Chairman’s View – August 2022

 

After the white heat of July, the temperatures may be in decline during August, but there will be no let-up in the tempo of activity for ourselves or for our bees.

When not actually pre-occupied with protecting their honey from robbers (including us) the bees will still be out looking for late season sources of forage, and we have plenty to do in and around our apiaries – and beyond. 

But first off … congratulations to the seventeen members who took and ALL passed their Basic Assessments during July. Eleven passed with Credit and three more passed with Distinction. This is also a very satisfying result for all those who had been variously training, mentoring or coaching the candidates in Study Groups, Hive Teams or in the Mock Basic session and in preparing the apiary and hives.

One of the Assessors, emailing me on another matter, added that it “was such a pleasure to carry out the assessments at a well organised and set-up club.  And, with well trained beekeepers.”   I say, Wow … well done everyone.

So, looking forward into August …  

Another reminder about the Autumn Bee Health Clinic at Henfold during the otherwise regular Wednesday 10th August.  Bring along samples of bees culled from your own colonies to have tested for Nosema, and if you can,  maybe also help Bob Maurer with preparation of the samples for assessment under the microscopes.

The following Wednesday 17th, the intention is to be extracting honey from Mickleham and Henfold supers in the Pavilion during the late pm & evening. BUT, we do need volunteers to help prepare the pavilion and set up equipment during the 16th, some experienced members to lead less or inexperienced members learning on-the job during the 17th, and then some to help clear up during the 18th … ensuring the pavilion is returned to a ‘non-sticky’ condition. Contact me directly with offers of help and requests for participation.  In the process of helping towards RBKA’s honey crop harvesting, its a great way to experience using a range of extracting equipment, most of which is hireable to use for your own crop.

Do also start to think about and actively plan to enter into some, or ALL, the Honey Show competitions coming up in September and October. Information-a-plenty is provided elsewhere on this website and the Show Schedules include Competition Classes to suit all levels of ability.       

So what about my opening reference to there also being plenty to do beyond our apiaries?    

Way back in December 2019, Steve Riley attended a Winter meeting and presented an assessment of biotechnical methods (including Queen Caging) for controlling Varroa to allow chemical free beekeeping. His follow-up in March this year then described progress being made in selecting for bees that manage their own varroa loads and how beekeepers can identify these traits in their own colonies. At the close of that second presentation, Steve left us with an open invitation to visit his colonies in Westerham and see those traits first hand. An invitation for a group of RBKA members is now being arranged for the morning and early afternoon of Wednesday 10th August. Participants will be taking a packed lunch with them and dashing back to Henfold for the Evening Meeting and the Autumn Bee Health Clinic! 

The group needed to be limited to about 12 to 15; so invitations to participate were initially only circulated to our 2022 Hive Mentors and Apiary Managers. They being best placed to pass on their observations and learnings whilst mentoring or in potentially applying in management of our apiaries. By the last Wednesday evening’s meeting in July there was scope to open the invitation to all members to fill remaining places by emailing Colin Clement directly. Places were being confirmed in order of receipt of request, until reaching the quota. This will hopefully be an interesting experience for those able to attend and one that could be shared with others and possibly repeated earlier next year.

One thing is for certain, there is nothing remotely boring  about beekeeping … except perhaps endlessly cranking a manual honey extractor at the close of a bumper season.  One problem I don’t have for all the wrong reasons.

Richard Bradfield
Chairman
4th August 2022
mob: 07923 600266
richard.d.bradfield@btinternet.com

 

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