Wanted and For Sale

Items For Sale

  • Taylor's tinplate electric 10 frame radial extractor £80
  • Taylor's tinplate 6 frame Hand driven tangential extractor £45
  • The electric extractor is in excellent condition. However being tin plate these extractors should not be used for commercial purposes.
  • There are also tin plate settling tanks which definitely should only to be used as antiques for display stands etc. £7.50 each.
  • 70 x 25kg (Rowse) plastic storage buckets which could be converted into settling tanks by adding a tap. £2.00 each as new.
  • There are also two uncapping trays: large electric £20 & small £6

Contact: Jo Far, Breachwood Grn. 01438 833170

Items for Sale

For sale due to overseas move:

  • 9 Langstroth Colonies (9 5/8” brood chamber + plastic queen excluder + 9 5/8” super + open mesh floor + inner cover + felt roof + plastic division board feeder)
  • 29 Langstroth Brood Chambers / Supers (9 5/8”) – treated, assembled, and painted
  • 4  5-frame Langstroth Nucleus Hives with inner cover & open mesh floor
  • 1  Langstroth Mating Hive (3 removable divisions on open mesh floor)
  • 1  Open Mesh Floor for Langstroth Hive
  • 3  Roofs with felt covering for Langstroth Hive
  • 1  British Standard Nucleus Colony with inner cover & open mesh floor
  • 1  British Standard Nucleus Hive with inner cover & open mesh floor
  • 2  WBC hives (empty) with various bits & parts
  • 2 Jumbo Rapid Feeders
  • 5 Warnholz Mating Hives

Due to urgent need to sell, will negotiate on prices.  Contact: Philip Swinn 01707 692000 or 07531 794806 

Apiary Sites

There is now the possibility of an apiary site in Breachwood Grn (7 miles from Welwyn) that can be used and has a dry storage shelter and can comfortably site 10+ hives.

Orchard site in Harthall Lane, Bedmond, Herts available for experienced beekeeper. Good access to site. For details contact Bob Poole Tel: 07714 256403.

The National Honey Show

The 78th National Honey Show is just weeks away. It is the UK's gold-standard honey show - the equivalent of Wimbledon for tennis players. It will be held in Weybridge, Surrey from 29th to 31st October. There are almost 250 classes and beekeepers come from all over the world to enter so it is truly an international show. Why not book a ticket now to see the best of the best?

What's on?

Apart from the world class honey show there will be a full programme of workshops and lectures throughout the event and a wide selection of trade stands with lots of equipment and books to buy. You can see the line-up and download the show schedule on the NHS website www.honeyshow.co.uk and you will receive all the details in the programme that comes with tickets purchased in advance. Advance tickets plus the 2009 schedule of classes and show entry application are available now.

How much does it cost?

You can become a member of the National Honey Show for £10 (or £11 via PayPal) and then entry for the duration of the show is free. Admission for non-members is £12 per day. Accompanied children of 16 years and under are free and additional family members over 16 years living at the same address can come in for £5 each. On Saturday admission after 12 noon is £5 for everyone. You can join by contacting the membership secretary, Mrs Sandra Rickwood, 19 Kenwood Drive, Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, KT12 5AU. Alternatively, email srhoneyshow@googlemail.com or telephone 020 33 55 8716 and leave a message. You can also pay on the door but it is better to get an advance ticket and avoid the queue.

The official closing date for show entries is 1st October but late entries will be accepted until 24th October on payment of a £5 late entry fee.

How do I get my entries to the show?

Exhibitors delivering personally to the show must bring their entries on Wednesday 28th October between 2.30pm and 6pm. You hand them over to a steward who will stage them for you. You could use a courier or post. In this case your entry must arrive at St Georges College after 21st October and before noon on 28th October. Why not persuade one member of your association to bring all the entries from your association to the show. You could split the fuel costs. Don't forget someone will also need to collect them on Saturday 31st October after the show closes. Thornes have, once again, kindly agreed to take exhibits to the show on your behalf. You can drop your entries at any Thornes branch south of the Scottish border i.e. Wragby, Windsor or Stockbridge. Jeremy Burbidge of Northern Bee Books has kindly offered the same facility to anyone who can deliver to him (by Monday 26th October - please call him before you visit) at Scout Bottom Farm, Mytholmroyd, Hebden Bridge, Yorkshire HX7 5JS (tel. 01422 882751 - jeremy@recordermail.demon.co.uk).

Where is the show?

The show is at St Georges College, Woburn Hill, Weybridge, Surrey, KT15 2QS

Opening times: Thursday 29th October 2.00pm to 6pm, Friday 30th October 9.30am to 6pm, Saturday 31st October 9.30am to 4.45pm.

If you apply for membership before the show you will receive a programme which includes maps and directions.

Friends of the Bees launch

by Phil Chandler, director of Friends of the Bees, author of The Barefoot Beekeeper (www.biobees.com)

Dear Beekeeper,

Those of you who have been visiting the Natural Beekeeping Network site at www.naturalbeekeeping.org will know that a new charity has been formed to help protect the interests of bees, and to promote more natural beekeeping methods. We are pleased to announce our official launch today, and invite you to visit our website at www.friendsofthebees.org.

Friends of the Bees is a new, UK-based charity founded to conserve and protect bees, to educate people about bees and to research and promote more natural beekeeping methods. Friends of the Bees was inspired by the Natural Beekeeping Network – a growing, worldwide movement of over 1500 beekeepers in 160 countries who are developing more natural ways to look after their bees. Nearly half the membership is in the UK. Many of these beekeepers started down the path of 'natural beekeeping' after reading The Barefoot Beekeeper, a book written by Friends of the Bees director Phil Chandler.

He says, "The recent stories of honeybees being in decline have made many beekeepers look more critically at the way they treat their bees. We don't want to have to medicate them or put synthetic chemicals into our hives – it goes against all our instincts and detracts from the public's perception of honey as a natural, unadulterated product. We are working with the Soil Association to match organic farmers with local, natural beekeepers, so farmers will have the benefit of bees on their land, and the bees will have the benefit of the greater biodiversity found on organic farms. Where we differ from traditional beekeepers is that we are less concerned with honey yields and more with the wider implications of helping to maintain a valuable species in the best possible health. You cannot do that by making them dependent on drugs."

Friends of the Bees is a way that everyone can become involved with bees – and not just honeybees, but also the other native species, including bumblebees and mason bees, which are also very important pollinators.

"We expect to be promoting the work of other organizations working along similar lines, such as Bees for Development, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and the Global Bee Project, who have all expressed support for our aims. Co-operation is important if we are to make a real impact."

Natural beekeeping events and courses will be available from spring 2010 in a number of locations, starting with Embercombe in Devon. Please help us make this a big success by becoming a Friend of the Bees for as little as £1 per month - please see our website for details.

Thank you for your help and support!

Bee-eating hornets spreads north in France

As if varroa, small hive beetle and EFB weren't enough to worry about, we now have an article by Lizzy Davies in The Guardian (26 Sep 2009, Page 23) that reports:

For five years they have wreaked havoc in the fields of south-western France, scaring locals with their venomous stings and ravaging the bee population to feed their rapacious appetites. Now, according to French beekeepers, Asian predatory hornets have been sighted in Paris for the first time, raising the prospect of a nationwide invasion which entomologists fear could eventually reach Britain.

Claude Cohen, president of the Parisian region's apiculture development agency, said a hornet nest had been found this week in the centre of Blanc Mesnil, north-east of the capital.

If confirmed by further testing, the find will raise fears that the spread of the bee-eating Vespa velutina is no longer limited to the Aquitaine region near Bordeaux, where it is believed to have arrived on board container ships from China in 2004, and the surrounding south-west.

To read more goto The Guardian website.

Foulbrood Disease Alert

by Andy Wattam, National Bee Inspector

Ladies & Gentlemen,

I am providing this information for the time, until your Newly Appointed Regional Bee Inspector Keith Morgan gets to grips with the intricacies of the job. As you know in the past I have provided a list of 10km Squares on a regular basis within Eastern Region only where Foulbrood has been found. The information is now available directly from Beebase, and also shows the whole country - split down into individual counties with the number of cases. This is updated on a daily basis.



Beekeepers and Bee farmers in these areas should be vigilant and advise us of any colonies which they are concerned about. Priority Inspection Visits of all known apiaries and beekeepers within a 5km radial sweep of the affected apiary(s) continue and Inspections will, subject to weather conditions continue until as late into October 2009 as is feasible

If you have moved colonies into, or out of these areas since your last visit from the Bee Inspector - please advise us at your earliest convenience. Your help and cooperation is, as always greatly appreciated in completing our visits as swiftly as possible.

Useful Contact Details

Keith Morgan - Eastern Regional Bee Inspector: 07919 004215 - E-Mail: keith.morgan@fera.gsi.gov.uk

National Bee Unit: 01904 462510 - E-Mail: Nbu@fera.gsi.gov.uk

Contact for Seasonal Bee Inspectors:https://secure.csl.gov.uk/beebase/public/Contacts/contacts.cfm

Andy Wattam, Food & Environment Research Agency, National Bee Inspector, Willow House, 4,Lincoln Road, Bassingham, Lincolnshire, LN5 9HE.

Office Telephone: 01522 789726 - Mobile: 07775 027524 - Email: andy.wattam@fera.gsi.gov.uk

NBU Web Site: http://beebase.csl.gov.uk FERA Web Site: http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk

Editor's note: For those without the internet, Beebase just reports that EFB has been found somewhere in the following 10km squares:

  • centred just north of Welwyn Garden City
  • centred on Rickmansworth
  • centred on Barnet
  • centred between Brentwood and Billericay
  • centred on Runwell (Essex)

10km accuracy is not very helpful but there is a desire to publish more accurate location data.

Queen Bee

No lesser personage than Her Majesty the Queen is the latest celebrity to cotton on to the benefits of beekeeping, it seems.Further to the report in this monthʼs Bee Craft about urban beekeeping, it appears the Crown Estate has added a rooftop hive to its property in Londonʼs Regent Street. It is unclear whether HM will don ʻwhitesʼ herself, but apparently she does already have a hive producing fine honey in Windsor. (Article courtesy of Bee Craft)

Buglife report on neonicotinoids

by Robin Dartington

Does anyone care to read 45 pages?

http://www.buglife.org.uk/Resources/Buglife/Neonicotinoid insecticides report.pdf

Neonicotinodites are the most potent insecticides ever invented. A few parts per billion disrupt insects nervous systems. It is hot stuff at present, the Co-op have banned all use on their farms, whilst BBKA accepts sponsorship from Bayer. Private Eye are probing for chances of a fight.

Editor's note: The mode of action of neonicotinoids is similar to the natural insecticide nicotine, which acts on the central nervous system. In insects, neonicotinoids cause paralysis which leads to death, often within a few hours. However, they are much less toxic to mammals and under the WHO / EPA classification these compounds are placed toxicity class II or class III. Because the neonicotinoids block a specific neural pathway that is more abundant in insects than warm-blooded animals, these insecticides are selectively more toxic to insects than mammals.

Would anyone care to review the report for the next newsletter? Please send me your copy by 20th October.

Tragedy in the hive

Recently Catherine from Welwyn wrote to Peter Folge:

Dear Peter,

I hope all is well with you. I have had a disaster in my large colony of bees and they have all died. On 1st Sept I went to give the 3rd thymol treatment and thought the bees looked a bit lethargic - it was a cloudy day. [They were a very active big colony and had lots of brood. I have thought for sometime that they were over crowded and had given them an extra super and I knew they were a bit short of food stores.] I decided I wouldn't give the 4th treatment but would begin feeding. On 5th September I went to feed only to find 80% bees were dead I removed the thymol, fed them, tipped out the dead bees - thousands. I hoped the remaining 20% would survive but no all are dead. There are dead emerging larvae & I think the brood is dead. The other hive is OK but has no brood, some has recently hatched. I think what has happened is that they were overcrowded the weather was bad and they were short of food so a lot bees remained in the hive some probably died falling to the floor and obstructing the air flow through the varroa floor . The entrance had the mouse guard in. I suspect this allowed the thymol fumes to build up to levels which became toxic to bees resulting in more drowsy bees on the floor compounding the problem. Lots of lessons learnt and a sad story. Could be referred to as colony collapse but I think there is an explanation. I shall be much more careful with thymol treaments in future perhaps feeding before treating? I hope the others survive the winter and we can build up again next spring.

Best wishes,

Peter wrote back:

Dear Cathrine,

Sorry to hear about your loss. I have had 3 nucs abscond this year but I did overdose all colonies with thymol crystals. The nucs were on solid floors not open mesh and one was placed in a full hive body with a queen excluder between floor and brood chamber. When I came to inspect all bees were gone and queen was left behind and died.

Open mesh seems not to have a problem. Absconding occurred every time there was no food left for the bees.

In your case it looks like the bees starved! This happened to an artificial nuc I made up last year and I knew needed feeding. I left it one week to find most were already dead. Overcrowding is not a problem at this time of year as bees should not swarm and numbers dwindle down fairly quickly. A large colony without any food reserves will die in a couple of days and still needs adequate ventilation.

We unfortunately continuously have to learn and adapt our methods even if it means doing things the hard way.

Just make sure you feed your other hive 2-3 gals (9-14 litres). This should get them through winter. Since July there has been little to find and the bees have been consuming stores.

All the best wishes.

New to beekeeping?

by Derek Driver, SE Herts

I’m sure I’m not alone in being concerned whether or not all those people who started beekeeping in 08 and 09 will still be with us in 2011? I know that the equipment supply companies have had record sales this year but how much of this equipment will be for sale over the next season or so, as some of the newcomers give up.

When I hear of newcomers pushed into receiving nucs from outside the county which had chalk brood and at higher prices than they would have paid in the county, I’m aghast! In addition some nucs which have been brought from outside our county have been found with foul brood!

Some newcomers have never had even a basic course and I’ve been amazed at some of the questions they have asked me, such as “what are those bigger bees in the hive?” and no they didn’t get their bees from me nor were they members of our division. One shop informed me that a man, who only acquired bees this spring, (God knows from where) had walked in with a jar of granulating honey, offering to supply, next year. The lid was dented and dirty both outside and in, the honey also contained foreign bodies! And the label broke trading standards regulations. Fools like this give the wrong impression to the public.

What can we more experienced beekeepers do? We can start by making sure all our newcomers do a basic course, ensure all nucs are purchased from within the county and from reliable, disease free apiaries, and of course at reasonable prices. The least we can do is to try and start our new members on the right path, because although we can help as much as we can, we cannot hold their hands for ever, but at least by giving them the basics, they stand a chance of becoming a decent beekeeper in the future.

Comments from new members would be welcome.

Ernest McCormick Senior Judge and President of Lancashire & NW BKA

by Sheila Myron Hon. Secretary Liverpool Beekeepers

I am sending this email to you all as Ernest judged at shows around the country and knew many beekeepers.

Mr Ernest McCormick was until recently a long standing President of the Lancashire and NW Beekeepers Association, and was also a well known and respected Senior Honey Judge.Mrs Gill McCormick has asked me to let beekeepers know that on Tuesday, 8th September, Ernest had a massive heart attack and died around 8am at Whiston Hospital. His funeral will be on Tuesday, 29th September, at 3.30pm, at the St Helens Crematorium on Rainford Road near to its junction with the East Lancs Road and the Rainford Bypass. I can send a map if requested. Gill would be very happy to see former beekeeping associates at the funeral.

I know that Ernest became allergic to bee stings and had to give up his bees prior to 1969, but then went on to study and become a senior judge. Can anyone fill me in on the details of his beekeeping and treatment for the allergy, or his days as a judge, as I didn't start beekeeping until 1986 and don't know his 'early life'. I would be very grateful for any information.

Thanking you all. No flowers please but donations to the British Heart Foundation.

Rothamsted shares £1m of research funding to address honeybee decline

Scientists at Rothamsted Research and Warwick University have been awarded £1M by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) in partnership with Syngenta, to research the decline of honeybees.

UK government figures suggest bee numbers have fallen by 10-15% over the last 2 years; the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) quotes a figure nearer 30% for 2008.  Since the declines were first reported a number of factors have been suggested.  Most scientists now believe that a complex of interacting factors is the most likely cause.  

Lead researcher, Dr Juliet Osborne said: “Bees living on agricultural landscapes have a lot to deal with!  They must respond to sudden changes in availability of food – pollen and nectar – whist dealing with a variety of diseases, parasites and other stresses.  This project will provide us with a unique insight into how disease and food supply affect the survival of bees in farmed landscapes.”

The team will use a combination of field work and computer modelling to look at how the bees’ behaviour outside the hive, while looking for food, interacts with what is affecting bees in the hive – factors that have historically been studied separately. The ultimate aim of the project is to build a model that will allow us to understand how bees may respond to diseases in a changing farmed landscape.

Dr Peter Campbell, Syngenta said: “Honeybees are important pollinators for many crops, garden and wildflowers. They are essential both for food security and sustainable agriculture and horticulture. This work will substantially improve our understanding of the many factors affecting honeybee health. A main outcome of the project will be a predictive tool that can help beekeepers, farmers and other landscape managers to improve honeybee health.”

Professor Janet Allen, Director of Research, BBSRC said: “We are all concerned about the decline in honeybee numbers and the effect this could have on our food supplies. It is highly likely that there is no one cause of the drop in numbers which makes this project absolutely critical.”

As funders, the research councils and Syngenta are stepping up to the plate in the fight against declining honeybee populations. In addition to this project, Syngenta have also launched Operation Pollinator, a 5-year €1M  programme in seven European countries (and the USA) to boost pollinating insects by providing wildflower strips. And Dr Osborne’s project is one of four honey bee-related projects funded by the research councils in recent months, with a total investment of £2.1 million.  For example, BBSRC is also funding a project led by Professor Ian Jones at Reading University, who is researching Israel Acute Paralysis Virus (IAPV), which is associated with colony collapse disorder and exacerbated by varroa mite infection. And the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) is funding two projects: Dr William Hughes of the University of Leeds is investigating the effects of genetic diversity on transmission and evolution of infection of honeybees by the fungal parasite, chalkbrood and Professor Mike Boots of the University of Sheffield is looking at the evolution of virulence in viral diseases that infect honeybees via varroa mite.

BBSRC also manages the Insect Pollinators Initiative – a £10M joint funding source under the Living with Environmental Change (LWEC) partnership. This is a joint initiative from BBSRC, Defra, the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), the Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Government. Projects funded under the initiative are due to be announced in July 2010.

Plan Bee update

To help reverse the worrying decline in the UK bee population, The Co-operative has launched Plan Bee, a 10 point plan that includes action on pesticides, actions on farms, funding research and inspiring individuals to make a difference. If you are into social networking then you can follow @planbee1 on twitter.

Plan Bee has teamed up with dogwoof to produce a film call Vanishing of the Bees which will be hitting the cinemas on the 9th October.  A trailer and introduction has been put on You Tube.

Vanishing of the Bees

Imagine half a million adults skipping town and leaving their children behind. Picture an opened suitcase filled with bundles of cash at a bus stop and yet no robber wants to snatch it. The apiary science mystery known as Colony Collapse Disorder displays these very symptoms. Not only do the bees abandon their hive, but the queen and the brood as well. Unnatural. Unheard of. Even the predators that usually raid the hive for honey stay far away. At first, this occurrence sounds like an urban legend or an exaggerated tale. Except it's not. The situation is both dire and all too real. Bees are disappearing all over the planet and no one knows why.

See a screening of The Vanishing of the Bees + Q&A
 with director Maryam Henein alongside Alison Benjamin and 
Brian McCallum (co- authors of A World Without Bees) on Saturday 10 October at 6.15pm (Q&A after screening).
 Tickets:  £12 / £10 Cinema Club Members. Following the Q&A authors Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum will be signing copies of their recent publication A World Without Bees in the foyer.
 Tricycle Cinema, 269 Kilburn High Road, London, NW6 7JR. Box Office: 020 7328 1000. www.tricycle.co.uk

St Albans news by Christine Aitken

Capel Manor

Three new beekeepers who have just completed their first season, Linda, Joan and Gabriella helped with manning our ‘BeeWorld’ stand at Capel Manor on Saturday 19th September. Alongside our theme of ‘Pollination’ there was a display to help those who were thinking of taking up beekeeping. Information on HBKA Divisions, how to get started and the costs involved were displayed. Sadly the E-coli scare seemed to have kept people away and attendance was lower than usual. On behalf of Eric Margrave and myself, a big thank you to all our members who supported us on the day and made it an enjoyable event. And thank you to John Mumford of SE Herts for co-ordinating the event.

Winter Meetings

Two meetings are planned at the United Reformed Church Hall, Watford Road, Chiswell Green, St Albans:

23rd October at 8.00pm Our speaker for the first 40 minutes or so will be Pam Farley from the Woodland Trust who will bring us up to date on the Heartwood project, no doubt there will be lots of questions. This might be a good link both for us and the bees in the years to come. After the refreshment break we will have a Q & A session and general discussion related to the past season.

27th November at 8.00pm Our Honey Show is an informal evening where members bring a jar of unlabelled clear honey along and we all taste and judge and present a cup to the winner. Last year a nearly-new beekeeper won top prize! Everyone also brings a plate of food which makes for an enjoyable evening. All members and their families welcome.


Forms will be sent out shortly. Please return promptly and therefore claim your discount! David Brown, our treasurer, needs your details and money to make certain insurance cover and Bee Craft deliveries are not disrupted.

Bishops Stortford news by Paul Cooper

I am pleased to announce that Bishops Stortford membership has doubled this year.  A warm welcome to all new members. In fact the demand from new members for more meetings has been so strong that we have added another meeting to the programme on 3rd October at 2pm. The meeting will be held at 10 Redricks Lane, Sawbridgeworth, Herts, CM21 0RL and the topic is "Final Preparations for Winter".  See you there.

We recently had three very interesting group meetings during August and September. The first was at the apiary of Jane Moseley near Widford.  As a beginner Jane is learning fast and is already selling nucs!  After the inspection we held a "Honey Show". BSBKA's version of a honey show is a rather low-key affair where everyone sits around a long table, tastes each other's honey and then, by a form of vocal consensus, declares a winner. I think we will do this again next year.

The second meeting was as guests of Jane and Richard Ridler across the border in Essex.  They showed us some of their 18 hives at an out-apiary and then took us back to their home for fascinating talks about making soap, beeswax polish, cosmetics, propolis tincture, selling honey, etc.  It was a most interesting group meeting and we thank Jane and Richard for their hospitality.

The third meeting in September was at the home of Alan Lewis who had, rather honourably, discharged himself from hospital just to host this meeting. He gave an interesting lecture on all aspects of beekeeping (a six week course compressed into an hour!) and then proceeded to demonstrate his new "bee railway". This consists of runners linking two hives that enable him to simply slide a stack of supers to one side while he inspects the brood box. Anyone with back problems should ask Alan for a demonstration of this clever device.

Welwyn news by Peter Folge

The last apiary meeting finished on a beautiful September's day. Bees behaved themselves and now we should all be in the process of making Winter preparations for our bees. Varroa treatments should be well underway if not already finished and we should commence feeding. During the meeting I explained how to test that the colonies have adequate weight - (honey reserves) by hefting hives and examining individual frames. We checked for eggs and young brood indicating that a queen is present. We learnt to feed bees if in doubt; rather feed more than too little, too little will result in the loss of the colony. I also pointed out that before thymol treatments (Apiguard) begin, make sure bees have good food reserves otherwise they may abscond due to the thymol vapours. I lost two nucs because of this this year. One had a queen excluder fitted so that the queen could not get out and she was found left behind with brood - dead!  Note that 'absconding' has never happened to me on an OMF (open mesh floor). I demonstrated fitting a mouse guard and mentioned the types of pest protection - netting helps keep the hives safe while bees are inactive.

I would like to thank all our members for a fantastic year and let's hope all of us have another good year next season especially for all our beginners. Please don't forget - member subscriptions will be sent out towards the end of the month or most likely beginning next; to be returned early November if you wish to subscribe to Beecraft. Some of you have outstanding credit notes from unfulfilled beecraft payments from this year.

We can't let the year end here without a further get together and thank you for all your support with our "Harvest Supper" in October (details to follow shortly) and possibly a smaller Christmas get together late November - early December?

In the meantime and comments, views or suggestions are always welcome.

West Herts news by Margaret Tighe

Following a visit from Peter Heath, Bee Inspector for our area, we are pleased to hear that the "Stand Still Order" has been lifted from the bees at our apiary with no further signs of EFB. It is hoped to have some "Association" hives brought here at some stage.

Throughout the summer we have seen a gradually increasing interest from "would be" beekeepers. Our first apiary meeting in September was quite crowded with a total of seventeen members and interested parties!

Lindsay and Diane have been very busy throughout the summer, not just by looking after their own bees, but supplying kit for members new and old. Like many other local beekeepers Diane and Robin attended Thorne's recent bee equipment sale, at Oakley Green, Windsor, and managed to purchase a good supply of equipment. We are certainly very fortunate in West Herts to be able to purchase reasonably priced equipment locally and it is much appreciated by everyone.

Plans are afoot to possibly pilot some winter talks for members and, if these go ahead, they will be held at Croxley Green Community Centre.

North Herts news by Christine Phillips

After a good summer for bees and honey the autumn seems to be too dry for the plants to produce much nectar and the bees are taking down huge amounts of sugar (or Ambrosia if you went to Andy Wattam's talk) I think they must be using it rather than storing it as our hives still don't feel very heavy.

The N. Herts winter programme of meetings and talks begins on October 20th with a welcome to all new members (or just interested newcomers) and a review of the season, followed by an update from Robin on the progress of Buzzworks and it's new offshoot Honeyworks.

In November (17th) Elizabeth Towler, ecologist for Letchworth Garden City Heritage Foundation is our guest speaker. LGCHF own most of the farms around Letchworth and they own three of our apiaries. They have excellent policies for encouraging biodiversity with wonderful hedgerows and wide field margins sown with wild flowers. Elizabeth will be able to tell us more about their philosophy and future plans.

Christmas Party
The best meeting of the season is of course the N. Herts BKA Christmas party. John Hill and his wife have been our hosts for many years and have very kindly agreed to put up with a lot of noisy beekeepers again on December 12th at Boxwood. Not to be missed!

Sometimes there seems to be a long gap between Herts Bees Newsletters and dates can change and meetings, particularly in the summer can be missed so we have been discussing how to improve communication between N. Herts members apart from by the regular Newsletter. Luke Adams, Secretary of Herts BKA has offered to set up a yahoo group for us which would seem an easy way to improve things. I will send out e-mails to all those whose addresses I have to ask if you would like to be included. Anyone whose e-mail address is not yet on the N. Herts list but would like to be included or has any comments or alternative ideas please contact Graham or me.

N. Herts Beekeepers will be having a stall at Hitchin Apple Day on October 24th in Hitchin old Market Place. Any members wishing to sell honey or wax products or prepared to spend some time talking to the public about beekeeping please contact me.

October 2009


As September draws to a close we are experiencing a long warm and dry spell. Colonies have been consuming higher than normal quantities of winter feed as brood comb was not being filled during July & August due to the cool and wet weather.  The warm weather means that the thymol-based varroa treatment, that we should all now be using, is functioning correctly at its minimum working temperature of 15°C.

This month's Herts Bees contains the usual reports from the divisions (many thanks to the contributors) as well as news about honey bee campaigns such as Plan Bee and the Natural Beekeeping Network.  EFB seems to be striking a number of locations across Hertfordshire and Andy Wattam explains what is being done to stop the spread.

The possibility of HBKA doing bulk buying has been raised a few times over the years. When it was last tried I understand that there were problems with the storage and collection of items and hence bulk buying wasn't continued. However, if there is interest in trying again then there are probably sufficient members that could coordinate it on behalf of HBKA.

To gauge the level of interest, please let me know:

  1. whether you would take advantage of a bulk purchase?
  2. what sort of supplies would you want (e.g. foundation, jars, thymol crystals, Apiguard, etc.)?
  3. if you would be prepared to help to run the scheme?

Bedfordshire runs a very successful scheme for a limited selection of goods, with two members, one in the north and one in the south of the county acting as stockists.  Maybe we could learn from their experience or even participate in their scheme.

Please send me you thoughts and comments. It won't happen unless there is sufficient demand.

How much have you been selling your 1lb (454g) jars of honey for? The price at Bee World was £4.50. Sometimes 12oz jars sell for a similar amount!

Please check the calendar for winter meetings in your area. If there are any events that are missing then please email me. The next two month's worth of events are sent out each month with the printed calendar.

Finally, Herts Bees is now on twitter!  Follow us @hertsbees.