Wednesday 24 July 2013

Newsletter July 2013

Dear Beekeeper

At the June meeting we had to flee the apiary to the adjoining field, lots of bad-tempered bees and stings in evidence, several people had stings on the face and poor Mavis had one on the eyelid. They have been unusually grumpy there with the constant cool, cloudy weather, but have calmed in the present glorious sunshine.
The meeting was notable for a swarm collected on his scaffolding by Clive, great as a spectator!
Super photos on the website.
Clive also kindly produced lots of borage plants for members to take home. About 6 members took sealed queen cells to rescue queenless colonies – it will be interesting to know the results!
The DDBKA apiary has yielded 45 pounds of spring honey from hives 1 & 4; I don’t anticipate much of a summer crop [as last year].

13 members passed their Basic Assessment: Margret and Gordon Pau, Gabrielle Lindemann, Alastair Ling, Steve Boyce, David Stevenson, Jeff Herr, Jackie Thomas, Andrew Ball, Karen Maddaford, Tony Christian, Philip Nicholson and Dougal Hendry.

Congratulations to all concerned!

Mary will be teaching a course for the 2014 Assessment starting in February 2014, but her advice is only attempt it after 2 summers & 1 winter keeping bees.

N.B. The Examinations Board has decided to offer ALL modules at both the March and November sessions in 2014.  Uptake of the modules at both sessions has been so positive that there is a significant need for all modules to be available, particularly for resits.  Please let your tutors know and also any candidates in your area who may want to resit modules 6 and or 8 in March.

Please look at for 2nd level courses at KSRC Sittingbourne.

Hard work!
Dick Bunting , Pete Crow, Pat Stockhall & Jackie Thomas turned out to finish the job of strimming and grass collecting at the apiary.  Thank you!

Is anyone prepared to volunteer to wash and store the DDBKA bee suits and jackets in October and store them till the April meeting. We have bought a strong plastic box to keep them in, once clean.
Any takers? Please!

Bee Buddy Wendy Crush is hoping that someone will be able to help with lifting etc at her apiary at Geddinge – there is the offer of space for your bees if you can help.  07792 718739


A chance to win a complete National hive with gabled roof, (1st prize for UK entries), or a year’s subscription to Bee Craft plus the two books from Celia Davis: The Honey Bee Inside Out and The Honey Bee Around And About

11 runners up will receive £25 vouchers from BJ Sherriff International.

And the winning entries will feature in the 2014 Bee Craft calendar.

The closing date for the 2013 Bee Craft photo competition is 1st August 2013. So make sure you take your camera to the apiary and get that winning shot!

Photos must be taken horizontal (wider than tall), maximum size A4 (297 x 210mm). Do not send slides in glass mounts. Maximum three entries per person.

Include your name, address, telephone number and/or e-mail address with your entry.

Enclose a sae if you want your entry returned. Bee Craft retains the right to use any image submitted in its publications. The photographer retains copyright.

Send entries to:The Editor, Stoneycroft, Back Lane, Little Addington, Kettering NN14 4AX or e-mail:


Tuesday 16 July 2013

Volunteering at the County Show

 Basic Beekeepers Certificate in pocket, I thought I might be ready to volunteer at the Kent County Show and share my newly gained knowledge with the unsuspecting Kent public.
To be honest, I had no idea what to expect, so after listing my meagre credentials, I left it to the organisers to allocate my two daily sessions as they saw fit: observation hive and badge making!

 Situated between the traditional fairground and the woodland activity area I arrived to a warm welcome offer of a cuppa and went straight to 'work' in the large tent with my fellow volunteers.

Educating the public about beekeeping turned out to be easier than expected: I suppose one doesn't quite realise how much one knows after a season or two of trying to hold on to a couple of colonies. The public was eager and seemed suitably impressed with my bee factoids that the time passed quickly until a fellow volunteer took over and I had a couple of hours to look around the show, which was a fabulous perk!

Everyone was in high spirits, even after their second turn at the stands, and there were plenty of offers to spell volunteers for tea and comfort breaks - and plenty of time to meet fellow beekeepers for a disagreement on the best way of keeping bees........

 The public demonstrations were very well attended and there can't be many hives in the county that have received such thorough inspections as those at the show!

After all that work, a delicious lunch awaited the volunteers - no limp sandwiches for Kent Beekeepers! A large buffet on the Friday and home cooked roasts at the week-end. All rounded off, of course with puddings and a cuppa! Yummy!

Afterwards, I had more time to look around the county show and left the whole event feeling terribly guilty. Why? Well, because the whole day felt like a Grand Day out with a yummy luncheon rather than a hard day's volunteering, though I am not complaining and will definitely be putting my name back on that list next year!