SE Herts news by John Mumford

The meeting at Richard Ludwell’s Apiary on Sunday 17th June was very well attended. Richard showed us two of his colonies in Jumbo Langstroth hives and two in normal Langstroth hives, the large frames make inspections quicker and created much interest. Pat had prepared some very nice Chocolate ‘Muffins’ and we all went home well satisfied. Many thanks to both Richard and Pat for a super afternoon.

After the promising start to the season in April, May turned out to be a DAMP SQUIB, and June to date hasn’t been much better. I swear the supers on my hives are getting lighter by the day not heavier.

Swarming has been a big problem for some this year and some new Queens have started to lay before getting mated because they couldn’t get out.

I took Garry one of our beginners out to look at a swarm I had been asked to deal with. When we arrived we were both a bit ‘Gobsmacked’ at it’s massive size. It was one of those biggys you only get on very rare occasions, hanging some 15ft. up in a Laburnum tree overhanging the pavement. When we went back in the evening to collect it I wasn’t sure if it would all go into my Smith brood box in which I had fixed a couple of frames of foundation (to stop them moving about in transit). It turned out to be a rope round he supporting branch and a big shake job. Now the books tell us how delicate Queens are, and that they should only be handled with the utmost care. The way that swarm hit the pavement and scattered all over the place was a bit scarey. We put the hive down beside the biggest clump of bees not having a clue as to where the Queen might be, or if she had survived the crash, and were thankful when they all began marching in like little toy soldiers, that is apart from a stubborn lot the size of a football that preferred to stay up the tree. We left the hive there to pick up the stragglers and when we arrived back the next evening the bees were all in the box and doing just fine. Some careless beekeeper has lost a very nice lot of bees and I’m glad. If all goes well then Garry is into beekeeping big time, and has a good yarn to tell! I suspect the bees will benefit from a dose of Thymol a couple of days before the swarms first brood is capped.

Please don”t forget the Broxbourne Council Open Day at Bishop’s College on Saturday 7th. July. If you have any hive produce for sale then contact Derek Driver on ☏. Produce must have have labels meeting the current regulations.

The next summer meeting will be at one of Peter Dalby’s Apiaries on Sunday 15th July (see enclosed map and details).

There is no Newsletter in August so I am reminding you now of our last summer meeting at the Association Apiary on Sunday 9th September.

SE Herts will be providing a Observation Hive for the HBKA ‘Bee World’ event at Capel Manor on 22nd September, a little help from members would be appreciated.

Remember to keep Saturday 13th October free for the Harvest Supper at the Hoddesdon Baptist Church Hall. The evening is completely FREE to members and their partners, and is a great opportunity to swap ideas and experiences.

The next committee meeting is scheduled for Monday 3rd September at Heaton Court.

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