Thursday 25 January 2018

Newsletter January 2018

Dear Beekeeper

Note the new Queen colour marking (red) for 2018. Looking forward to a successful season.

Already hazel catkins are yielding pollen & it won’t be long before snowdrops & crocus offer rich pollen for early foraging bees.

There is little to do in the hives; check for wind/woodpecker damage, keep entrances clear & that hives are weather-tight; it has been exceedingly wet! Treatments need to be done when the weather is calm & cold, with as little brood as possible in the hive. 

Hives are probably still pretty heavy with winter stores, but as the days lengthen & the Q starts laying the bees will move more, eat more and you must be alert to changes in weight when you heft the hives from the back. If light, then feed fondant.

SE Regional Report:
I have attached the SE Regional report, available HERE. A very interesting summary of our year and our region, featuring the territories covered by the inspectors, imports of foreign bees, plus spread of Asian hornets & Small Hive beetles in France & Italy respectively, with advice on how to combat them.
Closer to home you can read of AFB & EFB outbreaks, especially the EFB we had to put up with last summer & hope to have seen the back of for 2018.
Honey yields for the year are also covered.

Meetings Schedule:

Available under the Meetings tab is our meeting schedule for 2018, a busy year planned, with a different slant to the monthly meetings as you will see.
Dick & Peter [apiary managers] will do most routine inspections at the Wednesday evening sessions, as they wish to focus more closely on various aspects of bee improvement through the year. So it should provide opportunities to learn. 
The winter speakers will also shine light on bee husbandry too.
Thanks to Mick Delieu for volunteering his apiary for a summer visit, a 400 acre site, lucky bees!

BBKA Website:

When logging on to the BBKA website you should notice changes/improvements as it has been revamped from the 15th January. Perhaps easier to navigate now? Always awkward before!
They will be taking bookings for the 2018 Spring convention.

Membership Fees:

Thanks to all who have paid the membership fees to join us & also be registered with BBKA, vital for insurances. The membership form is available HERE, and under the Downloads tab, as there have been several enquiries from possible new beekeepers.

We still have 2 loan hives to pass on to beginners for their first year to save some of the expense of starting out as a beekeeper.
Let me know if that’s you.

Swarm collectors still needed too, especially in the Dover area!

This month’s meeting: 
Saturday 27th January at Alkham Village Hall CT15 7BU 2:30 p.m.

Our speaker is Pam Hunter, Master Beekeeper, very well-known as a national speaker & examiner. She will be speaking on one of the things bees collect & its uses, very widespread in these parts, oil seed rape, its history in Britain & benefits for beekeepers, loved by bees for pollen & nectar, our first honey crop of the year. We can learn to love it too. Don’t miss it!

Please pay your subs at the meeting if you have not done it before, remember to use a sealed envelope with your name on it for your form & money, it can get confusing! Please remember to fill in the back of the form. 
Your subscription includes BBKA membership and pays for the monthly magazine, insurances, newsletter & speakers.

Tea [£1] and raffle as usual 

I hope you will be able to come along.

Best wishes


Newsletter December 2017

Dear Beekeeper
After a couple of frosty mornings, the weather has been relatively cold but wet; bees eating their stores. So add fondant to the hives if they feel lighter when hefted, put it over the feedhole in the crown board as a precaution. A starving hive is a sad, unnecessary sight.
Fondant can be purchased in pouches from the usual bee equipment suppliers or by prior arrangement from: Vanes bakers, 120 High St Dover 01304 206325; Elizabeth’s Bakeries, 59 Cheriton High Street Folkestone 01303 275576. Ring first; it is usually sold in 12.5 kg boxes. Heavy, but it keeps well if cool & wrapped. Also available online from Bako, or make your own, as I do!
Candy Recipe [there are lots of variations] increase quantities as desired:
  • 200ml water, 1000g [1kg] white sugar, 1 teasp glycerine [from baking section in shops].
  • Boil all together, stirring, for 3 minutes. Cool slightly over cold water.
  • Then beat or stir rapidly. As it turns opaque, pour quickly into transparent plastic containers e.g. “take away” ones. It sets fast!
  • To use: Invert over the feed hole in the crownboard. Easy to see how much they have taken & when a replacement is needed. Keeps well. 
Good health & have a very merry Christmas!
Best wishes