Saturday, 25 March 2017

Newsletter March 2017

Dear Beekeeper

Kay Wreford, our seasonal bee inspector, gave a very interesting talk last month, informing & alerting us to 2 pests which might come here, Small Hive Beetle & Asian Hornets.
Keep alert! Get hornet traps out to catch possible queens.

So far so good with bees here; it is time to remove mouseguards & woodpecker protection. The weather has been unexpectedly mild; bees have really woken up & started exploring. 

Not much nectar as yet, but fields of oil seed rape near me are near to flowering. A good-sized population of bees will be needed to take advantage of a crop that bees love for nectar & pollen.

If you have concerns about the stores your colonies have left, then change from fondant to liquid syrup, it will encourage the Q to increase her rate of laying & is easier for the bees to take down.

Use syrup made with white sugar & water, 2lb: 1pint [1kg: 800ml].

Inspections
Use the next window of good weather [approx. 15C] to open the hives; take a clean empty brood box with you, scrape the floor of your first hive, & put all the frames from the first hive in the clean box, in the same order. Place that on the clean hive floor, add a super & Q excluder if needed, then thoroughly clean the used brood box before moving along in rotation, scraping & blow torching as you go.
Look for signs of varroa too; a member was anxious after a mite drop of 4 or 5 a day.

Let me know if you want to join or leave the list of swarm collectors & were not at previous meetings. Only registered members can be on the BBKA list, organised on a post code basis to find the nearest available person.

Also, tell me if you are looking for a mentor as a new beekeeper for 2017, or to loan a National hive for your first year of beekeeping, to save expense.

Remember that DDBKA Membership will also enable you to borrow honey extractors in the summer; also we have 2 solar wax extractors to lend as other bits & pieces. We hope to offer members reduced rates on varroa treatments in August as well as Ambrosia as an autumn bee feed.

Management of the Eythorne Apiary
Dick Bunting & Peter Crow have kindly offered to take over the running of our Eythorne out-apiary.
They are grateful for the offers of help from members via the membership forms.
Volunteers will come along to organised sessions, Dick & Peter want to make beginners especially welcome, & plan some changes at Eythorne.

Thank you too to the team which is busying itself each month to provide teas for our meetings, very necessary; Mavis, Pam & Maggie were a hard act to follow!

At last, after a lot of reminding & chasing, our capitation list has gone off to BBKA. We now have over 100 registered members this year. Thank you all.

We have been contacted by an estate in St Margaret’s Bay offering space for a couple of hives on 12 acres of garden & woodland. Please let me know if this interests you.
Obviously experience is necessary, but the estate manager is willing to assist & learn.

This month’s meeting

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

Our speaker is Derek Mitchell, a well-known lecturer who has addressed the Spring Convention in the past on this subject: Heat, heat loss and honeybees. We are fortunate to have him as a speaker on a subject which should interest everybody.
Members from other Associations have shown interest in attending too.

Tea [£1] and raffle as usual

I hope you will be able to come along.

Best wishes,
Maggie.