by Paul Cooper
As editor of Herts Bees I get to attend the HBKA Exec meetings as an observer. So what follows is not a formal record of the meeting (for that you should speak to your divisional representatives) but just some key points that I noted that may be of interest to a wider readership.
It was reported that urban bees this year have produced a good honey yield; rural bees less so.
"More beekeepers means more swarms. This gives beekeepers a tarnished image". If this is correct then as responsible beekeepers we must have better communications with our neighbours to inform them of this natural process.
As the awareness of beekeeping increases amongst the general public, so local councils are keen to offer their sites (such as allotments) to local beekeepers. However, most of us have back-garden apiaries or communal apiaries and therefore there is not much uptake of these offers. Hives on allotments could be prone to vandalism or be of concern to allotment holders. It was suggested that the National Farmers Union could be approached as farms hosting an apiary can help local farmers with funding.
Small hive beetle has been found in Hawaii so no more importing of Hawaiian bees.
Spraying has commenced in some areas for the Oak Processionary Moth. Contact your local authority for details.
The Little Allotment Company is interested in bees, along with pigs, ducks and hens on allotments. Visit their website for more details. You can advertise honey sales at your apiary at the Urban Honey Collective for £4 per year. Or you can advertise for free if you live in Hertfordshire by emailing me.
There are 358 recorded members of HBKA. But as each of the eight divisions has quite a few members that have slipped through the net and are not recorded on the BBKA register, it is therefore estimated that there are over 400 members in HBKA. We have pretty much doubled in size over the past few years.
Please update the BKA (Editor: and the HBKA) website for details of your local swarm officer.
Bee Craft magazine is available at discount if taken as part of the group membership. Contact your local secretary for details.
Membership fees are due on 1st April and 1st September. Can the late payers please contact David Brown. Also, please complete your Gift Aid forms if not already done so.
HBKA has received some very generous donations over the past few months so a Donations button has been added to the website incase anyone wishes to make further donations in the future.
The recent thefts from the St Albans apiary led to some prevention suggestions, e.g. screwing down the base to the frame and branding or giving a distinctive mark to the hive parts. See last month's newsletter.
Bee World went extremely well at the County Show. At the date of the Exec meeting the Capel Manor event was still to happen. The next division on the rota would determine what would be done next year.
EARS - Beekeepers in East Anglia today are buzzing with excitement, as a £100,000 bee research project gets underway. Public appreciation for the plight of honey bees has never been higher. Pollination contributes £165,000,000 to the agroeconomy, yet beekeepers report up to a third of their colonies have died in each of the last two years. Member associations of The East Anglian Bee Forum decided to do something for themselves and have obtained funding from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) to investigate the interaction of honey bees and varroa – a parasitic mite implicated in significant UK bee loss. The beekeepers from Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, West Norfolk, Peterborough, Huntingdon, Essex and Suffolk have committed some £16,000 over four years to support a PhD research studentship at Sheffield University, with the balance of £100,000 from BBSRC. Hertfordshire BKA has been approached to provide sponsorship.