St Albans news by Anne Wingate

The end of another season and time to prepare our colonies for winter. Autumn feeding and varroa control treatments should be well under way. Honey yields have been variable, with our student beekeepers realising how valuable it is to have some drawn comb. When storing combs spray with Certan, available from Thornes, as it will help control the dreaded wax moth. Eileen and Eric have arranged the Saturday afternoon Apiary sessions all this season. The input, with the help of other members, has given our new beekeepers an insight into beekeeping. Next season the seven
students will be well away with swarm control and honey production.

St. Albans beekeepers enjoyed the day at Earthworks, which is a project to assist people with learning difficulties to find out about flowers, vegetables, fruits and the environment. It was very hot and the wax for candle rolling had to be kept cool!

Our first Autumn meeting will be on Friday 27th October at 8pm at United Reformed Church Chiswell Green. The topic for discussion will be 'The Year's Review' with input from everyone. Please all come along with your views of how we can improve the Courses and your Association.

LOST - Eileen Remnant has lost the HONEY
REFRACTOMETER (for measuring the water content in honey) last seen July2005. The instrument is in a small black box 6” x 2” approx. It was bought with money from our first Lottery grant and is for members to borrow. Turn out your bee basket, boxes, drawers and cupboardsand please leave it at the Apiary with her name on the bag. Several members wish to use it. Please help. Thank you.

I hope to as many Members as possible will coming to
'Bee World'.

North Herts news by John Hill

Once again, I am writing this early because of holidays interfering with the submission date for copy to the editor. So I hope the news is not `old hat'. At this point in time we are all either feeding, or treating for Varroa. What a strange year it has been. All my colonies have been gradually building up from the `stressful' winter. As a result, I have had no honey deposited in the supers, and Frank E. who keeps his bees in the same apiary as myself has also had a disastrous time. Between us we have lost four colonies out of eight. On the other hand, some of our members at Nortonbury have had very good yields, and specially some of the newer members I'm pleased to add.

During the hot weather in August, we paid a visit to Andy Johnston's Apiary in Shillington, (a joint meeting with Bedfordshire BKA.), -- 25 in total turned up, with about 8 members from North Herts. Quite a number of queens were marked that day, and most hives were thriving, although a small number were suffering, and trying to survive. One hive was packed solid with waxmoth remains, with hardly a bee therein. Fortunately, that one was in the minority. Andy was well organised and sported a note-book, in which he recorded all the relevant details etc. A lesson to be learned by all of us present. The highlight of the visit was, dare I say it, the tea, which was consumed with relish, and was beautifully prepared by Val. Both Andy and Val were duly thanked by both visiting N. Herts. and Beds, representatives, and we all expressed our support in the usual manner before resuming our feast, and umpteenth cup of tea! Thank you both once again.

Our first meeting of the Autumn/ Winter programme will be on the second Tuesday in October (viz. the 10th to be precise). This to be held, as usual, at the Friends' Meeting House, Sollershott East, Letchworth, commencing at 7.30 p.m. At this time, ( mid-August), the details of the meeting have not been decided, but the next Newsletter will have fuller information. Put the date in your diary now! We hope that all the newer members will attend! I expect we shall hold a forum comparing experiences of treatment, with some expert controlling the proceedings!

Members may be interested to learn that Peter Heath's test for Varroa immunity to Apistan, that he did for one of our hives at Nortonbury in July, only turned out to be 60-70% effective. He recommended that Apiguard should be used this year. But we all guessed that didn't we?

Now to July/August's poser re: the eight wine glasses. "First move 2 and 3 to the far end; then fill the gap with 5 and 6. Fill the gap with 8 and 2; then finish with 1 and 5." Incidentally, I think we've had enough of these puzzles (Hooray?), so, in future I'm just going to stick with `sayings and quotations' or even a bit of poetry.

So.... here's a tiny bit to finish off:- "Books are the bees which carry the quickening pollen from one to another mind". James Russell (1849- US Poet and essayist).

South East Herts news by John Mumford

We owe Malcolm and Val High A GREAT BIG THANKYOU for hosting the July Apiary Meeting. Smoked Salmon, Strawberries and Cream, and Cake washed down with pots of tea. What more could you ask for! Malcolm has worked hard to improve the temperament of his bees with great success, and is now able to handle them without gloves and clouds of smoke. Many of our older members may recall how, not too long ago, Peter Heath paused, while demonstrating how, and what to look for when examining a stock for brood disease at Malcolm's Apiary, and getting well stung for his efforts, said, " Just a minute, I think I will go and put some gloves on ". I hope our new members were not overawed while touring round Malcolm's honey extraction/processing/bottling room, remember Malcolm does run some forty colonies, and can't mess around as those with just a few colonies do. Congratulations Malcolm and thanks for a superb afternoon.

After a poor spring and having to feed in early June the weather turned very hot and the bees went barmy. By the middle of July everything dried up and turned brown. My bees have done very well and averaged 80lbs per colony, but now, at the time of writing this, with the cool wet weather they are doing absolutely nothing. I dare not open a hive for more than a few minutes for fear of robbing, and with the numbers of bees per colony I am struggling to get the extracted supers off and safely stored for winter so that I can start treating for Varroa.

The bees are hardly flying at all, and brood rearing has almost stopped. These conditions are ideal for the rapid build up of tracheal mites in the young bees which are so necessary to take the colony through winter. Frow Mixture and Folbex Strips are no longer permitted treatments for tracheal mites, but fortunately, Thymol does help to combat them.

The topic for the next Apiary Meeting on 17th. September at Bayford will be ' Winter Preparation '. I would suggest that members start preparing their bees for winter now. Take great care when feeding not to spill any syrup that could start robbing, and remember that the object is to raise as many HEALTHY YOUNG BEES as possible in order to get the colonies through winter. Over feeding so that the Queen has nowhere to lay, and the bees nowhere to cluster later on is not good practice. Six or Seven BS. brood combs of stores, (30 to 35 lbs stores ) leaving Four or Five combs for the Queen and winter clustering will do just fine.

On Saturday 23rd. September there is the HBKA ' BEE WORLD ' event at Capel Manor where SE Herts will be providing an Observation Hive, it would be appreciated if a few members would volunteer to help man the hive and talk to the visitors.

On Saturday 7th. October there is the Harvest Supper at Hoddesdon Baptist Church Hall, entry is free to members and partners.

Barnet news by Kaye Hoggett

The past couple of months have been quite busy, apart from the honey flow and all that entails. The 21 nucs. we ordered back in March have now all arrived and been installed, so all our old hands who lost bees are back in business as well as all the members of the Class of 06. Congratulations to all of you on completing the course and becoming beekeepers. You will also be pleased to know that all our candidates for the BBKA Basic passed the assessment this year. Again congratulations to all of you. According to my calculations we will have at least 10 people taking their Basic next year, it could be more if our older members put their names forward.

Turning to another subject you will all be aware that we have apiaries at Whalebones and Arkley Manor Farm. Well we are running out of capacity on these sites, so we are in the process of opening a third at Byng Road, which will go live next year.

Looking forward can I remind everybody that honey should be taken in mid August and Varroa treatment commenced at the same time.

Assuming that you take my advice, that leaves 6 weeks to prepare your honey for the Honey Show (30th Sep) even if you don’t have any honey there will be a class you can enter. N.B. All beekeepers there is a new Class this year Hive Record. In parallel with the Honey Show we are holding a members lunch for Members and one guest. We tried this last year and even with a cancelled honey show (The Judge pulled out you will recall) it was a great success. The schedule for the show has been sent out by post or e-mail, please at the very least let us know early if you are coming to the lunch, which is on the same day, Saturday 30th September.

We have also been recruiting for next year. It’s surprising how many people are interested in becoming beekeepers all they want is a little encouragement. Can I ask that all members make an effort of looking for new beekeepers and pointing them in the direction of Roger Hedgecoe . I find that a comment like “ my bees won’t like this weather” invariably grabs interest.

Welwyn news by Peter Mathews

Honey Prices
Checking honey prices in the West Country, I found £4 to £4.50 / lb to be fairly typical as a shop price. Prices were higher on the coast and tourist areas, as one might expect. I only found one shop at £3.50.... this was a post office / general store in the middle of nowhere. Best price was the Maritime Museum in Falmouth at £4.50 for 12oz, or £6 / lb.
Sainsbury’s English Honey is £3.50 / lb
Waitrose are selling 12oz jars of Rowse's 'English
Honey' at an equivalent price of £4.50 / lb.
This year English honey is virtually unobtainable below £3.50 / lb. except from beekeepers with minimal marketing skills. Or, are they saying their honey is second rate?
Peter Folge can supply Thymol crystals from a bulk order at £13 / 500g plus p&p. The following method has been found effective to treat the colonies:
A plastic screw-top lid (from a small plastic container approx. 5cm diameter – honey jar lid will do) on top of the brood chamber/frames and kept this topped up on a weekly basis for 4 weeks adding 8g per week as necessary. This should be carried out in August as soon as extracting has finished as this treatment is temperature reliant – the lower the temperature, the less effective.

St Albans Apiary Tour by Eric Margrave

The Apiary Tour with Peter Heath was held on Saturday 8 July, whilst still in the heat wave period there was a pleasant breeze which helped to keep everyone cool. The tour took in three different and distinct locations showing the variation of bee keeping apiaries. It was pleasing to see so many of the beginners from the recent course that St Albans had held; they joined in fully with the tour.

Location 1 was David and Elizabeth Brown’s house in Harpenden, before the work started with inspecting David’s hives the group was treated to morning coffee and biscuits. A long deep Darlington hive and a 14 x 12 deep national hive was inspected by Peter. He explained to the beginners about pollen collection and the flight pattern of bees, due to the landscaping of David’s garden the flight path of the bees could be clearly seen. Peter gave the beginners the opportunity to find the queens among David’s New Zealand colonies.

Then onto location 2 in Gustard Wood which is home to Anne Wingate’s Standard Nationals. The hives are located in a small clearing in a wood next to an apple orchard. The flight path of the bees at this location was fascinating, up like a chimney until they had cleared the trees and then only then did they disperse. Using Anne’s good hive examples Peter talked about disease prevention. As Anne had extracted honey only the week before the bees were busy filling the supers with nectar. After the task of inspecting the hives, the tour stopped for a picnic lunch in the apple orchard. During the lunch break Peter was treated to an intense question and answer session from all the beginners, who were amazed to know how many hives Peter managed as they were still struggling to get to grips with their own.

After lunch the tour moved onto the third and final location, St Albans Apiary on the Goranbury Estate. Peter was soon put to work and over 10 hives were inspected, he took time to inspect each beginners hive and gave advice pertinent to their own hive. The beginners were exceptionally keen to show off their hives and were practically walking on air once Peter had worked his magic. The busy day was finished off with afternoon tea and cakes, a gentle way to wind down from the excitement of the day.

It was an extremely pleasant day and pleasing to note so many new faces joining the old and familiar ones. It is always a pleasure watching Peter working with the bees. He gave invaluable advice to the members who kept bees at the St. Albans Apiary. They had experienced a high percentage of swarms due to queen cells being capped between the weekly examination. His recommendation was to clip the Queens to give that important extra time between examinations.

Thanks to all those who took part and helped organise the tour.