Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Newsletter May 2017

Dear Beekeeper

60 or so beekeepers & visitors came to the first apiary meeting (April), including three new members. 

The sight that greeted early arrivals was a large swarm on a low branch resting on the fence – an ideal collection position! They were soon boxed up safely. Later it was discovered they had come from the top bar hive. Many Q cells were removed, leaving a choice one to take over.

Mary showed beginners how a hive & colony begin to build in the spring.
She wishes to remind you that leather gloves are difficult to clean so, if used, need to be covered by disposable latex gloves. However, rubber gloves are the preferred alternative (e.g. Marigolds).

May has proved to be a very swarmy month so far. Dick, Roy & Brian have been all over, others too. As beekeepers we need to be aware of how to prevent swarms. It is not a matter of simply destroying Q cells as 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. Many beekeepers don’t seem to have enough spare equipment! If you have hives then you will need a couple of nuc boxes, at least, to accommodate the summer increase - it’s what bees do!
If the Q has gone, then you have lost half your colony & possibly caused nuisance to neighbours.

So do weekly inspections.
The rape flowers are over, so get the rape honey extracted asap, as soon as it starts to be capped - it can set hard in the combs if left.

Equipment Loans
Loans of our equipment to DDBKA members [only] are now being managed by Eric Cattell who lives in Shepherdswell - many thanks to him.
We have a 9 frame radial honey extractor and a couple of 4 frame tangential extractors, all manual.
Also 2 solar wax extractors to melt out solid honey/old comb, plus a couple of refractometers.
Honey Extractors will be loaned for a maximum of 3 days at a time due to demand and must be thoroughly cleaned before return.
Contact Eric on his mobile or by email (not on his home landline number) - see Maggie's email to members dated 19 May for full contact details.

Wednesday Afternoon Apiary Sessions
Dick and Peter’s Wednesday 6:30 pm sessions at our Eythorne out-apiary have been successful so far, bringing together people needing a problem solved, more hands-on experience, or to borrow some equipment. [NB. If you do borrow anything (or have done recently), please make sure you phone or email Eric Cattell with details.]
They want to make beginners especially welcome, so do use these sessions as a drop-in or however you wish.

This month’s meeting
Saturday 27th May at the DDBKA out apiary at Eythorne Court, Shepherdswell Road, Eythorne CT14 4AD 2:30 p.m. It is along the 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, & other pairs will demonstrate at the club’s hives, the progress of colonies can be followed each month & compared with your own. Bring clean suits, wellies & rubber gloves. Bring glasses if you wear them! We have suits to borrow for beginners & observers.
  • Return your Library books & choose another.
  • Tea [£1] and raffle as usual. Bring your own mugs!!!! (By the way, did anyone pick up my yellow mug with a bee painted inside???)
I hope you will be able to come along & that the weather is fine.
However, I'm afraid I shall not be at the May meeting as DDBKA has a stall in Canterbury Cathedral gardens on Sat 27th [11-4pm] & Sun 28th [2-5pm]. Come along to that on Sunday if you can!
 
Best wishes.
Maggie