It is February already and hopefully we've seen the last of the bitterly cold weather. Catkins are out (at least here in East Herts) and they supply useful protein in the form of pollen for a growing brood. I saw a green woodpecker in my apiary this morning and as they are probably hungry it was a useful reminder to check that the chicken wire is still secure. It is a good time to give the bees a spring feed and a tried and tested recipe for candy/fondant can be found in the tips section of this website. I hope that all your colonies have come through the winter without any losses.
I have been wondering over the past few months whether the monthly Herts Bees newsletter has run its course? I don't know and would welcome your views. One thing that I am clear about is that it is increasingly difficult to find relevant material to put into the newsletter that is not readily available elsewhere through many different sources. I know that not everyone uses the internet but for those that do it provides access to a wealth of news and information about beekeeping. If you do not use the internet there are various magazines available and, as Peter Mathews reports further down, the excellent BBKA News is soon going to be published monthly.
In terms of local news, our local divisions are making greater use of email, twitter, blogs and local websites. I see very active email discussions taking place and the divisional websites that have been created are excellent. (Note, if your local website is not linked from the Contact Us page then please let me know.)
So if Herts Bees is not able to compete with national news & information and has been replaced at the local divisional level by email, websites, etc, then what is the role of a monthly Herts Bees newsletter?
I have thought about this for a number of months and have decided that I can no longer fulfil the role of editor of the monthly Herts Bees newsletter and I am sorry to say that the March newsletter will be my last. I will however remain responsible for the rest of the website, such as the contact details, beekeeping tips, honey map, calendar, etc.
So if you have some fresh ideas for the HBKA newsletter or feel passionate that it should not cease then there is a vacancy for someone to step-in and take over from me. If you are interested then please let me know or come along to the AGM and find out what it entails.
There is an alternative to a monthly newsletter and I will be creating space on this website for the divisions to post news and other information that they feel has wider appeal across the county. Then if a division still wishes to distribute a printed newsletter, someone could print a copy of the posted items once a month for local distribution. I will be notifying the current newsletter contributors how they can post items themselves.
Finally please don't forget the Calendar. This is our county-wide diary of all events and meetings so please use it and make sure that it is up to date. If your division cannot yet update it then please contact me. Alternatively if you want me to update it then please just send me details of your local activities during the year. Remember that we want cross-pollination, i.e. beekeepers from other divisions to come to our meetings, so the Calendar is the one place that you can waggle dance.