Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – May 2022


Bees for Development – Big Give Green Match Campaign

22 – 29th April 2022

The Project supports forest conservation and reduces extreme discrimination of the Batwa, a forest people in Uganda, through beekeeping. 

Visit the BfD website by  CLICKING HERE  

The Big Give Green Match Challenge is a match funding campaign where donations to participating charities are doubled. The match funds come from two sources – charities secure some of these (pledges) over the summer. These funds are then boosted by funds from a Big Give Champion (The Green Match Fund) which contributes to the match fund. This collective pot is used to double donations from online supporters when the campaign is live.

Swarm Request Registration – 2022

bee buz iconWould you like and be able to receive a captured Swarm to look after and bring on as a new colony when one becomes available this year?

The Swarm Collection Team will be attempting to do the capturing, but they will need something to capture them in. That’s where your input is needed. [Read more…]

RBKA OnLine No.38 – Integrated Pest Control – Applying IMP principles to Varroa Control

Video recording of a talk from Norman Carreck, Bsc CBiol FRSB FRES NBD from the  University of Sussex

… from the online Zoom Winter Monthly Meeting conference on Wednesday 2nd February, 2022.

To compliment this recording of the talk, Norman has provided us with a listing of related Websites and References.  Click here to download for viewing/printing.   



February in Your Apiary


Clear tubs allow fondant supplies to checked without opening the hive further.

Feed, Feed and Feed.

During last month, and similarly to winter 2021, January temperatures only dropped a little early on, and still very few hard frosts to trouble our bees. January was also  unusually dry and the sunny spells will have warmed the micro climate of a wind free apiary. But the air temperatures remained rather chilly.

February may start as January has ending, generally mild with some rain and sunny spells. But a cold spell could be on its way by the middle of the month. 

So once again you will have been seeing some activity outside of the hive and the queens could be well into laying already.  So do heft or if needed take a quick peek under the roofs to confirm that the bees are making headway into their fondant, and that they still have some to tuck into.

Although this is usually the last of the quiet months for the beekeeper, things will certianly be stirring in the hive as the bees begin to respond to the longer (and unseasonally milder) daylight hours. The queen will be coming back into lay, if indeed she every stopped, and will be depositing eggs in clean cells in the centre of the nest area to raise workers for the early part of the season.
Caretaker activities are important. February is all about making sure that your bees have sufficient to eat and drink, and protecting your hives from the continuing effects of cold wet wintry weather and animals. 

Outside the temperature may still be in single or even low double figures, but with brood to raise the workers need to boost the temperature in the inner nest to 33°C – 35°C, by clustering together and quivering using their large thoracic muscles to produce heat. This requires them to consume an increased amount of food, up to 500g in a week, so we can expect the stores to become depleted more rapidly now.

  • Heft the hives every two week by lifting them at each side, (or weigh them with a spring balance – see BeeNews November 2014 edition for advice about how to do this), and feed only if necessary.
  • If the hive is still well provisioned and you can see bees carrying pollen into the hive, leave the hive alone.
  • If no pollen is being taken into the hive feed fondant or candy, (which can be made from caster sugar and your honey); if pollen is being brought to the hive feed syrup.
  • If you have any doubts about the level of stores, a slab of fondant placed over one of the holes in the crown board is good insurance.
  • Pollen patties can be given at the end of the month on top of the frames. See BeeNews February 2012 edition for advice about how to make patties.
  • Do not stop feeding until there is a steady flow of nectar and pollen into the hive.
  • If the air temperature is over 10°C and the sun is shining you should expect to see a few bees venturing out in search of pollen or making a cleansing flight.

The bees will need water close to the hive.

  • Make sure there is a suitable water source. This can be a plastic container, filled with peat or wood shavings and water. An old car tyre laid flat also makes a good watering place. See BeeNews November 2012 edition for making a DIY water station. Any source should be about 10 m from the hive so that it is not contaminated by bees during their ‘cleansing’ flights.
  • Check all hives for activity.

If most hives are active but one appears inactive, inspect this hive to see if the colony is dead. Any hive which has died should be shut down and if possible removed from the apiary.

  • Ensure all hive entrances are clear, remove any dead bees and any snow.
  • If you treated with oxalic acid and monitored the varroa drop, the tray can be removed to assist ventilation.
  • However, the queen will almost certainly have started laying by now, so you may prefer to leave the tray in place to help keep the brood nest temperature raised. Remember to clean the tray regularly.
  • It is also important during February, if weather permits, to clean your hive floor or consider changing it for a fresh floor, especially if it is a solid floor. But remember to ensure the brood box does not chill, so do the cleaning or changing as quickly as possible, and it is best to have an assistant to help with lifting.
  • Check there are no leaks into your hive. Damp is dangerous, leading to chilled brood and mouldy comb.
  • Continue to check for the unwanted attention of the green woodpecker. They can be a particular nuisance if the ground is too hard for them to find ants.
  • February is often the most convenient time to relocate hives in the apiary that need moving more than 3 feet. If you move the colony after a week when the weather has been too poor for flying, then you can re-site the hive beyond the normal 3 feet restriction. The bees will re-learn their new location when they do emerge.
  • Complete cleaning and making equipment and new frames ready for the season.

Remember if you must open the hive beyond simply checking fondant stores over a crownboard, do it on a warmer day with minimal disturbance, (+13°C is the preferred temperature).

On warmer days the bees will still be housekeeping with mortuary bees removing dead bees and detritus from the hive…. so, make sure the entrances and mouse guards (if used) are clear even if there is no snow/ice around.

With brood already in the many colonies you may wish to buy or, prepare ‘pollen patties’ to help the colony feed the early brood. This is essentially an insurance policy against poor weather preventing pollen collection. Once started, feeding pollen may need to be  continued until there is a good flow of nectar and pollen into the hive. Click HERE to read how to make your own pollen patties and use them in your hives.

February is also the time to tidy up the shed, clean your equipment, prepare new frames and order supplies otherwise, you run the risk of panic in March! Surplus and no longer needed equipment can be cleaned up and put into our Auction in April,

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – January 2022

RBKA OnLine No.36 – What is killing honey bees?

Video recording of a talk from Dr Jamie Ellis, of Florida University, in which he reveals that each of us already know the answers to the question … and provides new sources of information to help us tackle at least a couple of them.

… from the online Zoom Winter Monthly Meeting conference on Wednesday 1st December, 2021.


Surrey Beekeepers Association 2021 AGM


Members of Kingston Beekeepers Association will be pleased if you can join them at this year’s 143rd SBKA Annual General Meeting at 2pm on Saturday the 4th December. 

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – November 2021

Waitrose branches nominate RBKA for Donations

This quarter, quite independently, both Horley and Dorking branches of Waitrose nominated Reigate Beekeepers to be shortlisted as a potential beneficiary of shares of their branch’s Communities Matters fund.

Notification came in October that our nominations had been approved and Reigate Beekeepers were being awarded with donations of:

£333 (from Waitrose, Horley)


£350 (from Waitrose Dorking) 

Chairman Richard Bradfield was delighted to receive the presentation cheque at the Waitrose store in Horley. on the 28th October. Our Treasurer will be relieved to know that a ‘real’ cheque was also provided by Elaine Crame – the Waitrose Horley Community Matters Champion.

Hon Secretary Gill Simpson, was equally delighted to receive (just) the real cheque at the Waitrose store in Dorking on the 30th October …  providing a whole new meaning to the Waitrose Click – Collect signage … see photo below.

In both cases, Reigate Beekeepers had been shortlisted by the branches due to our relevance to the Environment theme that the Waitrose Community Matters scheme is currently focussing upon..

This welcome donation follows Waitrose Dorking, in July, having also chosen Reigate Beekeepers to receive £333 from their summer £3000 ‘Give a Little Love’ scheme to help local causes.

Some may also recall that three years ago, during our 2018 Beekeeping and Honey Show, the manger of the Waitrose Dorking store presented Reigate Beekeepers with a donation from their Green Token scheme during our Honey Show in Dorking.

Representatives from both Dorking and Horley branches of Waitrose have been invited to visit the Henfold Apiary one evening during our 2022 Summer season to be shown around our facilities, meet members and take in look inside some hives.

Thank You Waitrose & Partners.

Winter Talks Programme 2021/22 Schedule


Our RBKA On-Line Winter Talks Programme commenced in October … with monthly Evening Wednesday meetings either via online Zoom or in the pavilion at Henfold Apiary … every first Wednesday of the month through to and including March 2022




Wednesday October 6th (via Zoom).

A talk by Dr Joe Woodgate

Queen Mary University of London

– Do drone congregation areas really exist?

… What can radar tracking tell us about drone congregation areas?

Wednesday November 3rd from 7:30pm at Henfold Apiary

RBKA Annual General Meeting

Honey Show Awards

Presentation of Qualification Certificates.

Wednesday December 1st from 7:00pm via Zoom

A talk by Professor Jamie Ellis

University of Florida

– What is killing our bees

… and what can we do about it?

Wednesday January 5th from 7:00pm via Zoom

A talk by Professor Patricia Wiltshire

– Pollen and Spores:

their importance in criminal investigation

Wednesday, February 2nd from 7:00pm via Zoom

A talk by Dr Norman Carreck,

University of Sussex

– IPM and varroa control

Each RBKA OnLine ‘meeting’ will commence promptly at the scheduled time, proceeded only by a very few minutes of general notices and announcements. Do aim to log into the Zoom conference at last 5 to 10 minutes before the published start time to ensure you are not ‘crowded out’ by others of the 100 participant limit, and to ensure video & audio settings are working OK … and to not miss any announcements and introductions.

All event details and timings remain subject to amendment at short notice. Keep in touch by referring back to the Members Website. 

Wednesday March 2nd from 7:00pm at Henfold Apiary

Part 1: Presentation by Steve Riley,

from Westerham Branch of Kent Beekeepers,

– Non-Treatment for Varroa … an update.

Following up on Steve’s talk to us in 2019

Part 2: An informal “Gathering” of Members

–  Topical issues discussed in open forums.

NOTE – this will be a real meeting in the Henfold Pavilion, following appropriate Covid protocols, and will not be recorded. 

Guildford Division invite you to book for an evening lecture on 1st December 2021

Guildford Beekeepers + RHS

present a Christmas Lecture by

Professor Dave Goulson

– at the new RHS Wisley Hilltop Science Centre –

Tickets £20 each inc. complimentary mince pies & mulled wine.

based on his new book:

Silent Earth


Click anywhere below to open pdf file …

BBKA Module 2 – Study Group

Ever thought about how to produce better quality honeybee products & what our bees forage on?

Then join a Joint Surrey BKA Division Study Group.

16 brave souls from both Croydon and Reigate BKAs have already teamed up to study for the BBKA Module 2 – Honeybee Products & Forage. 

Keith Mackie writes …

The intention is to undertake the exam in March 2022, but you don’t have to if you don’t want to, and don’t be shy about coming along and joining the study group on Zoom.  The plan is to do fortnightly study groups on a Monday, from 8pm till 9:30pm, working through the syllabus of this module. 

Debbie Burney, Alexandra Collins, and myself are coordinating the groups progress through the theory of this course, culminating in what we hope will be most of the group taking the exam.  We plan that different members of the group, will present sections of the syllabus to the others in the group; to share the work and as a group work together using shared research notes. 

Croydon BKA (CBKA) has kindly funded the BBKA correspondence course & Zoom facility for the Study Group.  The correspondence course provides sample exam papers to be completed and submitted to an outside assessor for marking and annotation, providing a wonderfully complete set of answers which can then be used for revision and exam practice.  The revision / study notes will be compiled to create an array of study material which will then be available to CBKA’s members for their use in future years. 

It was discovered this week that an updated syllabus is being launched for the 2022 exams, with extra points added! These include the development history of extraction equipment, management of bee colonies for honey production from specialist crops, honey granulation and the properties and use of honey for wound care. 

The first three fortnightly sessions will cover the following topics:

  1. 18-Oct-21 (Week 1) – Debbie Burney will cover the main requirements of the current UK statutory regulations affecting the handling, preparation for sale, hygiene, composition, labelling and weight of packs of honey.
  2. 01 Nov-21 (Week 2)  – Alexandra Collins will talk about the methods used to uncap honeycombs and separating the wax cappings from honey, types of honey extractor available and their methods of use, including the history and design of the equipment, management of bee colonies for home production from specialist crops such as OSR, ling heather, along with straining and settling of honey after extraction.
  3. 15-Nov-21 (Week 3) – Anna Slade will cover the storage of honey, together with the preparation and bottling of liquid, naturally granulated, soft set and seeded honey as well as the preparation of section, cut-comb and chunk honey for sale, together with the theory of the process of honey granulation.

Further weeks will cover general topics such as the constituents of honey and beeswax, the use of other bee products, the main nectar and pollen producing plants of the UK and so on. 

The BBKA exams can now be taken at home under strict guidelines as well as at exam centres, which means that no travel time or costs need be incurred.  Those who took Modules earlier this year will be interested to know that the computer portal which ensured no internet access during the exam has been updated, requiring a new set of software protocols to be installed, but we can worry about this in the new year!,

Keith Mackie

AHAT Alert – 8th October 2021

The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of an Asian hornet in the Ascot area of Berkshire, after it was reported by a member of the public and has initiated a contingency response.

This from the NBU …
Dear Beekeeper, The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of an Asian hornet in the Ascot area of Berkshire, after it was reported by a member of the public and has initiated a contingency response. What Can I Do? Familiarise yourself with the Asian Hornet:Monitor your apiaries using monitoring traps:
Information on the Asian hornet pages of BeeBase at your BeeBase records are up to date with apiary locations and contact information. Log in at to check your details Report any suspect sightings with your smart phone or tablet, by using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app: for Android and iOS at: email to: Please include as much information as possible in your email; where you saw the sighting, your name and contact details and if possible an image. Please note that during outbreaks the NBU receive high numbers of calls and emails. Therefore, we ask that you use the information given above to report sightings. Where possible please use the app or electronic form. We thank you in advance for your co-operation and continued vigilance. To unsubscribe to these updates, please log in and update your preferences.

Jim Wynn, RBKA’s AHAT Leader, and Surrey BKA’s AHAT Coordinator comments …

“And just when I thought we had got away with it for another year ! …

Asian Hornet identified in Ascot

Please pass this message round, be vigilant and pay attention to correct identification.

… but I wish we could change the name to yellow legged hornet to save some of the false sightings.”

This is the story so far

  Mainland UKConfirmed sightingsNests destroyed
2020 11
So far 20211


If you haven’t downloaded the Asian Hornet Watch app yet – then please do. 

Jim Wynn


REMEMBER if a sighting is suspected, first inform the RBKA AHAT member via and be able to report it to the national team through one of the methods below:

1 The ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app, available free for both Apple and Android
2 Via a web form
3 Emailing
4 Phoning your nearest action team member found here

More information here

Reigate Beekeepers AGM – AGENDA – 7:30pm 3rd Nov 2021

A Division of the Surrey Beekeepers Association
Founded 1879
Charity No 1026386


7:30pm  Wednesday  3rd November 2021

at Henfold Copse Pavilion.       


(click here for all available documentation) 

  1.  Welcome and address
  2. Apologies for absence
  3. Minutes of the AGM held on Wednesday 4th November 2020 (click here)
  4. Matters arising from the minutes
  5. Chairman’s report – on RBKA website (click here)
  6. Treasurer’s report – summary on RBKA website (click here), details to be presented at the AGM
  7. Other Officers’ reports – on RBKA website (click here)  includes:Membership & Education
  8. Election of President, Officers and Committee Members
    • President – Mr Mike Hill
    • Chairman – Mr Richard Bradfield
    • Honorary Secretary – Mrs Liz Jackson (Sole nomination received)
    • Honorary Treasurer – Mr Vince Gallo
    • Honorary Membership Secretary – Mr Simon Ford (Sole nomination received)
    • Committee Members – Mrs Sue Hickson, Mr Bob Maurer, Ms Celia Perry, Mrs Gill Simpson,  Mr Jim Wynn
  9. Nomination of Trustee to Surrey Beekeepers Association – Mr Richard Bradfield
  10. Appointment of Representative to Surrey BKA – Mr Jim Wynn
  11. Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts – to be announced
  12. Questions from Members
  13. Presentations of Awards from the Honey Show and Examination Certificates
  14. Bees Abroad* – update of 2021 donations made via Just Giving.
  15. Any other business
  16. Date of next AGM – Wednesday 2nd November 2022

*Bees Abroad – The 2020 on-line donation appeal for Bees Abroad was able to be conducted efficiently via the Just Giving process. Therefore, a fresh appeal has been set up on Just Giving for 2021 in place of the raffle ticket sales and a prize draw. The opening date of the appeal will be announced on the Members Website, and a closing date agreed during the AGM. Cash donations may also be made at the AGM itself for adding to the online donations. A final total for this 2021 appeal will be announced during the December winter meeting on Wednesday 1st December 2021.

Officers and other written reports will be published on the RBKA Members website within at least 7 days of the AGM

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – October 2021

October in Your Apiary

Honeybee on Ivy Flower

Remaining ivy (Hedera Helix) nectar flow will be the final crop for topping up winter stores. Despite spells of sometimes heavy showers and dropping temperatures, as long as the weather permits foraging, the bees will collect both pollen & nectar from ivy.

The honey produced is high in glucose and will rapidly crystallize in the comb … and it has a very bitter taste for human consumption!

The first half of October is probably the last chance to combine a small colony with a larger colony. Small colonies are vulnerable to cold winters since, they have problems maintaining an adequate temperature within the winter cluster.

Hopefully, by now, any 2021 Summer honey crop has been extracted, food stores have been replenished by feeding a thick sugar syrup & you have have completed varroa treatment…… it’s getting very late!

Generally the recommended stores required for the Winter is 40-50 lbs (18-22 kg), and a BS brood frame contains 5 lbs (2.2 kg) of stores, so your bees require at least eight to ten frames of stores. [Read more…]

Membership Fees 2021/22

The 2020/21 membership year has come to an end and all memberships now need to be renewed.

You will have received an email prompting you to renew that provides an on-line form to submitt your response.

We encourage you to do that as early as possible to ensure that we can keep the records properly updated.

The on-line form provides you with the opportunity to change your category of membership via a dropdown box on the form. Below is a table (click on it to open full screen) showing the membership categories available, which have been modified slightly since last year. They include a specific intermediate class for ‘Trainees’, redefines the ‘Associate’ class in-line with BBKA terminology and provides a single ‘Friends’ class for non-beekeeping family members and friends etc.

Please contact Sue Hickson if you wish to check which category you need, or to correct any mis-selection you may make.

You may notice that the fees have increased a little from last year. This reflects slight increases by BBKA and in BeeCraft subscriptions. There have been no changes to SBKA’s charge, or the Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI) basic policy premium.

Once again, this year there is no change to RBKA’s very modest Annual Fee. That is the ONLY element of the total Membership Fee you pay that RBKA retains. (Less than in the pile of coins in the thumbnail image for this post!)

The on-line form provides the opportunity to add to the total Membership Fee with an additional voluntary donation to RBKA.

The final sum then displayed on the form will be the amount to then pay by Bank Transfer or cheque please. Details of how to pay are provided in the on-line form.

Please note that whilst we claim Gift Aid on donations and some elements of Membership fees, Gift Aid is not claimed on the Bee Craft subscription element.

If you are not intending to renew for any reason please email Sue to let her know so that we don’t keep chasing.

90th National Honey Show 2021- See You There

International Classes and

Autumn Beekeepers Convention

Thursday 21- Saturday 23 October 2021

Fantastic Programme of Lectures by Kirsten Traynor, Jo Widdicombe,

Paul Hurd, Mike Edwards, Lynfa Davies, Vince Gallo, Torban Schiffer

Live Streaming

For 2021

Special 2021 Show Schedule of classes

Last date for early class entries 6 September

All others 4th October. No late entries 2021

Show Admission pre-booking essential

Book at the NHS website shop 1st Sept – 11 Oct.

Spectacular display of entries

Workshops * Honey Sales * Trade Hall

Information * New innovations

Come along, join us and enjoy The Show


Surrey Honey Show – Report & Show Results

Reigate Division win the

Vincent Challenge Cup

With Trevor Keast leading the charge, a small but effective team of Reigate Members pipped Kingston and Weybridge members to achieving the most points across all Classes at the Surrey Honey Show on Saturday 11th September.

Vincent Challenge Cup returns to Reigate for the first time since 1978.

Trevor’s magnificent exhibits at the show also earned him the Blue Ribbon for his ‘Two Jars of Soft of Soft Set Honey’; the Ken Reed Trophy for being 1st in the ‘Piece of Beeswax’ class; and the Composite Cup for the ‘Surrey Member with the Most Points’; and . His splended 51 points were achieved with six 1st’s, one 2nd, one 3rd, one VHC, one HC, & one C.

Meanwhile, the supporting team of Richard Bradfield, Bob Maurer and Frank Miszler, as well as both Holmwood (Vigo) and Newdigate (Henfold) Apiaries, between them picked up 36 points with one 1st, two 2nd’s, three 3rd’s, two VHC’s, & one HC.

The show, staged in Reigate’s pavilion at Henfold attracted 155 entries by 37 entrants from 7 of Surrey’s 8 Divisions, earning it the status of a Blue Ribbon event, and was judged by Mike & Liz Duffin.

Chief Steward, Mike Axford (Kingston Division) gave a BIG THANK YOU to all who entered and helped make the show such a huge success, and especially to the Surrey Show committee who put in lots of time to make sure everything came together on the day.

See the photo gallery at the foot of this page.

[Read more…]