 am on the day, but before 9:15am!

The Show opens to the public at 2:30 pm; in the loveliest setting, which we are fortunate to loan from The Bruderhof Community for a day. Beech Grove has beautiful buildings and gardens and friendly people, even if you have no bees and no entries to the Show, it is a delightful afternoon.

BIFA

Dick Bunting introduced the BIBBA [Bee Breeders Association] Day we have arranged on Saturday February 21st 2015.

It is entitled Bee Improvement for All, a day’s course to be held at Elham Village Hall.

Beekeepers from all over the SE have been invited, but DDBKA members have a cost advantage. For our members & some prospective members it will only cost £5 for the day including lunch & refreshments, a great saving provided you book by October 30th.

After that it will be £15 and limited to 150 places in total.

These courses have been nationally advertised in BBKA News and are a chance to hear well-known speakers and experts; it will be very useful to beekeepers at all levels.

INFORMATION and APPLICATION FORM



SUGARWATCH

Farmfoods [near Morrisons, Dover] 1kg granulated sugar = 59p, Iceland £3.30 per 5kg bag = 66p kg

I hope you completed the 2014 BBKA Honey survey, it was in the BBKA News and on our website, I have just realized that the closing date was October 10th…………………..

There are some fortnightly pollinator talks which started at Faversham on October 8th, details on our courses tab. Covers all sorts of insects in some detail. This has been arranged by Whitstable & Herne Bay beekeepers.


SMALL HIVE BEETLE

The latest is that 16 infested colonies in SW Italy within the 20km radius standstill area have been destroyed, and they are hopeful of containment. So are we!

Maggie   

Thursday, 18 September 2014

Newsletter September 2014

Dear Beekeeper

Many thanks to David & Jeff and the refreshment ladies at Beech Grove last month. The apiary was looking splendid as usual. Jeff was discussing the Miller method of Queen rearing; if you take Beecraft magazine, this was featured in April 2008.

If anyone left a bag of netting fabric from C&H Fabrics behind, call the reception 01304 842980.

They are having an Open Day on October 4th, from 2 to 5, all welcome, as ever. Details HERE.

The lovely warm autumn is helping our bees collect stores for longer, plus what we have been feeding them. The ivy crop is abundant this year, a honeybee favourite for pollen & nectar. The aim is to have the colony with sufficient food to survive winter, 35-40lbs. Use a solution of 2 pounds of white sugar to 1 pint of water (1kg/650ml), feeding should be completed by the end of September.

If you are running brood + a half, put the half brood box under the brood in mid October. The bees will gradually carry the stores up and you will have an empty box to use for your first super in the spring. The brood will be at the top, well-placed for any oxalic acid treatment in January.

It will be interesting to see how much stores the apiary hives have accumulated, they were very light at the end of July.

SUGARWATCH
Farmfoods [near Morrisons, Dover] 1kg granulated sugar = 59p, Iceland £3.30 per 5kg bag = 66p kg

Diary Dates HERE

News of KSRC Sittingbourne. Sadly this centre is to close for beekeeping courses this autumn, it is an expensive venue.

STOP PRESS – Small Hive Beetle

Small hive beetle was found in SW Italy on Sept 11th.

Do NOT import Italian queens or bees.

Message from Beecraft magazine:

Don't forget to get some photographs to enter into the BeeCraft photo competition. We are looking for 12 outstanding bee-related photos to use as the front covers of our magazine for next year, hopefully reflecting each month. The closing date is fast approaching (1st October) and the rules can be found at

http://www.bee-craft.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/1402-photo-comp-2014.pdf

Also, if you or your Association is contemplating becoming involved with microscopy, we are now taking orders for the Microbox - in association with Brunel Microscopes - which will be available for collection at the National Honey Show. This special costs £98 and must be pre-ordered by 24th October. Further information can be found at the link below where you can also place your order

https://shop.bee-craft.com/ProductDetails.asp?ProductCode=Microbox-Special-NHS



The schedules for our Honey Show will have all been received in time for the meeting, give Chris your entry forms, including s.a.e. then, save a stamp! He will have posters to go up in your local area. Remember, it does not need to be your own honey to enter the confectionery classes; you may not have any yet! Have a go at something, surprise yourself……..


Maggie

Monday, 18 August 2014

Newsletter August 2014


Dear Beekeeper,

We had a couple of prospective members at the last meeting, I hope they felt welcome. We now have 100 members registered with BBKA.

Thanks to the members who counted the varroa mite drop [low] & the stores [also low] at the previous meeting at the out-apiary. Varroa control treatment has started there.

I hope you have decided on a treatment regime for your hives. Any remaining honey should be off by now and feeding started if your colonies are low on stores, this can be done while treating if using Apiguard or Apilife Var. The aim is to have the colony with sufficient food to survive winter, 35-40lbs. Mix up a solution of 2 pounds white sugar to 1 pint of water, feed till they won’t take more. Feeding should be completed by the end of September.

SUGARWATCH
Farmfoods [near Morrisons, Dover] 1kg white granulated sugar for 59p, Poundstretchers & Lidl 69p


Diary Dates
in usual place on the NOTICEBOARD

Brian Marlow runs the loans of DDBKA equipment, i.e. honey and wax extractors, observation hive, feeders, apideas, refractometer, nuc boxes etc… 01304 831505
The demand for the small extractor has been great so a new one is on order.

OUTBREAK OF EFB
This month EFB has been diagnosed by Michael Cooper in a colony at Bladbean [grid reference TR173467] which is near members at Stelling Minnis, Elham & Denton. A 6 week standstill order is in place, the shook swarm has been done, combs burnt. But it means that all of us should be vigilant in checking the health of our bees.
Remember EFB is seen before the brood is capped; the brood is discoloured, twisted etc.

TRAINING
Improve your beekeeping over the winter
There are several chances to do this with the Association.
I am running a two day course for beginners in October. I will have the application forms at the next meeting or you can find them on our website.
For those who have kept bees for two summers and the winter in between, why not study for the BBKA Basic Assessment.
I will be running a six week course in February or you can study by yourself. The application form for the course can be downloaded HERE and I will have the forms at the meeting. No writing with this exam.
For those who have the Basic, there are a few places left in the study group for Module 1.
Last winter six members met in one another’s houses every two weeks to study the syllabus together each taking a turn at leading the group. The modules are written exams. Have a chat to me at the meeting.
November module exams.
Anyone wanting to take one of the modules in November please let Jackie Thomas DDBKA Exam Secretary have your application form by the 10th of September. Exam entry forms will be available at the next meeting; or it can be downloaded from BBKA web site. Entry fee is £20 (non-refundable).

Mary Hill, DDBKA Training Secretary


Last Minute Queens
The out apiary has had problems this year with queens being poorly mated etc so here is a timely offer from Jean Mozley: “If anyone wants a queen for re-queening I can bring it along to the 30th meeting at a discount price of £30. Please email me on bees4ujean@gmail.com if you want one”.
Jean is always good value to DDBKA.

Maggie

Monday, 21 July 2014

Newsletter July 2014


Dear Beekeeper

Another well-attended meeting last month, 4 new faces. Several members had been caught out with solid rape honey [me!] and were glad to take advantage of Patrick’s melting facility at the Bee Barn, 50p per frame, good value. Book at 01227 833807.

Two weeks after, a dedicated group rotovated the patch for the wild flowers, hard work on a really hot day. Thanks to Dick Bunting, Pat Marvier, Pete Crow & Pat Stockhall.

WASPS After the recent wet weather, wasps are out in force. Don’t leave boxes, frames, wax, syrup lying around, they will be attracted and consequently to your hives.
Make wasp traps; jars with a little jam [NOT honey] and water, make holes in the lid, the wasps will drown in large numbers. Reduce entrances if necessary.

Diary Dates HERE


Brian Marlow runs the loans of DDBKA equipment, i.e. honey and wax extractors, observation hive, feeders, apideas, refractometer, nuc boxes etc… 01304 831505

DDBKA LIBRARY
We have now revamped the library and bought lots of new books some of which are quite expensive. It has been decided that some books can only be borrowed if a refundable deposit is paid. They will have a red sticker on the cover. The system is that if you want to borrow a book with a red sticker, you must go to Philip (Treasurer) and give him £5 in exchange for a token which you then give to Tony Christian (Librarian) in exchange for the book and sign his record book so we know who the borrower is. On return of the book, you get your £5 back! Unmarked books are free as usual, just sign the book.
DDBKA Library has suffered losses and the new system is to stop this.
If you think you might like to borrow one of the new books make sure you have £5 with you!
Grateful thanks to Mavis Carter for donating Tony’s bee library to DDBKA.

VARROA TREATMENTS
It is vital for your bees that you take steps to control the spread of the varroa mite. Various methods are available, from biological controls & selective breeding to chemical intervention. The usual time to reduce the numbers ready for next year is after the summer honey has been removed, mid August.

At the apiary this year we are trying Apilife Var as a change, no eke required and it takes 4 weeks for a course. Mannetta will have Apiguard available at the meeting, 2 trays needed per hive, total per hive £5, same as one jar of honey. This takes 6 weeks for a course and needs an eke.

If you wish to use MAQS which only takes a week for a course, then the Bee Barn is your best source as Patrick has good offers to go with it. MAQS can be applied when honey is on the hive.

THORNE’S SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT Mannetta & Clive Ferguson, owners of our out apiary site, are agents for E H Thorne. Orders placed at meetings will be sent off on the next Tuesday. 01304 832000

Mentoring for beginners with DDBKA.
This is a free practical service generously provided by our experienced beekeepers. We all remember being anxious, and desperately asking for help when we began. Bee behaviour always proves not as straightforward as the books! It’s nice to be able to give something back.

Hope you are watching Hive Alive on BBC2 - 22nd July 8pm final part

Maggie


BEGINNERS AT DDBKA APIARY
Mary Hill (DDBKA Training secretary)
July apiary meeting Lots of counting needed!

This month the colonies will be opened to monitor the build up of surplus honey stores to be extracted next month. A varroa mite count will also be done looking at inserts placed in the hives in advance. We have given up with the Bailey comb change, the queen just did not want to be in the top box!

Beginners bring Marigold gloves and wellies. If you do not have a suit we have some you can borrow.

Beginners’ theory course
I am running a course of two linked Saturdays in October for beginners. The details and the application forms are on our website
HERE


For those of you who are following Roy's Ugandan Project, here are some links:
REPORT to Funders
Article  from one of the participants

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Newsletter June 2014


Dear Beekeeper

A lovely day at last for the May meeting, 60+ people & 3 new members! The WBC boxes & frames were grabbed quickly. 2 Bailey comb changes were done, plus a shook swarm.

The Chair reminded us of the dangers of anaphylactic shock, which she had witnessed.

Steve Boyce was very concerned that swarms were being collected in his area, which were being removed quickly, leaving lots of the bees behind, presumably to die.

The Eythorne bees still need to expand for the July nectar flow; thanks to Dougal for the addition of a swarm to our colonies.

Swarm collectors, if you are on the swarm collecting list, please carry on getting swarms if called, even if your hives are full, then contact me. I now have a list of beekeepers wanting bees, who can come to you and take swarms away; we are helping the public and each other.

Keep checking your colonies weekly, where are the swarms coming from? Some beekeepers are taken by surprise by a swarm – the signs are obvious if 7 day checks are done.

THORNE’S SUPPLIES & EQUIPMENT

Mannetta & Clive Ferguson, owners of our out apiary site, are now agents for E H Thorne. Orders can be placed in their book at meetings and will be sent off on the next Tuesday.
Order also by phone: 01304 832000

TRAINING NEWS
Mary Hill (DDBKA Training secretary)

Beginners at June apiary meeting
This month the manipulations of the last meeting will be assessed, queens will be found and hopefully most of the colonies opened.
Beginners bring Marigold gloves and wellies. If you do not have a suit we have some you can borrow.
Beginners’ theory course
I am running a course of two linked Saturdays in October for beginners. The details and the application form are on our website.
Even more exam success
Congratulations to all those who took the Basic Exam. at the end of May, they all passed:
Pat Stockhall, Penny Rickards, Linda Wilkin, Richard Jones, David Moniz, John Saunders and Helen Sharp.
Are you ready to have a go next year?
See Mary Hill.

STEWARDS WANTED FOR THE KENT COUNTY SHOW, DETLING
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 11, 12, 13 July 2014

Bob would appreciate the forms back by 20 June so that he can work out the rota
Bob Smith, 12 Dulverton Road, New Eltham, London SE9 3RH
Phone: 020 8300 1807 Mobile 07714213738 bsmith12@ntlworld.com

Sorry for the short notice, the FORM & SCHEDULE will be attached to this newsletter. Some super prizes. It is a good day out, meeting the public who usually know less than you about bees!

Bruderhof Open Day
June 21st, Beech Grove, Nonington CT15 4HH, come along for enjoyment, food & good fellowship. It is a lovely rural site and all are welcome.

I have heard from Bob Smith with reference to the KSRC courses at the Science Centre Sittingbourne. He is worried that the people booking courses have dropped in number and is doubtful if funding will be available for future years. It is a marvelous facility, with modern equipment. It would be a pity to let it go under. Look at www.ksrcbees.org.uk to see what’s coming next.

DDBKA LIBRARY
We have now revamped the library and bought lots of new books some of which are quite expensive. It has been decided that some books can only be borrowed if a refundable deposit is paid. They will have a red sticker on the cover. The system is that if you want to borrow a book with a red sticker, you must go to Philip (Treasurer) and give him £5 in exchange for a token which you then give to Tony Christian (Librarian) in exchange for the book and sign his record book so we know who the borrower is. On return of the book, you get your £5 back. Unmarked books are free as usual, just sign the book.
DDBKA Library has suffered losses and the new system is to stop this.
If you think you might like to borrow one of the new books make sure you have £5 with you!

Brian Marlow is now running the loans of DDBKA equipment, i.e. honey and wax extractors, observation hive, feeders, apideas, refractometer, nuc boxes etc…
81 Eythorne Road, Shepherdswell, 01304 831505

JARS Our Association has 1lb [454g] honey jars available to members, bargain price of £18 for 72 including lids. Contact Jill Rolfe 01304 830263 [evenings] Upton Wood Farm, Shepherdswell CT15 7LE

Len tells me sugar is available at Lidl for 69p per kg. Any advance?

 Maggie

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Newsletter May 2014

Dear Beekeeper

Last month it poured all morning, but we managed an afternoon meeting with 50 or so members. No hives were opened as it was chilly, but Mary provided a lively demo of swarm capture & hiving. Pictures on earlier post below.

Jill was pleased to have her calm method of hiving demonstrated, i.e. put the skep with bees in a brood box [facing upwards] under a brood box of frames and the bees will calmly walk up, rather than being banged out of the skep.

The Eythorne bees are still less lively & productive than some I have heard about; thanks to John Hayward for a nuc to boost numbers. Hopefully the comb changes on May 31st will shake them up. So far no honey from Eythorne!

Our hive loan scheme and hive adoption is also available to beginners. We will have 4 National hives to be borrowed to give an inexpensive start to a beekeeping life. Let me know if you are looking for a mentor to give beginner support.

Please let me know if you are bee-less and looking for a swarm. Most calls so far have been bumble bees [as ever!] Thanks to the swarm collectors for their patience.

Iris Faulkner, with bees in Worth, is hoping for a mentor for advice and a little time every so often.
Can you help?

Brian Marlow is now running the loans of DDBKA equipment from January, i.e. honey and wax extractors, observation hive, feeders, apideas, refractometer, nuc boxes etc… 81 Eythorne Road, Shepherdswell, 01304 831505
I know the extractors have been very busy. My rape honey was going solid on the 15th, so I hope you caught yours in time.

BEGINNERS AT DDBKA APIARY
by Mary Hill (DDBKA Training secretary)

May apiary meeting
The plan this month is to do a Bailey comb change on two of the hives and a shook swarm on another. A lot will depend on the state of the hives when I look at them the week before. There will also be a chance to learn how to inspect a colony for disease. Beginners bring Marigold gloves and wellies. If you do not have a suit we have some you can borrow.

Beginners’ theory course
I am running a course of two linked Saturdays in October for beginners. The details and the application form are attached to the newsletter.
Mary

Some of our newer members have started bee keeping with no training at all.
Please join Mary’s sessions at Brook, there is much to learn to gain confidence and be able to deal with problems. The cost is less than other courses and is a concentrated input of knowledge.

More exam. success for Dover beekeepers

Several members took the Module 1 exam. in March and we now have the results: Sue Kittle & Maggie Harrowell (distinction), Jackie Thomas & Philip Nicholson (credit), and Polly Fowle (pass).

Dougal Hendry took Module 2 and passed with credit.

Well done everyone and good luck to those taking the Basic Assessment on the day of our apiary meeting, the first level of beekeeping qualifications!

I have heard from Bob Smith with reference to the KSRC courses at the Science Centre Sittingbourne. He is worried that the people booking courses have dropped in number and is doubtful if funding will be available for future years. It is a marvelous facility, with modern equipment. It would be a pity to let it go under. Look at www.ksrcbees.org.uk to see what’s coming next.

FREE HIVE TOOL

Patrick Murfet is no longer representing Thornes for equipment, now he is with Mann Lake. If you sign up for a monthly Mann Lake e-newsletter, you may collect a free hive tool from the Bee Barn, Highland Court Farm, Bridge CT4 5HN. Send your email address to:angelas@mannlake.co.uk

113169 01304 389323 www.majorbeehives.co.uk Equipment, bees, honey & more Unit 5, Building 5, Sandwich Industrial Estate, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich CT13 9LY Mon &Thurs 5-7pm. Other times by arrangement. majorbeehives@gmail.com

Maggie

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

April Meeting

This was our first meeting in the apiary and since it was too cold to have a good look through the bees, Mary gave an impromptu demonstration on various methods of swarm collection and hiving a collected swarm. 
Mary and 'tree' volunteer.

Mary with 'bush' volunteer.


Below our new treasurer is learning the 'raffle ropes'. He'll get there!


Later on, Mary showed our newest and youngest member how to make up a nuc, getting her to spot the queen.




As it turned out, for me at least, the demonstration came at just the right time, having since had the opportunity to practice with two new swarms!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Newsletter April 2014

Dear Beekeeper

 We had an excellent talk in March on small scale queen rearing from Terry Clare; he said it was a pleasure to see such a thriving association, around 70 present!

He emphasised that any of you who has successfully done an artificial swarm is a queen rearer.

The main work has to be put in before queen cells appear: the colony must be well-fed and disease free, with the desirable characteristics we all want; docile, non-swarmy, productive and thrifty with their winter stores.

Many thanks to Mavis, Jenny, Jill & Wendy who coped with the tea stampede!

Roy Dyche was glad to receive so many pairs of gloves for Ugandan beekeepers.

IN THE APIARY

The fine weather continues, but be careful of cold nights, the entrances don’t need to be fully open as yet. The DDBKA colonies are building up, but 2 were united mid-month, a queen had gone.

I have seen some very large colonies with many drones and well developed queen cells.

So, remembering Terry Clare’s advice, you must have spare equipment ready, a nuc box or a spare brood box and dummy boards to stop swarming.

The yellow of rape fields is very evident.

So some jars may be needed!

Our hive loan scheme and hive adoption is also available to beginners. We will have 4 National hives to be borrowed to give an inexpensive start to a beekeeping life. Let me know if you are looking for a mentor to give beginner support.

BEGINNERS AT DDBKA APIARY

I will not be doing a pre-meeting theory session at the apiary this year. Instead we have ear-marked one hive as the beginners’ hive and we will study this hive through the season making joint decisions about what is happening. Bring your bee suit if you have one, otherwise there are ones you can borrow. Bring some marigold gloves and wellies.

I have planned two linked beginners’ theory days on October 4th and 11th. Application forms will be in the next newsletter.

Mary Hill
(DDBKA Training secretary)

Maggie

Friday, 21 March 2014

Newsletter March 2014

Dear Beekeeper

At last there is some sun, we have had a couple of lovely warm weekends and from reports I have received, the season is starting early.
I expect most of you took the opportunity to quickly check your bees, looking for: a laying queen [seeing eggs & larvae will do], how many frames with brood, how many with bees, quantity of stores left after winter. Record this information.

There are already drones being sealed and some have emerged. The oil seed rape crop is yellowing rapidly, are you ready!

The National Bee Unit sent out this cautionary warning:

Should the weather continue to stay mild and warm, a liquid sugar feed can be used in small quantities, not to overload them; a spring sugar solution of 1kg of sugar to 1300ml of warm water. However should the weather turn cold again, fondant should be switched when the bees stop taking the syrup down.
Some colonies have had the opportunity to forage on ivy last autumn and so may be heavy, and the bees may be sitting on a lot of hard ivy honey. It is possible that with the milder weather they have been able to get out and gather water – but worth considering when thinking about how much food colonies have and whether they can access it.


The DDBKA apiary colonies are very small but quite loaded with ivy honey which I hope they will gradually consume or much messy melting down will have to be done.

Remember DDBKA has 1lb jars at £18 per box of 72, call Jill on 01304 830263 to arrange.

Or, ivy combs can be used to feed nucs later on in the season.

All queens bar one present at Eythorne. Many thanks to all the kind beekeepers who offered to lend a hand over the season, you’ll be called on!

I hope you enjoyed the film last month, a real eye-opener as to different practices at different scales of operation. It will go into our library to be borrowed.

DDBKA was mentioned in the March BBKA News – page 97, a “special mention” for success in the BBKA Basic Assessment. Quite right too!

I have corrected the email address for the new Regional Bee Inspector, Julian Parker, thanks to Richard Jones for his sharp eyes!

82 members have been registered with BBKA so far; we had 15+ lapsed members – was it you?

The 2014 Swarm List for BBKA has been sent off, only Registered members are eligible.

Our hive loan scheme and hive adoption is also available to beginners. We will have 4 National hives to be borrowed to give an inexpensive start to a beekeeping life. Let me know if you are looking for a mentor to give beginner support.


The West Sussex Beekeepers’ Association is again organizing a Bee Market and Auction for the benefit of its members and non members with beekeepers attending to buy and sell from a very wide area. It will take place at Chichester College's Brinsbury Campus in Pulborough, West Sussex on Saturday 26th April 2014. Auction details, Guidance Notes & Rules and the Entry Form can be downloaded from the WSBKA website www.bbka.org.uk/local/westsussex/auction. The Auction catalogue will be published online after 22nd April.

Look on KSRC website http://ksrcbees.org.uk/ for courses this spring, How to pass the Basic [with Mary]: 12th April, 3rd May.

2 KSRC practical bee-handling sessions: Monday, 28th April, Wednesday 28th May 10am-4pm at Bridge, Canterbury. Tutors: Bob Smith and Patrick Murfet, £25 registration fee (non-refundable). The aim is to provide coaching in reading the bees, proactive management, apiary hygiene and smooth, confident handling. You will get plenty of access to hives, working in small groups so that there’s practical learning for each student.

Students: Must have: minimum pass in BBKA Basic, no exceptions, freshly laundered bee suit, clean footwear and disposable gloves essential. Maximum 6 students per session. Bring packed lunch.

Maggie

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Newsletter February 2014



Dear Beekeeper

The record-breaking rain continues to fall; bees and us huddle under cover. . There is little that can be done apart from checking for damage by wind or pests and ensuring the entrances are not blocked with corpses. Continue with fondant. 

Bees can easily starve now, even though they may have food near the cluster; but inside the hive the queen will be laying, and feeding the larvae expends energy and consequently stores.

If it ever stops raining, once the bees become active in warmer weather, you can feed with syrup if they seem light; you should notice pollen being taken in to feed larvae if all is well. 

Check, repair and clean your equipment, be ready for what this season will throw at us, it may well be a slow start like last year.


Brian Marlow has kindly offered to take over running the loans of DDBKA equipment from January, i.e. honey and wax extractors, observation hive, feeders, apideas, refractometer, nuc boxes etc… see our CONTACT page for details.

ELECTIONS
Last month’s AGM was well attended, 2 new members registering with us and BBKA.

Office    2014
Current holder
 Chair
Aniela Smith
Vice Chair
Dick Bunting
Secretary
Maggie Harrowell
Membership Secretary
Maggie Harrowell
Treasurer
Philip Nicholson
Show Secretary
Chris Holdstock
Examinations  Secretary
Jackie Thomas
Training Secretary
Mary Hill









This is your new Committee; please approach us with any suggestions you may have to improve our Association.Details are on our CONTACTS page.

Some changes were made; we welcome Philip as Treasurer, Dick as Vice Chair and Jackie as Exam Secretary. They replace Len, Karl and Jan, all of whom have given great service to DDBKA, particularly Len.

Our hive loan scheme and hive adoption is also available to beginners. We will have 4 National hives to be borrowed to give an inexpensive start to a beekeeping life. Let me know if you are looking for a mentor to give beginner support.

Library Books

Tony Christian is concerned that some books have been on loan for 3 years! Emails have been sent to the forgetful; please return them at the next meeting!

Look on KSRC website http://ksrcbees.org.uk/ for courses this spring, Practical Husbandry 14th March, How to pass the Basic [with Mary]: 12th April, 3rd May.

2 KSRC practical bee-handling sessions: Monday, 28th April, Wednesday 28th May 10am-4pm at Bridge, nr Canterbury. Tutors:Bob Smith and Patrick Murfet, £25 registration fee (non-refundable).

The aim is to provide coaching in reading the bees, proactive management, apiary hygiene and smooth, confident handling. You will get plenty of access to hives, working in small groups so that there’s practical learning for each student.

Students: Must have: minimum pass in BBKA Basic, no exceptions, freshly laundered bee suit, clean footwear and disposable gloves essential. Maximum 6 students per session. Bring packed lunch.


KENT STEWARDS NEEDED

BBKA Spring Convention, Harper Adams University, Newport Shropshire TF10 8NB
Friday 4th, Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th April 2014

Receive free entry into the Convention for all three days, together with a duty rota that will ensure more than sufficient free time to enjoy the event. A free lunch on Saturday and a small emolument for each of the days towards your expenses will ensure an enjoyable day.

Contact: Chief Steward Norman Hughes: 01256 464280 or norman.hughesbees@btinternet.com


I am told that Poundstretchers sells sugar for 69p per kg, Farm Foods still 75p.

The 2014 Meetings Schedule is on our DOCUMENTS TO DOWNLOAD page. You’ll notice the double AGM – to enable new officers to get established before registration time.

Please pay your subs for 2014 to Philip. The BBKA are bringing their deadline for payment earlier, so that registration needs to take place by the end of February, at the meeting or by email or post. Otherwise you will lose your BBKA monthly magazine, newsletter and insurances. Thanks to the 60 who have already registered!

Maggie