"College apiary creates a buzz" - The Herts and Essex Observer

The Bishops Stortford branch has been helping Bishops Stortford College create an apiary for the benefit of the senior school. This was recently covered in the Herts and Essex Observer.

SE Herts News - July 2012

by John Mumford

The Apiary Meeting held in Roy Cropley's garden on a miserable Sunday afternoon (10th June) proved to be very interesting. Roy showed us several Nucs with Queens that were waiting around for a spell of suitable weather to get out and mated. Roy also showed members his honey extraction facilities.

This year has been the most challenging that I have ever experienced in my time keeping bees. Never have I had to feed so much to full colonies in May and June. There has been a lot of swarming, and there have been a lot of colonies with no brood whatsoever, new Queens taking a long time to get mated because of the bad weather. [Less bees - less honey]. If the weather doesn't improve then there will have to be a lot of feeding done this Autumn. There have been times this years that, foragers, when they could get out, where coming back with less than they went out with.

At my Apiary meeting in May I grafted some Queen cells - two of the cells were finished and now the new Queens are up and running. I find that I get much more fun raising Queens than I do lugging heavy supers around. The Nuc we transferred into a hive are doing very well but have needed a lot of TLC to help them draw out the new frames of foundation. At the end of June they needed a super for extra space.

When taking off honey I still prefer the Porter Bee Escape as a means of clearing bees from supers of honey. The gap in the springs needs to be adjusted to 3mm. any smaller and the bees wonít go through, and any bigger, and they get back up.

Our next meeting will be at Pinewood School (SG12 9PB), Adrian Lloyd's Apiary on 22nd July. Please let Jo know if you are going so that she can get the catering right.

Broxbourne Council Open Day 7th July - Roy Cropley will provide the Observation Hive. Setting up and delivery of hive products for sale from 11.00 till 1.30pm. John Mumford, Derek Driver and Tom Dawson. All Vehicles must be off site by 12.15pm and will not be allowed back until at least 5.15pm. There is plenty of free parking in the grounds of the Cheshunt School opposite. The show opens for sales at 2.00pm. 2.00 till 5.00pm. Tom Dawson, Roy Cropley, Maria Fitzjohn, and Tina Rawlings. The show closes at 5.00pm when the stall will be closed down and any unsold goods can be taken away.

EFB Outbreak

One of our members who lives midway between Ware and Widford has been notified by the National Bee Unit that a new outbreak of European Foulbrood (EFB) was confirmed on 25th June within 3km of their apiary.

The NBU advises:
Please be vigilant and examine your colonies carefully, advising us if you have concerns. For help in recognizing disease, you can view our Foul Brood leaflet, or for more information please visit BeeBase online at http://www.nationalbeeunit.com. Priority Inspection Visits of apiaries will be continued in areas where disease has been confirmed. 
Contact details:
Name: Peter Heath (Seasonal Bee Inspector: April - September inclusive), Mob: 07775 119429, Email: peter.heath@fera.gsi.gov.uk
For privacy reasons, NBU won't be any more precise than "within 3km".  But if the owner of the apiary doesn't mind going public, please get in touch with editor@hertsbees.org.uk.

Advert - Maisemore Apiaries one day event

Dear Beekeeper

We are having a one day event only held here at Maisemore Apiaries on Saturday 30th June, lots of 2nd quality hive parts and frames for sale at great prices so please come along and bring your beekeeping friends as this is on a first come first served basis, we have a lot in stock but do not know how long it will last.

Hope you will be able to come along and get some great bargains!

Please see our website www.bees-online.co.uk for any updates.

Best Regards
Maisemore Apiaries

Welwyn news - June 2012

by Peter Mathews

Dodging a determined bee in the garden, Lieva’s husband Andy took a nasty fall resulting in him lying flat on the ground completely paralysed. The good news is that the ambulance arrived in 3 minutes and rushed him to Addenbrooks where they pinned everything that could be pinned. He had broken a couple of vertebras trapping the spinal nerve. Only three days later, Mike Goodhew from across the way called Lieva before setting off to visit Andy in hospital only to be told that Andy was home again and walking about.
We wish Andy a speedy and full recovery.

Whilst on an injury theme......over the years too many members have been forced to give up beekeeping as a result of a bad back. Take care when lifting heavy loads. Keep your back straight when lifting and bend your legs. When carrying supers, keep them close to your body. Where possible keep loads light - use small boxes for delivering honey. Wait for help with heavy lifts.

Once again we had a very enjoyable day with Peter Heath. Although the weather was not the usual hot and sunny day we have come to expect, it was still a dry day after a very wet week. We visited 8 apiaries and something like 20 colonies. There was an excellent turnout at each stop with people joining and leaving through the day.
No serious problems but we did see:-

  • Chalk brood— hive needs re-queening as this is a generic tendency to fungal infection.
  • Brood Laying Queens—again the colony needs re-queening. This is likely to be a common problem this year and is a reflection of the wet weather. Virgin queens need to mate within a week, and this needs a fine day.

With the cold weather, honey from OSR needs to come off fairly quickly before it crystallises in the comb. You need to extract as soon as you take off the supers. Honey will set faster once it is off the hive. Keep an eye on your bees after taking off their stores the weather continues to be wet and we are in the ‘June gap’. Be prepared to feed again in the coming weeks.
Many thanks to everyone taking part with special thanks to those providing refreshments. And a big thank you to John Peacock for organising a terrific day.
Stefan’s hives— well, only half of them, an impressive collection after only a year of beekeeping.
Huge thanks for everyone coming along to Bee World at the Herts Show in Redbourn.
Saturday was wet, and Sunday was very wet. The new start time of 8.30am was not too popular. Just how many people do you expect on a wet Sunday morning? The Jubilee Celebrations on the Thames did not help. Sales on the Saturday were just about double those of those on Sunday as were the numbers of visitors.
Special thanks goes to Phill for organising this event for the second year.

Saturday Team
Sunday Team
More about Bee World can be found here.


  • Honey Works Visit on Sunday, 24th June
  • Knebworth House Country Show, 11,12th August—organiser Peter Folge, setting up on the 10th
  • Hatfield House Country Show 17, 18, 19th August—organiser Peter Mathews, dropping off on the 16th.

Nucs, honey, thymol and jars for sale

by Peter Folge

I have 20+ (5 frame British National) nucs for sale £140.00 These are very gentle and prolific in nature and am happy for beekeepers to view before they buy.  These are ready for dispatch.

I also will be selling summer honey in 30lb buckets anyone interested. Price negotiable.
Also have 1lb honey jars and thymol crystals available.

Please contact me, Welwyn: 01438 816211

Cuprinol and bee hives

Information from the manufacturers of Cuprinol confirm that none of their products are suitable for bee hives.  The Twickenham and Thames Valley beekeepers have more on this story at i-buzz: Cuprinol and bee hives.

Starvation Risk

A warning about colony starvation has just been released by defra's BeeBase:
With the continued spell of poor weather in many areas of the UK, reports are coming in from Regional and Seasonal Bee Inspectors of starving bee colonies, where the beekeeper is not aware that the bees are severely short of food, or the colony(s) have already starved to death.
Feeding advice and further details can be found here.

New Varroa research results from University of Sheffield

Dr Stephen Martin and his team from the University of Sheffield have said that a particular strain of Deformed Wing Virus is the main cause of harm to colonies that are infected with the Varroa mite.  Their report has just been published in Science and the BBC covered it extensively on the Today programme and on their website - Honeybee decline linked to deadly virus and Honeybee virus: Varroa mite spreads lethal disease.

Bee World at The Herts Show

by Peter Mathews

The Herts Show at County Show Ground outside Redbourn rarely disappoints when it comes to the weather. Saturday was wet and the Sunday very wet. Trade was brisk on the Saturday, but at 8.30 on Sunday morning it was exceedingly quiet - just how many people do you expect at this time on a wet Sunday. From here we never really got going. Competition with the Jubilee Celebrations in London did not help. We sold 131 lbs of honey and 24 half pounds plus 18 candles. Sales on the first day were about twice those of the Sunday. Discrepancies in takings were £1.40 in our favour - well done team!

Welwyn manned the sales bench, St Albans put on a display showing the role of bees in the environment, Mike spent a couple of days putting his frames together whilst Graham brought his observation hive.

Our information desk was kept busy advising on planting for bees, attracting bumble bees and 'what's happening to our bees', diseases etc. We received only 4 membership enquiries compared with 40+ last year although we did help several people from outside the county. I thought I was doing really well in attracting a new member when he asked if there might be problems at 1,200 ft! He didn't say what part of Hertfordshire he came from, but I fancy it was well North of Hitchin. One of the more unusual requests came from a commercial photographer who wants to photograph honey emerging from the frame as it is spinning in the extractor - it sounds very sticky.

Our BBKA collection box for the Research Fund and the Adopt A Hive scheme were both vastly more popular than I would have expected. Am guessing that we took at least £50 in donations based on the number of booklets given out. At later events, the plan is to put the box at the end of a display of bee diseases.

Many thanks to everyone who took part and helped put together another very successful BeeWorld. We are especially grateful to Phill Jepson who organised the day for the second year running. Whilst everyone was hugely indebted to June, steward of the Horticulture Marquee, for providing us with free tea and coffee for a donation to Mencap.

My Labrador enjoyed lots of attention and loved every minute.