A request for spare beekeeping equipment to help start a School Bee Club

I have been beekeeping now for almost 5 years and have thoroughly enjoyed learning a new hobby and discovering new things about our fascinating fuzzy friends! In this time, I have been lucky enough to be part of this wonderful division, that is always kind, helpful and specific when talking to beginner beekeepers. This has led to my increased confidence in many aspects of keeping bees, from swarm management to harvesting my very own crop of honey! Therefore, I thought I might try to share my new passion and spread my new knowledge a bit further!

For the record, by day I am a teacher in a primary school and thought what a fantastic idea it would be to take bees to the school and even try and set up a club. I do think this will be a challenge for me, but after reviewing the school’s section on the BBKA website I feel like I would like to make a go of it!

The aim would be to give the children an opportunity they would not normally get to do. In my 10 years of teaching, I have never come across a school that has kept bees. I am sure some of our members may know some schools who keep bees but I sense that this type of club is much less common than your usual extracurricular activities.

The school itself is situated in area that has a diverse profile of pupils so it would be hugely beneficial for them to have a chance at an activity that is not normally on offer. Another obvious benefit, that we all know well, is the opportunity for the children to really take notice and appreciate all the wonderful plants and animals (great and small!) nature has to offer! Appreciating nature is a common thread that starts right at the beginning of the Early Years Framework right the way through the Key Stages. Therefore, the club will enrich the curriculum offer that is already provided.

I am aiming to start the club this year – after the Easter break. Therefore, I am looking for some donations to be able to start a beekeeping club at my primary school. I wondered if anyone had any spare equipment that they do not want to use any more that we could have to get the children started. I am currently looking for:

X2 hives
X6 children’s bee suits
X2 smokers
Enough hive tools for 6 children.
Anything else you think would be useful!
As mentioned earlier I am using the BBKA documents as a guide but am more than happy to receive feedback on things you think will be important to mention.

Thank you very much for spending the time reading my message and I hope everyone has a fantastic new season!

Ollie Dean olideangod5@hotmail.com

Best wishes, Ollie, for your project.
A number of schools do run activities with bees, the nearest one that I know is Burhill School in Hersham, where some of our members have, in the past, worked with the children on beekeeping. Perhaps some of them would like to contact Ollie.

BBKA Spring Convention 21-23 April at Harper Adams University

If you are a student beekeeper or a new beekeeper, (long practicing beekeepers will be well aware of this event) and intend to take your beekeeping seriously, you would do well to attend this annual event. There is a very comprehensive trade fair with equipment of every type at a range of prices. Equally important is the large number of lectures on a very wide range of beekeeping topics, at various levels from beginner to current university research work. If you are not able to go this year, bear it in mind for another as it is an annual event.

The key date for members to know about is that Bookings open on 30th January.

Full details of this year’s Convention will be found on the Spring Convention pages of the BBKA website:  www.bbka.org.uk 

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 lisaelainedavis1@gmail.com

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 (weybridgebees.sec@gmail.com). 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 https://www.honeyshow.co.uk/files/2022/juniorentryleaflet2022.pdf