Veteriary Medicines

There is good news on the future availability of bee medicines in the UK. There was a possibility that medicines that we currently use for varroosis would no longer be available from our current suppliers. The reason for this was the Veterinary Medicines Regulations 2005, which implement the European Directive, 2004/28/EC. Under the new regulations all medicines for food producing animals (which bees are), would in future be available on veterinary prescription only. This would have meant taking our bees to the vet or having them come to our apiaries and was a recipe for farce, massive cost increases and ultimately inadequate treatment of this condition.

The BBKA has been in discussion on the new legislation with the Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) here in the UK for more than a year. Pressure from BBKA and other beekeeping organisations across Europe resulted in the European Commission putting forward revised proposals which would see criteria laid down centrally and exemptions granted by nation states. However, these proposals do not cover the other agents used in controlling varroa and for which formal approval as veterinary medicines was unlikely, not least due the cost of obtaining such an approval and the inability of the applicant to protect their investment, as these are generic substances.

After several meetings with the VMD BBKA have reached a position which ensures that we can continue to manage bee diseases properly.

Firstly, the criteria have at last been approved by the EU Commission. These now go to the European Parliament and will adopted into UK law during 2007, taking effect from October 2007. The VMD has agreed to make exemptions for currently approved medicines, namely, Apistan, Bayvarol, Apiguard, Fumidil B and Certan. Until the date of adoption and thereafter, these medicines will continue to be available through existing channels. Oxytetracycline, used to treat EFB, is not exempted and will continue to be supplied via the NBU inspectorate. Other medicines which may be approved in other EU states e.g. Apitol and Apivar are not exempted and thus their use continues to be illegal in the UK.

Secondly, the VMD has stated on the authority of the Minister, that they have no intention of pursuing those who supply, possess or use oxalic acid and similar substances as hive cleansing agents or to help control varroa. The BBKA is free to provide advice to its members on the safe and proper use of these substances and a leaflet is in preparation to achieve this. Their preference is for ready made solutions of oxalic acid syrup rather than extemporaneous preparations made by bee keepers from oxalic acid crystals.

This is good news for beekeepers and we should be grateful that BBKA has been working hard for us on this. Please see the Herts Bees newsletter for a copy of the letter from BBKA containing full details.

Barnet news by Kaye Hoggett

We are looking forward to our new beginner's course starting on 6 January 2006, for ten weeks. Please contact if you wish to attend.

We have a couple of events programmed for early in the New Year. On 20 January, Robert Coselli is doing an introduction to microscopy and on 24 February, Robin Dartington is going to demonstrate his "Dartington Hive". Both are held at 2pm at Whalebones.

St Albans news by Anne Wingate

Our next meeting will be our AGM which is at 8pm on Friday 19th January 2007 at the United Reform Church, Chiswell Green, St. Albans. Your Committee's aim is to make this part of the evening as short as possible so the minutes of the AGM 2006 will be available to read at 7.45pm. Afterwards the enjoyable part of the meeting will be the Social. Please come along and get to meet your fellow members and support your hard working committee. Subscriptions should have been paid by now. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.

Beginning beekeeping course

St. Albans Beekeepers are holding their 3rd Course for Beginners starting on Friday 9th February 2007 at the United Reform Church Hall, Chiswell Green, St. Albans. The Course will be 6 lecture evenings and 2 apiary practicals. For details and booking please contact David Brown on 01582 xxxxxx.

Due to the loss of email for November's news the following was not included...

Thank you to everyone who helped with our second "Bee World" at Capel Manor in late September. I was pleased to see some new faces in with the stalwart helpers of many years. This and other events need to be supported by the members with help before and on the day. Events don't just happen. I am hoping a new organiser will come forward to run this event in September 2007.
Anne Wingate

Welwyn news by Peter Mathews

No special news from Welwyn except to wish everyone A Very Merry Christmas and A Hippy New Year. No not a misprint.....just that I'm working myself up to a new hip joint. I might need a bee sitter come the Spring.

North Herts news by John Hill

Last month's meeting was very well attended by 20 members, when our Chairman Frank E. gave us a slide show of his, that he normally gives to Womens' Institutes and the like. His commentary was nicely balanced for the expert and beginner alike, so there was something for everyone. We even had a recording of a Queen 'piping',..... (nothing to do with bagpipes!),.... in order to locate her adversaries, so that she could kill them off as challengers to her superiority. The Queen must have almost sat on the microphone, which had been placed in the hive, as her high pitched sounds were so clear. Many thanks to Frank, and also to our 'stand-in' refreshment team for providing tea etc. (Although I understand that Rosemary had cooked her usual 'wonderful sponge cake' for us).

During the break in the above proceedings, both myself and Frank reiterated our plea for a replacement Chairman, (at our AGM in March '07). Also the plight of the County Executive needs for a new Treasurer, and a new Organiser for the County "Bee Day" event were explained. It seems to me to be a problem with all organisations such as ourselves, to find willing volunteers to continue these Offices. This situation brought to mind a little 'Story' which is very relevant to the above pleas, a copy of which I print below:-
Once upon a time there were four people named Everybody, Somebody, Anybody, and Nobody. There was an important job to be done, and Everybody was sure that Somebody would do it. Anybody could have done it, Nobody did it.

Somebody was angry about that because it was Everybody's job. Everybody thought that Anybody could do it but Nobody realised that Everybody didn't do it.

It ended up by Everybody blaming Somebody when actually Nobody could accuse Anybody.
........... So is there Anybody out there? Somebody will have to do it, Anybody might do!!!..........

Now to lighter themes. It's almost Christmas and we are having our Party earlier this December. Those of you that look on the 'blog' site of Herts BKA will see the date as Friday 8th December at 7.30 p.m. at Boxwood, those receiving and reading the posted copy will only have one or two days to react. I still have a few tickets £4 each (bring a sweet or savoury dish as well), further details and directions can be obtained from me on 01438 xxxxxx.

Being as it is almost Christmas, and at the request of our noble editor, here is a recipe which includes, some, but not much honey. This is taken from "The Complete Confectioner" ca 1790, given by Hannah Glass, and is called 'Whim-Wham', you will soon see why.
For each Person:--- Take One Boudoir Biscuit (Sponge Finger), One tablespoon of Sweet Sherry (or Muscatel Dessert wine) into which One Tablespoon of Runny Honey has been mixed, Two large Tablespoons of Double Cream, 1/2 teaspoon roasted Hazelnuts, and two small leaves cut from Angelica.....Break the biscuit into Four pieces, and place in a small custard cup. Pour over the sherry/wine/honey. Pile the whipped cream on top and decorate with nuts and angelica OR candied citron/orange. Avoid glace cherries, which would be from the wrong period!! Wait quietly for the Whim-Wham to take effect!.
Apparently Dylan Thomas once said:- "One Christmas was much like another... I can never remember whether it snowed for six days and six nights when I was twelve, or whether it snowed for twelve days and twelve nights when I was six!!!"
Happy Christmas!! John Hill

SE Herts news by Jon Mumford

BeeCraft - anyone wishing to take BeeCraft in 2007 should contact our Treasurer Roy Cropley on 01992 xxxxxx and let him know before 20th December 2006. It has nothing to do with the divisions, it is the way BeeCraft want to do business.

There is no Newsletter in January so we need to start thinking now about February 2007. The AGM will be held at 8.00pm on Thursday 15th February at the Hoddesdon Baptist Church Hall. This is the chance for members to have their say in the running of the division and put forward their thoughts and ideas about what the division should be doing, and to volunteer to help with the divisions activities.

We have a Committee Meeting arranged for Wednesday 10th January 2007 at (details in newsletter) when we will begin planning our activities for the new season.

Have a Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for the New Year to you all, and may your Bees also enjoy a Healthy and Prosperous New Year.

BBKA Revised Constitution

There is a revised draft of the British Beekeepers Association constitution available for viewing on the BBKA website. Please take a look as it is the document that the BBKA Executive Committee will propose for acceptance at January’s ADM.