Friday 21 March 2014

Newsletter March 2014

Dear Beekeeper

At last there is some sun, we have had a couple of lovely warm weekends and from reports I have received, the season is starting early.
I expect most of you took the opportunity to quickly check your bees, looking for: a laying queen [seeing eggs & larvae will do], how many frames with brood, how many with bees, quantity of stores left after winter. Record this information.

There are already drones being sealed and some have emerged. The oil seed rape crop is yellowing rapidly, are you ready!

The National Bee Unit sent out this cautionary warning:

Should the weather continue to stay mild and warm, a liquid sugar feed can be used in small quantities, not to overload them; a spring sugar solution of 1kg of sugar to 1300ml of warm water. However should the weather turn cold again, fondant should be switched when the bees stop taking the syrup down.
Some colonies have had the opportunity to forage on ivy last autumn and so may be heavy, and the bees may be sitting on a lot of hard ivy honey. It is possible that with the milder weather they have been able to get out and gather water – but worth considering when thinking about how much food colonies have and whether they can access it.

The DDBKA apiary colonies are very small but quite loaded with ivy honey which I hope they will gradually consume or much messy melting down will have to be done.

Remember DDBKA has 1lb jars at £18 per box of 72, call Jill on 01304 830263 to arrange.

Or, ivy combs can be used to feed nucs later on in the season.

All queens bar one present at Eythorne. Many thanks to all the kind beekeepers who offered to lend a hand over the season, you’ll be called on!

I hope you enjoyed the film last month, a real eye-opener as to different practices at different scales of operation. It will go into our library to be borrowed.

DDBKA was mentioned in the March BBKA News – page 97, a “special mention” for success in the BBKA Basic Assessment. Quite right too!

I have corrected the email address for the new Regional Bee Inspector, Julian Parker, thanks to Richard Jones for his sharp eyes!

82 members have been registered with BBKA so far; we had 15+ lapsed members – was it you?

The 2014 Swarm List for BBKA has been sent off, only Registered members are eligible.

Our hive loan scheme and hive adoption is also available to beginners. We will have 4 National hives to be borrowed to give an inexpensive start to a beekeeping life. Let me know if you are looking for a mentor to give beginner support.

The West Sussex Beekeepers’ Association is again organizing a Bee Market and Auction for the benefit of its members and non members with beekeepers attending to buy and sell from a very wide area. It will take place at Chichester College's Brinsbury Campus in Pulborough, West Sussex on Saturday 26th April 2014. Auction details, Guidance Notes & Rules and the Entry Form can be downloaded from the WSBKA website The Auction catalogue will be published online after 22nd April.

Look on KSRC website for courses this spring, How to pass the Basic [with Mary]: 12th April, 3rd May.

2 KSRC practical bee-handling sessions: Monday, 28th April, Wednesday 28th May 10am-4pm at Bridge, Canterbury. Tutors: Bob Smith and Patrick Murfet, £25 registration fee (non-refundable). The aim is to provide coaching in reading the bees, proactive management, apiary hygiene and smooth, confident handling. You will get plenty of access to hives, working in small groups so that there’s practical learning for each student.

Students: Must have: minimum pass in BBKA Basic, no exceptions, freshly laundered bee suit, clean footwear and disposable gloves essential. Maximum 6 students per session. Bring packed lunch.