Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – December 2022


Chairman’s View – December 2022

My thanks firstly to all members who attended our AGM and Awards presentations on the 2nd November. 

I will spare you an excruciating re-telling of the AGM proceedings themselves; other than to thank Sue Hickson again for her years as a committee member and Membership Secretary; and to again welcome onboard Janet Kay and Colin Clement who both join the committee for the first time with fresh ideas for consideration and discussion. 

Separately, the main points from the AGM will be included in another post … that may or may not be ready to publish by the time you read this.  

Of course, I can well imagine that many of the AGM’s attendees were really only there for BBKA Certificates of achievement or trophies in recognition of their Show Bench skills.  And quite right too. Role calls of winners and photos of those certificates and silverware being presented will also be included in that ‘2022 AGM & Presentation of Awards’ post. 

In my January Chairman’s View posting next month, I intend to set out my own vision of what our Reigate Division possibly could, perhaps should and really ought to be focussing on during 2023. In doing so, the caveats will inevitably be … ‘subject to the support and involvement of more than just the usual suspects’. So, if you are not already one of our ‘usual suspects’, do please be thinking during the next few weeks about how you might be able to make time for more than just the beekeeping, and also become involved in some aspect of RBKA’keeping.

This months December issue of Reigate Beekeeper BeeNews is the last edition that Sue Scates, our Editor (and Producer) for the past two years will … edit and produce. Sue had informed me some months ago of her departure in the new year on a world cruise and did not wish to return to producing BeeNews afterwards. We are fortunate in that Annie Simpkins offered then to take over the role, but only until April due to other commitments.  So, whilst welcoming Annie and looking forward to any metamorphic changes to BeeNews that her  inspirational input might create, we do need to look further forward to finding a longer term replacement, or replacements. I know from my own time as co-editor of BeeNews with Graham Pooley, that sharing the role was very useful. Two sets of ears and eyes gathering content, with mutual sense checking and proof reading of that content, and the ability to cover for each other as deadlines approach.  Meanwhile, many congratulations Sue for the ever colourful and always interesting 24 editions produced. And also for achieving 3rd Place in the NHS Newsletter Class with three representative 2022 editions.

Please do help with RBKA’s annual round of donations to Bees Abroad this year to support the tremendous work they do. Their Christmas Big Give campaign is only open for donations until the 6th December and it would be great if we can exceed the total of donatations made by Reigate Beekeepers in December 2020 by aiming for and even exceeding £2500 this year … BEFORE match funding and Gift Aid is applied!  Click Here for more info

In preparation for the Surrey BKA AGM on the 3rd Dec, all the Chairs of the eight divisions submit Annual Reports about their divisions activities. By way of ducking out of providing here another version of a 2022 RBKA review, my complete report to the Surrey AGM is HERE.

If you would like to view all the Divisions reports, they and all the Surrey AGM documentation, inc the report by SBKA Chairman Bob Maurer,  can be found on the re-energised SBKA website HERE  

Hoping to see at least some of you at Henfold for the Surrey AGM on the 3rd December (from 1:30pm for a 2.00pm start) and a good deal more of you for our face to face December Winter Meeting at Henfold on the 7th December from 7:00pm for a 7:30pm start).

If not, I wish you a happy and peaceful Christmas and see next year.

Wreath Christmas Lights GIF - Wreath Christmas Lights Merry Christmas -  Discover & Share GIFs

Wreath Christmas Lights GIF - Wreath Christmas Lights Merry Christmas -  Discover & Share GIFs


Richard Bradfield


1st December 2022
mob: 07923 600266


December in Your Apiary

Your colonies should by now, be well prepared for the months ahead; housed in weatherproof and pest (e.g. woodpecker and mice) proof hives, with low varroa loadings and ample supplies of winter stores.

Day time temperatures during late November finally began drifting down towards, but not reaching what used to be normal for late November.  With no frosts experienced so far and bees still flying when the sun shines, conditions are far from normal.

So your bees should at least be prepared to hunker down in tight clusters … hopefully near to their stores or your substitute/additional provisions. Your winter preparations for them may not have yet been put to the test. 

December does look set to deliver sub 10 degrees temperatures most days, some night time temperatures dipping below zero and some rain during the 2ns & 3rd week. Otherwise a mix of sunshine and cloud. And January may be more of the same.

Not impossible that queens will continue laying throughout and hamper mid winter treatment plans!

Do keep checking your colonies stores and topping up feed supplies as needed, but avoid disturbing the bees themselves. .  

December may be the quietest month for bees and beekeepers alike, …. but what ARE the bees (or SHOULD the bees be) doing during December ? 

Your bees are in their winter cluster – secure, warm, dry and well-provisioned if you have done our job properly – and will not be seen outside the hive unless on a cleansing mission or to collect water. The population of each hive is now very much diminished, as few as 5,000 bees and these form a cluster with the queen and remaining brood at the centre.

Their priority now is heat conservation and the protection of queen, brood and hence colony through the coldest months of the year. The cluster is formed with an outer shell of bees facing inwards, abdomens outwards, creating an insulating layer against heat loss. The bees can also protrude their stings should an intruder threaten the cluster. Within this outer shell the bees can move freely and can access their stores – vital as they maintain heat in the centre of the cluster by eating honey and vibrating their strong flight muscles. Larvae also produce heat by consuming food.

During a broodless period the temperature within the cluster is generally between 20-30°C and the cluster can expand or contract to maintain this range and to ensure that the outer wall does not get too cold. Bees from the centre will change places with bees from the outer layer to give them some time in the warmth and the cluster will loosen from time to time in order to move to a new area of stores. (Read the December 2016 edition of BeeNews article about the ‘Winter Cluster’ for more insight.)

In very cold weather the bees may be unable to move far enough to reach available stores and can perish through isolation starvation.

Around New Year there is often a broodless period when oxalic treatments can be applied: on a still day put on suit, gloves and veil and work quickly with warmed solution, and upwind of vapour applications. For advice about the benefits of using sublimation read the article in the October 2016 edition of BeeNews.

Winter is also a good time to move hives as the bees aren’t flying so you can ignore the ‘less than three feet or more than three miles’ rule, the bees will re-orientate when they start flying again in warmer weather.

Be prepared for gales and make sure your hives are secure and protected. Do not leave spare supers on the hives as the taller they are the more they are susceptible to being blown over.

If we do have snow that lies, it may attract the bees to come out, especially if it is sunny and the snow reflects warming sunshine onto the hive. The bees then try to fly but are lost due to becoming chilled. Keep landing boards clear of snow or lean a wide board against the front of the hive.

Hive security and the comfort of your bees should be the objective.

  • Optimum winter conditions for bees are a constant cold temperature and dry conditions.
  • Continue to visually check your hives on a regular basis.
  • Check your hives are watertight and stable, and ensure they are on secure ground.
  • Take measures to ensure hive roofs cannot be blown off – use bricks or secure with wire.
  • If you have solid floors ensure that if water does get in it runs out of the hive, tilt the hive forward by placing a small piece of wood under each rear leg.
  • If you have open mesh floors some beekeepers advise to insert the varroa boards, so that less cold air can enter the hive.
  • Ensure you have woodpecker protection and mouse guards in place.
  • Ensure entrances are reduced to minimum width.
  • Monitor the now small entrance regularly for the build up of dead bees.
  • Remember to look particularly behind any mouse guards.
  • Bees are dying all the time and the cold temperatures dissuade the ‘undertakers’ from fulfilling their duties. Use a probe (stick) to gently remove the deceased and keep the entrance clear, but be careful not to disturb all the others.
  • Snow can easily block the entrance in a dramatic way. So keep a watchful eye.
  • Rake dead leaves away from under your hives.
  • Heft your hives to estimate the remaining stores; feed if necessary.
  • Feeding should not be required yet, but keep an emergency block of candy just in case because most  colonies that die out, do so because of starvation.
  • Ensure your bees will have a water source throughout the Winter.
  • Remember any solid food that you give your bees has to be diluted and that means finding water from somewhere. Not easy in a hard frost.
  • Many beekeepers give their bees a present of fondant on Christmas Day, and why not – they will ignore it if they don’t need it and it will be welcome if they do.
  • If you have mesh floors, you can try checking the occupants of the hive without physical disturbance, by positioning your mobile phone underneath and taking a photo looking up into the brood box (don’t forget to first temporarily remove the varroa board if fitted). Alternatively, a torch shone on to a mirror positioned at an angle under the mesh floor can provide a view.
  • Check that stored comb is protected from mice and wax moth damage.
  • Inspect stored brood frames for signs of wax moth. Wax moth eggs and grubs can be killed by leaving overnight in a suitable freezer.
  • Repair and clean hive parts and other equipment – soda crystals and a blow torch are good friends.
  • Make new frames ready for next season, but don’t fit the wax sheets unless you can store them in a secure place safe from wax moth.

Review the past year and make plans for next…

When all is done, it’s time to put your feet up and go back through your 2022 apiary notes. Look at the successes/failures you experienced in 2022 and make plans for 2023.

And finally, create that wish list of books, equipment and beekeeping accessories you would like for Christmas and leave the list “accidentally’ but, prominently on display!

Ho Ho Ho!

Bees Abroad – Big Give 2022 – OPEN – update

For our 2022 contribution, we are inviting all Members to donate individually and directly into the ‘Bees Abroad 2022 Big Christmas Challenge’ between NOW and the 6th December.

Donations up to a total of £10,000 will be doubled by the Match Funding that Bees Abroad has secured; and all donations from qualifying tax payers will attract Gift Aid.  After donating, do please separately email with a simple message that you have donated AND include the name under which your donation has been made.  After the Challenge closes, we can combine all the names received into a single list and supply that to Bees Abroad. They will then add up the individual amounts donated by all the names and let us know the TOTAL attributed to Reigate Beekeepers.

Please note that we do not wish to know from members or ask Bees Abroad what individual amounts have been donated.

Let’s see if we can beat our 2020 total … and aim for £2500 in donations this year.   


For some years now, RBKA has fundraised for Bees Abroad as an annual activity. Two years ago, our Just Giving appeal for Bees Abroad moved our donating up a few gears and raised £1800, which with gift aid, totalled almost £2200.

Last year, our Just Giving appeal had opened again in the-run up to our 2021 AGM. We had raised just over £1000, with Gift aid adding another £222 for Bees Abroad by the time we closed that appeal when the Bees Abroad 2021 Big Give Christmas Challenge was announced to be opening at the end of that month. It is not known how much additional funding was then added directly by individual RBKA Members during that 2021 campaign, but being match funded, it would have been doubled! 

View the Bees Abroad 2022 Campaign below, or CLICK HERE go to their website direct. 

Chairman’s AGM Report – Oct 2021-Sep 2022


It is with great pleasure and pride that I offer this summary of what has been another busy year for our Reigate Division and its Members.

And up-front, I offer my apologies if I have omitted something or fail to mention someone in the process.     

Honey and Beekeeping Shows.

In reviewing RBKA’s busy 12 months from October 2021 to the end of September 2022, I can now formally acknowledge our 2021 Honey Show, held for a second year in the Henfold pavilion on the 2nd October 2021. It followed our very successful first hosting of the Surrey Honey Show in our pavilion two weeks previously. Such were the successes of both shows, it was decided to hold our 2022 Honey Show in the pavilion for a third year, and the SBKA also requested to return to Henfold for a second time. Guess what, this year both events fell into October, so if you can’t wait until this time next year for the Chairmans 2022/23 AGM Report, visit our website’s Show Reports now.

The 2021 Honey Show was well supported by Members entering exhibits into the show and into the spirit of the show. Although it would be even better if even more members did so. And much less stressful for your Entries Steward, Celia Perry if more of the eventual 113 entries then, (and the 112 entries for this year’s show) could have been registered a week or so before the formal closing dates! Our judges, Sue Carter and Bill Fisher were very complimentary about the general standard of entries. It was good see that standards were being maintained this year, to very good effect. With Reigate having won Surrey’s Vincent Challenge Cup for Division with most points at the Surrey Show last year, could we have retained the cup this year?  By a country mile as it turned out … but see those show reportst for details.

During the year, we have been returning to local village shows and events, and I am grateful to Geoff Pye for his management of the many requests we have been receiving once again. And especially for Geoff’s efforts in attempting to fulfil our acceptance of requests, rounding up the necessary teams, and team leaders, needed to manage the stall’s equipment, display items and sales stock for each event. Some requests for our participation in village shows necessarily need to be turned down when we are already committed elsewhere, but regrettably, we have needed to turn down or withdraw from some events when it has not been possible to ensure we would have enough volunteering members on the day to help.  

In deciding to again run this year’s Honey Show as a separate event, the traditional RBKA Beekeeping Show for the public was not forgotten. After the two year absence from the high streets, we returned to Dorking on the 10th September. Our event included observation hives, equipment displays and demonstrations, candle rolling, sales of honey, wax products and of course tea, coffee and cakes. As fate would have it, Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has passed away two days earlier and the nations understandably sombre mood doubtlessly reduced footfall somewhat. However our many visitors seemed to be lingering longer, engaging more with us in conversations about bees and beekeeping, and buying plenty of honey. So overall, the day was considered a good comeback. The question is … what do we do in 2023? Keep the Honey Show and Beekeeping Show separate, or recombine, and where?  Your opinions and suggestions are welcomed. We are already needing to book Honey Show judges for either the 30th September or 7th October 2023.

Underpinning most of our public appearances, is our ability to offer a good stock of Honey to sell from our stands. The ‘honey magnet’ (along with an observation hive if available) draws the public in, allowing us to not only sell them honey, but to engage with them in all things ‘bees’ … one of our reasons for being. In pre-covid times and pre-dismal-honey-yield years like 2021, our sales tables would typically be filled with a good mix of Members as well as some RBKA honey. This year we have seen something of a reversal, with only the occasional presence of maybe one or two member’s products alongside RBKA stock. After this year’s bumper honey crop for many of us, it would be great to see a broader variety of offerings appearing on the sales benches at our shows next year. Especially from members with honey produced very locally to venues. One of the BIGGEST selling points for honey from our stalls is the closeness of its source to where the buyer lives!  

And I must give a big shout out here for [Read more…]

Surrey Beekeepers Association 2022 AGM-3rd Dec



Hosting of Surrey BKA’s AGM is rotated between the association’s eight divisions.

This year it’s Reigate’s turn and a first for the venue to be our own pavilion.

Please do sit-in,, participate, and meet fellow ‘keepers from our sister divisions.


Winter Meetings 2022/23 Program – Next: 7th Dec.

Presentations Icon

Wednesday December 7th  

Hexagons and the

Wonder of the Wax Comb.

a presentation

by Dr Vince Gallo

in the Pavilion at Henfold 

From October through to March, we will meet mostly (but not always!) on the first Wednesday of the month at either the Henfold Pavilion, or for the January and February meetings only, virtually via Zoom.

The program, will comprise a combination of informative talks, just for fun events, as well as our AGM and Awards Ceremony (some Topics & Speakers to be confirmed)

For the meetings at Henfold, arrive from 7:00pm for a 7:30pm start. Members (and guests) are asked to sign-in and a donation of £1 per person is requested (as usual) towards catering costs. Tea, coffee and biscuits are provided at the meetings end, typically by about 8:30pm.

For Zoom meetings, log-in by 7:00pm from your desktop/laptop, iPad or smart phones using the links provided nearer the date for a prompt start. Sorry, you will need to arrange your own catering during or after the meeting .. but no donation required.

Of course, in addition to listening to the speakers etc, the evening provides a great opportunity to talk/chat with your fellow beekeepers before the formal starts and after the main topics.

Details of the topics, as available, are set out below [Read more…]

Reigate Beekeepers AGM – AGENDA – 7:30pm 2nd Nov 2022

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


7:30pm  Wednesday  2nd November 2022

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 3rd November 2021 (available)
  4. Matters arising from the minutes
  5. Chairman’s report – to be published on RBKA website (soon)
  6. Treasurer’s report – summary to be on RBKA website (soon),  details presented at the AGM
  7. Other Officers’ reports – to be published on RBKA website (some now, others soon)  
  8. Election of President, Officers and Committee Members
    • President – Mr Mike Hill
    • Chairman – Mr Richard Bradfield
    • Honorary Secretary – Mrs Liz Jackson 
    • Honorary Treasurer – Mr Vince Gallo
    • Honorary Membership Secretary – Mr Simon Ford 
    • Committee Members –
      • Re-standing: Mr Bob Maurer, Ms Celia Perry, Mrs Gill Simpson
      • New Nominees: Mrs Janet Kay*, Mr Colin Clement**.
  9. Nomination of Trustee to Surrey Beekeepers Association – Mr Richard Bradfield
  10. Appointment of Representative to Surrey BKA – Mrs Gill Simpson
  11. Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts – Mrs A Clement
  12. Questions from Members
  13. Presentations of Awards from the Honey Show and Examination Certificates
  14. Fundraising for our annual donation to ‘Bees Abroad’.
  15. Any other business
  16. Date of next AGM – Wednesday 1st November 2023

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

* Nominated by Richard Bradfield   **Nominated by Paul Minson

Chairman’s View – October 2022

Somewhat later that I had intended, but I have finally put together a few (well many really) words about what has been a busy September and will be an even busier October. Much more of a Chairman’s Rear View this time.

Firstly, I can take advantage of writing this after receipt of the October BBKANEWS that popped through my letterbox a couple of days ago. An impressive tally of six successful RBKA members (of just sixteen for all of Surrey), are to be found in the listings of BBKA Written Examination candidates who sat Module exams in March.

Module 2 – Honeybee Products and Forage: Congratulations to Damian Belson (Pass), Brian Kay (Distinction), Ramkumar Ramalingam (Pass), Anna Slade (Credit), Peter Stevens (Distinction)

Module 7 – Honeybee Selection and Breeding: Congratulations to Trevor Keast (Credit) 

A credit also to Keith Mackie who had organised and ran the Module 2 Study Group in conjunction with Croydon Division last Winter.

Well done ALL

The Bees & Beekeeping Show on the 10th September was our first large post Covid public event.  Having successfully continued with our annual Honey Show as a separate event at Henfold during the pandemic, we decided to continue to keep that event at Henfold this year, and focus the public event on presenting the craft of Beekeeping, promoting Reigate Beekeepers and fund raising by the selling of Honey and related products.  Of course, what we could not have anticipated was the sad passing of Queen Elizabeth II on the 8th, or the various televised Accession ceremonies during the 10th itself. Postponement to a later date this autumn was not considered feasible. And cancellation would not have avoided incurring venue hire and other preparation costs, as well as resulting in the loss of a significant fund raising opportunity. So we battled on in more sombre mood. 

Despite initially low footfall rates, the two observation hives and the display of hives and associated equipment attracted steady interest. The candle rolling, honey tasting and sales stalls as well as the café offering teas/coffee and cakes were also kept busy during the day. My own observation was they we were seeing far more visitors enquiring directly about starting beekeeping and training opportunities … and less visitors simply curious and still struggling to distinguish between honey bees, bumblebees and wasps! And that steady interest in the stalls generated some £800 gross income to RBKA, more than covering all costs for the event itself and the separate Honey Show that was to follow.

Well done and thanks to all who helped in the preparations and on the day.

One of my hats I wear is that of the Vice Chair of the South of England Agricultural Society, Bees & Honey Section. With the Chair, fellow Croydon Chair Bob Barnes, and the invaluable help of just a few beekeepers from Surrey and other neighbouring Area Associations, the South of England Honey Show at Ardingly was resurrected after a two year gap. This year the event took place for the first time as part of the Autumn Show and Horse Trails during the 24th & 25th September. You may have noticed my ‘mentioning’ the event every Wednesday evening at Henfold for the past months.

The show benches attracted just one short of the 100 target of entries, but with a new venue (an open fronted barn instead of a big marquee), a new date (during September instead of June) and a gap of two years; we were re-establishing the event.  Never-the-less, amongst the Show Classes, judged by Bill Fisher, I was delighted with a 1st for my ‘Honey Cake’, with Celia Perry placed 2nd for her Cake. Celia also won 1st and 2nd places for her ‘Sweet and Dry Meads’ respectively. Bob Maurer picked up a 2nd in the ‘Photograph’ class and slipped to a 3rd with his ‘Piece of Wax’.  Happily our Brockham Apiary picked up a 4th place in the ‘4 Jars for Sale’ class. Congratulations to all, including Richard Ramsden and Eva Dembinska for their input in the Brockham entry.  Next year, the event is expected to again be during September … do make a diary note to enter show bench exhibits then. It is a great opportunity to dress rehearse exhibit preparations for our own, Surrey’s and even the National shows. 

And now, because this months Chairman’s View is so late in being published, I can also extend a BIG thank you and congratulations to all who helped with, prepared for, entered and visited our own Honey Show on the 1st October. Well done Trevor Keast for his retention, amongst others, of the Reigate Cup for most points, won by a sizable margin this year.  Celia had an agonising wait for entry Registrations to arrive at anything more than a slow drip feed rate. Then, with only a few days before the deadline, a rush pushed up and through the 100 (Blue Ribbon qualifying) entries target. The total of 121 entries on the bench made a great sight for those visiting the apiary on the day. I hope that many only visiting or viewing the images in the show report (see here), but not entering this time, will be inspired to do so next year.        

In between all these ‘show time’ activities I found myself responding to an enquiry from a film location agent, looking for a site suitable to film a few very short sequences to be incorporated into scenes filmed elsewhere.  Honeybees flying in front of a hive, a hive being opened as viewed looking up from the floor; a gloved hand reaching into a brood box; and a frame being lifted from a super were the ‘story board’ sequences desired.  To abbreviate what became a fast moving chain of events, (that I will be happy to recount in full ad-nauseum). The agent loved the spacious and open aspect of Henfold Apiary. Representatives from the film crew made a reconnaissance visit and were happy with how it was suggested their scenes could be achieved. The entire film crew of 17 (including Producer, Director and even a Medic) in over a dozen cars and 2 large vans arrived at Henfold at 9am on the 29th September. All their objectives were completed by 5pm. The Producer declared it the most enjoyable days shooting she had ever had. All then departed with the material for about 20 seconds of the days shooting to go into a Murder Mystery Drama, due to go out “this time next year on Apple TV”.  And for our trouble, £1000 was in our bank account.  A fun day. And thanks also to Eva, again, for her time and assistance during the film crew’s recce visit, and to Karen Ford for added assistance during the filming day itself. I hope the colony in Hive 10 survived the ordeals imposed upon them. 

Looking forward at last, the most immediate upcoming event is the Surrey BKA Honey Show at Henfold again, on Saturday 8th. If you have entered, well done. But whether you entered of not, do pop along between 2:30pm and 4 pm on the day to view the benches and watch the awarding of Trophies. Reigate may be in-line to retain the Trophy we (ok Trevor) won for our division last year (after a 30 odd year gap!) for the Division with most points. 

Our first Monthly Winter meeting is on the 12th October … when Annie Simpkins will be tickling our palettes and telling us how to make honey ferments by adding fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. If you want to take some mother culture home with you, bring a small jar and lid to Henfold.

Then at the end of October … the National Honey Show. Hope to see many of you there. When there, do look out for our own ‘BeeNews’, entered by Editor Sue Scates into the Newsletter Class. 

Looking further ahead, there is a lot more to report, including of course our upcoming AGM on the 2nd November. But I will reserve that for my Chairman’s AGM Report that needs to be available in a couple of weeks time. 

PS Just how is everyone’s beekeeping?  We could devote the January 4th Winter Meeting to a ‘Share and Contrast’ open discussion via Zoom.         

Richard Bradfield
6th October 2022
mob: 07923 600266



2022 Honey Show 1st October – The Results

A big thank you to all who prepared & entered exhibits.

Well done to those who’s entries earned placings

Very well done if you have earned a 1st (or two …)

Congratulations if you now have a Trophy to collect during the AGM in November.

32 Entrants displayed 121 Entries in 22 Classes.

And the Winners are …

[Read more…]

Reigate Beekeepers AGM – AGENDA – 7:30pm 2nd Nov 2022

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


7:30pm  Wednesday  2nd November 2022

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 3rd November 2021 (soon)
  4. Matters arising from the minutes
  5. Chairman’s report – will be published on RBKA website (soon)
  6. Treasurer’s report – summary will be on RBKA website (soon),  details presented at the AGM
  7. Other Officers’ reports – will be published on RBKA website (soon)  
  8. Election of President, Officers and Committee Members
    • President – Mr Mike Hill
    • Chairman – Mr Richard Bradfield
    • Honorary Secretary – Mrs Liz Jackson 
    • Honorary Treasurer – Mr Vince Gallo
    • Honorary Membership Secretary – Mr Simon Ford 
    • Committee Members –
      • Re-standing: Mr Bob Maurer, Ms Celia Perry, Mrs Gill Simpson
      • New Nominee: Mrs Janet Kay
  9. Nomination of Trustee to Surrey Beekeepers Association – Mr Richard Bradfield
  10. Appointment of Representative to Surrey BKA – Mrs Gill Simpson
  11. Appointment of Independent Examiner of Accounts – Mrs A Clement
  12. Questions from Members
  13. Presentations of Awards from the Honey Show and Examination Certificates
  14. Fundraising for our annual donation to ‘Bees Abroad’.
  15. Any other business
  16. Date of next AGM – Wednesday 1st November 2023

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

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – Oct 2022


Chairman’s View – October 2022

Hi All,

It’s been a busy week with a show last weekend, a certain show this Saturday and a few things going on in between … not to mention preparing for our AGM in November. 

So please click back again on Sunday (2nd October) by when my ‘Chairman’s View’will be clearer and committed to an updated version of this post.

Meanwhile hope to see quite a few of you at our Honey Show in the pavilion today between 2pm & 4pm.  

Richard Bradfield
30th September 2022
mob: 07923 600266



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, all your 2022 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 useable stores. Bear in mind that stores of ivy honey, may well become unusable if it sets too hard. [Read more…]

Stewarding at the 2022 National

The Chief Steward at the National Honey Show is looking for volunteers to assist in stewarding during the three days (27th – 29th October) of this prestigious event in the Beekeeping calendar

Helpers are also being sought with the setup on Wednesday 26th and closing down on the afternoon & evening of Saturday 29th October.

Perhaps you were one of many Reigate members providing help in 2021. If you would like to volunteer again or perhaps for a first time this year, please apply using the ‘Stewards Request form 2022’ below to let Bill Fisher know which days, mornings or afternoons you would be available to help.

General Stewarding Duties at The National Honey Show 2022

  • Watching over a room full of exhibits; answering questions; ensuring the exhibits are not touched or stolen.
  • Stewarding a lecture; being available to show people out in the event of a fire, passing around the microphone for questions.
  • Standing by a doorway; making sure only people with a valid wristband are allowed to enter.
  • Giving directions to visitors.
  • Running errands for judges and other stewards.

The lectures and workshops are now all on the NHS website –

If you are able to volunteer this year when otherwise not planning to be sitting in on a lecture yourself, or participating in a workshop; please:

  1. Download and complete the Stewards request form 2022 with your availability details.
  2. Re-save the form with your name in the title
  3. Return the form to Bill Fisher at

If you are planning to help and are not a member of the National Honey Show please make sure you provide your postal mailing address, in case it is necessary to mail out Entry tickets prior to the show.

And then … why not take the opportunity to also enter into some (or even just one) of the National Honey Show Competition Classes as well! 


Surrey Honey Show – Sat 8th Oct 2022 LAST CALL


Deadline Extended to Tuesday 4th October

Download, print & fill-in Entry Forms to send by:

scanning & emailing file(s) to

letter post to 1 Longdown Cottages, Hindhead Road, Hindhead, GU26 6BB 

We are delighted to invite all Surrey members to enter this year’s

Surrey Beekeepers Honey Show.

Despite another year with no Surrey County Show we can still host and enjoy our annual Surrey Honey Show.

All the usual categories will be available with winners certificates and cups. (Plus some cash prizes!) So that you have time to prepare and plan for the event, the Show will be held on Friday and Saturday 7th & 8th October at Reigate’s superb apiary at Henfold Copse.

Friday 7th October

 Consolidated deliveries from each division to the event venue, Henfold Copse.

Saturday 8th October

Show Day and Judging  


Schedule and Entry Form

download from < HERE >


Registration of Entries

Get your entries in prior to the deadline of Monday 3 October


Drop-off Times

With your association’s representative of the Surrey Show who
will arrange delivery, or personally to Henfold apiary on the

Friday 7th between midday and 4 o’clock or between 9 and 10 o’clock on the Saturday 8th morning

Judging will take place between 10:30 and 3:00

Prize Giving at 4:30

(Organised by the Surrey Beekeepers’ Association)



Chairman’s View – September 2022


As this extraordinary Summer season of beekeeping draws to a close this month, I trust that your own efforts have been fruitful, at least educational, and certainly interesting.

Our final Summer Wednesday evening meeting will be on the 7th September, after which we enter into Monthly Winter meeting mode.

The first of these Winter meetings will be on the 12th October, inside the pavilion at Henfold, when we will be introduced to Honey Ferments and Jun Kombucha. Annie Simpkins a recent new member, will present how to ferment garlic, ginger, and a wide variety of fruits in honey.  Find out what an oxymel is and how to make Jun Kombucha – a fermented green tea sweetened with honey.  Samples and tastings of a wide variety of these products will be available.

The November meeting, on Wednesday the 2nd in the Henfold pavilion will be dedicated to our AGM and Presentation of Honey Show trophies and Beekeeping Qualification certificates. Formal Notice and details of the proceedings will be circulated very soon.

December sees Reigate Beekeepers hosting the SBKA’s own AGM on Saturday the 3rd, that is Open to all Members of SBKA’s Divisions. The formal business of reports and election of Officers & Trustees, is followed by a buffet and then a talk. This year VInce Gallo will be presenting a new and sure to be entertaining talk on Bee Behavior.

And if you miss the talk on the 3rd, or want a repeat, Vince will be presenting again, to us at our December Winter meeting on the 7th, but without the buffet.   

More details of the Winter Talks programme are in this months BeeNews and will be added to the website and kept updated as needed.

Meanwhile, THIS month we have a Bees& Beekeeping show to present to the public, and then not one but four Honey Show bench competitions in which you can ALL participate.

If you have not already offered and can help with the Bees & Beekeeping show in Dorking on the 10th September, do contact me directly, we could do with a few more members to support activities on stands, stalls and displays.

And entering into the Honey Show bench competitions is both fun another beekeeping learning experience.  Details are elsewhere on the Members website HERE   

Congratulations to ALL who contributed to this season’s record breaking harvest of Honey from RBKA’s apiaries.  With a few more supers still to be extracted, and including the spring extractions from Buckland and Brockham apiaries, the current total honey crop for the year is an amazing 2120lbs (961Kg).  Huge thanks to Richard Ramsden for the contributions from Brockham (1037lbs) and Buckland (607lbs) under his management (and most of the extraction); to Mary & Jim Wynn for the returning to form by Mickleham with 200lbs;  and for the useful bonus from Henfold’s colonies with 276 lbs … thanks to all the hive groups, mentors and to Karen & Simon Ford’s overseeing.  And more thanks to those members that have helped with the extraction, principally of the Henfold & Micklemham honey.

Well done Team RBKA.  

Richard Bradfield
30th August 2022
mob: 07923 600266


September in Your Apiary

Apiguard Tray on Top of Brood Frames + An Eke

Apiguard Tray on Top of Brood Frames + An Eke

This year, the extreems of hot and dry weather during July and August are still only slighly diminished as we head into meteorological Autumn. It still remains warm and certainly dry enough for late summer foraging 

Autumn may not FEEL as if it as arrived just yet, but the Beekeeper’s Summer season is nearly over and the Winter season commences this month.

The outlook for September suggests rain during the first half and generally overcast otherwise, with daytime temperatures holdng up in the high teens.

Regardless, of the weather, September is (another) one of the busier months in the beekeeping calendar!

The honey crop should now be, or being, extracted, wet supers being cleaned up and returned to storage and importantly, we should already be preparing our colonies for winter.

Specifically for September, key tasks are:

1. Check all your colonies are Queenright & viable (i.e. large enough) for over wintering.
2. Be ruthless with a small colony. Combine it with another colony.
3. Complete the feeding of your colonies by the end September
4. If not already started, commence varroa treatment in the first week of September
5. Continue Winter preparations (Yes … they should have started in August!).
  [Read more…]

Reigate Beekeepers BeeNews – Sep 2022


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
4th August 2022
mob: 07923 600266