Winter Social and Quiz Wednesday 22nd February, 7.30pm

Venue: The Pelican Pub,

Winter Social and Quiz Wednesday 22nd February, 7.30pm

Ideally teams of 4, no more than 6.

9 Hamm Moor Lane, Addlestone KT15 2SB

Social Gathering from 19:30, quiz starts at 20:00 and ends about 22:00.

People can enter as a team or if they prefer as individuals/couples and they will be ‘teamed’ up with others. The quiz will have a beekeeping bias, but other content as well, so non-beekeeping partners

are welcome.

There will be some nibbles provided for the tables, chips and garlic bread.

There is plenty of parking round The Pelican, which is a canal side pub on an industrial estate. If you’ve not been there before you will find it by passing a no-through round sign and the pub is

towards the end of that street on the left.

Numbers are limited, so please respond promptly and places will be allocated on a first-come basis.

Please send your names to

How much honey is left in ‘wet’ supers after extraction is completed?

When you request your bees to dry out your frames for you, have you realised how much honey you (and they) are contributing to their winter stores? The answer is that a box of 11 wet extracted frames in a super contains about 1lb 4oz of honey. So if you ask your bees to dry out 3 supers, each with 11 wet frames, they will be adding nearly 4 lb of honey to to their winter stores. In other words, a full size colony, fed for winter, will increase its 40 lb of stores by about 10% from the wet frames. Or you could reduce the stores that you ensure they have (before drying out) from 40 lb to 36 lb (such precision!).

Don’t forget to tell your bees.

Look out for more exciting wax cappings data in the the December issue.

Geoff Cooper

Honey Show Reports 2022

Surrey BKA Honey Show, Saturday 8th October
This very pleasant event took place at Reigate Division’s Henfold Apiary and was enjoyed by all. Some of our members entered various items and a list of successes is give below. It is worth pointing out that there is a cup – The Vincent Challenge Cup – awarded to the Surrey Division that gains the most points. Weybridge came second in 2021 and again this year. There are some dedicated and extremely successful entrants from Reigate. This year they had 137 points to our 67, so there was a big gap between their first position and our second, but wouldn’t it be good to beat them? How about trying in 2023?

Results in alphabetical order of entrants:
(VHC = Very Highly Commended C = Commended)

Geoff CooperVHCComb suitable for extraction
Marion Cooper2ndHoney biscuits
2ndLemon honey cake
3rdHoney fruit cake
Lisa Davis2ndHoney & beeswax products
Andrew Halstead1stTwo jars medium honey
VHCTwo jars set honey
Jane Hunter3rdHoney biscuits
3rdTwo beeswax candles
VHCHoney fruit cake
VHCBlack and white photo
David Parker1stTwo jars dark honey
1stTwo cut comb containers (Colman Cup)
3rdTow jars set honey
3rdComposite display of four items
CComb suitable for extraction

National Honey Show, 27th – 29th October

Results for Weybridge Division in alphabetical order of entrants:

(VHC = Very Highly Commended C = Commended)

Geoff Cooper2ndFrame for extraction (Surrey member)
Marion Cooper1stHoney biscuits
1stContainer of liquid honey
2ndHoney sultana and cherry cake
CDate cake
Mather Cup (Surrey member with most points in National classes)
Andrew HalsteadVHCTwo jars set honey (Surrey member)
VHCOne jar light or medium honey (Surrey member)
Mark Hamilton1stTow jars medium honey (Surrey member)
1stOne jar light/medium honey (Surrey member)
1stTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (Surrey member)
2ndTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (NHS class)
2ndTwo jars liquid honey (Surrey member)
3rdContainer of honey, free from ling (National class)
HCOne piece of beeswax (NHS class)
CSix 28g beeswax blocks (Gift class)
Jonathan Kernan1stTwo jars light honey (Open class)
(Mrs BW Hamlin cup – best in Classes 110-115)
1stTwo jars liquid honey (Surrey member) (Egerton Smythe cup)
2ndTwo jars liquid honey (Open class)
2ndTwo jars medium honey (Surrey member)
David Parker1stFrame for extraction (Surrey member) (Hood Chalice)
1stTwo jars dark honey (Surrey member)
2ndTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (Surrey member)
2ndTwo moulded candles (Surrey member)
VHCTwo containers cut comb, free from ling (NHS class)

Congratulations to us all! Please let me know of any errors or omissions and I will put corrections in the December Newsletter.
Thanks to Marion for the time she spent in sifting this from multiple pages of information.

Weybridge Beekeepers AGM : 2.30 pm, Sunday 13th November 2022 and Future Events

This is to notify you of our Annual General Meeting, which will take place in the comfortable surroundings of the Beacon in Chertsey on 13th November.  We plan to offer an online option for those who can’t travel to the venue.  Details of access and parking has been published in the November newsletter a map is included.  For those coming to the meeting in person, we will have tea/coffee and cake, as in previous years, and also the honey tasting is back!  


Surrey BKA AGM, Saturday December 3rd

This year the AGM is being hosted by Reigate Division and will be in the afternoon. Further details will be provided when sent to us.

WBK stall in Weybridge, Sunday December 4th

We have been invited to take a stall at the Christmas Market of St Charles Primary School. The event will be held in the Parish Hall of Christ the Prince of Peace Catholic Church in Portmore Park Road from 11.30-3.00, with set up from 9.00.

If you can spare time to help and sell some of your honey, please contact Jane Hunter ( More details will be given when provided by the school.

National Honey Day, Friday October 21st 2022

We have been asked to share with our members the information below received from BBKA announcing National Honey Day.

The British Beekeepers Association are celebrating the first National Honey Day on 21st October, and we would like to invite you to share in this day when we will be encouraging everyone to buy a jar of local honey, produced by bees here in the UK.

Not only do we want to ensure people are aware of all the benefits honey provides but we are seeking to celebrate the pleasure of eating honey. Honey has been enjoyed all over the world for centuries, it was found in the Egyptian tombs and is often depicted being collected by bees in ancient cave drawings.

During this day of celebration, you could encourage friends and family to share photos on social media: You and your jars of Local Honey!

The things you do with your honey. Perhaps you eat it on toast or in porridge? Perhaps you bake with honey or make mead? Do you make honey-containing cosmetics?

Use the hashtags #NationalHoneyDay, #LocalHoney, #Beekeeping 

We are concerned that consumers can buy honey and not a jar labelled honey that contains additives such as corn syrup, and other additives and chemicals. We want people to be aware and informed about the world-wide fraud affecting imported honey. 

The BBKA will be continuing the work started as a response to propositions in the Annual Delegates Meeting in January and will be launching a new petition calling on the Government to revisit the intended change in labelling of Honey sold in the UK. Some changes were to have come into law later this year but have been delayed until 2024. We want people to be able to recognise honey produced here in the UK and be able to have a choice in what they are buying. Some imported ‘honey’ has never been collected by a bee. The BBKA is asking for informed information on the labels of honey, we are asking that consumers and our beekeepers are protected from the fraud, which is occurring worldwide now. 

We will send the link to the petition when it is officially launched, please help this initiative by signing the petition and share it as widely as possible

Our goal is to reach 100,000 signatures as this will mean the Government will consider it for debate in Parliament. It will need the support of the general public and not just the beekeeping community to achieve this result, therefore we will be seeking the engagement of all our BBKA Associations to actively encourage the general public to support the petition.

Many thanks for your continued support of this important initiative.

From the BBKA via Julie Hogarth (Surrey BKA Secretary)

 The best way to extract honey?

“At a recent beekeeping event we heard that to enter prize winning honey with maximum aroma it is worth considering extracting honey by letting it drip out of the comb, as the more vigorous action of tangential spinning allows too much of the aroma to escape.

We hadn’t considered this until we inspected our bees last week and found that they had been very busy and there were several unexpected capped frames that we could remove without leaving them in any way short of stores. Having thoroughly cleaned and put away our spinner I thought it might be the ideal opportunity to see if we could get the honey to drip out and thereby have an exceedingly fragrant jar or two of honey to exhibit.

I can report that after 48 hours of trying to get the honey to drip out (yes, I did uncap it!), a process involving cordoning off a third of the kitchen and a very large bucket, I am still waiting for the frame to drip all of its honey. The honey is not especially viscous, and there is no obvious reason for it not to drip, so it must be that we simply have a lack of gravity in the kitchen. We have searched Thorne’s website and they do not appear to sell gravity, either loose or by the jar, so it looks like we are going to have to get the tangential spinner out again, and then clean it all over again, just for 6 frames.

Has anybody else successfully separated honey from comb before in a low gravity environment, or using other methods that don’t involve spinning ?”

David Ramsay

Many thanks for this lovely item, David; it really is a bit special.  

Does anyone have some suggestions in response to David’s request? Let us know, even if you have not tried such a method yourself.

 A visit from Australian Beekeepers

We had the pleasure of entertaining two beekeepers, Henry and Mary from Australia, in our home a week or so ago. They had made a request, via Glyn Davis and Tim Lovett (Surrey BKA), to meet some English beekeepers and to see some bees in this country. Glyn had only a vague idea of their status in beekeeping, but gave the impression that they were probably new to the craft, which they are, but what a start they have made! 

During the visit they told us that although they are fairly new beekeepers, they have in the last couple of years purchased a bee business with about 120 colonies, and are both obviously ‘turned on’ by bees and beekeeping. The original owner has remained with them as an adviser who is guiding them during their initial management of the business in which a number of ‘bee boys’ are already employed.

The business is very unusual in that most of the hives are owned and situated in the ‘back yards’ of individuals living locally, who pay to have them looked after by the bee boys of the ‘Back Yard Honey’ company and are given some of the honey. There are also some small apiaries of about 20 colonies each, including one on the University of Melbourne site, that are stocked and maintained by Henry and Mary. Their whole operation takes place in Melbourne, which they described as an area of wealthy and enterprising people, giving us the impression of a very suitable clientele for honey.

They confirmed that dealing with diseases such as AFB and EFB is totally the responsibility of beekeepers, and the Government takes no part in controlling bee diseases of this nature. As we knew, Varroa was recently found in Australia; currently the Government is very confident that its policy of destruction of all colonies in areas where varroa is found will eliminate the mite. Meanwhile they are relying on other countries who already have the mite to come up with the solution. I did gently say to Henry and Mary that I could not share any of this optimism, but did agree that the vast empty spaces in their country may limit the speed of its spread, and perhaps they would not see it in their lifetimes. However, this seems unlikely because of migratory beekeeping, that is practised on a large scale in their country.

They were interested to go through a hive in our garden, commented on the calm bees and were excited to have their first sighting of two varroa mites on bees, and others under a microscope in the kitchen. They were also interested to see how we monitor varroa mites on a board under the mesh floor.

We exchanged honeys. Theirs was a very strong one from Eucalyptus trees (Red Gum Honey).

We very much enjoyed their visit, and I am sure it is true to say that they enjoyed theirs. They are coming again to this country at about the same time next year, and Henry agreed to give a talk to our members during their stay, if that can be arranged.   

Geoff Cooper

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

 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.