Wednesday 12 August 2015

Newsletter August 2015

Dear Beekeeper

Dick Bunting writes:
On 16/17th July, we held 2 follow up days to the Bee Improvement For All day at Elham in February.
Roger Patterson visited our apiary, and over the two days 14 of our members were given the benefit of his long (50yrs) experience.
We covered assessment of colonies as breeding material, looking for the traits we would want to perpetuate and improve in our bees, and went on to methods of rearing queens. Several methods were covered, and we then went on to gain hands on practice at "grafting" tiny larvae into cell cups to be placed into colonies for raising. We even had a diversion involving dowsing for ley lines, which resulted in moving the Top Bar hive slightly! There was also some mischief marking drones pink.
All agreed that the days were enlightening and, importantly, very enjoyable.


The weather for those days was kind as it was for our July meeting, very wet on the Friday & Sunday. Wasp invasions have been limited at the apiary, my jam, water & orange juice traps seem to work, and the hives have been restricted to 1 or 2 bee space entrances but others have suffered badly. It is important to destroy their nest, wasps are very persistent.

Any honey to sell should be removed before you treat colonies for varroa.
Apiguard will be put into the apiary hives on 16th August, remember it needs an eke to allow the bees to paddle in the gel. The thymol vapour should knock out 95% of any mites. If you missed getting any, Philip has some, as do I.
2 weeks for the first tray, on the brood frames, then put in the other for 2 weeks.

Feeding is planned for September.
It is easy to make your own sugar solutions to boost your hive stores to face the winter. 2 pounds of white sugar to 1 pint of hot water [p 283 in August 2015 BBKA News has the metric equivalent!]
35 to 40 pounds in weight of stores is considered adequate to feed a colony through the cold.

Poundstretcher, near Morrisons in Dover, has cane sugar for 49p per kilo.

Many of you have told me you will enrol on Mary’s beginners’ classes. So far just one firm booking with payment has been received [Steve Atkins]. Hire of the hall has to be covered & the course will be cancelled if Mary does not hear from you before September 12th. The application form is on the website.

Beecraft magazine are looking for ideas to feature in 2016, is there a topic you might like to see discussed? Let me know.


Remember the new bee stamps being issued by Royal Mail on August 18th.

Best wishes


Friday 7 August 2015

Newsletter July 2015

Dear Beekeeper

This newsletter is earlier than usual to remind you all of the Q&A session organised with Roger Patterson on Thursday 16th July at Alkham Village Hall CT15 7BU at 7:30 pm. A chance for you to ask those puzzling WHY? questions about bee behaviour, the WHEN? ones about colony management, & the WHAT? ones about problem solving.

The evening is free, with a small charge for refreshments to cover the Hall fee.
Canterbury BKA & Thanet BKA are invited, so urge your friends there to come along.
Roger has a monthly page in BBKA News & runs the popular Dave Cushman bee resource website.
A chance to grill an expert! Come along.

This month is when your bees should be at their maximum population, taking advantage of the summer nectar flow [ during the month of July]. That is what we all hope for, but as ever some are requeening or having delayed mating. The timing is often not as in the books! If you have hit it right, there will be a busy week at the start of August when the excess honey can be removed & the frames put back above the crown board for the bees to lick clean & take down any honey into the brood.

After honey extraction, the bees need treating against the varroa mite.

We will have Apiguard for sale at the July meeting at £16 for a box of 10 trays [£1.60 per tray]. Each hive requires 2 trays for the treatment, so each would cost £3.20.

Take advantage of buying at the meeting. Save petrol or postage!

Land for bees
I have received a kind offer from a lady wanting a beekeeper on her hay meadow near Selsted. Contact me if this interests you!

Beekeeping courses with DDBKA Winter beekeeping

I know it seems a long way off but I thought you might like to start thinking about what you do over the winter.
I am running two linked days for beginners at the beginning of October – click HERE

There will also be a 6 evening course starting in February for those who want to take the Basic exam. This is a practical exam no writing – see attachment. You must have managed at least one colony of bees for two summers and the winter in between. - click HERE

If you already have the Basic why not become part of a study group studying one of the Modules. A great way to spend winter evenings with a group of friends. I arrange the timetable so that you cover the syllabus. What has happened so far is the group meets at the home of one of the members who prepares the topic to be studied that week. Another member does it the next time.

This winter there is already one group which is studying Module 3 [diseases]. I would like to have another group doing this as well and a group doing module 1 which is the Basic in more detail.

Please contact me if you are interested in either of these. I shall not be at the July meeting.

Mary Hill, Training Secretary

Thanks to the group who rewaxed over a dozen frames at the last meeting – it all helps!


Deal with It are organising their monthly seed swap sessions around bees on the 22nd August from 10:30 to 1pm at the Landmark centre. Come along if you have honey or bee products to sell & chat to the public about bee-friendly gardening.

They are interested to know of beekeepers with a hive in a Deal garden, could you let me know if you are willing to tell of your experiences?

Best wishes