by Jane Moseley
....and all for 12 Jars of Honey
Following Christine’s clear instruction the Apiary was found nestled in woodland minutes from the City Centre. As the traffic roared past, an air of calm descended as everyone gathered in the late afternoon sun. We congregated in a semi circle, surrounded by beautiful trees with lush green grass beneath our feet and all eyes focused on Eileen who was opening the meeting with a talk about Varroa. The presentation was packed with information and resources were distributed as reference items with encouragement to access them on line rather than wasting association resources on printing. One of the Key issues raised was that of co-ordinating the Varroa treatment within the apiary so that all Hives were treated at the same time, something that was unanimously agreed.
St Albans Prae Wood Apiary has been on the existing site since offered by the Gorhambury Estate for a 12 jars of honey a year, which still standstoday. The apiary is protected by trees and there is a small clearing where the Hives are situated but is now almost at capacity. A second site has been acquired which expands their offering to both new & existing members, which is key as this chapter grows year on year.
Although some members keep their colonies off site, new members are encouraged to take part in the Hire a Hive scheme that St Albans offer,which supports new members with a Mentor and the opportunity to buy the colony after your first year, which definitely seems to be working for everyone.
One of the concerns raised before tea & cake was circulated, was theft. This appears to be a growing problem and it was suggested that the Hives be branded so that another BeeKeeper would know that they were being sold stolen goods. An ongoing debate for their recently launched website which appears to be going well and being used by the members.
As the homemade scones, ginger cake and other yummies appeared miraculously from their on site hut along with steaming cups of tea the meeting dissolved into groups chatting about their personal Hive concerns, before drifting offto attend their particular Hives. From the road it looked as though a top secret experiment was taking place.
A thoroughly enjoyable and informative afternoon. Thank you for your hospitality and warm welcome
Apologies to West Herts & Welwyn - due to unforeseen circumstances I was unable to attend your meetings BUT I will be coming soon!
August is a funny old month, people on holiday, awareness of the changing seasons as summer draws to a close. As honorary President I have failed in getting to see as many groups as I had hoped this month due to personal commitments, that said September is already packed with dates in the diary for meetings I hope to attend.
I did manage to get along to the Hatfield Country Show, where Welwyn Beekeepers were spreading the word and selling their wares. While there I managed to have a chat with Peter Fogle, their Chair, about how the group is now flourishing and they have applied a clear structure to their group which now has nearly 60 members. Having a clear structure to their branch has been the making of the group in Peter's view and they have just been invited to take on a second Apiary site.
Interestingly I noted that Welwyn are selling their honey for £4.50 per lb, I think this is marvellous and is the rate that we should all be charging. I don't know if anyone from the county has entered the Honey Show, if so do please let me know as I'd love to check it out when attending the event in October.If you have Good Luck with your entry.
Sorry it's short this month but am sure that you are all too busy with Varroa treatments, holidays and the like to be reading this from me.