Spring Bee Health Clinic RESULTS

nosema_sporesThe Reigate (Members) Bee Health Clinic ran on Sunday 14th May in the Mickleham Village Hall (alongside the RBA Auction), at which 62 samples were tested from 19 apiaries including RBKA’s Henfold Lane and Vigo apiaries.

  • 19 of the 62 samples were positive (30.64%)
  • 17 individual members submitted samples. 
  • 9 of the apiaries samples tested were positive for nosema.  
  • Of the 19 positive samples, 6 were light infections, 2 medium and 11 heavy.  

The proportion of light, medium & heavy infections is usually the other way around, with more light infections and just a few heavy infections.  The change of balance is probably a reflection on the dismal wet and cold spring. 

Unfortunately, yet again a disappointing turn out from RBKA, with only 17 members from a membership of over 200 submitting samples.  

Bob Maurer has commented before that Reigate members should remember it’s a lot of work to run clinics and if they aren’t supported we will spend our time doing something else!  To put a positive spin on that, Bob would like to help many of our members to become competent at ‘driving’ a microscope so that we can do more at our clinics. The skill of acarine dissection needs to be passed on and a lot of members may find it interesting to try anatomical dissections to see just how a bee works.

Bob thanks his microscope team on the day; Jim Wynn, Jim Cooper and Janet Kaye; as well as the star grinding team of Susan Brookes and Annie Risbridger Hind, assisted by Janet Kaye and Karen Ford.  And of course not forgetting scribe, Liz Jackson who kept the administration under control.  


Henfold Grounds Picture Perfect

04 2020 NC 15

The apiary is closed and out-of-bounds to all but a couple of small maintenance teams. Whilst Simon & Karen Ford have been diligently and efficiently tending to the colonies in the apiary … Peter Moore and Nick Clarke have been making most of the fine (drying) weather during April to attend to the apiary Grounds. 

And what a fine sight they have created for us to enjoy, even if only remotely for the time being. Let the photographs in the slide show do the talking  … with more about what they have been doing below.

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The tractor-mower that was proving so unreliable last year is relegated to ‘towing duties’ and is due to have its grass cutting head removed.

Meanwhile the ‘newer’ and nimbler ride-on mower, acquired at the beginning of the year, has been a great success.

The creation of concrete plinths for all the hive stations has nearly been completed, with the last couple to be cast by early May.

Most of the leaves have been cleared from the car park surface, brambles are being tamed and the pavilions gutters and their resident ‘hedgehogs’ cleaned. Our now well developed hedgerows are next in line for a trim down to a uniform 5ft height … leaving the young trees in their midst to continue skywards.

The central raised bed in the car park was due to be more fully planted with shrubs this year. But for now, some much needed weeding will be done in preparation for further planting later this year or early 2021.

Great job Peter & Nick.

The only thing missing from the lovely photo gallery they have provided are pictures of the pair of then, each seated at opposite ends of the pavilion’s veranda … enjoying well earned rests with their own flasks of tea and sandwiches at safe distances.

I think that quite a few of us will be envious.

04 2020 PM 06


New Season – New Homes DEFERRED

Please come and join us on the Tidy-Up Day (21st March) to help bring Project Ambrose to life.

This year we have ALL NEW hives for all our bees at Henfold.

We need as many people as possible

to help transition from old to new.

Please come prepared (with bee suits, wellies and even an umbrella) to do the following:

  • Remove the old hives and related equipment from the bee shed, stacking them neatly near the work benches (they will be offered to RBKA’s out-apiaries to take what they want, with the rest going to our auction)
  • Brand the new equipment with the RBKA stamp.
  • Set up new hives (10 National and 2 WBC) beside the existing hives,
  • Transfer the frames and bees to the new hives.
  • Flame and clean the old equipment, adding to the stacks from the bee shed


  • Put all the new unused equipment in the bee shed, ready for use in the coming year.

If you can come and help, please also email Karen at the usual Winter Team email address ( hamt3612@gmail.com ) so we can plan the work.

Simon Ford

This appeal is also being emailed directly to our Winter Team subscribers as well to ALL menbers via email … to get the message across.


Tidy Up Henfold Day – CANCELLED


This winter may so far be considered to have been very mild and relatively storm free (famous last words!). However the lack of recent strong winds and the excessive amount of rain means that a great deal of the autumn leaf fall and other debris remains on the ground and needs to be cleared away from the driveway, car park and grass areas.  We also have some new plants and even a tree or two to plant, and ALL the existing boundary planting to manage

As is customary, we will aim to address these issues and more during our Henfold Tidy-Up day. All of which will be in preparation for the commencement of our regular weekly Wednesday Evening meetings, the first of which will (foolishly or not) be on the 1st April .

During Saturday 21st March 2020, from 09:30am until about 1:00pm, there will be plenty to do.

To name a few  …

  • Clearing up debris from trees
  • Clearing up/disposing of redundant items & materials from ‘behind’ the sheds  
  • Clearing the pavilion gutters of leaf debris
  • Sweeping leaves from the Drive & Car park areas
  • Mowing/clearing leaves from the grass
  • Trimming Hedges
  • Having a bonfire
  • Weeding the raised shrub beds in the car park
  • Planting trees and shrubs
  • Tidying up the Stores, Mower & Hive equipment containers (No’s 2,3 &4)
  • Cleaning hive equipment
  • Showing our 2020 Beginners Course candidates around our facilities 
  • Making up new frames

If you can, come along and join in to help make it a fun event; please contact Richard Bradfield  in advance to ensure that adequate of Tea/Coffee/Biscuits and Bacon Butty are on hand during the day.
Please also let me know whether you have a preference for task or tasks.

In any event, warm working clothes and wellies will be the order of the day together with any tool(s) that may help your effort.

I look forward to hearing from you and in anticipation of your support, thank you very much.

Richard Bradfield
07923 60266

Tidy Up Henfold Day – Fantastic Response


What a fantastic response to my appeal for help to prepare Henfold Copse for the summer months.

On Saturday 16th March 2019 some 30 or so members turned out to participate in the big Tidy-Up exercise:

Collecting debris from all over the site
Cutting back the hedges along our borders
Clearing away a fallen tree
Having a bonfire
Moving a huge pile of horsed manure
Cleaning the gutters on the Pavilion
Washing the plastic chairs and table
Painting preservative on the wooden benches
Introducing our facilities and bees to visitors who have attended RBKA’s Beginners Course
Preparing and serving bacon butties, soup, tea and coffee

Writing for myself, and I’m sure for all the members and visitors who come to Henfold during the summer, thanks to all those who contributed their time, their effort, their enthusiasm and their support.

There are a few outstanding tasks and the membership will be asked for volunteers again shortly.

Andrew Buchanan

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Henfold Car Park – Ready & Open

As announced at the AGM, during November the conversion commenced of the hard standing and rough grass areas used for improvised vehicle parking behind the Henfold pavilion … into an all weather surface; formally laid out with designated parking bays for 54 vehicles, and the upgrading of the access drive and entrance.

The extensive groundwork’s required to achieve this huge transformation were carried out by Peter Moore and his team of contractors, Tim Pople, Alistair Ferguson, Steve Joshua and Nick, and were completed by mid January … within budget.  

The task was already going to be challenging. Having to include the removal of additional tree stumps and shallow tree roots and the need to excavate deeper than anticipated to remove buried grass reinforcement mesh added to the challenge. The added tasks conspired to extend the preparatory phases involving the ‘heavy earth moving’ equipment and the need later for additional loads of backfill & surface materials.

Much of some unplanned costs were offset by avoiding the disposal, by removal off-site, of most of the tree stumps and excavated top soil. These have instead been distributed within the copse to the south of the hives.

The three galleries of images here take you on the journey from Green Grass to Brown Mud to Black Surfaced car park.

From Green Grass, shrubs and trees …


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… through to the Brown Mud, muck and roots …


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… to Black Topped car park … reached via the upgraded entrance and drive that leads to 54 marked parking bays, including 3 designated wide disabled parking bays.


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Use with Respect Please

The new surface should be much more durable than the original drive and hard standing areas. However it remains vulnerable to abusive driving behavior. Therefore a speed limit of 5 mph has been set and signed along the drive and at the entrance into the car park itself.

The parking bays are marked out with half round poles … it is recommended that vehicles are driven forward into the bays. This ensures that tailgates and boots remain readily accessible … and there is plenty of room between rows of bays to reverse and turn out. 

Three bays, nearest to the pavilion have been designated for disabled parking. Please respect that designation.  

Fantastic job guys.

Many thanks to Peter who has given a considerable amount of his time to the project and to his crew who have worked with a passion to deliver a great result. And a special thanks to Sue Moore for regularly clearing up the pavilion after the guys use of the kitchen and loo.

What’s Next ?

During the next few weeks and months, 4 x light bollards will be installed along the length of the central raised planter.

The soil already in the planter will have manure added, and the planter will be … planted with plants.  (Enrol to help with some of that at the Tidy-Up Day)

Repaying Loans and re-building our cash fund. The Division, (RBKA) remains indebted to three members who have between them provided us with a 3 year loan of £9000.00 to ensure that we remain liquid whilst otherwise spending most of our cash fund to pay for the car park. A primary priority is to be repaying these loans by the end of 2021. We ALSO need to be rebuilding our cash reserves that are currently fully depleted. This will allow the purchase as needed of training and education equipment to extend the range of activities that the pavilion can be used for.




Tidy Up Henfold Day – Saturday 16th March 2019


After the ravages of the Autumn and Winter weather, the heavy ground works required to create our Car Park, and building repairs after the break-in before Christmas …. there will be much to do to finally prepare the apiary for the commencement of our Summer Wednesday Evening meetings in April.

Overseeing the ‘House & Grounds’ activities required on the day will be Andrew Buchanan, who has this message …. 

During Saturday 16th March 2019, from 10:00am until about 1:00pm, there will be plenty to do.

To name a few  …

  • Clearing up debris from trees
  • Having a bonfire
  • Sweeping leaves
  • Mowing the grass
  • Trimming Hedges
  • Sowing grass seed
  • Preparing the raised flower bed in the car park
  • Planting trees and bushes
  • Cleaning the inside of the Pavilion
  • Tidying up the hive equipment container
  • Cleaning hive equipment
  • Knocking up new frames

If you can, come along, help and join in the fun; please contact me,  Andrew Buchanan, because quantities of Tea/Coffee/Biscuits and Bacon Butty need to be assessed.
Please also let me know whether you have a preference for work type.

In any event, working clothes and wellies will be the order of the day together with any tool(s) that may help your effort.

I look forward to hearing from you and in anticipation of your support, thank you very much.

Andrew Buchanan
01306 712773
07879 552582

Break-In at Henfold

Not at all my first ‘End of Year Message’ I ever anticipated or wanted to be having to make as your Chairman, but regrettably I have to report that our Henfold Copse apiary was targeted by mindless opportunistic vandals during Thursday evening (20th December).

Little of value was actually taken and the hives were untouched, but damage was caused to an unused stock gate, the pavilion and one of the containers (No 2).

This has been a great shock to those of us first alerted and responding as we were able to the incident during Friday morning. I am at least able to advise that it appears our losses are confined to the ‘BeeHive’ tea & biscuits money box, including any cash it contained; cash from payments for packets of crisps; the contents of a sugar caddie tipped onto the floor, a tin of biscuits and a few smashed jars of honey. Much more significant is the damage to the pavilion building itself and some items of furniture.

Initial attempts to break into the pavilion were possibly attempted with a spade to lever open the double doors.

The blade of the spade was bent and its handle broken in the process.

Access was then achieved by smashing trough the wooden panel of one of the main doors.

The three metal cupboards within, and rooms off, the main pavilion space appear to have been only superficially searched, with no indication to date of anything being taken; other than the items and cash already noted.

It can only be presumed that frustration at not finding anything the vandals might have valued was expressed by causing further damage to what we valued. Glazing in some windows and the main doors have been smashed using our ‘queue barrier’ post stands as battering rams; numerous holes have been punched through the plasterboard on walls and ceiling; light panels pulled down; tables tossed around and damaged; and a wall hung heater wrecked in the process. [Read more…]

Henfold 2018/19 Winter Team Recruitment

Henfold Apiary Managers, Karen & Simon Ford, are recruiting volunteers to help with the important task of seeing the colonies at Henfold through the coming winter and into next year, fit and ready for the 2019 practical training program.

The team will meet at Henfold, initially on Wednesday evenings the 12th, 19th & 26th of September and then on occasional Saturday or Sundays mornings, dependant upon need and availability, every few weeks throughout the winter months of October … to the end of March.

Some of the essential tasks that will need to be undertaken will include hive hefting, protecting against woodpeckers, fitting mouse guards, feeding and varroa treatments.

At this stage, Simon & Karen are only needing to establish a contact list, with email addresses, of volunteers willing to participate at least on an occasional basis and subject to their individual availabilities.

This will enable all on the list to be notified of and invited to join in the next planned meeting.

See Karen or Simon at Henfold during the remaining Summer meetings in August or contact them via hamt3612@gmail.com to volunteer your services or for more details if needed.

Not only would you be providing a valuable service, but you will also gain first hand experience of undertaking important winter beekeeping activities that you can take and apply to your own hives.




The Management.


Karen                                                                       Simon

Henfold Tidy-Up Day – 17th March

spring-clean Saturday morning on 17th March was scheduled as the pre-season  ‘Tidy-Up Day’ at the Henfold Apiary.

After the winter’s winds, rains and even the recent snow, the grounds at Henfold Copse were in need of a thorough tidy-up ahead of the start of the Summer Season  meetings on 4th April.

It was also planed to plant new screening for the containers.

Message from Andrew Buchanan…

To one and all a huge thank you for braving the arctic weather and for all the work and hospitality you gave this morning.

Whether part of the ‘Ground Working Team’, the ‘Beginners Hospitality Team’ or the ‘Catering Team’, the time you gave was/is very much appreciated.
I’m sure that all who visit Henfold Copse during the summer will benefit from the effort you have made.

When speaking to a few of the visiting Beginners as they took their leave of us they all said how much they had enjoyed the Copse, the Pavilion,
the bacon butties and hot soup/coffee, the knocking up of frames and above all the welcome they had received.


Tidy-Up Day at Henfold Apiary

Saturday 17th March 

9:30 am until 1:00pm

Bacon Butties, Soup, Tea, Coffee & Biscuits will be provided.

Bring and wear old or gardening clothes, wellies and gloves.

If you have them, bring gardening secateurs or a lawn rake too. They could come in useful.  

Let Andrew Buchanan know asap that you will be able to participate in order that adequate catering supplies can be assured:

Call either tel:  01306 712773  or mob: 07879 552582,   or e-mail:  andrewb38@btinternet.com

[Read more…]

Henfold 2017/18 Winter Team Blog

Simon & Karen

Henfold Apiary Managers, Simon & Karen Ford have a great team of members enrolled to help with the many and varied Winter Team activities,   monitoring and caring for the colonies at Henfold.

The team will be on-call to tackle a range of jobs from October through to March with the objective of ensuring that the maximum number of colonies possible will be in a good, strong and healthy condition by the commencement of the 2018 Summer season.

This blog will attempt to record both the preparations for and outcomes of the many activities to be undertaken. [Read more…]

Henfold 2016/17 Winter Team Blog

The final Wednesday evening Summer Meetings, Hive Inspections and initial Winter Preparations took place during September. After which the new Winter Team has taken over the monitoring and supervision of the colonies at Henfold.

Headed up by the Henfold Apiary Management duo Simon & Karen Ford, a team of volunteers will be on-call to tackle a range of tasks from October through to March.

The aim, as for the last two years, will be to ensure that the maximum number of colonies possible would be in a good, strong and healthy condition by the commencement of the 2017 Summer season.

This blog will attempt to record both the preparations for and outcomes of the many activities to be undertaken. [Read more…]

Autumn Bee Health Clinic RESULTS

nosema_sporesThe Reigate (Members) Bee Health Clinic that was run on Saturday the 6th August in the Newdigate Village Hall (alongside the Extraction work) yielded mixed results, from a disappointingly low number of samples submitted by Members.

With thanks to Bob Maurer and his team for these results. 

Testing your bees is an important part of your bee husbandry… so more members should have been taking full advantage of this opportunity. [Read more…]

2015/16 Winter Team Hand-Over

Winter Team's Organisation

The Henfold Winter Team’s Job is done.

Not only has the team protected and nurtured the colonies from September 2015 through to March 2016, but a tremendous amount of work has been done to further improve the quantity, condition and accessibility of the equipment that will be being used by the Training Groups during the Summer.

Henfold Apiary Managers, Simon and Karen Ford have provided this summary of the arrangements and changes. [Read more…]

Henfold Tidied-Up and Ready for 2016

spring-cleanJust a few but busy hours during the Tidy-Up day on Saturday 19th March saw an enormous amount of work completed as some 28 members tackled the various tasks.

The first of this year’s Summer Weekly Wednesday Meetings is on 6th April. Novice, Basic and Improver beekeeper groups will be being finalised and allocated to Team and Group Leaders and their hives for the practical training to begin.

The accompanying photographs (see below) captured just some of the activities and participants on the Tidy-Up day. [Read more…]

Henfold Procedures & Management

Henfold Procedures IconUpdated for 2016, these procedures are required reading for ALL members and visitors to the Henfold Copse Apiary.

PDF document - iconThe brief four A5 booklet* sets out policies and management of Parking, General procedures on arrival for Members, Apiary Work – Designated Personnel, Equipment and Health and Safety.  

Note: To print as the intended A5 booklet, first save the file to your desktop. Then open the file from your desktop to print. Select ‘print as booklet’  from the printer set-up options. Alternatively, having just opened the pdf from this post, it can be printed directly as a 4 page A4 document  by selecting paper size to A4 and ‘Fit to Page’ options in the print set-up dialogue. Printing options may vary dependant upon your PC set-up.  

Visitors – New members and Non-beekeepers

Please ask to be introduced to our Duty Officer. He or she will allocate you to an experienced beekeeper and equip you with appropriate protective clothing. Please advise the Duty Officer if we should be aware of any relevant medical condition; particularly if you may be susceptible to a serious allergic reaction to a sting (anaphylactic shock) or if you carry an EpiPen.


Please respect the requests made via Parking Notices. Please park as directed and ensure that free access is maintained from Henfold Lane to the 3rd Storage Unit for emergency vehicles. Avoid boggy areas. Don’t get stuck! [Read more…]

Henfold 2015/16 Winter Team Blog

The final Wednesday evening Summer Meetings, Hive Inspections and Winter Preparations took place during September. After which the new Winter Team has taken over the monitoring and supervision of the colonies at Henfold.

Headed up by the Apiary Management trio of Simon & Karen Ford and Sally Bennett, the team of at least 18 volunteers will be on-call to tackle a range of tasks from October through to March.

The aim, as for last year, will be to ensure that the maximum number of colonies possible would be in a good, strong and healthy condition by the commencement of the 2016 Summer season.

This blog will attempt to record both the preparations for and outcomes of the many activities to be undertaken. [Read more…]

Topping-Out in style at the BBQ

B BBQ 2015 MMThe sunny and warm evening of 11th July was enjoyed by 50 or so members, partners, friends and special guests for our Summer BBQ at the Henfold Copse apiary.

With the charcoals glowing nicely and the gas grills fired up, the cooking of an assortment of foods, including steaks, chops, burgers, kebabs and of course, bangers, was soon underway.

Whilst set out under the big white marque were salad dishes aplenty that had been brought by all to share, providing a broad selection of accompaniments to the cooked food. A splendid range of shared desserts to follow also served to challenge the strongest of wills. [Read more…]

Mead & Metheglin Making Group

MeadMead & Metheglin Making kicked off at Henfold on the 15th April, guided by Vince Gallo. For those interested, and signing-up, the sessions are scheduled to commence at 7:30pm in the pavilion.

Mead: alcoholic drink of fermented honey & water.

Metheglin:  a spiced or medicated variety of mead.

Planned Activities:-

It is planned that the members of the RBKA Mead Group will train each other and, together, learn as a result of this guided brewing event.

Later in the year we will brew a second batch, employing the honey extraction cappings, but this first session will use some ‘spare’ honey; in particular honey that has crystalised in frames. [Read more…]

Henfold Apiary Meetings Photo Blog


In which some of the events and stories of the Wednesday Evening Summer Season meetings are captured and told in a few pictures.

Send yours to be included to:  rbkawebmaster@btopenworld.com

23rd September 2015

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16th September 2015

No, omnipresence still not working.

2nd September 2015

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26th August 2015

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19th August 2015

[Read more…]