STOP PRESS: We organised a workshop at Tickenham Village Hall on Tuesday 18 April andmade over 15 Asian Hornet traps. When you hang your trap up (in your garden or in your apiary), please send me: e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, your post code. We intend to place the post codes on a map of our District so we can check the cover we are giving to the monitoring process. Instructions for the Asian Hornet trap are at: http://northsomersetbeekeepers.org/asian-hornet-trap/
I went to the BBKA Spring Convention over the weekend and the big message I have taken from the event is the very real potential for the Asian Hornet to spread across the UK. The Asian Hornet first appeared in France in 2004 and has now spread across of all of France with 50% colony losses reported in the worst hit areas. Bees cannot defend themselves against the Asian Hornet, whereas, collectively, they can defend their hive against the European Hornet.
Locally we have had the first appearance in the UK (remember the isolated start in France in 2004!).
So what can we do? We need to monitor so that we can provide information on the locations of Asian Hornets so they can be eradicated as the only way to contain the Asian hornet invasion in new territories is to react quickly to any reported sightings, and then locate and destroy the nests as soon as possible. To monitor we need each and every beekeeper in the Club to:
check the trap daily, ideally, (which should have a raised floor), releasing all other insects (except the Asian Hornet). If you suspect you have caught an Asian hornet, then it may be helpful to place the whole trap, unopened, into a freezer bag that can be sealed tightly; place the bag containing the trap into a domestic freezer for 12 hours before opening, to avoid losing the suspect specimen.
Those that would like to be included in the swarm collectors list or require a swarm this year please send me a WhatsApp request to “Swarm Collectors”, or text me on 07 847 015 155 (you will need a smartphone).
Those requiring swarms should note that they are usually collected from the site in a cardboard box so that there is no need to exchange equipment. With this in mind a means of transport should be coincided (closing the box with tape is usually sufficient). I prefer that collections are made after dusk to ensure that the maximum number of bees are removed from the site.
If you are a new bee keeper please check with your mentor before taking on a swarm.
Those wishing to tag along to see how it’s done are very welcome (you will need to sign up of course). Ensure that you turn up with a veil etc. These are mainly for the benefit of the public (although normally very docile, I have experienced some very aggressive swarms), and since you are there, you might as well get the full experience and get your hands dirty! 😉
If you want to take a swarm away, be sure that you bring your own box.
This is a gentle reminder to everyone that it’s time to put what you learnt at our February meeting to the ultimate test! You can find all the information about the schedule and about entering your exhibits on this website:
It’s nearly Spring Bank Holiday and are you wondering what to do? How about spending a couple of hours on our Branch Show Stand at NSAS, Wraxall? For this you’ll get a FREE entry ticket to the Show, a T-shirt and all the teas & coffees you have time to drink! Plus you’ll get to meet some really nice people.
Calling all Newbies who have just finished the Beginners’ Course: don’t be shy about volunteering as you’ll still know more about beekeeping than visitors to our Stand and you’ll be able to show off your newly-learnt skills!
A total of 15-20 helpers are needed throughout the day, plus setting up on the Sunday afternoon and clearing up on Monday when the Show ends. Each helper does a 2-hour ‘shift’ between 9 am and 5 pm during which time you are likely to lose your voice as our Stand is very popular! Once you’ve finished your 2 hours you’ll have the rest of the day to wander round this great Show at your leisure.
On 25th January twenty three beekeepers gathered together on a very cold evening at Kenn Village Hall. Stephen Brain was running a course on honey and how to calibrate and use a refractometer.
The first part of the talk was about what the properties of honey are and what substances it contains. Stephen then explained why it is very important to extract, bottle and store honey very carefully. Temperature and levels of humidity in the environment during all these processes can affect the quality of the honey in the jar.
Stephen had asked if we could bring along a small sample of honey if we had some, and a refractometer if we owned one. Refractometers can measure % water content in honey. We had a great time testing our refractometers and realised that different refractometers could give slightly different readings from the same honey sample. They weren’t too far out however, but gave everyone an idea where their own refractometer was reading compared to others in the group.
Then the real fun started. We had a honey competition. Everyone’s honey was rated by each person in the group for eg. clarity, colour, aroma and taste just as a honey judge might do at a honey show. It’s all very subjective of course, but it was surprising how we had similar ideas about each honey sample and just how different they all were. They were all delicious though. One of the group, however, had brought along a sample of shop bought honey and placed it on the judging table without saying anything of its origin. It certainly was as clear as crystal and a sort of yellow colour but there was very little if any aroma and its taste was, we all decided ……well awful. Its source was revealed. A mix of EU and non EU honeys. Say no more!
It was a very successful evening. Thoroughly enjoyed by everyone. We certainly learned a lot. I hope Stephen can run another course on honey and refractometers. I am sure it will be popular.
Many thanks, Stephen
January 31st, 2017 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed
You are invited to attend the branch Annual General Meeting which will be held at Churchill Memorial Hall, Churchill at 2pm on 19th November 2016. AGM papers can be obtained on this link: AGMPapers. The North Somerset Beekeepers’ accounts for the year ending 31 October 2016 can be viewed using this link: ACCOUNTS2016.
The following positions on the committee are coming up for election. Please consider volunteering to join our friendly committee, which involves bi-monthly meetings usually in a Backwell pub:
Chair – currently Garry Packer
President – currently David Welham
Secretary – currently Janet McCulloch, who is willing to support a successor
Members without portfolio – currently Paddy Brading, Jane Boss and Ian Cooper
If you are interested in volunteering for any of the above posts and wish to discuss them, please contact the current officer or me by email. Role descriptions are available for these positions.
Renewing your membership: You will have the opportunity to renew your membership at the AGM, a revised form requests permission to share limited contact details with the BBKA and other North Somerset branch members
November 5th, 2016 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed
Sadly Jan Davis has decided to give up editing the branch newsletter after 16 years. That is some achievement and she has performed wonders with our little snippets of news in producing regular attractive and informative publications. For her swansong she has produced not one but two newsletters! The second is full of photos and news from our past. On this page they are available as:
I’ve been approached by a couple of branch members who expressed an interest in taking one of the modules. I have suggested that Module 1 (Honey bee Management) is a good one to start with. Details can be found at:
Vespa velutina or the Asian hornet, also known as the yellow legged hornet, is native to Asia and was confirmed for the first time in Lot-et-Garonne in the South West of France in 2004. It was thought to have been imported in a consignment of pottery from China and it quickly established and spread to many regions of France. The hornet preys on honeybees, Apis mellifera harming beekeeping activities. It has also altered the biodiversity in regions where it is present and is potentially deadly to allergic people. All beekeepers should remain vigilant and be on the look out for it in their apiaries. For identification use the following links: Asian Hornet (2 sheet poster).
An Asian hornet have been identified north of the Mendip hills
If you think you have seen an Asian hornet, please notify the Great British Non Native Species Secretariat alert email address at email@example.com immediately. Additionally, you can report sightings on their website. As well as this function, the website provides a great deal of information about the wide ranging work that is being done to tackle invasive species and tools to facilitate those working in this area.
September 29th, 2016 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed
A new web-based crop spray alerting system, BeeConnected, linking farmers and beekeepers, has gone live across the UK.
A new webbased crop spray alerting system, BeeConnected, linking farmers and beekeepers, has gone live across the UK.
The BBKA’s Tim Lovett told Radio 4s Farming Today “ It’s ironic that the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides has meant that farmers have had to revert to older chemical formulas which are sprayed.”
Alerts from farmers will tell beekeepers when spraying is happening up to a maximum of 5km from their hives, the crop being sprayed and the compound being applied. The beekeeper will receive an email allowing them to take mitigating action such as moving their hives or shutting the bees in for a short while. Tim Lovett said: “ The system is essentially anonymous but if the two sides want to come together they can do so. For example a farmer could say ‘Hey I am growing some borage, any beekeepers want to bring their bees to pollinate for me?’ So it could start quite a useful conversation there as well.” BeeConnected is a joint venture under the Voluntary Initiative between the BBKA, the National Farmers Union and the Crop Protection Association. The BeeConnected website will also allow beekeepers to read the approved manufacturers’ information on the compound and whether or not it is associated with a bee alert being known to harm bees.” Current best agricultural practice, as advocated by farm assurance schemes and the UK code of practice for pesticide use, requires that the beekeeper notification takes place 48 hours before spraying to minimise the risk to bees.
Beekeepers should go to: https://www.beeconnected.org.uk/
September 17th, 2016 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed
Another successful show at Winscombe, and as ever a good turn out by the village, despite the weather, although maybe not as many braved the grey as in previous years.
It is always good to see the smiling faces, some amazed at seeing the observation hive for the first time, or learning something astonishing about bees, lights switching on as we put things into context, some we remind of their youth and memories of relations that kept bees. These shows are important, not just as part of the local social fabric, but they help us as a charitable organization to fulfil our remit to educate. Making one person smile, or stop and think ‘wow!’ is a pretty good indication of success.
Many thanks to David Capon for his Stirling work in setting up the observation hive, and of course for his judging. Quite a few entrants kept David busy and helped to spoil his appetite after he’d munched his way through a reasonable quantity of honey, cake, biscuit and fudge! Congratulations to everyone who won prizes, especially Belinda K. who did well in most categories.
I would like to embarrass everyone who helped to set up and work on the stand, by thanking them publicly here; and so in no particular order (I hope I haven’t missed anyone), many thanks to the following for giving up your time, David W, Eric S, John P, Martin G, Paddy B, Rob W, Belinda K.& Wendy W., and a get well message to Heather P who couldn’t make it. These shows are a great way to talk to and educate the public about these amazing insects, and we can’t do it without our members giving a hand.
If you’ve not helped on one of our stands before, I would urge you to give it a go, it’s huge fun and even complete novices can have a great input.
September 7th, 2016 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed
We are running this basic course again in the new year. It is designed for those who have been keeping bees for a year or two and leads to a Basic Certificate.
Details about what we cover can be found at: http://www.bbka.org.uk/learn/examinations__assessments/basic_assessment
The course will be run over 7 sessions on Mondays fitted in between January and April taking place between 7.30 and 9.15pm at The Rising Sun in Backwell starting on Monday 9th January 2017.
The course is ideal for those who, having kept bees for one or two years, wish to expand, extend and consolidate their knowledge and skills of beekeeping.
The course fee is £20 and includes the cost of all course materials. Needless to say it is subsidised by the branch and is open to any member from the Avon Beekeepers Association.
If you would like to sign up for the course or would like further information could you contact me, Rob Francis, (educational coordinator) at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 01275 462914 or 07970 298518
September 7th, 2016 | Category: Uncategorized | Comments are closed
Please book your places for our popular Introduction to Beekeeping Course which starts 17th January 2017 at Churchill Memorial Hall and runs over 10 Tuesday evenings until 21 March 2017. Course Fee £95. The course is always oversubscribed so if you have friends and family keen to take up beekeeping ensure they book a place now. For more details and to book the course, click on this link: COURSE2017