Weybridge Summer Market

Weybridge Town Business Group held it’s first post-lockdown Summer Market on Sunday, 16th August. The event was very well supported by the local community who grabbed the opportunity to come out and shop and enjoy the music provided by Brooklands Radio and local band, Shuffle.

The Mayor of Elmbridge, Mary Sheldon, opened the event and 18 stallholders came to sell everything from cakes and doggie accessories to local English wines and South African food.

It was lovely to see so many local enterprises including Weybridge Beekeepers, Sew Weybridge, Weybridge Pottery and Stoked Wood fire Pizza.

WTBG has donated £50 each to two local charities, Weybridge Beekeepers & Sew Weybridge.

Gill Eastwood August 2020

Asian Hornet – update

At the time of writing (16th July), there have been no sightings of Asian hornet in Britain this year. If there are any Asian hornet nests in our area, it is in August – October when they will be most evident. The nests will be coming to peak strength and worker hornets will be searching for food around bee hives. When you are near your hives, spend some time looking for the hornets, which are 25-30mm long and mostly black with an orange band near the rear end of the abdomen. They are likely to be flying around the front of the hive and snatching worker bees as they emerge or return to their hive. If you see an Asian hornet, try and get a photograph or capture a specimen so the identification can be confirmed. If in doubt, contact Andrew Halstead (01483 489581; ahalstead44@btinternet.com).

If you are certain it is an Asian hornet, contact https://www.brc.ac.uk/risc/alert.php?species=asian_hornet or use the Asian Hornet Watch app on smart phones.

Last year the Weybridge division put up ”Not wanted” posters on public noticeboards and in supermarkets, garden centres, etc. A digital copy is attached; paper copies (A4 and A5 size) are available from Jessica Kazimierczak (jessicakay2009@hotmail.co.uk). If you can help spread the digital poster within the Weybridge division area (not nationally!) or you can put paper posters on noticeboards, please do so. The aim is to alert the non-beekeeping public to the Asian hornet problem and provide local contacts who can sift out false reports. The government agencies that deal with Asian hornet receive thousands of reports each summer, most of which are for insects that are not the target species.

BBKA has arranged insurance cover for up to 15 named persons in our division who are part of our Asian Hornet Action Team. This provides third party public liability cover in the event of a claim being made while AHAT persons are investigating a report of an Asian hornet sighting. We have not yet filled our quota of 15 persons, so if anyone wants to join the Weybridge AHAT team, please contact me for further details. A simple online test has to be taken before you can be registered with BBKA for the insurance cover.

Andrew Halstead

Do take Andrew’s appeal very seriously. We must be grateful to have gone through another season so far without the hornet. This is almost certainly the fruit of much work in making them known, finding and destroying their nests successfully in the last year or two.

Marion Cooper August 2020

Warning of possible colony starvation

The good spring honey flow that many of us had was followed by a poor or non-existent summer flow, so starvation losses could occur even in late summer or in autumn this year, before we even think of winter. Indeed it could well be advisable to check you colonies for stores now. Honey shortage could be serious at this stage because there is little or no nectar being collected and several beekeepers have noted an unusually large amount of sealed brood still present in the colonies; when it hatches, all of the new bees are going to need to feed, thus depleting early what would normally be their winter stores. If you took a significant amount of honey off your colonies earlier this year, do take special care when preparing your bees for winter. You won’t want to add to the serious (and I suspect mainly unnecessary) colony loss figures for previous years, as reported by The National Bee Unit (BeeCraft, August p. 27).

Geoff Cooper August 2020

Will there be a Summer Honey Flow this year or will it be only a Honey Trickle?

At the end of last month you may recall that I was confident that the summer flow would be starting very soon. After all, there had been an excellent spring with more honey coming in than in most years, my scale hive colony was queenright and strong, it had plenty of bees and the hive weight had increased by more than 50lb between 14th April and 8th June.

Since then the flow into the hive has been very poor apart from a few
unsubstainable short blips which promised for a day or two the start of a summer honey flow. The lime trees have been flowering and currently there are sweet chestnut trees in our road in full blossom. Why aren’t the bees finding them? Some of them have already passed their best with the tassles lying on the ground.

I am now wondering if the bees are saying, “I told you so!” as I had dared to question their foreknowledge in the last issue.

Since writing this I have received David Brassington’s latest figures please click here to view, which you will see seem to make nonsense of the above, but I still have to wonder what is going on with my bees, so have left my comments unchanged.

Geoff Cooper