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Woodwork for your Bees: Building and Innovating – February and March 2017

We are running another workshop over 4 sessions in February and March. These offer the opportunity to construct equipment for your apiary. The sessions will be led by Steve Willmott at the Tithe Barn in Nailsea on Thursday evenings on 2nd and 16th of February , and 2nd and 16th of March, between 7.30pm and 9.30pm.

Session 1 and 2 – Constructing a Nuc (Commercial, National and National 14 x 12)

Session 3  – Making a multi-purpose crown board which can be used as a clearer or a Snelgrove board

Session 4 – How to innovate. This session will cover other pieces of equipment you may find useful to make. Steve will also be demonstrating a number of ‘cunning’ plans he has.

There are 12 places and the cost will be £35/head. This covers cost of wood and the hire of the hall. You will be expected to bring tools etc. You will be expected to treat/preserve the completed articles, as appropriate, after the course.

If you would like to join the group, please click on the following link: WOODWORKING  (places allocated on first come basis) selecting the type of Nuc you would like to make. Payment can be by CHEQUE, ON LINE BANK TRANSFER (Lloyds Bank / Sort Code 30-99-51 / Account No 01839153. Make sure you put your “Name+Wood” as the reference: eg. SMITH+WOOD) or CASH

Rob Francis  Tel: 01275 462914  Mobile: 07979 298518

AGM – 19 November 2016 – Churchill Memorial Hall – 2pm



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

Beekeeping Year – November

Here’s what you should be doing this month:-

  • Go on holiday
  • Study for BBKA exams
  • Go to Branch AGM
  • Clean up apiary
  • Clean tools and equipment
  • Sell surplus honey
  • Leave bees alone


(Reproduced from “The Beekeeping Year” by Ivor Davis on the ABKA website)


Club member Keren P. has apiary equipment to sell (click on each item to view equipment) – Contact Keren on

Deep national hive and 4 supers for sale: £50.00 / Honey extraction equipment: £35.00 /Rhombus board: £10.00

Newsletter – Issue 75 October 2016

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:

Issue75 Oct2016 (1.3mB) OR Synopsis: Previous Issues (6.9mB) OR Issue75 Oct2016 + Synopsis (7.5mB)

Christmas meal – Friday 2 December 2016 at 7.30pm for 8.00pm

This year our Beekeeping Christmas Meal will be held at Mendip Springs Golf Club, Honeyhall Lane, Congresbury, BS49 5JT.

To view the menu and book a meal or meals, please click on this link: CHRISTMAS MEAL

Essential Items Purchase Scheme – Oxalic Acid

The aim is to provide a self funding/non profit making scheme to enable Branch members to purchase commonly used essential Bee Keeping supplies at reduced costs using the power of bulk purchasing to further the craft of beekeeping whilst reducing our environmental footprint.

 The scheme is offering to provide API-Bioxal in time for its use in late December 2016/early January 2017 after a few days of a cold snap when the hives should be broodless.  Oxalic acid in syrup solution can seriously damage your bees if the mixture is old (make it fresh as described below for each use).

To order oxalic acid, use this link: OXALIC ACID


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:

The self study groups make their own arrangements, follow the syllabus, study as a group and if desired use the correspondence course designed by the BBKA to go with the module.

We only need four or five interested participants. There are people in the branch who can pass on their experience of working as a self study group once you’ve set yourselves up.

If you would be interested can you let me know and I’ll set up an initial meeting.

Rob Francis Education Coordinator

To contact Rob Francis, use the “CONTACT US” tab on the top right hand side of this website.

Evening talks with Megan Seymour – 20 October and 24 November 2016

Evening talks with Megan Seymour at Shipham Village Hall, BS25 1SG

Megan has kindly offered to give some evening talks for the North Somerset Club over the winter months

  1. Thursday 20 October 2016:  The first of these talks will be on October 20th at Shipham Village Hall starting at 7.30pm.  This talk will be on her role as Seasonal Bee Inspector and what it involves.  Many of you will know Meg and this is a great opportunity to understand more about what her job involves as well as what to expect when she visits your bees to inspect them.
  2. Thursday 24 November 2016: The second talk is on a subject or subjects of your choice.  We have already received some suggestions for questions that Megan will respond to on the night.  Further suggestions to:  Blagdon Clevedon Secretary <>


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 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.


BeeConnected – Spray Liaison

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:

Winscombe Michaelmas Fair 10 September 2016 – Report by Adrian Wells

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.

Adrian Wells

PRACTICAL BEEKEEPING –Improvers course leading to Basic Certificate (2017)

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:

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 or phone 01275 462914 or 07970 298518

WOODWORKING: Equipment workshops early 2017

Steve Willmott has agreed to run a number of workshop sessions early next year to make useful equipment for your apiary.

However to do this he will need a couple of volunteers to help him plan, prepare and set up the workshops. If you would be interested in doing this could you let  Steve or me know.

Rob Francis: or phone 01275 462914 or 07970 298518

Introduction to Beekeeping Course 2017

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

For further information, email the Course Secretary Paddy Brading:

Hiring the Club Honey Extractors

Club extractors can be hired by Club members.  The cost is £5 for a 4 day period.  The extractors will be supplied clean and must be returned clean to our Honey Extractor Manager.
There are currently 3 Club extractors – we have just acquired a new four frame extractor, uncapping trays and filter buckets.
The extractors must be collected from the Honey Extractor Manager and returned on time and clean.
Please email:

Beekeeping Year – October

Things to do this month:-

  • Check stability of the hives
  • Reduce inspections
  • Add mouse guards and protect from wood peckers etc.
  • Heft hives and give last feed for winter
  • Monitor mite drop <10/day OK
  • >10/day (Apiguard not effective) consider Kramer plates or dusting with icing sugar