Friday 1 December 2023

Newsletter, December 2023

 Newsletter December 2023

Dear Beekeeper, 

Last newsletter of the year, no meeting now till the end of January, when Christmas & New Year will be just a memory. Many thanks for all who attended the AGM last month, almost 50 of you. We managed to elect a new Treasurer, Julie Scott, but her details are not on this letter as she will need time to get to grips with payments, memberships & links to BBKA, but I hope she knows how welcome you will make her next year!

Thanks also to those who have renewed your membership for 2024, if you definitely wish to lapse your membership, please let myself or Philip know asap.

The calls & emails have already started from people wishing to become beekeepers next year, so remember how it was for you & perhaps be prepared to offer support to a beginner or spare bees if you ever have them. I have heard from Greg who confirms that the farm where his bees are kept is happy to support a summer meeting there. Things move on quickly, bees won’t wait, hopefully your care & good winter preparations will result in colony survival for 2024. If not, then remember we try to support people looking for bees but it should not be an annual expectation. …………………………………………………………………………………………………..                If you were absent last month, you may be wondering what was decided at the AGM about our next move regarding the AH fight for 2024. Jackie proposed an action plan, see below:

PLAN TO DEFEAT AH THREAT to DDBKA AREA Devised by JT, approved by members present

52 AH nests cleared in Kent thus far. The majority in our area.

Over 10 not at or near an apiary

The plan is to section the whole of our area, dividing a map into 1km squares.

With members participation, do a sweep through the area at certain times.


Participating members will be allocated a grid square, in their neighbourhood or adjoining it.

Each will be given 5 traps [slightly different model, new design to protect European hornets] to spread around in their km square.

Traps will be approximately 500 – 700m apart

Attractant will be supplied.

These traps will not need to be moved about, the spacing should ensure random AH will find them by scent

This will start in February, 10C temperature is needed for the Queens to start to move.

There will be a finite number of Queens to be caught, NBU will support us.

SUGAR NEWS,  many kg!

You may remember a couple of years ago we were lucky enough to have some surplus white granulated sugar donated from a food factory in Ashford, free if some of us could provide a jar of honey to give their staff, particularly if we take a large amount. 

They are repeating this generous offer, Tim is prepared to collect again.  If you want any sugar for feeding syrup/fondant or whatever, your task will be to bring suitable empty containers, ideally with snap-on lids, named clearly, to my house. Tim will collect & fill them & then deliver them back to me for you to collect. Any remaining sugar can be collected at a later point, perhaps from Alkham village hall at the January meeting.                                                             

Let me know your interest please!      

Many thanks to AshfordBKA & Joanne Knaggs for including us, & for Tim, man + van!

                                                        HONEY JARS For MEMBERS

Now at Unit 13, AB Crush panel beaters, opposite the Shepherdswell turning on the A2 to Five Oaks, Geddinge.CT4 6RY.

The procedure remains the same: order to me, payment to Philip, collection on a Friday from 11 to 12, it is a really busy site with vehicles, deliveries etc. 


  • 1lb jars, including lids, in boxes of 72 £30    
  • 8oz round jars & lids are £45 for 128 
  • We now have lids again, £2 for a dozen.                                                                                                                                                                                    


The BBKA is seeking to recruit an Outreach Officer with an initial focus on Asian Hornet.  The purpose of the role is to identify, make and maintain contact with organisations or other target audiences that can help the BBKA tackle key issues which impact honeybees and/or are of concern to beekeepers.                       

The initial focus of the role will be Asian Hornet but could at times switch to other key issues for the BBKA such as honey authenticity or neonicotinoids.

The officer will have at least 3 years’ experience working in an Outreach, Communications or Marketing role including direct customer contact and be a strong communicator (written and verbal) who is comfortable making initial contact with new organisations.                    

This is a rolling 12-month contract on a self-employed basis, working from home or the BBKA office at Stoneleigh.  Communication with BBKA staff and Trustees during normal office working hours is essential.

Part-time hours:  25 hours per week for the first three months reducing to an average of 15 hours spread over the year.  It is noted that this time may peak during the spring and autumn months.                          

Rate of pay: £15/hour.               

For a full job description and an application form please email:                                                                                                                          Kind regards,  Diane Drinkwater    Chair, BBKA


Next month’s newsletter will have details of spring courses & plans for beginners, it is important that you make a note of January 27th 2024 as our first meeting, at Alkham, where Tom Bickerdike will be updating us & hopefully noting the efforts our small organisation has made in putting pressure on the Asian Hornets in this area.

Enjoy the break, have a happy & peaceful Christmas, do some reading, sort out your shed, but relax, you have done all you can……haven’t you?

Best wishes,    Maggie                                                                                                                                            

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