Colonies For Sale

1 x National Hive with deep brood frames, varroa mesh floor, roof, crown board, Queen excluder and 1 x super. Plus new Queen (July 2009). £200
1 x National Hive with shallow brood frames, roof, crown board, Queen excluder and 1 x super. Plus new Queen (July 2009). No varroa mesh floor. £175

If interested please contact Eddie Wood on 01707 335273

Fighting the Varroa mite with 100% all natural Follicel

All natural Follicel has proven to be successful in eliminating sea lice from Salmon and Trout and following this success has also dealt with headlice amongst children and their parents. With no chemicals it is a product which does not have side effects.An American beekeeper who used Follicel emailed the following report: "After spraying the bees, the following day we caught approx. 300 bees in a half quart jar. We only found 2 mites after the treatment, and it did not affect the bees whatsoever. Can you give me the prices for buying in bulk?"We are offering sample bottles of Follicel free of charge or you can purchase 500ml bottles of Follicel at the special price of £9.50 postage paid which is a 50% discount on the normal price. See our website

Regards & thanks

Jack Marcovic
Follicel Division,Harlow Lubricants Ltd, 405 HendonWay, London NW4 3LH
T:- 020 8203 9493
F:- 020 8202 0033

Omlet’s "beehaus" lands in BuzzWorks

The first example of the new plastic beehive from Omlet, called the beehaus, has now joined the eight hives in the BuzzWorks apiary. A nuc from BuzzWorks was lent to Omlet to provide flying bees for the Press Launch in the Royal Parks allotment in St James Park and that hive was then filmed on Omlet’s roof. The picture has flown round the world, as far as Bejing and San Francisco. Now the bees have returned, still in their new home.
The Omlet beehaus at BuzzWorks
The beehaus is being promoted as a hive for urban gardens and roof-tops. It is modeled on the Dartington Long Deep hive, which was developed around 1975 when I was keeping bees on the roof of a London house. National boxes blew off too easily, in particular spare supers and the spare brood boxes needed for artificial swaming – so I fixed two brood boxes together and then knocked out the dividing walls.
Neither I nor BuzzWorks is involved in marketing the new hive and it is displayed for educational purposes. Anyone who would like to try it for themselves is welcome to get in touch. The bees seem to have no problem with the moulded plastic and may use much less proplis as they seem to ‘read’ the hard plastic as already hygienic and not in need of varnishing over. The hive is certainly lighter and easier to operate, and looks very good if you like ‘modern’. Omlet’s Eglu chicken coup has brought home produced eggs into many families – hopefully the beehaus will lead to more home-produced honey. The one problem may be the difficulty newbies may find in getting training on using a beehaus as courses run by associations tend to stick to what tutors are used to. We will do what we can at BuzzWorks.

From a grateful teacher at The Russell School Chorleywood

Hello! I know this is very late, but I've just realised I didn't thank you for a visit to The Russell School from one of your members last term. Ted Applebey came in July and was absolutely brilliant! The children loved his talk..and him!

I hope you have had a productive summer. I have just finished Alison Benjamin's 'A World without Bees' (given to me by the children at the end of term!!) and am hooked!!

Thanks again.

Soil Association's campaign to save the honeybee

The Soil Association is running a campaign to help save the honeybee by asking the Government to ban neonicotinoid pesticides as they are though to affect the bee's nervous system so that they cannot navigate. It is thought to be one the causes of colony reductions in recent years.

If you wish to support the Soil Association's campaign or learn more about neonicotinoid pesticides then please visit their website:

Silver Spoon British Sugar at Trade Prices for beekeepers

Members of UK beekeeping associations are now welcome to shop at any of Booker's 173 trade-only Cash and Carry stores. Booker's price for granulated sugar is about 60p per kilo. Booker is a trade-only wholesaler, and each member should register individually with their local store. When registering, each member should present their current BBKA membership card if in England, or their current BDI insurance certificate or local BKA membership card in Wales, or a letter from their local BKA secretary or local BKA membership card in Scotland. There are no Booker stores in Northern Ireland. They will then be registered and able to shop straight away. A membership card will be sent by post within 14-21 days. Payment is by cash or debit card when leaving the store.

Members can visit to find their nearest Booker store. This new arrangement has been approved by Booker head office, Northampton in discussion with Conwy BKA, North Wales. Booker contact: Melanie Balmer. Conwy BKA contact: Peter McFadden

Hornet threat not far away?

The Asian predatory wasp could threaten bee-keepers' livelihoods.

France faces an invasion of Chinese hornets that could hasten the decline of the honeybee population. The wasps, known by their scientific name Vespa velutina, could also threaten bee-keepers' livelihoods, researchers say. They have spread rapidly in south-western France - a region popular with tourists - and could reach other European countries soon. The 3cm-long insects are recognisable by their orange heads and yellow feet.

Researchers think they probably arrived in France on a boat carrying ceramic goods from China in 2004. The most recent study recorded 1,100 nests across the country. The hornet is now firmly established near Bordeaux and has advanced as far north as parts of Brittany in north-western France. "More and more of them are coming and they're colonising France," Quentin Rome, a researcher at the National History Museum in Paris, told Reuters news agency. "They multiply quite quickly, and they settle in a new department (administrative division) every year." V. velutina has not yet reached other European countries, but will probably spread across the continent, he added.

Six people needed hospital treatment last week after being stung near a nest in the Lot-et-Garonne department in south-west France. Local authorities are warning allergy sufferers to be on their guard. The hornets are no more aggressive or dangerous for humans than their European cousins. But the size of their colonies - with nests measuring up to one metre in height - meant the risk of attacks was higher, said Mr Rome.

Denis Thiery, a researcher at the French National Institute for Agricultural Research, told Le Parisien newspaper: "According to our studies, they are able to settle in 50% of the country. "The European hornet is no match for them, with only a few hundred individuals per nest compared to several thousand for the yellow-footed hornets. They do sometimes fight, but it's a losing battle." Bee-keeper Francoise Romanzin said there had been a marked rise in attacks by Asian hornets on beehives in August. "The problem of the Asian hornets is not the worst problem for bee populations but it adds to the difficulties bee populations are already facing," Ms Romanzin said.

Bishop's Stortford old news by Susie Brickwood

Varroa arrives in Much Hadham - dateline October 1994

Our September meeting at the home of John Hickling and family in Much Hadham was certainly interesting! The weather was warmer and drier than had been forecast and we were able to have a good look at four of the seven or eight swarms that John had collected during the season. The queen was found and marked in two of the colonies and John hoped to be uniting the colonies to make two strong colonies for over-wintering.

A couple of days prior to our visit John had inserted Bayvarol strips into two of these colonies and these were duly taken out along with the inserts that had been placed on the hive floors. John went indoors to inspect the  inserts and we were all shattered to hear that he found what we felt sure was a varroa mite. When we looked through the microscope there was very little doubt about it as what we saw looked exactly like the photographs in the MAFF leaflets and indeed it was officially confirmed to be varroa later in the week. It was depressing to think that varroa had made it to Bishop's Stortford, but it was only through John's vigilance that it was discovered and we all now have no excuse not to attempt to monitor and control it.

North Herts news by Graham Beesley

If a swarm in July ain’t worth a fly, what’s a swarm in August worth?

This thought occurred to me when I had a call from an interested member of the public  at 8.00 pm on the 10th of August to tell me that a swarm he’d seen the previous Friday was still hanging in a tree  in spite the weather having been good over the weekend. The other thought that occurred to me as I stood at the top of a 10 foot step ladder, in the gathering dark with a gentle rain beginning to fall and extremely stroppy bees stinging my arms was, that I might be getting a little old for this lark.

In July when the two Peter’s, Fogle and Heath, visited our association site at Standalone Farm we had agreed, with some relief, that swarming must be nearly over for the year. Since then I’ve been and collected another three swarms.

 I enjoy collecting swarms. I find people are fascinated by bees, it’s a great opportunity to do some PR and build up ones stocks. And when it goes right one feels like a magician performing a conjuring trick as they march into your box.

Our thanks to Peter and Peter for a competent inspection and to Janet Kirtland and David Mathews for being such wonderful hosts, providing such a lovely tea and letting us inspect their hives. It was one of those afternoons that you would have liked to have gone on for ever.

I find it very reassuring to get the thumbs up from our seasonal bee inspectors who seem to me to be very good value for money.

On the subject of apiaries we have been fortunate to have been given two new sites for association members to use. Letchworth Heritage Foundation, owners of our association sites at Standalone and Nortonbury, has given a site in Willian for our use and Wyvale Garden Centre in Stevenage have given permission for us to keep bees there. The latter was as a result of Derek Richardson, John Hill and Frank Everest giving of their time to man, (person?), a stand at Wyvale on the longest day of the year. I hear it felt like it too. This was part of a national environmental awareness day for Wyvale. John even got his photo in the paper, though unfortunately as a bumblebee expert.

Anyone who is interested in keeping their bees on either of these sites please give either Christine or me a call.

The honey is harvested, the Apiguard is on, only feeding to do and then we can enjoy a well deserved rest. Our first meeting of the Autumn/winter is the third Tuesday of the month, the 20th October. Any suggestions from members for our itinerary  through the winter would be most welcome.

SE Herts news by John Mumford

The attendance at Phil Amer’s apiary on 19th July was dismal, just a few committee members and ONE other member. It is not fair on our apiary meeting hosts, when they put in such a lot of effort to hold a meeting in their apiary and it is snubbed in such fashion.
The HBKA Bee World Day at Capel Manor on Saturday 19th. September is fast approaching and I have had no volunteers from members of SE. Herts Division willing to give a little time to help set up and man the event. I suppose it is a reflection of the attitude of all members in todays society, where maximum advantage is taken of everything, and nothing is returned. I am now adopting the attitude that, “if it happens it happens, and if it don’t it don’t, and why should I care either way !”
Not since 1976 when there was a severe drought from February on, can I recall the bees having such a miserable summer. The main Honey Flow never really got started before it finished a few days into July. Supers were left unfilled, the bees took to robbing like crazy, the Wasps and  Hornets plagued the hive entrances; pollen was very scarce, and Queens were taken off lay, and the Drone were thrown out in mid July. My bees had to tough it out with as much help as I could give them, (shade - entrances - ventilation), and I only carried out inspections before 10.00 am. or after 6.00pm.
Swarms continued into August. One swarm had been in the tree for 5 days - the Local Council had advised the householder that if left they would just go away! There was just a trace of wax on the branch they had been on, and by the number of crawling bees I though there was something wrong with them. I robbed my Q’cage Candy Jar and put the contents over the ventilation screen of my swarm box. The next evening when I collected them to take them to my apiary all the candy had gone and the Patio was clear of dead bees. They have since taken down 2 gallons of sugar syrup and are doing just fine.
I have nearly finish my extracting (mid August) and I am having to leave frames of honey on because the brood chambers are absolutely empty.
A simple but effective Wasp Trap. An 8 to 10mm hole in the neck of the bottle. Load with rotting fruit, jam, or old diluted honey. Yes you will trap a few bees, but not as many as the trapped wasps and hornets would have taken anyway.
20th August : - I have just heard of a colony taking down a full FOUR pints of syrup from doughnut rapid feeder in TWO HOURS! Now that may be some kind of a record, but not one to necessarily be proud of.
The final nail in the coffin for all the Grease Pattie Connoisseurs is that Pura has been taken off the shelves at Sainsbury’s, and everywhere else. I have not yet found a suitable substitute. Trex is far too soft and runs all over the place at hive temperatures.
The recent publicity beekeeping has got is not all a good. I have had a quite a few calls from members of the public who think that they would like to take up beekeeping. I tell them to download the Thorne’s catalogue from their web site, and explain that it would cost about £1000.00 to start up. I suggest that the best advice I can give them is to ‘go and lay down in a dark room until the urge wears off’. I then offer them a visit to my apiary to see some bees close up. No one has taken up that offer so far.
It makes you think about why we keep an expensive box of stinging insects at the bottom of the garden and then have a struggle to a) keep them in the box in Summer, and b) to keep the damm things alive through winter. Beekeepers must be bonkers.
The last Apiary Meeting of this year will be at the Association Apiary on Sunday 6th September, when I may need a hand to take off any surplus honey. We meet at Baford Church at 3.00pm.
The next Committee Meeting will be at 8.00pm. on Thursday 10th September at 23 Andrews Lane.

St Albans news by Eileen Remnant

The St Albans Beekeepers Association winter meeting will be on Friday 23rd October. We have a speaker from the Woodland Trust, who will bring us up to date on the Heartwood project of woodland expansion and planting programme. The meeting starts at 8pm and is at the United Reformed Church Hall, Watford Road, Chiswell Green AL2 3HG. All members of Herts BKA are invited to this talk, and any friends and/or family with interest in this topic.

Welwyn News by Tamora Leslie

Sometimes it may be difficult to get volunteers to man stands at thevarious events promoting beekeeping throughout the year. I am sure that the thirteen who donated their time to cover the Hatfield House Country Show from 21st to 23rd August felt that their time was well spent. Apart from the interaction with a very interested public and the delighted faces of the children looking at the observation hive, time on the stand allowed the volunteers to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine in abundance. The smaller Autumn Food Fair, although a smaller event, might provide a similar opportunity to promote the Association. The annual event at Capel Manor will be taking place on 20th September so we will be looking for helpers for that date, together with supplies of honey and honey related items. This year's last meeting at the Apiary will take place on Saturday 5th September. The final meeting usually covers winter preparation including final bee treatment andfeeding, and although a little early - outer hive protection against the likes of woodpeckers and the protection of stored comb against mice and wax moth. Best wishes.

Bee World, Capel Manor, 19th September

Please don't forget Bee World this year.  Local groups are preparing to demonstrate extraction, microscopy, pollination, honey sales, an observation hive, etc. Please come along and support HBKA.  Capel Manor is at Bullsmoor Lane, Enfield, Middlesex, EN1 4RQ, just south of the A10 junction with the M25.

September 2009


Welcome to the new style Herts Bees newsletter. For those of you that read the printed version there will not be too many changes. For those reading it on the internet you will see lots of subtle changes that will make the site easier to use and also more interesting. The old site will gradually be migrated across so check back for further updates.

Secondly, many apologies to all readers for the absence of the July/August edition of Herts Bees. A family wedding, holidays and a very busy time looking after my bees at the end of June meant that this edition was not printed. It is available on the website and is available in print form if you would like to contact me.

As I have indicated, it has been a very busy summer with many swarms to be collected, multiple artificial swarms from the same colony (3 from one of mine) and tons of honey. I have taken off 390lbs this season - not bad from just two colonies at the start of the season.

In this month's newsletter we we have some great news concerning a new type of beehive brought to market by Omlet, the people that make the interesting "Eglu" chicken houses. We have an offer to test a new type of varroa treatment and also are reminded about how long we have had to worry about the dreaded parasite.

It is the end of August and varroa treatment and the winter feed should be well underway. Give them plenty of feed and don't let them starve this winter.

Paul Cooper