Bees on TV and radio

On TV:
  1. Springwatch, BBC2, tonight (31st May) at 8pm.
  2. Ever Wondered About Honey, BBC1, 9 June at 11.30 am
  3. Market Kitchen, UKTV, in about 2 weeks with Gordon Ramsey, Clodah Mckenna and Philippa O'Brien (designer of Urban Beekeeper garden at Chelsea).
And on Radio 4 soon:
  1. Claire Waring on Open Country
  2. Norman Carreck on the Food Programme

Hitchin Bee Centre - the debate part 5

By Peter Folge
"The Bees Knees"
Welwyn Beekeepers Association

Hi All,
Having read the newsletter as far as The Hitchin Bee Centre is concerned; In my mind it is stupid for members to turn their backs on someone who wants to bring beekeeping into the public eye. In my own experience as more city/town folk spread on an ever expanding sprawl into the countryside many have no idea between a wasp, bumble bee, honey bee or hoverfly. OK this is nothing new but at the same time Hertfordshire is increasing in wealth and the public are becoming increasingly concerned in what they eat and this brings in us beekeepers. The public are becoming more aware of natural and organic products and it's health benefits.

I myself have never seen a Dartington Hive (other than a photo) and I'm sure neither have most members. I truly believe we all should see it first hand before commenting and fussing about which hive. If I had my way they would all be WBC. Hmmm - but then imagine when moving equipment. What a nightmare this would be. Therefore most of the hives I've seen are based on the National.

Of cause I'm sure members who are objecting to this project possibly are not happy with a little unbalance in the association or even in their lives. The worst thing that can be done is to cause a splinter in our organisation's structure and look in the public's eye as a totally unorganised.

Regarding time & money; I think we have it good when it comes to membership fees. (I'll still complain though). It's up to Hertfordshire's members to join in and make a little more commitment meaning - come along and introduce yourselves at local apiary meetings - nothing more required, but please make the effort, after all that's what membership is all about.

If Robin Dartington can find volunteers to run the Bee Centre, consider public safety and the allotment owners are in agreement, then why are members so worried about this project? A little more fund raising really won't go a miss, would it? Selling products from the centre would probably nearly fund the project in itself.

Let us set it up on a trial basis say 5 years funding and if we are not happy we can then consider alternatives.

Ideally I have always wanted to set up a bee breeding project in Hertfordshire. Would anyone like to commit themselves? It would not cost a thing except time and effort and a little friendly communication. Then maybe we will, like the Beekeeping Grand-Masters before us....inspect open hives on a hazy weekend afternoon in nothing more than shirt sleeves and a small puff of rolling smoke... Well, for the moment I have 2 hives exactly like this and maybe more by the end of the season?

Let us see what this weekend's Apiary tour holds for us in Welwyn.

All we need is a sunny day!

Hitchin Bee Centre - the debate part 4

By Frank Everest
Robin makes a number of points, many of which I believe to be mistaken.
I feel that his complaints against the HBKA executive committee and the NHBKA Committee should not go unchallenged. I strongly support the concept of the Hitchin Bee Centre, and so has the NHBKA committee, as he should have recalled, having been at the meeting where it was discussed. We did not agree to setting up a new organisation – if Robin thinks we did, he was hearing what he wanted to hear!

Having retired as NHBKA Chairman at our last AGM, I stress that these comments reflect only my own opinions.
  • Robin asserts that “North Herts’ decision that Hitchin Bee Centre should be a new organisation”. I think not: at our committee meeting, we declined to support the Centre with finance, but supported his project. Since it was on our patch, we understood that the decision might suggest to outsiders a lack of enthusiasm, but we had not been involved until Robin had made all his decisions, and so felt aggrieved that we had been involved without prior consent.
  • Robin’s concern to get NHBKA or HBKA support is all about getting money for his project, and so he justifies a new organisation to act as a “host” to sponsor or support getting external funding. The fact that I refer to it as “his project” and not “the HBKA’s project” says much about his problem. Derek Driver’s observations reflect that issue, too.
  • I quite understand that Robin is dismayed by the NHBKA and the executive of the HBKA not promising to support financially or functionally the Hitchin Bee centre. He should understand that their reluctance might stem from the fact that they feel they have been steam-rollered into agreement because he has gone ahead with arranging finance, access, etc., before getting any go-ahead from either organisation. Had he shared his vision and requirements before firming up his plans with the local authorities, etc., they would have had an opportunity to criticise and change the scheme to meet their reservations. Having done so, they might have been keen to go along with plans for which they felt some degree of “ownership”.
  • He asserts that the NHBKA and the HBKA are not fulfilling their duty as charities to “educate and further beekeeping”. The majority of the NHBKA members’ subscriptions are taken by the BBKA, whose aims and objectives I believe fulfil charitable status requirements. So, I would argue, the NHBKA also fulfils its charitable functions as a result of its sizeable contributions to the BBKA, as well as its own contributions to external education, swarm collection, etc., and I totally reject the suggestion that our charitable status is “fraudulent”.
  • I have misgivings, which I have shared with Robin, about the siting of the Centre. He has modified his plan significantly since I offered my opinions, but I still wonder whether the allotment holders will be as sanguine as he thinks they will be when they are getting stung on bad days. It simply won’t wash when he suggests that we should install “quiet bees”. Like Derek Driver, I wish I could share his optimism.
  • The undoubted enthusiasm he has raised with a number of people (not principally NHBKA members) is praiseworthy. However, I have my doubts about whether the initial enthusiasm will be sustained by sufficient people on a weekly basis (as he suggests) at the out-apiary when swarms or stings are being endured by the allotment holders.
  • The NHBKA Committee, at the meeting Robin attended, expressed severe reservations about formal involvement with the Bee centre because of our worries about risks to the public (amongst other things). Since my wife had a near-death experience of anaphylactic shock following two stings at Boxwood a couple of years ago, we all now understand that beekeeping cannot be seen as low-risk. The NHBKA Committee seemed to want to avoid carrying any shared responsibility if a disaster struck a member of the public. Our collective public liability insurance would need to be copper-bottomed if someone actually died close to the Bee Centre, leaving aside the stress on our consciences if it happened. I doubt whether the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens can Bee Diseases and individual public liability insurance cover.
  • I understand Robin’s enthusiasm for promoting his long deep hives on the site. I have one myself, and appreciate its advantages, but also its drawbacks. I feel that management of the double-ended hive is more complicated than management of standard hives, and the Long Deep is not ideal for beginners.
  • As Derek has pointed out, Robin’s enthusiasm for Long Deep Hives has clouded the discussions. Inevitably, Derek reflects others’ suspicions that Robin’s real motive in setting up the Bee Centre is to sell and advertise his own product, and their resentment at feeling used. I hope the suspicion is without basis, but surely Robin can see that his involvement and evangelism could be biasing a rational assessment of their suitability for the Bee Centre?
  • For example, it’s a pity he didn’t plan to add, at the most, two Long Deep hives to a collection of National, Commercial, and WBC to show the public what is available. The double-ended exits on the Long Deep hives will be a big disadvantage on the site Robin has chosen because it’ll be impossible to aim all the hive exits away from the nearby allotments and over the river. This drawback can be avoided with single entrance hives.

I’m sorry to sound so negative, but I do feel that Robin has brought his problems in getting Hertfordshire beekeepers’ support on himself. He has not brought us into his planning before we found we were being asked to agree.

The NHBKA has a long history of happy dialogue and continued support from its members. It has not been prone to splitting or schism – things which are always apt to happen when topics are not discussed openly in a timely fashion.

Robin seems to be seeking to split the membership into those who support him (including non-members of the NHBKA who cannot be aware of the effect of their involvement) and a part of the NHBKA membership. He seems to think that a new beekeepers’ association might afford him the backing to make grants available. It might indeed get the money, but such a schism is unlikely to sustain long-term support for his project from either camp. Thus the success of the Bee Centre could be prejudiced, and that is something I regret.

West Herts news by Brian Norman

(The following was omitted from the June newsletter. Apologies West Herts members.)

Due to the change of weather, the May Apiary meeting was limited to a brief hive inspection. A preliminary look under the crown boards disclosed that a member's colony was now in need of extra space for the spring honey flow. A super was to be made up and placed on the hive during the following week. The belated spring rain has freshened up the local plant life, which seems to have already given the bees a boost to their foraging.

The next meeting in May is where the Association is holding its sale of equipment, this being the prelude to clearing and sorting of the shed that hopefully should be replaced during June.

The Apiary is looking for new swarms to boost the in-house colonies, also a reminder to those members who wish to place one of their own colonies in the Association Apiary, please contact the Apiary Manager.

The Garden for an Urban Beekeeper

The first garden created for the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) at the Chelsea Flower Show shows how to create a productive and safe area for bees in an urban environment.

Without bees there would be very few flowering crops. Today 60% of our food plants depend on bees especially tree fruit, soft fruit, salad crops, beans and pears. No bees – no healthy diet.

The article continues on the BBKA website.

Philippa O’Brien (right) explains her garden design to BBC Gardeners World presenter Carol Klein.

Bill Turnball (second left), Tim Lovett (BBKA Chair, right)) with the garden designer Philippa O'Brien (centre) and Clare Waring (Editor Bee Craft, left)

Professor Lord Robert Winston and other famous faces were also present!

Pictures 1 and 2 by Robin Dartington. Picture 3 by Clare Waring, Editor Bee Craft.

What Services Should An Association Offer Its Members? by Robin Dartington

Forming a new organisation to run the Hitchin Community Bee Garden is an opportunity to define the services that aspiring beekeepers need under modern conditions. Here is a first list. How does that compare with your local association? More suggestions, please!

The merely interested:
One-to-one introductory talk; a first experience with handling bees; all questions answered; advice on how to go further.

Beginners:
Training course; loan of trial hive; advice on buying equipment; matching buyers and sellers of used equipment; help with finding a site; supply of a nuc; mentoring; liability insurance.

Improvers:
Regular (weekly) demonstrations at a central apiary of the seasonal tasks; trouble shooting improvers’ problems; lease of extraction room; structured winter lecture meetings.

Aspirers:
Reference library; matching tutors to candidates for BBKA modules; arrangements for taking exams.

Regular beekeepers:
Bulk collection of wax for conversion to foundation; supply of frames/foundation/jars/ varroa treatments; supply of BBKA/DEFRA leaflets; annual review of the association’s written policies and programmes at AGM; social opportunities to visit and meet other members; co-ordination of car-sharing to beekeeping events; emergency cover (inspection of hives when a member is ill or away); 2nd opinion on suspect disease; co-ordination of visits by Bee Inspector; bulk collection of surplus (jarred) honey for central sales; annual high-level bee lecture as a contribution to a co-ordinated programme of Spring Bee Days shared with neighbouring associations (say Middlesex/Herts/Beds/Bucks/Cambs).

Distressed public:
Nominated Swarm Collection Officers; advisory service on problems with bees in wrong places; advice on bee stings.

National infrastructure for beekeeping:
Co-ordinated representation of views to BBKA/DEFRA; support for nation-wide PR campaigns and recruitment strategies; support for national research programmes.

News from Hitchin Bee Centre by Robin Dartington

Following North Herts decision that Hitchin Bee Centre should be a new organisation, HBKA was consulted through its Executive Committee on how HBC should be related to HBKA – possible a new branch? ExCOM was also asked if it would support establishing the Centre , in particular over making grant applications. North Herts representatives reiterated that NH did not want to be involved in any way and no decisions were taken.

A new organisation cannot apply for major grants without a parent. As no part of the beekeeping system in Herts is willing to support the new organisation, the project will switch emphasis from a beekeeping site with a bee garden attached to a bee garden with an apiary attached. Hitchin Community Bee Garden (HCBG) will join the Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens who accept new members with no fuss. FCFCG also understands funding projects – it gets only £10,000 pa from members’ subscriptions and raises another £490,000 by its own efforts.

Despite its tiny size, HCBG will strive to be a fully-fledged association for beekeepers, so offering an alternative to BHKA and its branches. This is in line with modern thinking that the consumer should have choice – competition increases efficiency and drives down costs. The scope of services HCBG will aspire to offer its full members (The Partners) and associate members (‘customers’) is outlined in a separate article.

The Constitution of HCBG will enable it to co-operate with other organisations that share its aims, so opening the way to re-joining beekeeping in Herts. HCBG does not want any unnecessary friction within the craft of beekeeping – but the condition ‘share its aims’ must be applied strictly. There is a problem. The representatives of at least two of HBKA branches have stated flatly that their members are interested only in keeping bees, not educating the public. This is of course absolutely fine as the position of an individual beekeeper – anyone can join a rugby club but decline to play for the team. It is another matter however when this becomes the official position of an association affiliated to BBKA and trading on its name. The Objects of BBKA are and always have been ‘promoting the craft and educating the public’. The education objective makes BBKA charitable – and public subsidy can be claimed as Gift Aid. An association that has dropped its charitable objectives can be seen as acting fraudulently if claiming Gift Aid – and that could affect HBKA as a whole. So should such branch associations be allowed to remain affiliated to HBKA /BBKA? Expulsion would not mean members had to give up beekeeping – DEFRA estimate there are far more beekeepers outside BBKA than are members. It would however be a step towards revitalising beekeeping in Herts – and enable HCBG and HBKA to negotiate a co-operative relationship at some time in the future.

There is some urgency as HCBG will want to refer visitors to local associations for example beginners’ bee courses (and not send all to Bedfordshire) – so the problems with HBKA branch associations has been raised with the General Secretary and the Chairman of BBKA. A request for an investigation will be discussed at the BBKA Trustees Meeting on 7 July.

Hitchin Bee Centre pictures

by Robin Dartington

Bee fence takes shape with Bee Lawn beyond

Bee lawn lying quietly on the river bank

Hitchin Bee Centre - the debate part 3

Robin Dartington replies to Derek Driver:
Derek certainly has misunderstood the project. I would have been happy to explain if he had contacted me, better visited the site.
“The Dartington Apiary” would usually mean my private apiary in Letchworth with 20 Dartington hives. The site in Hitchin is being developed by four beekeepers who live locally and is called ‘Hitchin Bee Centre’ – quite different.
The local Council offered a free plot for beekeeping to enhance its allotments. It would be right for Hitchin beekeepers would look for a site at Hertford only if Hitchin’s allotments were relocated. Hertford beekeepers however could start now.
The site is so ideal for public access that, rather than keep it private, it gives opportunity for a ‘public face’ for beekeeping – where the public can get a first impression of that may lead to active participation. North Herts does not want to be involved so it will be a new organisation.
People are not interested in practical details at a first visit– that comes later, as part of a beekeeping course. So there is no need for a ‘museum’ to show all types of hive. Many recreational beekeepers now favour Dartington hives as they are easiest to manage with minimum disturbance to bees and to avoid losing swarms. Barnet has just switched over its teaching apiary.
Educating the public for free is ‘charitable’ and supportable by other charities and charitable trusts. HBKA’s Constitution specifically states its Objects: ‘to promote and further the craft of beekeeping and the education of the public therein. ….the Association may co-operate with bodies with kindred interests and make affiliations with such bodies as appropriate from time to time’. I have therefore asked HBKA how it would like to relate to the Centre – in particular, whether Hitchin Bee Centre would be acceptable as a new branch of the HBKA - and whether HBKA would be willing to support grant applications (a new organization requires a parent body with three year accounts). A nominal grant of say £50 towards the costs of making grant applications would cost HBKA 20p per member – and associations often help start-ups by loaning hives. But no decisions were taken.
Derek fears older members might leave if funds were applied for charitable purposes but he should note that new beekeepers now avoid associations that provide few services. Of the four Hitchin beekeepers developing HBC, one has joined Barnet, one Beds, one St Albans.
Derek asked if I had explained that a swarm might cross the allotments that did NOT come from a nearby hive. No - educating the public in the behaviour of bees will depend on completing the Centre. My present concern is to raise money to develop the site in accordance with the Tenancy Agreement and the Permission to Keep Bees.
Robin Dartington, 27th May

Hitchin Bee Centre - the debate part 2

From Liisa - a local beekeeper:
The teaching of the traditional art of beekeeping is becoming more important, as the industrialization of our food goes marching ever on. The recent national press and television programmes have done much to bring the honeybee and beekeeping to the attention of the public, increasing the awareness of the critical importance of bees in the ecosystem and the possible threats of CCD.
The opportunity to have a Bee Centre in Hitchin was originally suggested by the local council and has been endorsed by its environmental health officer subject to strict conditions, and is welcome. It is also great to know that Defra’s bee unit top man and the BBKA’s Apiary Manager, both support the Bee Centre at Old Hale Way Allotments.
The interest and response from the allotment holders has been very positive, including the positive attitude to the possible risks, with the location of the Bee Centre to the allotments and the risk control measures that are to be taken. The donation of the woodwork for 8 hives from a national supplier is also very generous.
However, what is surprising is that no-one from the Herts beekeeping community, not involved in the project, has come to visit, given the interest. I am sure they would be very welcome. It is coming to conclusions without all the facts that is a great way to miss out on an opportunity. There is a great wealth of experience that could be contributed to the Bee Centre and the development of more Educational Bee Centers across the country, giving local people the opportunity of learning about bees and maybe experiencing beekeeping before committing to something they are not sure about.
Liisa
Just a local Beekeeper

Notes from County Executive Meeting

Bee World on Saturday 22nd September 2007 at Capel Manor will be co-ordinated by Dennis Osborne of Bishop's Stortford. As Divisions may be approached for ideas or help by Dennis, please give assistance as it will be your Divisions turn in the future. The Divisional rota was passed at HBKA AGM.

Divisional Annual Rota

PresidentPublic Exhibition
Barnet20092013
Bishops Stortford20102007
North Herts20112008
SE Herts20122009
St Albans20132010
Welwyn20142011
West Herts20152012

Proposed by David Wingate and seconded by Paul Cooper and accepted nem con.

I am grateful to Dennis and Bishop's Stortford Division for overcoming the initial difficulties of finding a co-ordinator.

Robin Dartington's project of bringing bee keeping to the general public with the setting up of Hitchin Bee Centre also requires support.

New projects and ways of moving events forward often appear difficult and to some impossible, but life moves on. Sometimes we need to make a positive leap into the unknown to reach a goal. With no faith or vision into the future, how would man have achieved so much from simple hunter gatherers to now.

Anne Wingate
Chairman HBKA E.C.

St Albans news by Anne Wingate

Please see elsewhere in Herts Bees for details of "Good Bee Husbandry Workshop". I think it would be a wonderful opportunity for all the new bee keepers who have attended courses in Barnet, S.E. Herts. and St. Albans to hear, watch and learn from Andy Wattam and Peter Heath, our local Bees Officer. Don't forget your packed lunch and bee suits.

Our last meeting in May saw an upturn in the weather giving us a good chance to access the nukes with the new Queens. I hope our course students now feel they have really started keeping bees.

All bee keepers need to watch the availability of honey stores after the spring honey has been removed for extraction. Looking around at the trees and fields there appears very little in flower. Are we back with the old "June gap"? We may need to feed so now is the time to use any frames removed earlier in the year containing "winter stores". Bees need to have sufficient food to keep the Queen laying, producing a continual replenishment of bees to be able to forage at the next honey flow.

Our yearly attendence at Earthworks is on Sunday 17th June, 11am to 4pm. We are promoting bee keeping with an observation hive, honey for sale and candle rolling for children. If you can spare a couple of hours to help make up the rota, please phone me on (☏).

Barnet news by Kaye Hoggett

We are having a BBQ at our Byng Road apiary on Saturday 16th June. Everyone is welcome and the tickets are £6 available from Mike Fullager. Children's tickets are half price.

Oonagh Gabriel gave good advice for prospective basic assessment students on 19th May, which coincided with a visit from Barnet MP Theresa Villiers, who seemed very interested in being shown round the apiary and learning about bees from Roger Hedgecoe.

Hitchin Bee Centre - the debate part 1

From Derek Driver:
"The Dartington Apiary"
Have I misread the Newsletter? Is the idea, for the public to view bees and various hives in use? If so then the hives should be those most used by Beekeepers such as the National, Commercial, Langstroth, and the WBC. Certainly NOT eight Dartington hives! This sounds like Nepotism.
The Impression seems that it's all cut and dried but what about the following points ?
Robin seems to expect all the county members to pay for the start up cost of these eight hives but there is no mention of the cost of the other hives and what about the running costs over the next five, ten, or fifteen years?
Who will manage this apiary over these years and at what cost per annum?
Robin's local Hitchin division, seem flush with money, but sensibly decline to contribute their funds, yet Robin seems to expect them and others to provide all the colonies of bees plus equipment for free.
Is not Hertford the county town of Hertfordshire? So what efforts has Robin made to find a suitable site near Hertford ?
The county executive has no mandate from our members to spend thousands of pounds of what little funds we have, on Robin's apiary, without the members voting, yes or no.
If the executive does give our money to this apiary without our vote then I'm sure many members will leave Herts! Remember SE Herts and Bishop's Stortford divisions border on Essex. Other members could also leave and then where would the executive find the money from ?
Perhaps all the above was answered and I've misread the Newsletter, I sincerely hope so.
Derek Driver
Chairman SE Herts Division.
P.S. Have his allotment holders experienced a swarm of bees passing through them, I have, and we have no hives near our allotments. Perhaps if they had this experience whilst working their plots, they would be less enthusiastic. Did Robin even explain this possibility I wonder?

South East news by John Mumford

The Apiary meeting on Sunday 20th May was well attended. The hive inspections were all a bit boring. No-one got stung, the bees were doing quite well bearing in mind that Bayford is fairly high, cold, and windy, and only one Queen Cell with a small larvae was found.

As I write this report the Blackberries and Lime Trees are coming into bloom yet the Bluebells haven't quite finished. Some of the Horse Chestnuts have finished while others are still putting on a good show. The Spring honey flow was very good with the dry sunny weather but then swarming has been a big problem and many are now waiting for the weather to improve so that their new Queens can get mated. A FUNNY OLD YEAR WITHOUT A DOUBT ! The main honey flow normally lasts five to six weeks at most so the season could be all done and dusted by early July. Plenty of time then to get to grips with an effective VARROA treatment.

Our next Apiary Meeting is at Richard Ludwell's Apiary on Sunday 17th June at 3.00pm, a map is enclosed for our new members. PLEASE! Do the RIGHT thing and give Pat or Richard (☏) notice if you will be going, PLEASE!

We have volunteered to provide a stall at the Broxbourne Council Open Day on Saturday 7th July at Bishop's College and will in turn need some volunteers to help out and some produce for sale.

The next Committee Meeting will be at 8.00pm on Tuesday 12th June at Andrews Lane.

Welwyn news by Peter Mathews

Firstly, many thanks to all those who returned the question sheet with contact details. This is already making my job so very much easier. Please note that your e-mail address is going no further than me.

The first Apiary Meeting at Raffin Green proved a big success with strong interest from 8 new members. And, huge thanks to Fizzy for providing apr├Ęs-bee hospitality. As most of you already know, our next meeting on Saturday 2nd June will feature a guest demonstration by Peter Heath. Peter is the Regional Bee Diseases Officer, and has huge experience in beekeeping. He is also very up to date in the very latest in good practice. Not to be missed! This is now a whole day event and will combine visits to members' hives through the day starting at 9.00am and closing about 4.00pm. Itinerary to follow. You are welcome to join the tour for all, or any of it. We aim to be at Raffin Green at the usual time of 10.30 am. Please note my mobile number (☏) - I will not be driving.

I am also collecting names of those interested in a visit to see the Dartington hive at Robin's apiary in Hitchin.....just let me know!

Other dates:
9th June - Bee Husbandry at Chiswell Green, see this newsletter
16th June - Welwyn Street Market; we need you + honey for sale, setting up from 8.00 - 8.30 am (contact Peter Folge ☏)

North Herts news by John Hill

The start of our Apiary ‘inspection’ season has not started too well. The first visit to Nortonbury early in May, for a tidy-up, was a complete ‘wash-out’. The turn-out for the Boxwood meeting was very poor by our standards. The cup-final seemed to have been more of an attraction than the bees. In fact, our inspections of the hives at Boxwood had more surprises than the game played at Wembley by a bunch of ‘over paid prima donnas’, (by the accounts I heard). Sorry, but I used to play a lot of football in my youth, but the current game bears no resemblance to that I used play. We even cheered and clapped the winners in those days. Well, the four beekeepers who did turn up saw everything the average beekeeper would not normally experience in one Apiary, ...one hive had 4 queen cells but few bees, in another the bees had absconded (from an earlier swarm). One hive that had been artificially swarmed, had lost the original queen and no queen cells evident. One hive was full of bees and ample brood, and a laying queen, but after the recent frenetic activity there was very little honey to show for it! One hive had niggly bees that had taken over an empty box with a few old frames in it! Also, we had one stack of empty boxes containing eight bird’s eggs, probably a long tailed tit! Afterwards, we demolished a superb tea, and had a discussion about, guess what? Certainly not football!

We have, locally, a field of cattle beans just coming into flower, I wonder if that will give the little devils some incentive to get ‘cracking’? Who knows?

By the time members read this edition of the Newsletter, Robin Dartington’s meeting at Letchworth, will have gone. Perhaps , those of you that read the ‘blog’ site may have been reminded because information gets there earlier. I give below the details of the remainder of our Summer season meetings, as we discussed at the AGM.

16th June 2007 - Pat Veasey’s Apiary @ Gosmore Cross. Near Hitchin.
30th June 2007 - Roman Gorski’s Apiary, opposite White Hall Farm Watton Rd.
14th July 2007 - Nortonbury, ( Six members have hives there).
mid August 2007 - Andy Johnston’s Apiary, Shillington. Date to be advised.

If anyone wants details of location, please give me a call on (☏).

Now for last Month’s teaser solution. Lucrezia Borgia put a deadly poison on one side of the knife, so when she cut the apple, only one half was poisoned.

Try this! In a conventional clock how many times does the minute hand pass the hour hand between noon and midnight? Go on have a guess before you check!!

And finally, first of all, many thanks to Paul, the editor, for filling in details of last month’s poet,... Coventry Patmore. At least someone reads this stuff!! The ‘contribution’ this month is part of a monologue written by Marriott Edgar (died in 1951), for Stanley Holloway, and it’s the last three verses about the signing of the Magna Charter. Very Funny stuff!
‘You’d best sign at once’ said Fitzwalter,
‘If you don’t, I’ll tell thee for a start
The next coronation will happen quite soon,
And you won’t be there to take part.’

So they spread Charter out on t’ tea table,
And John signed his name like a lamb,
His writing in places was sticky and thick
Through dipping his pen in the jam,

And it’s through that there Magna Charter,
As were signed by the Barons of old,
That in England to-day we can do what we like,
As long as we do what we’re told.

Stolen beekeeping equipment

If you are offered any "specialist Queen Bee breeding instruments including a breeding incubator and microscope" then please contact Les Andrews of the Dunstable Police Burglary Response Unit as he is investigating a crime during which such items were stolen.