Winter Meeting 14th January 2020

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.

Weybridge Christmas Market, 30/11/2019

The WBK stall at this event was a great success. Verbal contacts were made with a good number of people including an interview with Richard for the Brooklands Local Radio Station. We sold over 80lbs of honey, plus cut comb and wax wraps. Many thanks are due to all those members who helped, but especially to Jane Hunter and Paul Bunclark who organised, set up, and dismantled the stand, and spent the whole day in attendance. A great time all round.

2019 Summer Meetings

A great series of summer meetings was held in 2019 with attendance generally up on 2018.

HostsDateMain SubjectAttendance
Michael Main28th April, 2.30 pmStart of the Season: Bailey Comb Change, Shook Swarm40+
David and Jenny Nield26th May, 2.30 pmAn Inspector Calls, Bee Disease inspection25+
Aslam and Kishwer Aziz8th June, 2.30 pmPreparing for the Flow25+
Geoff and Marion Cooper13th July, 2.30pmHarvesting the Honey and What can go Wrong, an education in  things that go wrong but should not20+
David Parker15th September 2.30pmSurviving Winter20+

Teaching apiary on the move

The Weybridge division’s teaching apiary has been in the grounds of St Georges Junior School in Weybridge since 2015.  In August 2017 the hives were damaged by vandals on three occasions, so the decision was made to move the hives into the garden of a member for the winter period.  The original plan was to move the hives back to St Georges in the spring but an alternative site in Ottershaw has since become available.  Hopefully this will be less vulnerable to vandalism and will provide a temporary home until a more permanent site can be secured.

On Sunday 12 April a working party of Weybridge members went to St Georges to load paving slabs and the contents of the shed on to a trailer.  The shed was then dismantled ready for the journey to Ottershaw.  In the evening of the same day, the hives were transported from their winter quarters and placed in the new apiary site.

The 24 students on the 2018 beginner beekeepers’ course began the practical part of the course in the new apiary on 21 April.

Nosema Clinic 2018

Our Nosema clinic was well attended where members were shown how to prepare samples and examine them under a microscope to detect the presence of Nosema.  High concentrations of Nosema will cause problems for our bees and appropriate action, such as a shook swarm, may be necessary.

Nosema Clinic 2017

A nosema clinic was run by the Weybridge division.  Members brought samples of their bees that were then inspected for the presence of nosema and advice given on how to deal with it.  Below is a picture of a nosema sample taken on the night.