Thursday 22 May 2014

Newsletter May 2014

Dear Beekeeper

Last month it poured all morning, but we managed an afternoon meeting with 50 or so members. No hives were opened as it was chilly, but Mary provided a lively demo of swarm capture & hiving. Pictures on earlier post below.

Jill was pleased to have her calm method of hiving demonstrated, i.e. put the skep with bees in a brood box [facing upwards] under a brood box of frames and the bees will calmly walk up, rather than being banged out of the skep.

The Eythorne bees are still less lively & productive than some I have heard about; thanks to John Hayward for a nuc to boost numbers. Hopefully the comb changes on May 31st will shake them up. So far no honey from Eythorne!

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.

Please let me know if you are bee-less and looking for a swarm. Most calls so far have been bumble bees [as ever!] Thanks to the swarm collectors for their patience.

Iris Faulkner, with bees in Worth, is hoping for a mentor for advice and a little time every so often.
Can you help?

Brian Marlow is now running the loans of DDBKA equipment from January, i.e. honey and wax extractors, observation hive, feeders, apideas, refractometer, nuc boxes etc… 81 Eythorne Road, Shepherdswell, 01304 831505
I know the extractors have been very busy. My rape honey was going solid on the 15th, so I hope you caught yours in time.

by Mary Hill (DDBKA Training secretary)

May apiary meeting
The plan this month is to do a Bailey comb change on two of the hives and a shook swarm on another. A lot will depend on the state of the hives when I look at them the week before. There will also be a chance to learn how to inspect a colony for disease. Beginners bring Marigold gloves and wellies. If you do not have a suit we have some you can borrow.

Beginners’ theory course
I am running a course of two linked Saturdays in October for beginners. The details and the application form are attached to the newsletter.

Some of our newer members have started bee keeping with no training at all.
Please join Mary’s sessions at Brook, there is much to learn to gain confidence and be able to deal with problems. The cost is less than other courses and is a concentrated input of knowledge.

More exam. success for Dover beekeepers

Several members took the Module 1 exam. in March and we now have the results: Sue Kittle & Maggie Harrowell (distinction), Jackie Thomas & Philip Nicholson (credit), and Polly Fowle (pass).

Dougal Hendry took Module 2 and passed with credit.

Well done everyone and good luck to those taking the Basic Assessment on the day of our apiary meeting, the first level of beekeeping qualifications!

I have heard from Bob Smith with reference to the KSRC courses at the Science Centre Sittingbourne. He is worried that the people booking courses have dropped in number and is doubtful if funding will be available for future years. It is a marvelous facility, with modern equipment. It would be a pity to let it go under. Look at to see what’s coming next.


Patrick Murfet is no longer representing Thornes for equipment, now he is with Mann Lake. If you sign up for a monthly Mann Lake e-newsletter, you may collect a free hive tool from the Bee Barn, Highland Court Farm, Bridge CT4 5HN. Send your email address

113169 01304 389323 Equipment, bees, honey & more Unit 5, Building 5, Sandwich Industrial Estate, Ramsgate Road, Sandwich CT13 9LY Mon &Thurs 5-7pm. Other times by arrangement.


Tuesday 6 May 2014

April Meeting

This was our first meeting in the apiary and since it was too cold to have a good look through the bees, Mary gave an impromptu demonstration on various methods of swarm collection and hiving a collected swarm. 
Mary and 'tree' volunteer.

Mary with 'bush' volunteer.

Below our new treasurer is learning the 'raffle ropes'. He'll get there!

Later on, Mary showed our newest and youngest member how to make up a nuc, getting her to spot the queen.

As it turned out, for me at least, the demonstration came at just the right time, having since had the opportunity to practice with two new swarms!