Monday 28 May 2012

May Meeting

The major beehives apiary and the SUN IS SHINING. Finally!!!

Members milling in the beautiful orchards.

Spotting a couple of  Kent  Queens among the guests.

Our tea faeries!!!

Seeking shade - what a difference to last month's wash out!

Relaxing with a cuppa and a gossip.

Natural Beekeeping Part II - Warre Hives

Elvin explaining the principles of the Warre Hive.
During this month's meeting, we also had the rare chance to look inside a Warre Hive.

Observing through one of the panels.

Opening the hive.

Demonstrating varroa control with icing sugar.

Top insulation layer of Warre.

Smoking in preparation for opening hive.

Getting ready to show the comb: a two men job!

Natural comb in the Warre.

Warre hives in apiary.

Sunday 27 May 2012

Natural Beekeeping Part I - Top Bars

This month, the weather was kinder to us and an impressive number of beekeepers assembled in the beautiful orchard apiary of Elvin and David Roberts. For the last four years the apiary has been run without using chemical pest and disease control and across a good variety of hive styles: National, Warre, as well as Top Bar. 

After getting kitted out, I initially observed Elvin demonstate the management of a Top Bar Hive:

Getting ready to observe and capture the demonstration.

New honey comb.

Demonstrating how new bars are primed.

Opening brood section.

Brood on new comb.

Capped hone and brood cells with grubs and jelly.

Sealing off brood cells.

Members inspecting frames.

Marking the queen.

Spotting wax moth cells.

Top Bar Hives in apiary.

Wednesday 16 May 2012

Newsletter May 2012

Dear Beekeeper

Last month’s meeting was a complete washout, typical of the weather for this April and so it seems, most of May so far. 

I am at a loss for general advice, the bees are confined more than usual and at the first hint of warmth there have been swarms in abundance. I know some people are still feeding ailing colonies which have not built up well. Try to keep up weekly inspections in between showers, queen cells are often tucked away at the edges and bottom of frames. If they have already swarmed, the bees should be left alone, waiting for their new queen to emerge, mate and begin to lay, a 3 week process, weather permitting!

On 12th May several members of DDBKA took their Basic Beekeeping exams, always a nervous time, I’m sure they all did well.

The examiners liked our apiary very much [they should have seen it the day of the April meeting].

Apiary project 
Patrick Murfet is keen to do a study of drone movements and drifting of workers. What he proposes to do is to mark drones from 3 hives in different colours and monitor over 3 weeks the exchange between hives, the same for workers, at the DDBKA hives. I think it would be interesting. It would also perhaps prove a point regarding the potential to spread disease. He would be looking for 6 volunteers/helpers it will be very hands on.
He would like to mark on the 2nd June and monitor them on the 9th and 23rd The small group of participating beekeepers should find it very interesting, and they will also learn how to clip wings if they want! It will also help with general bee/queen handling and confidence. 

If you wish to join him, his email is

The June courses at KSRC can be booked now. Suitable for beekeepers of 2-3 years experience.

Please let me know if you are looking for a swarm

 New arrangements for beginners and hive inspections

Mary will be at the Eythorne apiary at 10am looking forward to meeting beginners wanting hands on experience. A hive will be opened and examined, then some aspect of beekeeping theory discussed.
This time she asks you to bring a small hammer and Stanley knife or similar. This is in addition to wellies and gloves. Anticipate frame making!