St Albans news by Christine Aitken

Winter meetings

15th October 2010 at 8.00pm at Chiswell Green United Reformed Church Hall.

Speaker will be Emma Wright of Rothamsted. After the refreshment break it is proposed to have a review of the beekeeping season with a question and answer session. These are always lively discussions and with so much knowledge amongst our membership - there is a lot to be learned by us all.

26th November 2010 at 8.00pm at Chiswell Green United Reformed Church Hall is our Honey Tasting Show and Social.

4th February 2011 at 8.00pm at Chiswell Green United Reformed Church Hall is our AGM.

Apiary visits

During the summer months our Saturday afternoon sessions at Prae Wood Apiary have welcomed many interested visitors. Some have made it a one visit only, realizing the commitment needed, but quite a few have found it so fascinating that they wish to learn more. They have put their names on the waiting list for our beginners course (Feb/March/April 2011) in the full knowledge that we are over-subscribed but that they may be lucky when the time comes to book themselves on the course.

Apiary visits are now ended until next Spring. 

Membership of St Albans BKA has now reached - 80

It is gratifying for the committee that all our hard work over the past few years is now paying off. Declining membership over the last twenty years meant that about eight years ago we were down to 23 members. At this point the momentous decision was taken to actively encourage new members. Richard Peterson focused us on the possibility of doing a course and the committee decided to run with it.

A Beginners Course was put together by Eileen Remnant and all the committee were encouraged to learn to become tutors. We applied for a Lottery Grant and purchased a projector and laptop. David Brown arranged for us all to have instruction in creating Powerpoint presentations which was a steep learning curve for most of us.

Over the years we have perfected our technique, learned much and are still learning, moved with the times and embraced all that has been thrown at us. Our 'Hives for All' scheme, again made possible by a grant, gives our beginners a hive and Nuc of bees for their first year at our apiary, plus a mentor. All members on this scheme have gone on to purchase their hive and colony from us at the end of the year (we then have the funds to replace these items for our next intake the following year).

By encouraging our early beginners to become tutors and very importantly 'mentors' at our apiary sites for our beginners in their first year of beekeeping we have produced an amazing group of younger members with loads of enthusiasm and new ideas.

And now we are proud to announce our membership has reached 80 and still climbing. Granted the BBKA initiative and media coverage has been a real Pandora's Box but without the dedication of the committee past and present we wouldn't be in this healthy position.

We now have a vibrant, growing association - so a big thank you to everyone who has made this possible. 

Around the Apiary

Varroa treatments are now in place at our apiary sites and winter feeding will commence shortly. Reminders regarding this and woodpecker guards will be posted on the St Albans BKA 'blog' in due course.

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