AN EVENTFUL MEETING
Fortunately the weather held fine for the July meeting of St Albans Beekeepers’ Association held at our apiary at Prae Wood. Crispin Baker gave a spirited account of feeding colonies in preparation for winter to the 23 members that were present. He explained the different kinds of feeders and their individual merits and disadvantages mainly for the benefit of the newer members. He also stressed the importance of cleanliness in the apiary so as to avoid the problems of robbing, which, once started, is extremely difficult to stop.
Crispin also brought to the meeting a large quantity of Ambrosia to fulfil the many orders that he had received from our members. He is able to bulk buy his supplies direct from Germany and provides an extremely valuable service to our association.
Another item of interest can be seen in the photograph. Robin Guest, our Chairman, presenting two of our long-serving members with their certificates of Honorary Life Membership that were awarded to them earlier in the year for services to the association. They were Eileen Remnant (right)), our former Chairman, who stood down at the beginning of the year. Eileen works tirelessly for the association and was responsible for putting together all the notes for our initial beekeeping courses that the association ran in the past as well as lecturing and being an authority on bee diseases, bee anatomy and anything to do with bee husbandry. The other member was Christine Aitken (left), our former secretary. Christine has been a pillar of the association and as well as being an excellent secretary also gives lectures to children in many of the local schools. Christine also gives extremely instructive demonstrations of candle making by the dipping and moulding methods at our winter meetings that are held in Chiswell Green. Another fact that must not be overlooked is that Christine and her husband, Ted, provided our apiary at Prae Wood with a long hive that was constructed entirely by Ted and it is always a pleasure to watch Christine manipulate its deep frames, which are at a very convenient height, and which she accomplishes with extremely little effort. Unfortunately Christine has, for the time being, to refrain from beekeeping as she has had a bad allergic reaction to a sting.
Finally, on the same subject, at the end of the day after the majority of the members had left the site, a small group of beekeepers decided to lend a hand with tackling a very aggressive colony which was in the process of being re-queened as the owner needed help to do some manipulations of the frames. One of this party allowed his face to come into close contact with his veil and received a sting on the chin. After we returned to the hut he became very unwell feeling very sick and becoming extremely flushed. Fortunately we had some Piriton to hand which he took but he started to have pains in his chest, tingling lips, stomach cramps and became very confused so we decided to call for an ambulance straight away although he had no difficulty breathing. First on the scene was one of the ‘First Responders’ team who started to monitor him until the paramedic arrived. He was again examined and as his airways were not compromised he was given the choice of going on to Watford Hospital or going home as the paramedic was confident the administering of the anti-histamine within 10 minutes of receiving the sting had saved the day and sorted the problem. This is a lesson to all of us not to inspect hives on our own in lonely locations as others were able to make the necessary telephone call and remain in touch with the control room until help arrived. Had he been on his own he certainly would not have been able to use the telephone or find the tablets so the incident might not have had such a happy outcome!