The arrival of better weather and the relaxation of restrictions promises a much happier summer for our bees and ourselves. Swarms should be anticipated (if they haven't already arrived - see below); so we should be considering suitable prevention, control (and recovery!) measures.
This one originated from a feral colony in a neighbouring church wall, with limited scope for prevention. With strong nectar flows (at least where my bees live), it's important to consider supering your colonies if they are running short of space..
The British Beekeepers Association has a useful guide to swarming for the public, including a map of where to find your local swarm collector (see www.bbka.org.uk/swarm ), and a handy guide to Bees in Buildings (attached).
The training apiary is now well-established, and is being put to good use. See the latest newsletter (below) for details Sam Hampton has also started a Queen-rearing group, and as you'll see from the newsletter, queens and a small number of nucleus colonies should become available in July - contact Sam (firstname.lastname@example.org) SOON if you are interested!
Enjoy your beekeeping. Let's hope for some warmer weather soon - and do ensure your bees have enough stores- I've lost a colony to starvation in May before now.
Our latest talk on Asian Hornet - the French Experience
is on Monday 19th April at 8pm
Covering: Latest situation as at the end of 2020 – why some areas are heavily infested whilst others are not. Effect on French Beekeeping – is it all down to the Asian Hornet? The Asian Hornet – are you and your bees inviting it into your apiary? Predation of the honeybee - the hidden effects of predation. Opportunities for Nest Control: Spring trapping of foundress queens – the lesser of two evils? What the beekeeper can do and when to do it! Measures proven to relieve stress and protect the hive.
To join please see
March is upon us and with the arrival of (meteorological) spring, the days are lengthening, and are spring flowers such as snowdrop, and crocus, and hazel catkins are beginning to provide forage for our bees. But they still need access to their winter stores, and (where necessary) to fondant to supplement these. (Having been slightly greedy last summer, I am having to feed four out of five of my colonies with fondant. A lesson for this year!).
Our next talk on Tuesday March 8th, will be by Graham Royle, who has kept bees for 33 years, is a Master Beekeeper, and has acted as Regional Bee inspector for the North of England, and locally for for Cheshire, . Graham has a particular interest in queen rearing and stock improvement having had some terrible tempered bees in his early years. He has been heavily involved with the education of beekeepers at all levels.
The talk is on next Monday - 8th March starting at 8.00 p.m.
You can attend by following this link ---> Open Zoom Meeting .
If you haven't used zoom before its a good idea to download Zoom to your PC or laptop in good time before the meeting - you don't need to open an account, just download the software.
It should be really interesting.
And see below the link to our latest - March - newsletter
The BBKA national Spring Convention will be held remotely on the 16 - 18 April. For full details, see
This is widely to considered to be an excellent event, and it's a great deal more accessible this year given its virtual form.
On the 8th February we enjoyed a fascinating talk by Norman Carreck from the University of Sussex, who gave us on Forage for Bees. Norman illustrated how changes agricultural patterns have are affecting the availability of forage for bees and numerous other insects, including a range of research on this which has contributed to. He included some practical steps which we can take as citizens and gardeners, and responded to a range of questions and comments which provided a stimulating finale.
February's newsletter can be found below, and previous issues can be found in the Archive to the right.
I hope you all had as good a Christmas as possible - given the current circumstances, and that 2021 proves a much better year for you - and a good one for your bees too. To get us off to a good start, Dave Coates and Sam Hampton have arranged three talks for us on Zoom, which look fascinating - see below for details. If you want to take part you'll need to install zoom on your PC / mobile / ipad. The link to each will be distributed to Members, but I'll include it here once available. All talks will begin at 8pm .
Mon 11th Jan Bob Smith NDB Fun with Pollen Traps
Bob will explain the nutritional importance of pollen, how it is collected, finding out what your bees have been foraging on. Before retiring Bob worked as an analytical Chemist and is now Chair of the Central Association of Beekeepers. Bob is an excellent and knowledgeable speaker who, because he lives in Kent, is only able to speak to us now because of the "Wonders of Zoom". we haven't had any talks on this subject, which is quite critical to bees, in recent times.
You don't need to register, just make sure you have Zoom loaded on your PC/Laptop/iPad beforehand - you don't need to have a zoom account - just have it loaded - its free! and click on the link which follows: Join Our First Zoom Meeting
Even if you're not enthusiastic about the subject - I'm sure it'll be an awful lot better than what's on the Telly
Mon 8th Feb Norman Carreck NDB Planting for Bee Forage
Norman was going to talk to us last year but got stuck in traffic and never made it to the meeting. Norman has worked at Rothamstead Research and more recently LASI Sussex University,
Mon 8th March Graham Royle NDB The Mating Process - what happens and why
Graham Royle has been to Burton before. He was for a long while the seasonal bee inspector for Cheshire. He started beekeeping in 1968 and currently manages 20 colonies in three apiaries.
In March we also hope to hold our Annual General Meeting - details will be published once they've been finalised.
Dear Fellow Members.
On behalf of the Training Apiary sub- committee- Dave, Sam. Bob, Hamish and myself-I cannot tell you how pleased we are, to be able report that work on the Training Apiary actually started today.
After successfully obtaining Planning Permission and raising sufficient funds to get started, we were then faced with the wettest winter in living memory when the site became a quagmire. Then, when the site dried out along came Covid 19 and our contractor went into lockdown.
Thankfully all that is behind us. The site has been mown, the hedge trimmed and Taberner Plant-our contractors- have made a an excellent start on constructing the access road to our compound.
I don’t want to tempt fate, but it should not be too long now before we have a functioning Training Apiary.
As I am sure you are aware by now, legally you are allowed to check your bees as they are livestock. You should still take basic precautions and keep social distancing in mind.
I would advise as some local police forces have been quite strict in their interpretation that you carry your BBKA membership card with you when out.
Failing this you can print your receipt you would have got from me when you renewed this year or if you are still not happy I have created a Burton Beekeepers membership card which if you email me a passport photo of yourself, I can create and send it back for you to print.
If there are any issues with the police and they want proof then please ask them to contact me and I will confirm your membership status and location of your hives.
Secretary and membership officer
Good afternoon all, I hope this finds you well and I am pleased to attach the latest club newsletter which is an excellent read. I am sure that you will all join me in thanking Margaret for stepping up into the role of editor!
Please see below the email from support Staffordshire which might be interesting for some during these troubled times:
Dear Members and the wider VCSE sector
It’s been quite a fortnight for the nation, personally and professionally we have all had to adapt.
Yes there has been panic buying and other negative press, but locally I have been overwhelmed by the support, altruism and spirit of community that has broken out. At Support Staffordshire we have had approximately 1,000 new volunteer enquiries in the last two weeks; so like never before we have a huge over supply of volunteers – but this will be tested to the limits in the coming weeks as demand grows from many sources – thank you if you have signed up and sit tight, we will call on you.
We have also been busy contacting members and responding to your requests for help, with a whole new shape to our website and lots of new factsheets and training and support materials directly responding to what you need right now. Many, having steadied the ship, will now be turning your thoughts to sustaining your organisations and their services; so we have included a raft of the new funding streams coming on line in this mailing. We have also been feeding into national efforts for a VCSE sector stability fund from government…. Still waiting as I write, but remaining hopeful. There are also local responses coming on line daily, so keep checking our website.
Thirdly we have been working with the county and district councils to align our efforts, to reduce pressure on both the NHS and critically Social Care. A number of district leads are working with us and will be calling on you to keep calm and adapt, continuing to serve your communities wherever you are able to do so safely.
If you need any help in this crazy time, please call us and we will do our best to help you in whatever way we can. In the meantime please see below information which hopefully you’ll find useful
Chief Executive Support Staffordshire
Our Website is a valuable source of information for anyone looking for advice and guidance. Please use the links below to find what you are looking for:
COVID 19 – Support - Useful Links for Advice and Guidance
FAQ’s and Factsheets for Groups and Organisations
VCSE Directory of Organisations (in Staffordshire)
Coronavirus Community News and Announcements
Residents in Need of Support
Local Contact details for Support Staffordshire Team