Thursday 22 February 2018

Newsletter February 2018

Dear Beekeeper

A super meeting last month, with over 70 attendees.
Pam Hunter gave a really useful summary of the benefits of oilseed rape crops to bees. Get feeding for the rape crop is her advice - large colonies will be more productive.
Pam is now our Link Trustee with the BBKA, a lucky coincidence that she was our first 2018 speaker.

Bees are starting to become more lively in between the downpours, so keep checking for hive weight & add syrup now if needed. I moved a hive this week to a new site, a cold, calm day was ideal, the bees were inactive & settled quickly in a new spot.

This is the time to plan which colonies will be your source for the queens to head the nucs you’ll make this year. Choose well-tempered, thrifty colonies to increase the stock.

I circulated you with details of the Bees for Development monthly giveaway. Well, Julie Scott, from Swingfield, a DDBKA member, won the prize! A Thorne hive, ready assembled, worth £400. WOW! Well done Julie.
Definitely worth a try!

Neonicotinoid pesticide residue in honey
Early in 2016 I answered a request in BeeCraft for samples of honey to be tested for neonics. I have just got the result.                                                                                                               
The honey I sent was 2015 which was the first year after neonics were banned for use with OSR although it is still allowed for some crops such as wheat. The results from 2014, i.e before the ban, showed that about 50% of honey had neonic residue in it. This was down to 20% from the 2015 samples. I was one of the 20% with 0.6 parts per billion of Clothianidin but neither of the other two.
One of the theories as to why this was happening was that when neonics are used as a seed dressing with wheat, only about 25% is used by the crop the rest may stay in the soil. So if a crop of OSR follows the wheat it could take up some of the residue from the soil. Another possibility is that wild flowers may absorb some from soil blown onto the headlands.
I am sending off some samples from 2017 when the research team is going to also analyse the honey to find out which plants the bees have been visiting. From the map of contributors to this work I note that there are probably two from Dover and one from Thanet. I should be interested to learn their results if they contact me.
If you are interested in joining the scheme, look on the website
This month’s meeting 
Saturday 24th February at Alkham Village Hall   CT15 7BU    2:30 p.m.
Our speaker is Andy Willis, very well-known as a national speaker.
He will be speaking on one of the things bees make, wax.
He made these lovely candles from wax given by many British BKAs as the BBKA’s gift on the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012.
He knows all there is to know about harvesting, cleaning & refining beeswax.
See BBKA News  December 2012.
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! Philip will not be at the meeting. Your subscription 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.