Robert Crosley – Bees with no baggage.

After moving his bees to an out apiary with limited access Rob decided to cut down his beekeeping kit to the minimum. He described how he runs his hives on brood boxes with no use of supers, queen excluders, smokers or chemicals. This leaves him to carry just a few frames and his bee suit for every visit. Robert does not have long honey extracting sessions; he removes frames as they become full, extracts them straight away in his permanently set-up extractor, then replaces them in the hive.

Andrew Halstead – Solitary bees.

Andrew described some of the 250 solitary bees found in this country; they have no social organization so a single female builds a nest, lays eggs, feeds the larvae and dies before the next generation hatch. They have great names such as the hairy footed flower bee, green eyed flower bee and the hairy legged pantaloon bee. Not to mention the cuckoo bee, which is a brood parasite laying its eggs in others’ nests.

Kat Abate and Mark Wood – 1 and ½ years beekeeping.

Kat and Mark, who took the beginners course in 2018, told of the steep learning curve of their first 18months with the excitement of new colonies quickly turning to multiple queen cell culling, swarm control, success at queen harvesting, replacing poor laying queens only to have the new queen disappear and bees that went from calm, to jumpy, to grumpy to downright evil. Needless to say Kat and Mark haven’t been put off! They recognised the importance of notes taken at the time of inspection and of planning ahead.

David Parker – Honey bees of Laos

David gave an illustrated talk about his trip to a remote part of northern Laos where he visited a beekeeper who was keeping local Apis cerana in homemade small wooden boxes with pieces of bamboo to support the comb. Very few people keep bees, there is no kit available to the locals and they were proud of their veils made from mosquito netting. Harvests are small and they cut off pieces of comb, crush it, and put it in recycled beer bottles for sale. David provided 2 samples of honey for us to taste. They received a mixed reception.

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