Chairman’s View – June 2022

 

As we celebrate the Queens Platinum Jubliee, here’s hoping our own colonies’ queens can demonstrate more longevity than has been the norm recently. I am hearing, and seeing at Henfold, that strong colonies with access to plentiful forage were filling their supers early during May. Are we now already into a ‘June Gap’? What prospects for a summer flow? Answers please in the Comments Box at the foot of these ramblings

Wednesdays at Henfold have been busy, with an average of over 65 attendees each evening since mid April, and many new Beginners and visitors. My thanks to Andrew Buchanan and Simon Ford (wearing his Membership Sec hat) who have between them been keeping track of who is doing what, where … and why.  Simon is also gently (so far) chasing up some of our newer attendees for anticipated but still awaited membership fees.

I am delighted to report that RBKA have received another extremely generous donation from the Lord Hanson Foundation that will be put to good use in further developing  and maintaining our facilities at the Henfold Apiary.

Maggie Bourne and Vince Gallo are being kept busy in the QM Stores … do please consider that they  want to be able close-up shop and (also) leave at a sensible time.  The QM store aims to be open from 6pm during the Wednesday. If you are going onto the hives after the ‘shout-outs’, please request and pay for equipment and materials to take away for your own bees promptly before 6:30, so that orders can be prepared and ready for you to simply collect when you return from the bees.

Good to see Hive Teams of Beginners, Basics and now also Improvers, all very active & engaged. Thanks to Colin Clement and all the Beginners & Basics  Mentors and to Keith Mackie and the Improvers Mentors.  Not long now before the Basic Assessment candidates are assessed in July (9th & 16th), and a reminder that a Mock Basic session is being provided on the 18th this month that is very well worth candidates attending.

Congratulations to Trevor Keast upon the publication in this June’s BBKANews of his successes in the November BBKA Examinations … a Distinction for Module 6 – Honeybee Behaviour and achieving the Intermediate Theory Certificate and the Qualified Beekeeping Certificate. 

Congratulations also to our BeeNews editor Sue Scates on this months fine bumper edition. By way of an early heads-up … Sue will be away travelling from Jan-March 2023 so Sue and I are are needing to find someone keen to either take over from Sue during January next year permanently, or temporarily … either until her return, or to subsequently share the role from April 2023. If interested, please chat with myself or Sue.

One further appeal to close on is for ANY spare honey in street legal labelled jars that you could and would like to sell. We are seeing huge demand for local honey at the village fairs, fetes and pageants that RBKA have been attending so far this year. And congratulations to Karen Ford for managing the stall and display at the recent Cowpie event; achieving nearly £1000 of sales of honey and other hive products.  Very happy to sell Members honey alongside RBKA honey at upcoming Shows and Fete  We can also do with more volunteers to help on or even run our stall and displays.     

Richard Bradfield
Chairman
1st June 2022
mob: 07923 600266
richard.d.bradfield@btinternet.com

 

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – June 2022

 

June In Your Apiary

DSC_0146

Hawthorne in Flower

With May having taken a backwards into early Spring like weather on occasions, it could be difficult to believe that June 1st is the first day of Summer. Interspersed with the odd warm day, another unseasonal damp and cool May has ended with northerly winds and thunder storms. Coming out of Winter, strong colonies would have been best placed to make the most of sporadic foraging opportunities. Weaker colonies will struggle, or worse. Check for useable stores and prepare to feed when otherwise expecting to be adding supers. For much of June, daytime temperatures should (eventually) rise to low 20’s.

Any returning hot weather will bring on the colonies. They would have been able to take full advantage of early spring flowering and should have rapidly occupied available space in their hives. With the consequence that the bees thoughts will have turned to swarming, and for the unwary amongst us, those thoughts became action.

Hopefully, despite the damp and cool  May, you should have managed to get into reasonably regular weekly inspections  so where swarming preparations were found, you have been able to divert their attention.

In a strong nectar flow it’s essential to provide space for the rapidly growing colony. by adding an additional super when the first is half filled. Hive congestion, particularly in a strong nectar flow, is a trigger for swarming preparation. Strong colonies filled up to 3 supers last month!

[Read more…]

Chairman’s View – May 2022

 

The weather we have just experienced during April has a lot to answer for this year.

After initially plunging us back into a dank, dismal and damp start, the sun finally broke though. But the northerly and easterly winds took more than the edge off the  warming rays. I suspect that those of us with hives residing in screened sun traps might have been seeing their bees fairing a little better than those with hives in more open settings.

After a false start, with the intended 1st meeting on the 6th April having been cautiously postponed by a week due to low temperatures, strong winds, overcast skies and the threat of heavy rain, we finally got going on the13th.

Many of the ~70 members who will have since attended and participated in the three full (literally) weekly Summer meetings during April, may have been aware of Jim Wynn’s absence from Henfold, and our media channels. Very regrettably for RBKA, Jim has for personal reasons stood down from the Committee and from his role as our Education Programme Manager. Whilst stepping back from these two roles, Jim remains a strong and active supporter of Reigate Beekeepers and will continue to help Mary in her management of our Mickleham Apiary. Jim has also undertaken to remain as Reigate’s AHAT Leader, as well as the Surrey BKA AHAT Coordinator; should the need for our action against the Yellow Legged Hornet arise. 

Another role that Jim had undertaken for the past two years was that of Reigate Representative to the Surrey Beekeepers Association. We need to maintain that representation by a Committee member. Therefore, I am happy to announce that Gill Simpson has agreed to being co-opted into that role. It is one that I, as a Surrey Council member myself, cannot undertake because as an elected trustee of Surrey BKA, I am supposed to ‘leave my Reigate hat at the door’ when attending Council meetings. I am sure you will join me welcoming Gill to the role of briefing Surrey on the activities of the division and informing the meeting about any important divisional issues that need input from the Council.

The Education of prospective, new and not so new beekeepers has always been at the core of our key obligations as a division of Surrey BKA to:  “(1) Promote and further the craft of beekeeping and the science of bees and their pathogens, to the public good, and to (2) Advance the education of the public in the environmental and economic importance of bees.”

Since being presented with and taking on the challenge of Education Programme Manager at the commencement of the Covid-19 pandemic; Jim’s educational experience, enthusiasm, ground breaking, technical and hitherto tireless inputs, have been enormously appreciated by myself, Committee Officers & his fellow Committee Members; as well as, I am sure, by all RBKA’s Members. Quite how and who manages the Education Programme in the longer term will be being considered during the months ahead.       

Meanwhile, whilst we are regrettably without a Manager of the Education Programme; the content itself was already falling into place and is also now underway. Actual delivery of the elements of the Program are being variously either provided by or overseen by the likes of Simon Ford, Vince Gallo, Colin Clement, Keith Mackie & Anna Slade, along with supporting hive tutors and welcome inputs from our Master Beekeepers. Whilst Andrew Buchanan has recommenced his keen involvement in keeping a tally of all-comers to the Wednesday evening meetings; tracking who is doing what, where and to what end!

The Basic’s preparation on-line Study Group and an Intermediate’s Queen Rearing project commenced early in April. Beginners hive teams and an Intermediate hive team commenced practical sessions by mid April and an Intermediate Module 1 on-line study Group is about to commence this month, as a shared venture with Croydon division.   

As I prepare these notes, the Reigate Beekeepers Auction of Bees and Beekeeping Equipment is yet to take place. With the Catalogue already being declared FULL with some 220 Lots, I trust that all will have has gone as smoothly as rounding up, receiving, identifying, auctioning and seeing-off that quantity of ad-hoc items can be expected to go … and that Vince Gallo has survived the experience! I will be sorry to have missed the bacon filled baps provided by Sue Hickson & Michelle Keast & co. Instead, I will be in the Highlands tucking into hot toasted, marmalade covered ‘Butteries’, that my Scottish cousins and hosts are assuring me are a local ‘health food delicacy’ on account of their fruit content. Hmmmm.

At this point in my script, I come across the crack in the record.

I need to reiterate appeals for more volunteers to not only help with, but in some cases, take some ownership of and lead the running of an RBKA stall at a Local Village show during the summer.  Such leaders will have plenty of support and guidance, but those providing the support cannot also be expected to be actively running ALL the shows themselves.  If at all possible, do please offer to take a lead role in running one of our invited appearances at a local show near you. Especially when the sun shines, such events are a real joy in which to participate … talking about your own favourite hobby with an inquisitive public.  What’s not to like.

Richard Bradfield
Chairman
1st May 2022
mob: 07923 600266
richard.d.bradfield@btinternet.com

 

May in Your Apiary

May Blossom
(Crataegus Monogynus)

After yet another ‘unusual’ April, with a warm start and cool end and below average rainfall throughout, we may need to excuse our bees for not quite behaving as anticipated. Although the cold daytime breezes and off/on sunshine may not hold back the expansion activities of strong colonies, weaker colonies could still be struggling.

If your colonies were not so strong going into winter. Requeening, uniting or wholesale replacement may well be the order of the day.  

So, expect your surviving stronger colonies to be doing quite well thank you and bursting at the seams … unless you are already on top of their management. Whilst any weaker colonies may be struggling … particular after the more recent dip in temperatures.

Don’t be Caught Out

If you are not already, pay particular attention to swarming in May. This month is usually the month in the beekeeping year when activity accelerates very quickly, perhaps doubly so this May. If you are not well prepared, you will be caught out!

The first rape crops and fruit blossom should be in evidence, and when warm enough, available storage space will be being filled with nectar… competing with space the Queen will need for laying.

Strong colonies will have expanded significantly during April whilst weaker colonies could still be struggling.  Brace yourselves for a busy ‘swarm season’. [Read more…]

Spring Bee Health Clinic – 30th April 2022

The next Reigate (Members) Bee Health Clinic will take place on Saturday the 30th April in the Mickleham Village Hall  – same day and place as our Auction event – but from 10am until about 2pm.

This is an adult bee disease clinic, and will concentrate on Nosema spp. If time permits, Acarine testing will also be demonstrated, so members can see how it is done.

Testing your bees is an important part of your bee husbandry… so do ensure you take full advantage of this opportunity.

Deliver your (labelled) samples of (dead) bees, with payment, either …

  • to the Village Hall in Mickleham from 10 am until 2.00pm on Saturday 30th April, when they will be ‘checked in’.
  • to Henfold Copse during the Summer Evening Meeting on the 27th April and leave them in a box provided.
  • to a fellow Beekeeper, willing and able to bring them either to Henfold on Wednesday the 27th or to Mickleham on Saturday the 30th.
  • to Bob Maurer’s ‘drop box’ by prior arrangement ONLY by the 29th April. at 19, Fairlawn Drive, Redhill, Surrey, RH1 6JP (bob@maurer.uk.com  07740 707500)

Samples must be individual labelled with your Name, your contact Phone Number and a Sample ID reference to the colony/hive from which the sample was taken.

See the advice below about taking samples of bees from you hives. [Read more…]

National Honey Show Ukraine Emergency Appeal

The National Honey Show has set up

a Just Giving Page to show support

for Ukrainian beekeeping friends.

Please give generously for the Disasters and Emergency Committee to benefit all Ukrainians.

It’s not just about the money. The number of donors sends a strong message of support to show Ukrainian beekeepers that we are thinking of them.

Do please help towards getting to over 500 donors …

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/National-Honey-Show

BBKA – Winter Colony Survival – 2021/22 Survey

From: Leigh Sidaway, BBKA General Manager

Dear BBKA Member,
We are carrying out the BBKA overwinter colony survival survey for the winter 2021-2022.
The survey period is from 1st October 2021 until 1st April 2022. Please complete and return it before the 30th April.
All responses will be kept in confidence.
Many thanks for your time and support.The survey is very simple and only takes 5 minutes.

Here is the link to the survey:

https://forms.gle/pknsaEZZXaTTZjkT7

 

 

FINAL Catalogue – Reigate Auction of Bees & Beekeeping Equipment

The catalogue of Registered Auction Lots has grown.

Click the PDF doc …

or   HERE

… browse now to see what’s been registered for auction and plan for what you might like to bid for on the day.

No* more Lots to be added.

Lot Registration is now CLOSED

Get set for Saturday the 30th April, at the Mickleham apiary and Village Hall.

Key Dates and Timings:

  • * Contact Vince Gallo by the 16th April if you wish to sell bees. 
  • ALL goods should be registered for Auction by Tuesday 26th April. 
  • A Catalogue of Lots will be was available by 29th 15th April from our website(s).
  • Lots to be received on site between 8:30 and 10:30 on Auction Day.
  • Viewing will be from 11:00am on the day of the Auction.
  • Auction Commences at 12 noon on Saturday 30th April.
  • Pay for successful purchases once all bidding is complete.
  • All bought and unsold items to be removed from site by 5:00pm. 

[Read more…]

BBKA Module 1 – Study Group

After the success of the recent joint Module 2 “Honey Bee Products and Forage” study group, involving both Reigate and Croydon BKA (divisions of Surrey BKA), a few participants got the bug, and now feel inspired to set up another study group, this time for Module 1, “Honey Bee Management”.

Once again, this will be a joint venture between Croydon and Reigate BKAs, and is supported and endorsed by both Associations.

Anna Slade writes …

The objective of this study group is to offer the opportunity to study, and gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of: hive types; selecting apiaries; prevention and detection of swarming; methods of swarm control; seasonal management; signs of queen status – these are just a few of the topics covered in the syllabus.  

Who is Module 1 ideally for? Well, anyone who has kept bees for more than one year, and preferably has completed (or is working towards) the Basic Practical Assessment (BPA), is welcome to participate in this group. Module 1 complements the BPA, but is best completed afterwards, building on the foundations of the BPA to widen and deepen the knowledge gained. It’s a logical step for those who have taken their BPA to move on to modular learning, and many undertake Module 1 first, although the modules can be taken in any order (except for Module 8, which has to be taken last). In this study group, we intend to complete the Module 1 syllabus in time to take the exam in November 2022, although there is no obligation to sit the exam.

Those also taking the BPA need not be too concerned to the depth Module 1 goes into for their preparation for the practical exam; however there are many synergies between the Module 1 syllabus and the BPA, so your practical learning will complement your theoretical learning in Module 1. 

There is NO financial cost to you as a participant, as long as you are a current member of either Reigate or Croydon BKA. However there is a cost in terms of your time and your participation in assisting group learning, whilst also respecting others in the group, as those leading, presenting or assisting are all volunteers, each one at a different stage in their beekeeping journey, and many juggling full-time jobs and families.

The course arrangements are as follows:

  • Weekly meetings on Tuesday evenings at 8pm, on Zoom (cost to be met by Croydon BKA), led by Anna Slade
  • The first meeting will be on Tuesday 17th May at 8pm
  • Zoom recordings and study notes available for review for those who can’t make the weekly meetings, or are busy with their bees!
  • Shared participation in a correspondence course (cost to be met by Reigate BKA)
  • Access to resources on Dropbox (courtesy of Keith Mackie), where we can share presentations, study notes, past exam papers, and resources from previous groups
  • A WhatsApp group (managed by the Module 1 Leadership Team) where we can ask for, and share, advice and support, including from RBKA Master Beekeepers and more experienced members
  • Access to study materials from RBKA and CBKA libraries

If you are interested, or have any questions, please contact Keith Mackie on 07786 024325 or keith@mrmackie.com, Debbie Burney on 07810 172938 or debbie@mrsburneysbeeclub.co.uk, or Anna Slade on 07947 431053 or annaslade@virginmedia.com.

Thank you for your interest, and we look forward to studying with you!

Kind regards

The Module 1 Leadership Team (formed of RBKA and CBKA members)

 

 

Weekly Meetings Start Postponed to 13th April

Given the weather forecast for Wednesday, 6th April, it has been decided by Chairman (Richard Bradfield ) and Education Program Manager (Jim Wynn) to move our first meeting of the season by a week to the 13th of April.

Hopefully, it will be warmer so we can open up colonies by then!
So, see you all at 6:30pm on the 13th.

However, Henfold will be open tomorrow for Tutors or others planning or arranging up-coming events if they fancy or need a chat – but we won’t be opening colonies.

Otherwise see you on the 13th.

Chairman’s View – April 2022

 

Increasingly, it appears that what used to be regarded as unusual swings between wet, dry, warm and cold spring weather, has become the new normal. So once again, we need to be extra vigilant in monitoring the status and needs of colonies that might have made it thus far through the otherwise mild winter. Surviving the winter is only half the story. Thriving through Spring is even more essential.

For my part, I need to put my hands up to declaring that my single colony, itself a captured 2021 summer swarm of unknown pedigree, looked strong going into winter; but was found to have dwindled away to nothing by early this March.  So I for one will be starting again afresh this year … again.

You will all no doubt be busy from this month with actual beekeeping, having hopefully used some of the past few months to clean and prepare and restock equipment for the season that starts NOW.

If you are still looking for extra equipment or find you have spare equipment … our returning ‘RBKA Auction of Bees and Beekeeping Equipment’ on the 30th April should be a must to attend.  If you are wanting to off load surplus equipment, you need to Register lots as soon as possible … HERE 

But the Auction cannot and will not happen without many members helping our Auction Manager and Auctioneer, Vince Gallo. Some volunteers are required during the preceding days, but a good number are essential on the day itself. If there are enough volunteers, then helping need not prevent participating as bidders as well. Please contact myself or Vince directly as soon as possible to offer to help please.

And while on the subject of volunteers….  the summer season of beekeeping also heralds the start of local village shows. Many such events invite RBKA to attend with a display stand from which we can promote the Honey Bee, the craft of Beekeeping, RBKA, and sell a little of our honey, or members honey, to an always appreciative audience. But, guess what, although guidance, advice, equipment, leaflets, cash float, card reader and honey stocks can be provided; we still need volunteers. In the first place to take on the management of a stall at an event, and then a few more volunteers to help the stall manager operate the stall during the event. Already, we have 7 bookings that we have accepted. The first is on May 2nd, not that far off now; with others during the rest of May, June & July. If we cannot adequately resource an event, then we will need to withdraw from it. This will be deeply disappointing for both RBKA and the village shows.  At the time of typing this, none of the events have allocated managers. Do please take look at the events listed on this website under EVENTS > Shows & Fetes. And then please contact our External Shows Coordinator, Geoff Pye, for more details of an event that might be near you.  

I now look forward to greeting and meeting many of you, including some new faces from the 2022 Winter Course, at Henfold on the 6th April for the first of our summer season weekly meetings.  These meetings will then run right through to the beginning of September.  

Returning to the topic of weather, it currently looks as if we may not be able to open up hives for regular inspections on the 6th if the air temperature is too low or a passing shower of rain (or snow!) interferes with plans. But do not be put off, Jim Wynn will however still be able to organise Trainees, Beginners, Basics Candidates and Tutors into hive groups, ready for when we can lift the lids. 

And of course we will all have the opportunity to share news of each others tales of woe and successes, over cups of tea, or coffee with biscuits.  Just don’t ask me how my bees are! 

Richard Bradfield
Chairman
1st April 2022
mob: 07923 600266
richard.d.bradfield@btinternet.com

 

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – April 2022

 

April in Your Apiary

Flowering Currant

Flowering Currant

April usually signals the start of the new beekeeping year as the colony transitions from winter survival to colony renewal and growth. One again,  March has been dryer and untypically warm … despite some forecasts four weeks ago of a generally wet and chilly month. Consequentially many colonies are likely to be well advanced in their “growth” phase, provided their stores have held out or been supplemented by us as needed. The last few days of March will have brought much of that early spring activity to a shivering halt. But any newly laid brood will need the colony’s ongoing attention. 

Weather during April can be highly variable and may impact on the rate of colony growth and the type of beekeeper interventions required.  And it’s the ability to provide timely interventions when required that will be OUR huge challenge this month and for months to come. 

IF YOU NEED HELP inspecting your own colonies due to self isolating requirements, get in touch with RBKA. Check the Who’s Who listing in this website for some contact details.

Weekly inspections, if not already underway, can commence. However, do not open up the hive for anything more than a very quick peer down between the seams of bees, unless the outside temperature is at least 15ºC, otherwise the brood may be chilled.

At the first inspection: [Read more…]

Reigate Auction of Bees & Beekeeping Equipment – 30th April 2022

The date for our annual Auction of Bees and Beekeeping Equipment is set for Saturday the 30th April, at the Mickleham apiary and Village Hall.

Lot Registration is now CLOSED*

Key Dates and Timings:

  • *Contact Vince Gallo by the 16th April if you wish to sell bees. 
  • ALL goods should be registered for Auction by Tuesday 26th April. 
  • A Catalogue of Lots will be was available by 29th 15th April from our website(s).
  • Lots to be received on site between 8:30 and 10:30 on Auction Day.
  • Viewing will be from 11:00am on the day of the Auction.
  • Auction Commences at 12 noon on Saturday 30th April.
  • Pay for successful purchases once all bidding is complete.
  • All bought and unsold items to be removed from site by 5:00pm. 

[Read more…]

Chairman’s View – March 2022

 

The end of the three months of meteorological winter, and commencement of spring on the 1st of March has been heralded by the delightful wide spread sights of blooming daffodils. It is all too sad that hearts remain heavy with the sights of and news from Ukraine. We can only hope for a better spring for all. 

Our ‘beekeeping year’ is more conventionally divided into Winter & Summer seasons, with March being the final ‘semi-dormant’ winter month. As such, this month is the final opportunity to prepare your equipment, and yourselves for April … the first active month of summer beekeeping. Your bees will hopefully be gearing themselves up. Are you going to be ready for what is discovered during those first tentative hive inspections?

During February we were delighted to welcome and listen to Norman Carreck expanding upon his article in the August ’21 BeeCraft, ‘Applying IPM principles to varroa control’. 

With no apologies, the IPM theme is continued for our March Winter Meeting talk, when we will be welcoming back Steve Riley from Westerham Branch of Kent Beekeepers. During December 2019, Steve presented his talk at the Woodhatch Centre, ‘Non-Treatment for Varroa’. An eventual spin-off activity from that talk was the Queen Cage making Workshop run by Vince Gallo in October last year. The Workshop had been postponed from its planned date in April 2020. 

This time Steve will be with us in the pavilion at Henfold to provide an update on his quest for Varroa Resistant bees, and endeavouring to dovetail nicely with Norman’s February presentation (view here).

And being the last Winter meeting, I expect there will be many members wanting to share, face to face (still respectably distanced please) their beekeeping experiences, observations and questions. Not just from the past winter months, but after the past two years of virtual meetings. Therefore, the usual post talk Q&A session will be a more of an informal after-show gathering, with Cheese, Wine and soft drinks provided, in addition to the regular teas, coffees & biscuits.

Some things will not have changed from the distant times of real Winter meetings.  Please sign-in on arrival in the pavilion, and a £2 per head donation towards refreshments will also be requested.

And if you haven’t picked up the message yet … the Winter Meeting on the 2nd March is at Henfold, please aim to arrive from 7pm for a prompt 7:30 start.      

In last month’s Chairman’s View, I made reference to the possibility of courses or projects that you would like to see being considered by RBKA. Especially ideas for which you could perhaps provide a lead role in organising and managing.  Well, I am delighted to report that we have an example of one such project being prepared for launch. 

A long held ambition by many a member to get ‘into’ Queen rearing is set to become a reality as plans are being finalised to repurpose the Vigo Apiary as a ‘Nuc generating’ site. 
A generous donation by Andrew Buchanan of one of his reputed ‘gentle’ colonies to RBKA, has come at a time when the role that our Vigo Farm apiary can usefully provide was being considered. 
Instigated by Colin Clement, this Queen Rearing Project will be overseen by Colin, with Operational activities of a project team being assembled and led by Peter Scroggs at Vigo; meeting during Thursday evenings. Colin & Peter would welcome donations from members of spare Apidias and Nuc boxes to kick start the equipping exercise.
An objective will be for RBKA to become self sufficient in creating viable 3 frame Nucs from known and desirable stock to support our own apiaries, potentially selling surplus stock to members. 

More project ideas, plans … and project leaders welcomed.     

Whist mentioning the ‘selling of bees’, the date of our ‘returning’ real Annual Auction, is provisionally set for Saturday the 30th April, at Mickleham Apiary/Mickleham Village Hall. This is a great opportunity to buy needed and sell surplus equipment and colonies . Full details will be on the Members website by the end of the first week of March. 

I have been a little remiss in not mentioning the great work that Sue Scates has been getting up to EACH month. Well done Sue on the sourcing (chasing) and pulling together BeeNews content and bringing topical items and glorious splashes of colour to our screens. 

I am already now looking forward to a busy RBKA Summer Beekeeping Season ahead, with loads more activity to participate in and celebrate. 

Richard Bradfield
Chairman
1st March 2022
mob: 07923 600266
richard.d.bradfield@btinternet.com

 

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – March 2022

 

March in Your Apiary

Bee Hive & Daffodils

The Start of the Beekeepers Year

March is forecast (by AccuWeather for Reigate) to be wet for much of the first two weeks, with temperatures pretty much stuck between 8 and 11degC for the duration. So maybe not quite the ‘Sunny Spring’ ahead that the last few days of February were providing our bees a taste of.

Egg laying will have been prompted by the mild February. But a down turn in conditions will upset the bees planning. 

Regardless …. the beekeeping season definitely gets underway in March!

March is a critical time for the survival of the colony. Despite the mild February, some colonies may still be close to having consumed all their winter stores or the supplements you may have provided. Colony access to both nectar & pollen is critical in March as winter stores are depleted and pollen is required for the developing brood. Natural replenishment can be restricted if there is a prolonged period of either wet or, cold weather.
The queen should have restarted laying and the size of the colony should grow throughout March., even though the old “winter” bees will be progressively dying off. Smaller colonies will be absolutely dependent on good March weather to facilitate rebuilding their food store. [Read more…]

Condolences – Alec Bourhill

It is with great sadness that during January, news of the passing on 31st December 2021 of Alec Bourhill, aged 95, was received.

Alec, an Honorary Member Of Reigate Beekeepers, served as Vice Chairman in 1992/3, was Treasurer from 2000 to 2004, managed our Buckland Apiary until a just few years ago and only stood down from active participation in the Swarm Collecting team two years ago.

RBKA Members are kindly invited by Linda Heggie (Alec’s daughter) to attend the funeral and/or refreshments afterwards.

Please note that the venue for the reception has changed from Newdigate Village Hall to the Plough at Leigh:

  • 21 February 2022 11am at Randalls Park Crematorium, Leatherhead
  • The Plough Inn at Leigh from 12:30pm for refreshments.

Alec’s family have chosen Bees Abroad as a charity to which donations may be made in his name.

https://www.funeralguide.co.uk/obituaries/96835

Andrew Buchanan recalls…

My abiding memory of Alec is of a shy man who, if asked, was only too pleased to help another beekeeper.

In my case, when I was running some 30 or so colonies and had quite a lot of supers to empty of honey, Alec came to my aid.

He had an extractor which could take about 20 frames at a time and, if I could get my frames to his barn, I could use it – with his help.

Alec was a generous, keen and loyal member of RBKA who enjoyed being involved with our many and varied functions for very many years.

Gill Simpson recalls …

A regular supporter of our annual Beekeeping and Honey Show, Alec would always provide his Tombola Drum for use on our Tombola Gift Stall.

Adam Leitch recalls …

Alec used to do an ‘annual jar run. He picked up all the members jar orders in one go on a big trailer from a supplier in East London and brought them to the apiary (then at Mickleham) for members to collect their individual order. A warm and engaging character.

Richard Bradfield  recalls …

A quiet, well respected friend of RBKA, and a frequent visitor to the Summer evening meetings. During the pandemic lockdowns Alec relied almost exclusively on his printed copies of BeeNews, delivered by post, for his contact with us. When during 2021 we were able to return to Henfold in number, Alec became a very regular visitor; enjoying again the opportunity to sit and watch the activities and to meet with long time friends again.

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – February 2022