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Report of East Devon Beekeepers AGM & Talk

Held at Kilmington Village Hall, 1st November 2018

Our AGM is a chance for members to hear what has been going on in the group over the last year and for them to vote-in Officers and Committee members. The meeting was conducted efficiently as much of the information had been issued beforehand. The new Committee are:

President Hilary Kirkcaldie
Chairman John Badley
Treasurer Keith Bone
Secretary Val Bone
Committee Mary Boulton, Alasdair Bruce, Ralph Cox, Rosemary Maggs, Colin Osborne, Richard Simpson, Peter Weller
Branch delegate to DBKA Executive Committee John Badley

Val Bone will also be Membership Secretary, Alasdair Bruce will act as Vice Chair, Richard Simpson will be Education Officer and Keith Bone will be Apiary Liaison Officer.

Honiton Show Committee members will remain as last year (John Badley, Keith Bone, Ralph Cox, Angela Findlay, Sue Johnston and Mike Walters).

After the elections Hilary Kirkcaldie congratulated Duncan Mackinder and Peter Moran on passing their Basic exam. She also presented Duncan with the Craythorne cup for gaining the highest points of Basic candidates in East Devon.

During the break, tea, coffee and cakes were provided, thanks to Helen Bithrey and her team.

There followed a short talk by Jes and Evelyn Pelham who used to live in Surrey and who moved to East Devon about two years ago. Their mentor in Surrey was John Hamer who is a prominent member of Surrey Beekeepers and owner of Blackhorse Apiaries near Woking (http://blackhorseapiaries.org/).

The talk emphasised some of John’s teachings that they had benefitted from and which might be helpful to East Devon members. These are some of the FAQs.

Q. Can’t find the queen? A. If there are eggs and uncapped larvae then you have a queen.
Q. My bees are demanding. I can’t cope. A. Reduce the number of hives until you are happy.
Q. How long before I open the bees? A. Try not to open too frequently. Spend more time watching the entrance to find out what they are doing.
Q. How can I raise queens? A. Numerous ways to raise queens. More difficult to get them mated properly. Get a mentor.

Other hints and tips:

Always be gentle with bees
As well as watching bees at the entrance you can listen to the hive to find out what is happening
Try to use as little smoke as possible
Use Marigolds, not leather gloves, when inspecting
Practice marking and clipping with drones
Don’t try to make them do what they don’t want to
Give them room to do what they need to do

Jes and Evelyn gave a good account of ‘book matching’ frames when a queen needs to be found.

  • Essentially, frames from the brood chamber are distributed between two or more spare brood boxes in pairs.
  • Each pair is kept at normal spacing and is separated from adjacent pairs by a gap of a few centimetres.
  • Cover all boxes and have a tea break.
  • Flying bees will return to the original box.
  • Remove the covers and gently separate each pair in turn and the queen will be found in the middle of one of the pairs.

Swarms were a problem in Surrey due to the prevalence of EFB in their area. For this reason swarms were not normally given to beginners. Also, it was considered likely that swarms would often produce unpleasant bees. However, provided a knowledgeable beekeeper was mentoring, as in Jes and Evelyn’s case, swarms were a good way to get started.

The Pelhams also described their activities helping out at Shows and Evelyn’s samples of Surrey honey proved to be a popular attraction after the talk.

Our thanks to Jes and Evelyn for an entertaining and instructive talk.

 

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News & Events

Scientists sew trackers to Asian Hornets to find and destroy nests before they kill honeybees
Britain’s beekeepers are turning to technology to prevent aggressive Asian hornets destroying their colonies. In a first successful trial, experts at the University of Exeter attached tracking devices to the backs of the voracious hornets and then followed them back to their nests.
Asian hornet information
The June edition of the BBKA News has extensive information about the Asian hornet threat. In particular, pages 209 and 210 have full colour reproductions of the Asian hornet alert document issued by the Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) for you to cut out and use as your personal guide to identification of this invasive species.
EU agrees total ban on bee-harming pesticides
More information can be found at:          https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/apr/27/eu-agrees-total-ban-on-bee-harming-pesticides?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other
LATEST ASIAN HORNET WARNING
The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of a single Asian hornet in Lancashire. More information can be found in the Defra Press release:   https://www.gov.uk/government/news/asian-hornet-identified-in-lancashire