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Skep Making

Skeps have been used in the UK for hundreds of years for housing colonies of honey bees.

Constructing skeps would have been one of many rural crafts, but with the advent of moveable frame hives this has become something of a lost art. So we felt it would be a good idea to learn from someone who has been making skeps for twenty years or more.

Mick Male from Newton Abbott branch kindly accepted our invitation. Mick is well known to Devon beekeepers as he gives demonstrations at many of the local shows. Over two weekend sessions we learned how to prepare the materials, start the skep (most people found this the trickiest part), turn the corner to make the sides and finally to finish off in a professional manner.

The straw we used is from triticale wheat, an old fashioned, long stemmed variety that would have been used in the past. Thatchers still use triticale straw so it is readily available.

The binding was rattan lapping cane from Indonesia, widely used in furniture and basket making. The photos show the process from start to finish.

The first few stitches
The inside of the base
The base taking shape
Turning the corner
The Master tidies up the loose ends
Concentration required

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News & Events

Nosema Testing at Hunthay Apiary
Please note that on Thursday 12th April between 1000 & 1230 there will be an opportunity for you to test your bees for Nosema.
Members should bring samples (c.30 bees) from each hive.
Calling Notice for the rescheduled Devon Beekeepers’ Association Annual General Meeting
Download details: DBKA Calling Notice 2018
Please note that the Raffle Draw for the cedar wood hive donated by National Bee Supplies will take place on 7th April, so still time to buy tickets if you wish.
BBKA documents fyi
Spring Convention
Note: Now rescheduled for April 7th at Meldon Village Hall
Devon Beekeepers Day Raffle Prize!
Dear Member,
You will recall I gave details of the Devon Beekeepers Day in your February Buzz. We now have the raffle tickets available for the National hive kindly being donated by National Bee Supplies. Tickets can only be purchased by members and are priced at £2 each. See your emails for details of how to purchase raffle tickets.Proceeds from the raffle go to the Presidents Fund which in turn helps to support bee related projects throughout the county.The beekeepers day on March 3rd promises to be an interesting event (your February Beekeeping magazine has all the details) – so come along if you can. Regards, Val

Gove – UK will back total ban on bee harming pesticides Click link to see details

Asian Hornet in North Devon
The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in North Devon which was spotted by a beekeeper in their apiary on the 18th September 2017. The contingency response has been initiated and a press release has been issued by Defra.