Monday, 29 December 2014

Newsletter December 2014

Dear Beekeeper

The AGM was well-attended, old & new faces.

Office Holder 2015
Chair Aniela Smith
Vice Chair  Dick Bunting
Secretary Maggie Harrowell
Membership Secretary Maggie Harrowell
Treasurer Philip Nicholson
Show Secretary Chris Holdstock 
Examinations Secretary Jackie Thomas 
Training Secretary Mary Hill

The present committee was re-elected en bloc and minor changes were made to the swarm collector list. Thanks to Mavis, Pam & Maggie M for the great tea & also those who brought goodies to eat.

One prospective member was interested in loaning a hive and 5 members offered to be mentors.

An apiary offer of land from Veolia in Alkham caused interest, not as yet the one in Elham.

Interest was shown in a summer visit to a French apiary & museum

A bee & general knowledge quiz will be held on 28th February, tables of 8.
A cup is at stake!

If you haven’t already signed up for the BIFA Day [Bee Improvement for All] on February 21st, do so asap, we will hold the cost of the day at £5 for DDBKA members till the end of January, so even more of a great offer. The details and forms are on our website.

NEWS of KSRC Sittingbourne

Bob Smith has been in contact, KSRC has found a new location! At present the equipment is in storage. The new venue is about a mile from Sittingbourne station in the Swale Skills Centre. This building is used for engineering training but the adjacent building will be re-fitted with labs and the KSRC equipment re-instated there by September 2015.Meanwhile, there are classroom facilities in the existing building and Bob can provide a pop-up microscopy lab if required. Initially, this facility will only be available Monday-Friday.

A programme of courses will be put together which, again, will be aimed either at Improvers or at providing courses on beekeeping-related topics (eg skep-making) where individual clubs may struggle to fill places. Bob would be delighted to hear from you if you have suggestions for courses or you would like to become part of the tutor team at KSRC. They aim to have a schedule ready in the next few weeks.

Beecraft Hangout Wednesday 17th December at 8.00pm when the topic will be 'Hive products other than honey'. A number of guests have been invited to join the discussions which will include the making of seasonal gifts (cosmetics and candles), seasonal drinks (honey beer) and more. Join us live, or watch the recording after the event, via this direct link through our website:

Ray Checksfield has been in contact, alarmed at the weight his colonies have lost during the nice weather of autumn; the queens were laying late and the brood had to be fed! Check yours for weight & make or buy fondant as a precaution. Mary will have more Apifondant at the January meeting. Vanes, 120 High St Dover 01304 206325, or Elizabeths Bakeries, 59 Cheriton High Street Folkestone 01303 275576 sell Baker’s fondant. Ring first; it is usually sold in 12.5 kg boxes. Heavy, but it keeps well if cool & wrapped.

Try and make your own candy!

Candy Recipe [there are lots of variations] increase quantities as desired.
200ml water, 1000g [1kg] white sugar ,1 teasp glycerine. Boil all together, stirring, for3 minutes, cool slightly over cold water, then beat or stir rapidly. Turns opaque, pour quickly into plastic containers
e.g. “take away” ones. It sets fast! Invert over the feed hole in the crownboard.

SUGARWATCH Poundstretcher [near Morrisons, Dover] 1kg granulated sugar = 49p

Check your hives
If using oxalic or lactic acid as varroa treatment in the broodless time in December/January, wait for a calm day and work quickly. It provides an opportunity for adjusting frames, making sure the winter cluster is in contact with stored honey, to avoid “isolation starvation”.
Take some fondant or candy with you in case they are low on stores.
Watch out for a buildup of dead bees behind the entrance and clear them.
Otherwise, leave alone and wait for the days to lengthen, when your queens will begin to lay.

Visit of Irish Beekeeper [flyer attached] Wisborough Green Division W Sussex, is bringing over Jim Ryan from Thurles, Co Tipperary 1st, 2nd, 3rd & 4th February. Jim is well-known as a very good demonstrator of making beeswax products. His methods are simple, he makes these items with minimal equipment.

Enjoy the beekeeping break, read some new books, do some repairs, and make your plans ready for the new season. Always good to have a plan, even though events usually intervene.

Happy Christmas and good health for 2015 to you, see you in January.

I have attached the 2015 subs form, Philip will be glad to hear from you!

Best wishes



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