Thursday, 21 February 2019

Newsletter February 2019


Dear Beekeeper

There have been great attendances for two talks recently: firstly for Kevin the agronomist, at our January meeting in Alham Village Hall, and secondly at Lenham for the Kent BKA 'sustainable queen rearing course' by BIBBA - Roger Patterson was the speaker.

Kevin (agronomist) thought you may be interested in some research from Cambridge he found after seeing us at Alkham: 

The Lenham talk was very relevant to me as I have lost a colony this month; full of stores, but starved in sad little groups. I caught another colony just in time & they have perked up with some fondant & a daily spray of syrup on the bees. No eggs as yet, I may be wasting my time…. 
A heavy hive doesn’t always mean all is OK! Peek under the crownboard. 
So, I shall have to restock the lost hive by rearing my own queen[s], perhaps trying the 2 frame nuc method described on the BIBBA talk, but first I must acquire some drawn comb as recommended on that course. See http://www.dave-cushman.net for Roger Patterson’s methods.
Start thinking to decide which colony you will choose to make increase from, docility being a first criterion.

ASIAN HORNETS 
Thanks for the volunteers who offered to help Peter Crow, the coordinator, in identifying AH locally. There will be opportunity to join at the meeting if you missed last month. 
alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk is the contact should you see anything looking like the Asian Hornet. There is an Asian Hornet app for Smartphone users: ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ is available to download from the Apple and Android app stores. It gives a simple picture and notes for identification and compares AH to several common insects with which it can be confused. It also allows a photo you take to be uploaded easily with grid reference.

This month’s meeting
Saturday 23rd February at Alkham Village Hall CT15 7BU 2:30 p.m.
Our speaker is Dr Gerry Brierley, ‘The Secrets of Medicinal Apitherapy: A journey into the healing hive.’ She is an ‘Accidental Apitherapist’ and beekeeper, who, after an encounter with blood sucking ticks in the Surrey Hills contracted near fatal forms of tick borne infections. She opens up the natural pharmacy at the bottom of your garden to discuss premium hive produce for general health and healing. Gerry uncovers the medicinal properties of honey, drone larva, pollen, bee bread, royal jelly and propolis. She shares her personal survival story along with supporting scientific evidence of how using bee venom has saved her life and many thousands of others. Gerry has a diverse background in business entrepreneurship and academia and was Specially Recognised British Female and Inventor and Innovator, 2005. She enjoys sculling, archaeology, wild foraging and dowsing. She is also a qualified pilot and a Druid.
Don’t miss it!

I hope you will be able to come along, sounds interesting!

Best wishes

Maggie

Thursday, 17 January 2019

Newsletter January 2019

Dear Beekeeper

A green queen for 2019!

It seems a long time since the AGM in November, but already there are signs of the bees getting ready for the coming season. 
Not all good signs, sadly - I have seen & heard of losses, one of a colony full of stores which has all died with ominous streaks of dysentery on the brood frames.
So the heavy weight of a hive is not always enough of an indication of well-being inside. If you quickly peek inside, bees should be visible in the seams between combs or on the top of the frames, moving slowly.
The weather has been relatively mild but is becoming colder; bees eating their stores. So add fondant to the hives if they feel lighter when hefted, put it over the feedhole in the crown board as a precaution.
A starving hive is a sad, unnecessary sight.

Fondant can be purchased in pouches from beekeeping suppliers or by prior arrangement from Vanes bakers, 120 High St Dover 01304 206325. Ring first; it is usually sold in 12.5 kg boxes. Heavy, but it keeps well if cool & wrapped. Also available online from Bako.

If fondant is used, replace as soon as it has been consumed.
Bees will still fly on cleansing flights on sunny days.

DDBKA MEMBERSHIP
Payment is due NOW!
Thanks to all who have paid the membership fees to join us & also be registered with BBKA, vital for insurances. The 2019 membership form is available HERE as there have been several enquiries from possible new beekeepers. 
The 2019 schedule is available HERE.

Annual Delegates Meeting 
Peter Crow was our representative at this meeting on January 12th, he was involved with propositions & debates which he will sum up briefly at the January meeting.

This month’s meeting
Saturday 26th January at Alkham Village Hall CT15 7BU 2:30 p.m.

Our speaker is Kevin Knight, he works as an agronomist & has bravely volunteered to speak to us about the decisions that farmers make when hoping to maximise their crops while paying attention to the needs of insect life which surround them. He is a lover of wildlife in general, down to earth.
A knowledgeable chap who is hoping for some interesting, challenging questions.
Don’t miss it!

Please pay your subs to Philip, our Hon Treasurer, at the meeting if you have not done it before, remember to use a sealed envelope with your name on it for your form & money, it can get confusing! Please remember to fill in the back of the form.
Your subscription pays for the monthly magazine, insurances, newsletter & speakers.

Tea [£1] and raffle as usual

I hope you will be able to come along.

Best wishes
Maggie

Newsletter December 2018

Dear Beekeeper

Thanks to all who came along to our AGM in the historic St Anthony’s church, Alkham. 
The meeting was hurriedly rearranged due to a mix-up with the Village Hall. All taken in good part, but we finished quickly as it was quite chilly! 
But not without tea & raffle.

Peter Crow was unanimously & happily elected as Chair of our Association, with the other posts remaining as they were. We have a new Librarian, Debbie Philpott; & Sue Court & Elaine Grayling volunteered to join the refreshment rota. Thank you!