Wednesday, 16 December 2015

Newsletter December 2015

Dear Beekeeper

Our AGM was well-attended, one change made to the committee, see below.

Office
2016 holder
Chair
Dick Bunting
Vice Chair
Jean Mozley
Secretary & Membership Secretary
Maggie Harrowell
Treasurer
Philip Nicholson
Show Secretary
Chris Holdstock
Examinations  Secretary
Jackie Thomas
Training Secretary
Mary Hill
Delegate
Dougal Hendry











Welcome to Dick Bunting as Chair & as Vice Chair, Jean Mozley, who has been involved with DDBKA for over 30 years. Most of you will know her through her queen rearing business & may have had to call on her when things turned out unexpectedly in the past. She has also taught & mentored for some years in this area.
Thanks to those who provided tasty seasonal snacks.



I forgot to ask for a summer host for a meeting. Let me know if you are willing, thank you.


Those still wondering about the large insect I brought in to show after finding it dead at the bottom of a hive, wonder no more. I contacted iSpot; 48 people viewed the picture & all agreed it was a death’s head hawkmoth, a visitor from Africa, attracted by honey & able to mimic a bee smell to sneak in. It can have a 5 inch wingspan. It also is the only moth to squeak, more of a grunt, & if you use the link below, you’ll be able to hear it!

http://mentalfloss.com/article/57940/12-facts-about-deaths-head-hawkmoth

APIARY

I still have wasps going in & out of hives, the weather has been so mild that they haven’t died off. Bees are also out on sunny days, so you must be very vigilant to check by hive weight if the bees have consumed most of their stores. Every trip outside uses energy & there is no nectar around to replace it.

Feeding

Baker’s fondant is available by prior arrangement from Vanes bakery, 120 High St Dover 01304 206325, or Elizabeths Bakeries, 59 Cheriton High Street Folkestone 01303 275576. Ring first; it is usually sold in 12.5 kg boxes. Heavy, but it keeps well if cool & wrapped.
OR 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.


TRAINING

Improvers Key Skills course

BEGINNERS, with Mary Hill


Hopefully Roger Patterson will be able to visit for another Bee Improvement session in May. 2 groups are being formed to try & improve the quality of our local bees, no bad thing, more later. Dick Bunting is the key man here. He will also be co-ordinating Bob Smith’s drone project in May. Busy man!

The results from the 2015 DDBKA Honey Show are attached to this newsletter.

Also a link to the latest edition of Worker Bee, published 6 times a year by BBKA. You'll need your membership details to view it HERE and if you want it straight to your inbox in future follow the instructions in the yellow box at the top of the page.

January is our time for membership renewal, but if you are keen to get it done, you can find new form HERE. You’ll notice that in line with BBKA policy the fee has risen, but still good value with insurance & a monthly magazine.

We’ll meet again on January 30th to hear Jean’s tips on queen introduction.

Time for a rest and to read those beekeeping books you’ll have for Christmas.

Have a very merry Christmas

Best wishes


Maggie

Monday, 23 November 2015

Newsletter November 2015

Dear Beekeeper

The Honey Show is over, an excellent display of beautifully presented jars of honey, plus delicious confectionery & creative displays. Well done to all who contributed, especially the Bruderhof community who hosted the event at Beech Grove, Nonington.

Apiary
Your bees should now be tucked up & sleepy, except that the mild weather may have made them fly out, use energy & eat their stores. Keep watch on it. We need a cold snap – but protect them from mice & woodpeckers!

The year moves on & it’s time for the AGM.

Members will have  received the minutes of the 2014 AGM, draft accounts, plus an agenda.
Come along to make your ideas count for the next year.

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.

  • 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 Officers 

Chair : Aniela Smith - Resigning 

Vice Chair: Dick Bunting - willing to stand again

Secretary & Membership Secretary: Maggie Harrowell - willing to stand again

Treasurer: 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

Delegate: Dougal Hendry  - willing to stand again

A new committee will be elected & we shall need a new Chair. If this post is filled from the existing committee, then their previous post would also require filling.

Consider also if you might like to become a mentor to a beginner, host a summer meeting, loan a hive, go on the swarm collectors list.


OTHER NEWS

I hope you all saw the feature in November’s BBKA News written by Geoff Rouse, one of our newer members, regarding beekeeping with disabilities. DDBKA has always tried to be open & friendly; beekeepers can be an odd lot generally [myself included] so diversity is the norm and welcome!


TRAINING

Mary Hill Beginners’ course
The October course was oversubscribed so I am going to teach the two day beginners’ course again on 5th & 12th March. See me at the AGM. 7 people were on the waiting list so there are not many places left.

Basic exam/assessment
A reminder to those of you who have kept bees for at least two years and the winter in between that I am teaching a course to help you pass the Basic exam. All practical, no writing. 

Application forms and further INFO on training pages .


OTHER NEWS

I hope you all saw the feature in November’s BBKA News written by Geoff Rouse, one of our newer members, regarding beekeeping with disabilities. DDBKA has always tried to be open & friendly; beekeepers can be an odd lot generally [myself included] so diversity is the norm and welcome!Only available till 25th November.

There is a BBC film clip on iPlayer which features efforts to fund bee disease research by BDI [which we all pay into to insure our hives]. Have a look if you can, they want Associations to contribute, we may try to help. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b06kjlsq/inside-out-south-west-26102015.
The relevant bit is about 9 mins in & lasts for 10 mins.


A paper from Swiss university researchers found statistically significant correlations between field-realistic low-level neonic exposure (total 5 parts per billion) in pollen fed to queen-rearing colonies, and abnormal anatomical and physiological development of those queens. http://www.nature.com/articles/srep14621
Food for thought for those who have witnessed odd queen behaviour.

Best wishes

Maggie

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Newsletter October 2015

Dear Beekeeper

It was lovely to see lots of familiar faces at the Ploughing Match in the sunshine.

APIARY

Thanks to beekeepers who helped to count the stores & the varroa mite drops last month, a very mixed picture, some colonies full of winter stores, others looking needy.

The feeding has continued until the temperature has dropped. If you have National or WBC colonies on a brood & a half, it is time to reverse the boxes so that the half brood, hopefully full of stores, goes under the brood. This leaves the brood at the top, perfectly positioned for possible extra feeding with fondant or pollen, and winter treatment with oxalic acid or Hive Clean in January; while the bees will eat their way through the stores underneath to leave a clean box for your first super in the spring.
This is the theory!
Aldi & Lidl, have white cane sugar for 39p per kilo if you want to make candy – more later.


HONEY SHOW

Time is getting short for you to send entry forms for the DDBKA Honey Show [October 24th] at Beech Grove, Nonington CT15 4FB. Chris hopes the number of entries will be as high as usual with the new format, so don’t let him down! Please come along on the day, bring family & friends and enter at least one class so that you can see how it’s done. There is a lot to see, all the exhibits, skep making, honey for sale etc.

Plus a good tea & raffle.

ALSO you are invited to a free dinner at Beech Grove at around 6:30 pm after all the excitement of the Honey Show has calmed. This is a kind offer from the Bruderhof community who are always so hospitable. Let David know if you wish to stay for this please, it will help with numbers! DavidStevenson@ccimail.co.uk


DDBKA News

At the September meeting, Aniela Smith, our Chair stated that she would be retiring from her post. She has been a positive & progressive influence on our Association and will be missed in that role.

So at the AGM on November 28th we shall be voting for a new Chair. Consider if you or someone you know would relish the challenge. All that needs to be done is to find a proposer & seconder for the candidate. Of course, you must check if your chosen person [could be yourself!] wishes to take it on. It’s a chance to influence direction & add new ideas.


TRAINING

Good news for BEGINNERS, from Mary Hill

Beginners’ course
The October course was oversubscribed so I am going to teach the two day beginners’ course again on 5th & 12th March. The application form is attached. 7 people were on the waiting list so there are not many places left.
Basic exam/assessment
A reminder to those of you who have kept bees for at least two years and the winter in between that I am teaching a course to help you pass the Basic exam. All practical, no writing. The application form is on the website. 

GOOD NEWS FROM KSRC [Kent Science Research centre]
Bob Smith is pleased to say that there will be courses on November evenings [10th, 17th, 24th, 1st Dec] at Tyland Barn, Maidstone for Key Skills for Improvers; reading the colony, swarming, bee health and the last one to be for participants to choose. Use this link to book. www.ksrcbees.org.uk

Invitation from Thanet BKA
TBKA have invited Terry Clare to talk at 8pm on Tuesday 27th October at The Baptist Church Hall, Crescent Road, Birchington CT7 9DP. The topic is “The Best Bee – Is there one?” Any members (or friends) of Whitstable, Canterbury and Dover would be most welcome to come along.
There will be no charge and a cup of tea/coffee and biscuits will be provided.
A very kind offer to hear such a nationally known speaker.

 The week 25th to 31st October is National Honey week; this link takes you to some BBKA ideas for activities & recipes. BEE PART OF IT - British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) - Supporting honey bees in Britain


Best wishes
Maggie

Friday, 18 September 2015

Newsletter September 2015

Dear Beekeeper

Thanks to Penny & Mary for providing the venue for the August meeting, the tidiest farmyard I have ever seen! Also to those who kindly supplied refreshments.

This week I repeated my record for collecting the latest swarm of the year, September 13th!

APIARY NEWS


At the apiary 2 colonies ended up with laying workers, which are only able to lay drones as they have never mated. One has been closed up, and the other [hive 5] has had a nuc introduced after the bees were shaken out. The bees are not enjoying this unseasonal chilly weather, the ivy crop is just beginning, but being washed off the flowers. If they cannot get out, they will be hungry & need feeding.

Anti varroa treatments should be over by now and the emphasis shifts to feeding colonies to prepare them for winter before the temperature drops below 15 degrees, they need to face winter with 35-40 pounds of stored honey.

It is easy to make your own sugar solutions to boost your hive stores, [2 pounds of white sugar dissolved in 1 pint of hot water or 1kg sugar to 625ml of water]. Keep feeding till they will not take more.
Branches of Farm Foods, have white cane sugar for 39p per kilo.

I hope all of you have received the schedule for the DDBKA Honey Show on October 24th. Chris hopes the number of entries will be as high as usual with the new format, so don’t let him down!
If you fill in your entry form, you will be able to hand it to him at the September meeting.

GOOD NEWS FROM KSRC [Kent Science Research centre]

As you know the Sittingbourne venue for beekeeping courses for improvers has closed.

Bob Smith is pleased to say that there will be courses on November evenings [10th, 17th, 24th, 1st Dec] at Tyland Barn, Maidstone for Key Skills; reading the colony, swarming, bee health and the last one to be for participants to choose. Use this link to book. www.ksrcbees.org.uk

TRAINING

Have you done the BBKA Honey Survey?

VERY quick to do & do it by 9th October, vouchers offered as incentives!
Click here for HONEY SURVEY

Dougal recommends a YouTube lecture by Professor Dave Goulson on bees [mostly bumbles, but very interesting] http://youtu.be/WDkpVWzFnK0

Dave Rawling recommends this TED talk - Anand Varma: A thrilling look at the first 21 days of a bee’s life
http://on.ted.com/t0ZN5 Lots to look at over the autumn season, stunning photography.

SOCIETY NOTICES


Ambrosia bee syrup at a bargain rate 

12.5kg containers of Ambrosia bee syrup are available from DDBKA at £12 per container collectable from Jill Rolfe, OR, if pre-ordered from Philip by email or phone, at the September meeting at Eythorne.
Syrup will be available from Wednesday 23rd onwards from Jill.
NB Contact Jill in the same way as arranging purchase of jars, see below.

JARS After demand from members, we now stock via Jill:
1lb jars - £18 for 72, 12oz jars - £23 for 72, 8oz jars - £27 for 128 [all round jars, lids included]. If you want to split the large boxes of 8oz jars with a friend, you’ll do it yourselves!

Contact Jill Rolfe 01304 830263 [evenings] Upton Wood Farm, Shepherdswell CT15 7LE

DIARY DATES HERE

Best wishes
Maggie

Friday, 11 September 2015

2015 Honey Show Schedule Is Out!!!

Remember, you can only win if you enter!!!



Hello All
Here is the 2015 Show schedule.
It is going out as an email attachment for the first time. We have so many members now that postage & printing were becoming onerous.
We have now entered the 21st century!


DOWNLOAD IT HERE

So, download it, read it, print it & enter as many categories as you like if you are a member or Associate of DDBKA or a member of another local BKA.
Pay special attention to the rules part & note that to enter you still have to send the entry form to Chris the Show Secretary plus a stamped addressed envelope for your stickers to attach to the entries.
Do all this by the 17th October - plenty of time.
Please have a go.

Honey for the confectionery classes does not have to be yours, you may not have any!

RegardsMaggie

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Newsletter August 2015

Dear Beekeeper

Dick Bunting writes:
On 16/17th July, we held 2 follow up days to the Bee Improvement For All day at Elham in February.
Roger Patterson visited our apiary, and over the two days 14 of our members were given the benefit of his long (50yrs) experience.
We covered assessment of colonies as breeding material, looking for the traits we would want to perpetuate and improve in our bees, and went on to methods of rearing queens. Several methods were covered, and we then went on to gain hands on practice at "grafting" tiny larvae into cell cups to be placed into colonies for raising. We even had a diversion involving dowsing for ley lines, which resulted in moving the Top Bar hive slightly! There was also some mischief marking drones pink.
All agreed that the days were enlightening and, importantly, very enjoyable.

DDBKA APIARY

The weather for those days was kind as it was for our July meeting, very wet on the Friday & Sunday. Wasp invasions have been limited at the apiary, my jam, water & orange juice traps seem to work, and the hives have been restricted to 1 or 2 bee space entrances but others have suffered badly. It is important to destroy their nest, wasps are very persistent.

Any honey to sell should be removed before you treat colonies for varroa.
Apiguard will be put into the apiary hives on 16th August, remember it needs an eke to allow the bees to paddle in the gel. The thymol vapour should knock out 95% of any mites. If you missed getting any, Philip has some, as do I.
2 weeks for the first tray, on the brood frames, then put in the other for 2 weeks.

Feeding is planned for September.
It is easy to make your own sugar solutions to boost your hive stores to face the winter. 2 pounds of white sugar to 1 pint of hot water [p 283 in August 2015 BBKA News has the metric equivalent!]
35 to 40 pounds in weight of stores is considered adequate to feed a colony through the cold.

Poundstretcher, near Morrisons in Dover, has cane sugar for 49p per kilo.

Many of you have told me you will enrol on Mary’s beginners’ classes. So far just one firm booking with payment has been received [Steve Atkins]. Hire of the hall has to be covered & the course will be cancelled if Mary does not hear from you before September 12th. The application form is on the website. mary.hill43@btinternet.com

Beecraft magazine are looking for ideas to feature in 2016, is there a topic you might like to see discussed? Let me know.

DIARY DATES HERE!

Remember the new bee stamps being issued by Royal Mail on August 18th.

Best wishes

Maggie

Friday, 7 August 2015

Newsletter July 2015

Dear Beekeeper

This newsletter is earlier than usual to remind you all of the Q&A session organised with Roger Patterson on Thursday 16th July at Alkham Village Hall CT15 7BU at 7:30 pm. A chance for you to ask those puzzling WHY? questions about bee behaviour, the WHEN? ones about colony management, & the WHAT? ones about problem solving.

The evening is free, with a small charge for refreshments to cover the Hall fee.
Canterbury BKA & Thanet BKA are invited, so urge your friends there to come along.
Roger has a monthly page in BBKA News & runs the popular Dave Cushman bee resource website.
A chance to grill an expert! Come along.

APIARY
This month is when your bees should be at their maximum population, taking advantage of the summer nectar flow [ during the month of July]. That is what we all hope for, but as ever some are requeening or having delayed mating. The timing is often not as in the books! If you have hit it right, there will be a busy week at the start of August when the excess honey can be removed & the frames put back above the crown board for the bees to lick clean & take down any honey into the brood.

After honey extraction, the bees need treating against the varroa mite.

We will have Apiguard for sale at the July meeting at £16 for a box of 10 trays [£1.60 per tray]. Each hive requires 2 trays for the treatment, so each would cost £3.20.

Take advantage of buying at the meeting. Save petrol or postage!

Land for bees
I have received a kind offer from a lady wanting a beekeeper on her hay meadow near Selsted. Contact me if this interests you!

TRAINING
Beekeeping courses with DDBKA Winter beekeeping

I know it seems a long way off but I thought you might like to start thinking about what you do over the winter.
I am running two linked days for beginners at the beginning of October – click HERE

There will also be a 6 evening course starting in February for those who want to take the Basic exam. This is a practical exam no writing – see attachment. You must have managed at least one colony of bees for two summers and the winter in between. - click HERE

If you already have the Basic why not become part of a study group studying one of the Modules. A great way to spend winter evenings with a group of friends. I arrange the timetable so that you cover the syllabus. What has happened so far is the group meets at the home of one of the members who prepares the topic to be studied that week. Another member does it the next time.

This winter there is already one group which is studying Module 3 [diseases]. I would like to have another group doing this as well and a group doing module 1 which is the Basic in more detail.

Please contact me if you are interested in either of these. I shall not be at the July meeting.

Mary Hill, Training Secretary mary.hill43@btinternet.com

Thanks to the group who rewaxed over a dozen frames at the last meeting – it all helps!

CALLING DEAL BEEKEEPERS

Deal with It are organising their monthly seed swap sessions around bees on the 22nd August from 10:30 to 1pm at the Landmark centre. Come along if you have honey or bee products to sell & chat to the public about bee-friendly gardening.

They are interested to know of beekeepers with a hive in a Deal garden, could you let me know if you are willing to tell of your experiences?

Best wishes      
Maggie

Friday, 19 June 2015

Newsletter June 2015


Dear Beekeeper

Swarms are plentiful this year compared to 2014, bees are swarming from nucs and new queens are sometimes off soon after being made by the colony. Conversely, some are taking an age to be mated! Honey seems to be coming in continuously, maybe from bean fields; any granulated honey left from the rape crop can be blended in with it by gentle warming. Keep up the weekly inspections; all but 1 of the apiary hives has artificially swarmed or been split, but 1 did swarm.

Colonies are generally larger & livelier than last year, needing more space & supers.

You can advise people with swarms to go to the BBKA website where they can enter the postcode of the swarm & get a list of the nearest collectors.

Please tell me if you are looking for bees or swarms.

RESULTS OF THE BASIC ASSESSMENT June 2015

Paula Gardner, John Feasey, Carol-Ann Lechev, Debbie Philpott, Andrew Walter all passed,
Alison Murphy – passed with credit
Congratulations to them all & to Mary who taught them & maintains her 100% pass rate!

Did you leave a pair of glasses behind at the May meeting? We have them!

NEW RECIPES

Do you enjoy baking cakes, biscuits, sweets etc with honey in the recipe?

Our show has featured the same recipes for some time & would welcome any new, easy to follow [& preferably delicious] recipes for the October show. There must be many variations which you & your family could recommend, Mavis might trial some if we ask her nicely! Bring a favourite along on the 27th please.

FOLLOW-UP FROM THE BIFA DAY

In February we held a Bee Improvement For All day with Roger Patterson.

He will be back in July, 16th &17th to work at the Eythorne apiary with 6-8 people on each date. View details HERE

He has also offered to do a talk on the evening of the 16th July for the Association in general. This will take place in a local Village Hall, to be arranged.

KRSC Courses
Places left for bee handling at Coxheath & the Bee Barn, Bridge. 4th July, 25th July. Look on the bookings page: www.ksrcbees.org.uk 

The 2015 Kent Bees & Honey Show takes place at Detling on 10th July [Friday] as part of the Kent Agricultural Show weekend. They require entries to be submitted on the Thursday to avoid traffic chaos. The schedule is attached to this newsletter.
ENTRY FORM HERE

I hope you noticed that with your June BBKA News magazine your 2015/16 BBKA membership card was enclosed.
Every year someone throws it away without looking!


Maggie

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Newsletter May 2015

Dear Beekeeper

At last some degree of warmth; 2 swarm calls so far. I have a list of members willing to collect swarms, but you can also advise people with swarms to go to the BBKA website where they can enter their postcode & get a list of the nearest collectors.

Here the rape flowers are finishing & beekeepers must look at their supers to see what can be harvested, rape honey granulates quickly and should be extracted from combs when they are partially capped, don’t wait for complete capping, you will be too late!

Watch for queen cells in the weekly inspections, give thought beforehand as to what action you plan to take if queen cells are found; once they are sealed your bees will swarm, losing you a large portion of the honey gatherers for the summer. So have spare equipment ready & frames made up.

A nuc box will be really useful, failing that, a brood box restricted in size by dummy boards. Even if you do not plan more colonies, it is the natural behaviour of honeybees to reproduce. If you succeed making an artificial swarm, the colony with the new queen can be united later with the older one [old queen removed] once the new queen is laying well. Then you should have honey in the summer & a new queen to take them through the winter with the swarming urge satisfied.

That’s the theory anyway! I am very strict with myself regarding 7-day inspections, but last weekend we had visitors, bees left, swarmed on the 8th day. Brilliant! Luckily a helpful neighbour told me & they were caught. It’s easily done.

Temple Ewell School Fair
They are looking for a bee stall, honey, wax, observation hive etc 11-2 on June 27th. We did it last year, but I want to attend our meeting on the same date as I shall miss the May one.
It is mercifully short & a good do. £10 fee to the school.
Contact Amanda Lomas if interested pjlomas@btinternet.com


There is a great British bee count going on during May, look on the site greatbritishbeecount.co.uk
Good to see the interest in all bee species.


HONEY EXTRACTORS All found! The 9 frame & the two 4 frame extractors are with Brian Marlow now, plus the 2 honey buckets with valves. Phone him to borrow for 3 day slots 01304 831505 Phew! Thanks to all who were concerned.

BEECRAFT hangout - Wednesday, 20th May at 8.00pm
This month’s topic is Honeybee Health and you can email questions beforehand, or while watching live.
Join us live via this direct link through our website: http://www.bee-craft.com/beekeeping/hangouts

Start looking again for KSRC courses!
Queen rearing, microscopy, bee handling. Some at Chatham Dockyard, others at the Bee Barn, Bridge.
Look on the bookings page: www.ksrcbees.org.uk


 Please tell me if you are looking for bees or swarms

Maggie

Monday, 20 April 2015

Newsletter April 2014

Dear Beekeeper

Thanks to all of you who came last month to hear Bill Summers talk about his ZEST hive. He is used to scepticism & answered all sensible questions in good part.

In The Apiary
It has been rarely warm enough to open hives for very long, but warming at last. When you begin to look through, any damaged, dirty frames can be moved to the back of the hive to be replaced; if they contain brood, move them in small steps till the brood have emerged. Aim to replace 3 per season.

If stores are low, bees will handle syrup better than fondant now, they need it for immediate use, not for storing. Once supers are on, cease feeding.

The idea of placing a half brood below the super in winter is for the bees to eat it first and then when the rape crop flowers, that box will become your first super above an excluder. Three of mine have cleaned theirs out, the rest are still munching their way through.

You may find that some colonies do not consume their winter stores: take full brood frames as food for the nucs you will be making, don’t block the queen’s laying space with slabs of hard honey.

At Eythorne we have had the problem of 2 colonies with drone layers, one a poor queen, the other laying workers, the latter solved by uniting with a nuc. Study the brood, you need to see lots of worker brood & perhaps a few raised drone cells, not solely drone.

WBC lifts & buckets
Len has obtained some 10 WBC lifts, 2 roofs & 2 floors, 2 brood boxes & a super box surplus to needs. If you are interested, they can be viewed at the apiary, we may auction them on the 25th. Most in need of TLC; some were made in Crawley & are rectangular lifts, not square!
Also 6 buckets with lids.

An evening with Professor Dave Goulson on the 4th July at RSPB Dungeness reserve.
A guided walk by Prof Goulson and Dr Nikki Gammans

Hive Records
A simple record card can be found on our website on the Documents tab; once down loaded it can be adapted to your needs. One card per colony. Everyone needs good records. You think you will remember what you did and what you saw. You won’t! 2 minutes filling in a simple record card can help your beekeeping (especially when you look back and see what the bees did last year).

I know some people dictate to their phones!

BEECRAFT hangout - Wednesday, 15th April at 8.00pm
This month the topic is Swarm Control.

Start looking again for KSRC courses!
Queen rearing, microscopy, bee handling. Some at Chatham Dockyard, others at the Bee Barn, Bridge.
Look on the bookings page: www.ksrcbees.org.uk

Maggie

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

Newsletter March 2015

Dear Beekeeper

Last month was so busy; the successful Bee Improvement day, which gathered 95 beekeepers from a wide area, Roger Patterson impressed on us that we must: Select, Breed, Cull without sentimentality to achieve the best bees.

Only breed from what he described as your “A” colonies, leave the “B” ones as reserve. Have a “support” colony to draw from when in need of drawn frames, bees, food etc.

Then the quiz, a cheerful affair thanks to Dougal’s varied questions. 6 tables turned out, Allyn Thomas kept a running total for each group up on the screen & Pam collected the answer sheets. Thank goodness for a tea break in the middle! Eventually The Improvers team from Dover just won, many thanks to Thanet BKA for putting up a team and racking their brains with the rest of us.

March is a chilly disappointment so far, bees not flying some days, & I have not yet opened any hives. They seem busy, small amounts of pollen are being collected, but March & April are forecast to have below average temperatures. So it may be a case of grabbing your first inspection of 2015 on one of the few pleasant days. Mouse guards can be taken off, also woodpecker protection.

Get supers ready for the warmth that is bound to come.

Some sad news.
Tony Christian, our former Librarian, died on February 28th. Some of you will remember him from the 2013 Basic study group. His funeral is at Barham Crematorium on March 26th, 1:20 pm.

You may have seen in the press lots of interest in an Australian invention, the Flow hive.
This link should take you there. http://www.honeyflow.com
It all looks so easy……………………………
Just for Langstroth hives apparently.

W Sussex beekeepers are holding their annual market & auction of bees & equipment on April 25th at Pulborough. Details at westsussexbeekeepers.org.uk

Good luck to all sitting Module exams on March 21st.


Best wishes

Maggie

Monday, 16 February 2015

Newsletter February 2015

Dear Beekeeper

There were 80 or so members at the January meeting to hear Bob Smith reinforce the basics of gentle handling, record keeping and hygiene. So simple, so essential. He was particularly focused on the correct “bee space”, between frames and between boxes.

Several new members joined us. It is very important to realise that if you have bees or are getting them this year, Registered membership is needed to provide insurances, support, entry to conventions etc & the monthly BBKA magazine. Associate membership is a stepping stone to bee ownership.

My bees are not flying, too cold still, but they have started to slowly consume some candy. The garden is full of snowdrops, but no bees visiting them. The next few weeks are the most risky for bees as the queen will be laying, larvae & brood increasing; more activity in the colony means they eat more. Bees can starve in these conditions; check, feed if necessary.
Hope to see pollen going in to feed the larvae.

Bee Improvement For All Day
I hope you are looking forward to February 21st at Elham, we are expecting around 100 beekeepers! Many thanks to those who have offered to help with setting out, car parking, catering etc, it will all help for a smooth day.
If you haven’t already signed up for this, do so asap. The details and forms are on our website, on the courses tab. Pass the information to beekeepers you come across please.

QUIZ!
The competition for the Beekeeping cup will take place on the 28th February at Alkham at 2:30 pm; Dougal is kindly setting the questions, which will be 25% beekeeping & the remainder general knowledge. Tables of 8 [maximum] to take part, partners welcome. We will add small groups together to make 8s, so don’t worry if you are a pair or an individual. Thanet & Canterbury beekeepers are invited so please let me know asap if you want to have a go. Thanet BKA has booked one table so far, but I haven’t heard from Canterbury BKA. All welcome as “audience”. Tea as usual, but you can bring some beer/wine if it helps the competitive edge.
A new venture, but hopefully some fun after the knowledge input day from BIFA.
So far: Ball, Belson, Bunting+1, Harrowell, Roberts, Simm, Hayward, Edwards, Gardner, Inglin, Pau, Philpott, Walter, Sharpe, Smith, Chris[?], Mary’s table [the workers]. More welcome…….

African Honeybees
Thanet BKA host a talk on Tuesday 24th February by Roy Dyche [representing Bees Abroad].
8pm Birchington Baptist Hall, Crescent Road Birchington CT7 9DP

Shepherdswell Post Office are looking for a new supplier of local honey.

W Sussex beekeepers Annual Convention on February 28th may be of interest, Lodge Hill Centre in Pulborough, £25 incl lunch. All welcome. Full details & booking form [essential] are available at www.westsussexbeekeepers.org.uk/convention.html

Best wishes

Maggie

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Newsletter January 2015

Dear Beekeeper

Here’s hoping for a healthy & productive year for us & the bees. Notice the 2015 colour on the queen!

The weather has been very wet, but not particularly cold yet, so watch out for bees consuming their stores too fast, fondant can be useful, Mary will have more Apifondant at the January meeting.
Woodpeckers have made a hole in the front of the polystyrene hive at Eythorne. Again.
Look out for a buildup of dead bees at the entrance too.

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

Annual Delegates Meeting: Dougal was our representative at this meeting and got involved with financial & governance details which I hope he will sum up briefly at the January meeting.

QUIZ!
The competition for the Beekeeping cup will take place on the 28th February at Alkham at 2:30 pm; Dougal is very kindly setting the questions, which will be 50% beekeeping & the remainder general knowledge. Tables of 8 [maximum] to take part, partners welcome. We will add small groups together to make 8s, so don’t worry if you are a pair or an individual. Thanet & Canterbury beekeepers will be invited so please let me know asap if you want to have a go. Space is limited.
All are welcome as “audience”. Tea as usual, but you are welcome to bring some beer/wine if it helps the competitive edge. A new venture for us, but hopefully some fun.

I have received the SE Annual Review from Julian Parker the new Regional bee inspector, it is quite lengthy, but interesting reading, it is on website HERE. It gives incidences of diseases, 0 AFB in Kent, 10 EFB; warnings of Asian Hornets & SH Beetles, and hopes that we are all registered with Beebase.

The schedule of DDBKA events for 2015 can be found HERE, but open to change if needed. We have a gap for March, but are working on it!

Those of you who remember Graham Hartley, a popular wine judge at our shows some years ago, will be sorry to learn of his death this week aged 92. A lovely man who took the tasting aspect very seriously!

Best wishes      

Maggie