The Autumn Honey Show-1st October 22nd September 2016
The speaker is Andrew Beer, subject "Beekeeping and the Law". One of his subjects is labels. Bring your label and he will tell you if it meets the law. Also bring a piece of paper and design a label.⚖ NBKA show schedule
The Asian Hornet has Arrived in Gloucestershire 21st September 2016
Oh dear, the dreaded day has arrived. Yellow legs, the Asian hornet has been found near Tetley, Gloucestershire. Two have been found. One dead and one live. It points to there being a nest somewhere nearby. A 3 mile radius is being searched with infrared equipment as per the plan that has been on standby. The arrival has been anticipated for several years as it arrived in France in 2004. Thought to have come to France in pottery from China. Let's hope we have a really cold winter to kill off hibernating queens.
Identifying an Asian hornet
Vespa velutina queens are up to 3cm (1.2in) in length; workers up to 2.5cm (1in)
Entirely dark brown or black velvety body, bordered with a fine yellow band
Only one band on the abdomen: fourth abdominal segment almost entirely yellow/orange
Legs brown with yellow ends
Head black with an orange-yellow face
Source: National Bee Unit
Jobs for September
~ estimate winter food stores by hefting hives and/or inspecting each frame ~ top up the stores to +- 20kg by feeding heavy syrup ~ monitor for varroa mites and treat immediately if the natural drop exceeds 20 mites per day ~ monitor again after treatment to ensure it has been successful ~ remove the queen excluder towards the end of the month if you are leaving a super of honey on the hive. Clean it and store it under the roof ready for use.
Our 4th July Meeting
We were entertained and informed on extracting honey by Glenis and her spinner and Bob with the help of Alison's Power Point presentation. "It's a sticky business". Ann and Rob had a plant stall and loads of prizes in the Bees Abroad raffle. She was very pleased with the grand total of £103.17. Jo Hiscox was very grateful for this contribution towards her project. Thanks to all who donated prizes and bought tickets.
My Swarm Prevention Method-David Chambers
The monthly meeting for May was headed by David Chambers who talked us through his method of swarm control. He hasn't lost a swarm for many, many years using this method. His first advice was to clip and mark the queen. Clipping doesn't prevent the bees from swarming but it does buy you some time and it may prevent the loss of the bees. If the bees leave the hive in an attempt swarm the queen cannot fly with them and the bees return to the hive a short while later- around 20 minutes or so. When inspecting a hive it is a good idea to put the frame with the queen on it to one side in a nuc. She is then safe and easier to find if the need arises. When queen cells are found at your weekly inspection take the following action: 1. Move the brood box to one side-3 feet away or so. 2. Put a new box on the old site with foundation (this will give a change of comb). 3. The queen on her frame goes in the new box. Check there are no Q cells on this frame. 4. The supers go back onto this box on the old site. 5. In the old box with the brood select one unsealed Q cell with a larva and remove the rest. 6. The box with brood may need feeding.
To increase your stock split the brood in 2 with one Q cell in each.
To avoid increase remove all Q cells and put the box with brood above the crown board and super. Check for emergency Q cells after a few days. Or you can unite the 2 colonies later choosing the new queen if she is good.
The near bloodless bees can be treated for varroa with your method of choice.
Move the box with brood to the other side of the original site after a few days to further strengthen the "artificial swarm" on the original site with the old queen.
The Newark Auction, Sat 16th April, 18th March 2016
The auction is over for another year. There were certainly some good bargains to be had this year. Despite the weather being very cold, there was a reasonably good turnout. Andrew was the man with the gavel. Maurice was on hand to check items into the sale and check out the purchases. The desk was manned by the usual lovely ladies and Rob. This year goods could be paid for by plastic which is always useful. Commission was 10% for buyers and sellers. Four colonies of bees were sold. They looked to be good tempered even though the wind was so cold.
News of BeeMaster 5th April 2016
Maurice Jordan (NBKA secretary) gave us the sad news that Stuart Ching, who has edited BeeMaster for over 20 years has had to resign the post due to ill health. The better news is that Penny Forsyth has agreed to "give it a go". Eventually Stuart's files will be sent over to Penny. In the meantime she is working rather blind as Stuart is not well enough to give her any guidance. We know the Stuart was always pleading for members to send in material for him to publish so PLEASE help Penny by sending her some material. You don't have to be a prize-winning author to do it, just put pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard, and send her something. Penny's contact details are: email@example.com
Penny prepares these check lists for us every month. ~ continue to check stores by hefting, checking floor inserts or a quick look in ~ carry out your first detailed inspection if you haven’t already done so Be clear what you are looking for: queen present & laying? brood at all stages? good brood pattern with biscuit-coloured cappings? bees looking normal & healthy? acting normally? any sign of disease or varroa mites (be sure to check floor inserts)? are there enough stores to last the bees to your next inspection? has the colony got enough room? ~check the queen’s mark and renew if indistinct ~ add a queen excluder and super when the brood box is full of bees, not stores ~ replace any dirty, mouldy or damaged comb with frames of sterilised comb or new foundation or move these frames to the outside of the brood nest to replace later ~ read up on your chosen method of swarm control and assemble equipment ~ assemble the equipment you will need for swarm collection and read up on how to do it
"Taking Bees to the Heather" Michael Badger 5th April 2016
At our April monthly meeting Michael gave us an in depth talk about how to get the best results from taking bees to the heather. The pictures of heather honey that he showed (complete with bubbles) really made us feel that we ought to give it a go. for those of us who are always 2 steps behind it was a bit of a revelation to hear that the heather only yields its nectar for 12 -14 days. the bees need to be ready. Maurice was invited to tell us more about the NBKA site in Derbyshire but failed to take the bait.
"Understanding the Youngsters" Celia Davis 9th March 2016
Celia Davis came to give us a talk at our Monday meeting on 7th March. The title of her talk was "Understanding the Youngsters". The talk was about larvae and pupae as you might guess. Celia started by describing the structure of the egg and the remarkable change that happens in just 72 hours when the egg to becomes a larva. There is then an even more remarkable change during metamorphosis when the larva transforms into the adult worker. Celia explained where brood food comes from and what the contents are for worker larvae and the queen larvae. The mechanism of larval moulting and the feedback mechanism of the cuticle proprioceptors were explained to us. Brood pheromones are produced in the salivary glands of larvae and cover the cuticle. The balance of the esters (there was a list of 10 of them) changes as the larvae age. These pheromones cause a change in behaviour of the worker bees e.g. the formation of laying workers is suppressed while there is brood present even in a queenless colony. The brood pheromone also acts as a kairomone -a chemical produced by an organism that has an effect on an organism of a different species. This is how the V. destructor mite is attracted to a larva just before capping. Celia summarised as follows: 1. Larval development is complex. 2. Communication between larvae and bees is via brood pheromone. 3. Brood pheromone influences the behaviour and aging of the workers. 4. The brood pheromones also act as kairomones.
Celia is the author of two excellent books-The Honey Bee Around and About and The Honey Bee Inside Out. Both books are now available as second editions.
Feeding Bees 9th March 2016
Watch out for your colonies running out of stores in March. It is still too cold to feed syrup so stick to candy until the weather warms up. At the above meeting a question cropped up about feeding pollen substitutes or pollen supplements. The latter actually contains pollen from some source (beware of anything where you don't know the origin. Last year Alec fed pollen substitute to his colonies and reported record honey production! If you want to try it out the recipe is under "library" > "Useful information". Let us know how you get on.
"BeeKeeping in Nepal"-Simon Croson 7th February 2016
Following the AGM we were treated to some lovely refreshments. The delicious cakes were made by some of the Nottingham Region ladies. Thank you all very much.
Simon Croson from Sleaford, Lincolnshire treated us to an interesting and informative talk on the bees and beekeepers of Nepal. He showed some lovely photos with the talk. Photography is another of his specialties. He had been in connection with Bees Abroad and the group were hoping to see the honey hunters collecting honey from the huge combs that hang from cliffs very high up. The species responsible is the large honey bee Apis laboriosa. The hunters hang from rope ladders, very high up and with virtually no protection or safety kit. The combs are single and huge. The traditional collectors left some of the comb for the bees to recover from but Simon was alarmed to find that there were many combs that had been harvested almost completely on one of the cliffs that he visited. Apis dorsata is also native to Nepal. The colony forms curtains of bees to protect the nest and performs a type of Mexican wave over the surface to warn off predators. Simon was keen to see this in a colony that he was able to get close to. He tried a stick to provoke them. This had no effect so he tired blowing (CO2 effect) the bees. They certainly reacted and Simon received 3 stings from the previously docile bees (so not suit and veil). It is said that 7 stings can kill a man. The species that are kept by beekeepers (in hives of various shapes and sizes) is Apis cerana. Interestingly Apis melifera is an "exotic species" in Nepal. Simon is due to return to Nepal very soon and hopes that the devastated colonies on the cliff may have recovered.
NBKA AGM 6th February 2016 6th February 2016
The Meeting Nottinghamshire Beekeepers Association AGM was held at Lowdham Village hall on a wet and windy Saturday afternoon. There was an average attendance of 40+ members, not bad for an AGM. Before the meeting began members were told of the sad news that Alan Lewis died on 31st January 2016. Tony Maggs gave us an account of Alan's life especially his role in the NBKA and in wild life and conservation. There was also a one minute silence. Our librarians John and Mike Cornish were thanked for all the hard work they have put into the library over the past 6 years. Several possibilities were proposed for the future running of the library. Getting a balance of room for storage and accessibility is proving difficult. Bob Logan and Geoff Curtis were voted onto the council for 3 years. David Chambers was voted as a Vice President for a 3 year period. Janet Bates agreed to continue as education secretary and Chris Hutter agreed to continue as treasurer. Members voted in principle to providing financial support to holding the Biennial Young Beekeepers Meeting in the UK in 2017. The money to come from existing funds rather than changing the subscription. Andrew Barber confirmed that NBKA would like to hold a Honey Show at Woodthorpe Grange Park again in 2016 following the success of the 2015 event. Next AGM 4th February 2017, 2.15pm, Lowdham Village Hall.
Presentation of Cups The cups were presented to winners by Simon Croson
Well done Bob
Mary Queen of Dainties
Top marks David
Presentation of Certificates Simon also presented: The BBKA Certificate of Microscopy to Alec Thomson. BBKA Basic Certificates and badges to: Dianne Lowe, Rod Chapman, Mike Brown, Mick Flower, Kevin Anderson and Brian Pluckrose. Successful candidates who were not present were: Jill Dyer, Keith Roberts, Paul Tomlinson,Alison Bucknall and Diane Kidger. Their certificates will be presented at a Nottingham monthly meeting. Rod
Bees Abroad-Jo Hiscox 6th Feb 2016
Jo gave us an interesting and sometimes slightly hair raising talk about her trips to Cameroon to help the community improve their living through beekeeping. The bees are aggressive and the protective clothing is primitive. The colonies are prone to absconding and there are lots of wild colonies so it didn't sound as if there would be much chance of breeding docility into the bees.
Buzz from the Hive-Michael Newton 13th January 2016
At our 4th January meeting Michael Newton gave us an update on the research that has been going on in some of the hives that are managed by NBKA beekeepers. Development may be a long way from the research but we are hoping that one day we will get a get a text with a message something like this "Hi, your red queen and half her workers will be swarming in 2 days time". This will give us time to make those frames that we resolved to make in January (but never got round to) and clean up the spare brood box (that we also omitted to do at the end of last season). The talk was very interesting and we are grateful to Michael for coming to update us further on the work he described at Autumn Honey Show.
STOP PRESS-Basic Certificate 4th January 2016
The format of the Basic assessment is going to be changed this year. There will be 4 sections that all have to be passed in order to gain the certificate. It is changed because the assessors feel that swarming and swarm control is a weakness in some candidates. It is felt that it is essential that beekeepers are proficient in this topic. The Ravenshead course, which is designed for those who already have bees, will be addressing this topic in detail. We will cover all the theory that you need to know for the basic assessment.
NBKA's new Regions 3rd December 2015
As a result of the recent problems with the BBKA our secretary Maurice Jordan felt that our association should be divided into Regions once again. Some of the old Regions e.g. Mansfield are no longer active but Newark and Nottingham continue to have regular meetings. Both Regions were tasked with the job of electing a Chairman, Secretary and other committee members as thought necessary. Two members of each Region sit on the NBKA Council. There are also small groups from different areas who meet to talk about bees. These are not to be formalised into regions at the present time. The outcomes are reported below.
NEWARK REGION Maurice Jordan
The Newark Region of the NBKA held the first AGM for many years at the Ferry Inn, North Muskham on 19th October 2015. Elected Chairman was Andrew Barber, Maurice Jordan was elected Secretary and Pete Bull was elected to represent the Region at NBKA Council meetings. It was also decided to meet socially on the third Monday of every month at the Ferry Inn, North Muskham (except for the two meetings held at the Beehive, Maplebeck as notified in the newsletter diary)
NOTTINGHAM REGION 3rd December 2015
At the 5th October monthly meeting members elected a new committee to handle the affairs of the Nottingham Region (the first such since 1996). Duly elected were: Chairman- Rod Chapman Treasurer- Bob Logan Members- Mary Carey-Allwood, Jane Turner, Alec Thomson, Anne Mason, Janet Bates The first committee meeting was held on 14th November 2015. The agenda included the programme for the 2016 monthly meetings
Regional Bee Inspector's Report 3rd December 2015
Ivor Flatman has sent us his latest report for the North East Region. It includes his summary of the 2015 season and also updates on the SHB and the Asian hornet. The link to the report is under Library
December-Jobs to do in the apiary this month Penny Forsyth
~ pay attention to hive insulation and ventilation ~ continue to visually check hives ~ continue to heft the hives to estimate stores, feed if required-fondant is best in winter ~ continue to monitor varroa drop ~ treat with oxalic acid during a brood-less period, if that is part of your IPM plan ~ continue to clean and repair last season’s equipment- soda crystals and a blowtorch are your best friends here ~ make up all the flatpacks you bought in the sales ~ make up plenty of frames but don’t wax them until you need them ~ read and learn, maybe sign up for a course ~ you are allowed a holiday in the winter!
What's happening in the colonies this month? Penny Forsyth
December is the quietest month for bees and beekeepers alike. Our bees should be in their winter cluster- secure, warm, dry and well-provisioned if we beekeepers have done our job properly- and will not be seen outside the hive unless on a cleansing mission or to collect water. The population of each hive is now very much diminished, as few as 5,000 bees and these form a cluster with the queen and remaining brood at the centre. The priority now is heat conservation and the protection of queen, brood and colony through the coldest months of the year. The cluster is formed with an outer shell of bees facing inwards, abdomens outwards, creating an insulating layer against heat loss: the bees can also protrude their stings should an intruder threaten the cluster. Within this outer shell the bees can move freely and can access their stores- vital as they maintain heat in the centre of the cluster by eating honey and vibrating their strong flight muscles. Larvae also produce heat by consuming food. During a broodless period the temperature within the cluster is between 20C-30C and the cluster can expand or contract to maintain this range and to ensure that the outer wall does not get too cold. Bees from the centre will change places with bees from the outer layer to give them some time in the warmth and the cluster will loosen from time to time in order to move to a new area of stores. In very cold weather the bees may be unable to move far enough and can perish through isolation starvation- beekeeper vigilance is required here. In the apiary there is little to do other than to continue checking that hives are intact and sound and that entrances are not blocked by snow, debris or dead bees. It is very important to regularly heft the hives to estimate the amount of stores remaining and to take action if there is cause for concern- a quick look in does no harm if you suspect isolation starvation to be a risk. Many beekeepers give their bees a present of fondant on Christmas Day, and why not- they will ignore it if they don’t need it and it will be welcome if they do. Around New Year there is often a broodless period when oxalic acid treatment can be applied: on a still day put on suit, gloves and veil and work quickly with warmed solution. Winter is also a good time to move hives as the bees aren’t flying so you can ignore the “less than 3 feet or more than 3 miles” rule, the bees will re-orientate when they start flying again in warmer weather.