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:
|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.