North Herts news by John Hill

Our first meeting of the Autumn was very well attended by sixteen members who turned out to listen, and contribute, to a general discussion regarding the '06 season. The chair, was taken as usual by FE, who, incidentally had a terrible cold. He began by stating that the year had been very 'strange', some members seemingly had had a productive season, whilst others had virtually negligible honey (including myself). One member with 'active' bees, found that they were flying as far as seven miles, each way, to a borage crop near Walkern. Quite a number of members had lost bees, up to 30%, (including myself). Some had, what FE called 'non-active' queens, i.e. the hive was thriving with plenty of stores, but nothing going into the supers.

When it came to Varroa Control, there had been "very small drops of mites" for those using Apiguard, and some members were treating again as late as early October with alternatives. Apistan users were getting 'largish drops', and those using the dreaded "F" word solution, as 'a disinfectant', seemed to be carrying on as usual with plenty of crop from strong colonies.

So we proved in discussion that indeed,... it had been a 'Very Strange Year'. Perhaps '07 will bring normality? Some members found that bees were ignoring rape crop in favour of tree and flower nectar. Some 'lazy' bees were still flying on sunny days in mid-October.

Part of the evening was given to a 'Chat' by DR, who described a neat way of combining two hives in a 'stress less' manner, by using a special floor above the first hive with an 'openable panel within' which, can be at the beekeeper's discretion when to open it, and thus allow combination to take place. He also described in some detail the three types of queen cell, and distinguishing differences, viz....the 'emergency' cell, the 'supersedure' cell, and the 'swarming' cell, the former being produced usually in the centre of the frame, with the other two at the bottom. The differences explained for the two latter were associated with the 'roughness' of the outer structure

Altogether, a fine evening! Most members contributed too, which was much appreciated. What's more we had a prospective member turn up....always welcome!

Also, the refreshments were prepared (and cooked by Rosemary F.). Many thanks!! Who else gets Chelsea Buns AND Jam Sponge??

So what's on next month? Well, by popular request, FE, our revered Chairman, will present a slide show... the sort of production that he has done for many W. Institutes in our area, but a bit more technical? So please reserve the date: November 14th, (second Tuesday), usual venue @ the Friends' Meeting House, Sollershott East, Letchworth, starting at 7:30pm. You will not be disappointed!

And now I thought I would finish with a few relevant Proverbs I have gleaned from a "Handbook of Proverbs" dated 1888, that I bought from a second-hand book shop many years ago for three shillings and nine pence (old money)!
Honey is sweet, but the bee stings
Honey in the mouth, saves the purse
Honey is too good for a bear
Sweet-heart and honey bird keeps no house
He that would an old wife wed, must eat an apple before he goes to bed.
(the explanation being given in the book is "which by reason of it's flatulency is apt to excite desire."). !!!???

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