Future Events Honey Shows 2022

Three Honey Shows

We have been asked to share these details of future events:

With what is looking like being a bumper year for honey for many, there are Three Honey Shows coming up in September and October, that ALL SBKA members could enter. 

So start in September at the South of England Show to practice your skills for the Surrey Show at Henfold … and the National later during October.

September 24thSouth of England Honey Show … at the South of England Showground, Ardingly West Sussex, during the Autumn Show & International Horse Trials. 

SoE Honey Show Schedule, inc Rules and Registration forms for Show Bench Entries & Honey Stock to sell. For details seeSouth of England Honey Show website.   

October 8thSurrey Beekeepers Association … at the Reigate Division Henfold Pavilion  

Show Schedule and details to be announced

October 27th–29thNational Honey Show (91st)  … at Sandown Park Racecourse, Esher, Surrey. 

2022 Show Schedule (only) of Classes 


Special Entry Classes for Younger Beekeepers (and bee supporters) 2022 https://www.honeyshow.co.uk/files/2022/juniorentryleaflet2022.pdf

 Weybridge Beekeepers Summer meeting, 25th July 2022. The main subjects of the meeting were the methods and timing of removing honey from the hives for extracting.

After 2 postponements approximately 30 members were finally able to meet at the Beehive pub in Egham where we were greeted by the sight of Richard Emmett’s hives at the back of the car park, including a WBC hive containing no less that 9 supers of honey (a 10th having already been removed a week previously).

Richard explained that he had kept bees at the Beehive for about 10 years and now had 3 hives on the site. Two of the hives had not performed so well and he would not be taking honey from them this year, but the one hive had been growing at a rate of a new super every 2 weeks throughout the season.

In addition to the 3 WBC hives Richard is also mentoring Leonard, a new beekeeper who has a polystyrene hive on the site which members were invited to view after the ‘main event’.

David Parker discussed and demonstrated the various devices available to the beekeeper to ‘encourage’ the bees to move out of the supers to enable the beekeeper to remove them quickly and easily. He covered: Porter bee escapes, Rhombus bee escape, Canadian clearer board, metal mesh rhombus escapes and Canadian escapes which resemble red bee-sized traffic cones.

He also covered chemical methods of clearing the supers such as the use of almond essence or proprietary branded products. Lastly there was the option used by large scale beekeepers which is the blower.

After a few pertinent questions the meeting moved to the hive itself with Richard using a step ladder to reach the top of the hive. Although Richard and David had put a clearer board and additional empty supers (to allow the bees space to move down from the honey supers) on the hive earlier in the day it was found that there were still some bees in the supers and so the blower was used to clear them before loading the boxes into Richard’s car.

There was a brief discussion about the blower method of clearing the bees and it was pointed out that hobby beekeepers are very unlikely to use this method, which is probably best kept for large volume beekeeping and meetings like this where there are a large number of supers to be removed in a short space of time.

Once extracted, the wet supers will be returned to the hive for the bees to clean up before they are stored ready for next year. The group discussed the various methods of returning and storing the drawn comb to keep it in best condition. David pointed out that there will probably still be up to 10% of the honey in the wet super so allowing the bees to clean the comb is a valuable method to retain this honey.

In addition to his ‘super’ hive Richard demonstrated another WBC hive that he runs with National boxes inside, which gives him 12 frames instead of the 10 frames in a WBC box and with the double wall insulation (both summer and winter advantage) of a WBC hive.

The timetable of removing honey in July and them beginning treatments (Varroa) in August before removing the queen excluder to allow the bees to prepare for winter was also discussed.

Please see the attached pictures from the meeting.

After the meeting a number of the members retired to the pub to enjoy food and/or a drink, and to enjoy a social time together. 

With thanks to everyone involved in presenting the meeting especially Richard Emmett and the landlady of the Beehive pub for their hospitality.

Alan Whitehill

Many thanks to Alan for his report – more contributions, please!

 A couple more comments on the meeting

  1. I am not sure that beginners should have had a demonstration of working on a ladder to remove full, heavy supers stacked nine boxes high. It’s a bit dangerous! Also, the bees have an awful lot of work to do, and energy to expend within the hive, when working on the top box. 
  2. There were a number of very unhappy people and critical comments about the ‘blower’ method of removing the last bees from the supers. After the demonstration, small clusters of bees were found huddled on the ground; probably this was not the main reason for the people’s discomfort – I suspect it was ethical issues. Michael Main took a kind approach, collected them up and returned them to their hive. A number of the members moved away from the action, declaring themselves to be ‘Conscientious Objectors’. I have to say that I see no need to treat living creatures in this manner even if it is what the bee farmers do. What do our readers think? Please let the editor know. 

Geoff Cooper

If you contribute to this, but would prefer not to make your name known, I suggest that you sign your message ‘Anonymous’ or something similar. I very much hope that there will be some in favour of the blower method, and some who disagree, but please don’t make it personal, the last thing we want is to set up friction between members. – Ed.

More on Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus

Here is another account and photos, this time from Nikki Simpson. She comments that the fake grass they have under their hives makes it easy to see the dead bees. The top picture is the death toll for one day and the close up shot below shows dead bees with the distinctive dark, shiny bodies as well as young bees.

As a new beekeeper I really wasn’t sure that the volumes of dead bees I found outside the hive in April were normal for the time of year. I was expecting to see the winter bees die and be replaced by new spring bees but the piles we found every day out the front of the hive seemed excessive. Canvassing opinion at the Nosema Clinic in April didn’t shed any light on it, and the death toll continued, consistently losing what seemed like 100s of bees every day. I began to worry if we’d have any bees left, but the colony seemed to be building up as expected so I tried to put the worry to one side but every day my husband would sweep the dead bees into a pile. Strangely, I noticed that while most of the bees looked black and shiny like old bees (with distinctive dark orange stripes at the top of their abdomens), there were also young bees lying on the ground, seemingly unable to walk or fly, but moving feebly. Like yourself, I wondered if it was pesticide poisoning. After reading the newsletter article last month the penny dropped. Everything we observed makes sense in the light of CBPV.

I’ve done some reading since, and there really isn’t much useful information that I could find. There seems to be a distinct lack of research on the topic. I read the Budge et al article in Nature Communications but struggled with the scientific language, so was relieved to find a summary article in the BBKA News, pp.151-154, May 2021. (Recommended reading) There were several points in their research that were interesting to me:

1. CBPV has traditionally been seen as a spring/early summer disease, but their research suggests that more recently it occurs throughout the season, with a slight peak in September. So we may not be out the woods yet! 2. CBPV seems to show clustering by years, most outbreaks are contained within a 40-mile radius, but these clusters do not seem to repeat themselves the following year. So we may catch a lucky break next year and be virus free!

3. Their research substantiates that adult bees are the carriers and found that the faeces of infected bees carry a high viral load (dysentery being a symptom for some bees). Without a known treatment, or any management advice suggested by any sources, other than to remove the floor of the hive so the dead bees can drop out, it’s difficult to know how to help our bees but I wonder if a comb change in the spring is a good idea?

How very unfortunate to have such a devastating disease in year 1, but Nikki and her husband have survived well – here is the concluding sentence of her email:

Our introductory year has been a bit more ‘full on’ than we anticipated but we have loved every minute of it so far!

A comment from Marion

The recommendation from the NBU shown in their video (Chronic Bee Paralysis Virus – Symptoms and Characteristics. – YouTube) that the hive floor be removed from affected colonies to allow dead bees to drop out, as quoted by Nikki above, has cause considerable consternation among some of our members, who have discussed this.

What about robbing? Reducing the hive entrance to a one-bee width is recommended to control robbing, so how would the colonies fare if the whole floor were removed? It doesn’t bear discussion, although several contributors to a beekeeping forum seem to have taken this drastic action. Even if it works at this time of year, there is no way it would in late summer, the worst time for robbing. Maybe these beekeepers haven’t seen robbing at its worst, when there is complete mayhem around the whole hive with the robbers and residents fighting, the robbers winning, then roughly uncapping the stored honey and removing all of it, leaving starving bees to die.

We have been promised contact from our Regional Bee Inspector on this aspect (floor removal) and also on the CBPV problem in general and will report on it. Meanwhile, searches for information and the burning of dead bees continue.

“An Inspector Calls’’ Apiary Meeting at Byfleet Manor Apiary, Saturday 11th June

This meeting was basically the weekly Beginners’ Course practical meeting, but on this occasion the beginners were joined by any of our members who wished to attend. The total number at the meeting was 31. The main purpose of the meeting was for our Seasonal Bee Inspector, Stewart Westsmith, to demonstrate how to carry out an inspection for EFB and AFB. In the event, Stewart did far more than this. He explained and demonstrated several important things to recognise in a hive, and mentioned many techniques used by experienced beekeepers. His talk was really a comprehensive review of practical beekeeping.

All concerned were relieved that no disease was found.
It is really hard to imagine that even the most experienced people present will have learned nothing from Stewart’s presentation – we all did. We are very grateful to him for spending all this time with us on what should have been his day off.

European Foulbrood (EFB)

An important reminder for our Weybridge Division Beekeepers

There are currently some very serious outbreaks of European Foulbrood (EFB) in our area. It is most important that you know what it looks like so that you can recognise it. EFB is not so obvious as American Foul Brood (AFB), so if you are unsure of what you are seeing checkout the entry and video on BeeBase (under Foulbrood Disease of Honey Bees) and/or ask an experienced beekeeper. If you think you have it, close the hive entrance completely at dusk, and contact our Seasonal Bee Inspector (see Contact Details table at the end of the Newsletter). Do make a point of checking your colonies specifically for brood diseases at least twice a year, and carefully watch out for it whenever you inspect your bees. Remember that even if it was not there last time you looked, it may be there at the next inspection. If EFB is in your hives, and you fail to deal with it, the disease will spread rapidly to hives close to you and further away. Remember that there is no totally reliable treatment for this disease, and often its control relies on the complete destruction of the colony.