South East Herts news by John Mumford

The AGM was attended by 11 members.

Subscriptions will remain at £19.00 with a £2.00 discount if paid to the Treasurer, Roy Cropley, before the 31st March 2007. This includes BDI for 3 colonies.

You will all, I’m sure, have noticed in the February issue of BBKA NEWS that the new BBKA Constitution was adopted at the Annual Delegates’ Meeting (ADM) in January. This will change the way Affiliation Fees are collected from Divisions and at the same ADM the Affiliation Fees were increased from £11.00 to £13.00 per member. BBKA have yet to publicise how and when the new arrangements are to be introduced and so we can’t assess the full impact this will have on our finances at the moment.

Our Divisional Accounts showed an excess of expenditure over income of £14.41 for the year ended December 2006. In order that our subscriptions need not rocket next year we will need to generate some extra income. There are two ways this can be done without hurting members’ pockets directly:
  1. Any members who pay basic rate income tax on any part of their income can Gift Aid their subscription by signing and returning the enclosed form to Roy Cropley. I doesn’t cost members anything, but it does mean collectively that we get quite a chunk of money back from the Tax Man. Those who have not already Gift Aided their subscription will find a form enclosed.
  2. Maximise income from the sale of produce at Shows etc. This will require more members to volunteer to help out at events. I get fed up being expected to attend and help out at all our events.
One final point from the AGM; some members would like me to publish a list of members giving Names, Addresses and Telephone numbers direct from our Membership List. I can’t do this because of the Data Protection Legislation. However if you are willing to let me circulate a list with your details on it then please fill in, sign and return the slip that accompanies the newsletter. Please note that once such a list is released I can’t be held responsible for how and what the information is used for.

How are your bees? My bees are in better condition that I can ever remember. They are all strong, healthy and working like crazy. I don’t know why, but they are also burning up stores like mad. The Goat Willow will bloom in three or four weeks time. This is the first major pollen and nectar source of the year and in four to six weeks time all my colonies will need their supers. I have a feeling that this could just be an early, high swarming year.

North Herts news by John Hill

Our AGM held last month was attended by 20 members and an invited Oonagh Gabriel, a welcome visitor. (The reason for this will become apparent below.) The AGM was the last one chaired by Frank Everest, who stated quite firmly that it was about time that some ‘new blood’ took over to keep up the Association’s progression as a lively, forward looking group. It will be up to the new Committee to meet and declare a Chairman. There was one vacancy, due to the resignation of John Moss-Blundell, a member of many years’ standing. Graham Beasley was voted on the Cmt. as the replacement member. The new Chairman will take-over at the April meeting, at the Friends’ Meeting House. The meeting thanked the retiring Chairman for all his efforts. He will, for the time-being remain as a coopted member on the Committee.

After the Chairman had given an encouraging review of the year, our Treasurer, Pat Veasey, gave his report that had been, financially, extremely good; with 37 fully paid-up members, and some prospective members attending the Apiary and Winter meetings. The membership fee will remain at £20 for 2007, which includes Insurance, up to three hives. The finances were accepted nem. con.

It was brought to the attention to those at the meeting that, following John Moss-Blundell’s resignation, he had some equipment to sell, but had donated an extractor to the Association, to be loaned out to members. Terry Pierson agreed to act as custodian and administrate the loan etc. for the extractor for which we are extremely grateful. The details of loans etc. will be decided soon by the Committee, a deposit will most probably be requested from borrowing members.

After the meeting Andy Johnston showed some images, mostly from the Internet, of various aspects of bee diseases, and anatomical details, which we shall be viewing at the March meeting to be held at Marriott’s School Stevenage. The Chairman explained that we were kindly invited to the the school’s Science Dept. to use various microscopes etc. on Tuesday 13th March starting at 7.30 pm. All members are cordially invited to come; maps giving directions were handed out at the AGM to those present but those members that were not there can get details from me on telephone in newsletter. Andy and Oonagh will both be available at this proposed meeting to advise us all etc. and it was suggested that members bring a few dead bees if possible so that we can all have a specimen to view, also some samples of pollen would be welcomed.

Would members please note that unfortunately the Committee have not yet decided the format of the meeting to be held in April '07, so please watch out for information in the newsletter after this one, in early April.

Please see below the proposed Apiary meetings for 2007 and enter into your diaries.
All tentative at this stage. All at 2.30 pm.
  • 13th May - Nortonbury Clear-up
  • 19th May - Boxwood
  • 2nd June - Robin Dartington, Letchworth
  • 16th June - Pat Veasey, Gosmore Cross
  • 30th June - Roman Gorski, Benington
  • 14th July - Nortonbury (6 members Apiaries)
  • mid August - Andy Johnston, Shillington
The answer to last month’s puzzle was the letter O. They are all mirror images in alphabetical order.

Here’s another: “A ship sank in perfect weather conditions. If the weather had been worse the ship probably would not have sunk. What happened?”

SORRY: No room for a poem this month.

St Albans news by Anne Wingate

You will have all received your year's programme cards by now so the Committee hope to see many of you at the meetings. Other Social events will be notified in Herts Bees in the coming months.

The Beginners Course with 25 students is now underway and keeping the lecturers on their toes! If you are a beekeeper of 1 or 2 years why not come along to talk to the Beginners during the coffee break and answers their questions. Do you remember how many things you wanted to ask about?

Please see details elsewhere in the news about Herts BKA AGM, and the need for a new Treasurer for the County.

The St Albans BKA Committee wish to thank Ken Taylor for all the work he has put into the Division as Chairman and Committee member. We look forward to seeing you at regular events.

Welwyn News by Peter Mathews

Don't forget the Welwyn AGM on Thursday, 15th March at 8.00pm. The meeting will be held at 3 Fearnley Road, Welwyn Garden City, AL8 6HW. Fearnley Road is off Parkway, and the first on the right after the dual carriageways merge.

Transport Request

We have a photocopier/printer which was kindly donated by Xerox. I need to get this moved sometime in March. Hopefully, I can fix this within the company. But, I would be appreciative of any backup arrangements. Please get in touch if you can help with a van, pickup etc. This has become urgent as I will be taking early retirement at the end of March. If we don't do this we are looking at paying £500 - £600 per year for our newsletter.
Peter Mathews

Mystery Bee Illness in the USA

A mysterious illness is devastating honeybee populations across the US from California to Florida, claiming up to 80% of colonies in some areas. The losses of honeybees could disrupt the pollination of food crops, researchers warn. For further information see this New Scientist article.

National Bee Unit - Herts inspection results

Please click here to see a report from Andy Wattam on the level of bee disease found in Hertfordshire in 2006.

Date for your diary

All members are invited to attend the AGM on Saturday 24th March 2007 at the Welwyn Civic Centre, Prospect Place, Welwyn from 14:00 to 17:00.

This is not just an AGM (that will be the formal bit at the beginning) but an opportunity to meet with other Herts members, share experiences at the start of the new season, listen to fascinating talks and buy your supplies from Lou Ellison. If you haven't been before then please come along - you won't be disappointed. If you have been before then we look forward to seeing you again.
  • 14:00 - AGM followed by tea and cake (all contributions gratefully received)
  • 15:00 - News and update from Andy Wattam (Bee Inspector, Eastern Region)
  • 16:00 - Honey Bee Research in the UK, Past, Present and Future - by Norman Carreck (ex Rothamsted)
Lou Ellison will have equipment and supplies for you to purchase. Please call him beforehand (phone number in the newsletter advert) so that he brings along sufficient stock.

We hope to see you there.

St. Albans Beginner's Course

Come and learn Basic Bee keeping
Course starts: 9th February 2007
7.45pm for 8pm - 10pm
United Reformed Church, Watford Road
Chiswell Green, St. Albans
There are six sessions and two practical sessions.
Contact David Brown - ☏ 01582 ...... for details and booking a place.

Good Husbandry Workshop

Andy Wattam
Regional Bee Inspector (Eastern)
9.45am for 10am - 4pm approx.
Date: 9th June 2007
United Reformed Church, Watford Road
Chiswell Green, St. Albans, AL2 3HG
and the St. Albans Apiary
Please bring a packed lunch. Tea/coffee/squash will be provided. Please put this date in your diary now.
Open to all Herts Beekeepers
Further details from Anne Wingate - ☏ 01727 ......

Herts Bees - February - Erratum

The date of the N Herts AGM is 13th Feb, not 3rd Feb as it says in the Events section of the newsletter. Apologies to anyone who went on the wrong day.

Foul brood disease of honey bees

Just to let you know that the eagerly awaited replacement for the old 1996 MAFF 'Foulbrood Recognition' leaflet has arrived from the printers.

You can save it to your PC as a PDF document for future viewing then here is a link to it:

Enjoy - and kind regards to you all
Andy Wattam