Kent Beekeepers Association Bromley Branch

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January 2011

Published 3 January, 2011

Bromley Beekeepers Newsletter January 2011

Doing the Basic 1 Bob Jackman
Photograph supplied by Bob Jackman - Doing the BBKA Basic.

2010 has been as busy as ever for Bromley Beekeepers. A warm welcome to all our new members.

We have undertaken a number of outside events this year and a big thank you to everyone who has helped. Loading trailers, putting up the marquees, arranging the honey sales, making the bacon sarnies and brewing tea to keep us going is made a lot easier with plenty of help. If you haven’t yet volunteered, please do, even if you can only spare an hour or so.

There are a few changes to our calendar for 2011. Firstly, all apiary meetings will now be in the morning i.e. the meeting on the first Sunday of the each month stays the same and those on the third Sunday of April, May, June and July will also be in the morning at the usual time, 11.30 a.m.  There will be no meetings in August.

Bob Jackman and Clive Watson will again be running their beginners course in 2011. The beginners group which Bob ran as a follow on this year proved very popular so we have decided to run a practical support evening every Wednesday at 7.00 p.m. and all members are welcome. The first meeting will be on 27th April.  

Also at the Wednesday meetings we will be queen rearing. There are various ways this can be done so it will be an interesting project.

As usual, our lecture programme is planned for the third Tuesday of January, February, March and April. These lectures are free and everyone is welcome. The first lecture is on Tuesday, 18th January 2011 7.30 p.m. at the allotments clubhouse with refreshments provided. The speaker will be Clive Newitt.

The talks given by John Hendrie at our honey show were very well attended and Peter Bashford is busy organising our 2011 show which will be on the 17th September.

We have a very busy year ahead so lets hope we have some good weather and plenty of full supers.

Jenny Spon-Smith

Happy New Year
Jennifer Spon-Smith

Bromley branch member Tony Ashby submitted this article back in June last year - we look forward to part two.

Beekeeping with Stephanie PART ONE

The other day I gave Stephanie a hand with her bees.

Stephanie’s apiary is beautifully situated on a hillside with a sunny outlook and a view over South Norwood. To get to it you have to go down some extremely steep steps through someone’s back garden, through their back fence to the apiary, then down some more steps to the hives. This is fine if you are going down, and empty handed.

Stephanie’s project was to divide one of her colonies and then take some of the bees to another location in Herne Hill. She selected the frames to be transported and we put them into two super boxes. These were equipped with a mesh floor underneath and a crown board with mesh ventilators on top and admirably secured together by two ratcheted straps. They were also heavy with bees and honey.

Then commenced the crablike process of Stephanie and me carrying the boxes up through the apiary and the back garden. The steps in the garden appear to have been designed for someone with very long legs, not an attribute possessed by either Stephanie or me. The only other time I have encountered steps as steep as these was when I visited the Great Wall of China which, as everybody knows, snakes its way up and down mountains with complete disregard for the contours.

Eventually we reached the pavement outside and put the boxes into the car. I reassured Stephanie that the bees which were flying all around us were coming from her apiary and were simply attracted by the scent of honey coming from the boxes we were transporting. As soon as we drove away they would return home.

I was wrong. As soon as we drove away the car began to fill with bees, and it became clear that they were coming from the boxes on the back seat, not from the apiary. After about half a mile I suggested that we should go to my house, which is nearby, rather than stop by the roadside and risk upsetting somebody by investigating the problem on the pavement. We did this, and carried the boxes, still tightly secured with the straps, into my front garden. When we upended the boxes, Stephanie discovered that the mesh floor was not properly fastened within its wooden frame, and the bees were finding their way out.

At this point my neighbour Del appeared in his front garden, keeping well behind his elder tree, and said amiably ‘I wish I could help’. Stephanie suggested that a few drawing pins would keep the mesh floor in place, and I went indoors to fetch some. They did work, so we put the boxes back into the car and drove off towards Herne Hill, leaving a cloud of baffled bees in my garden. We hoped that there were still some in the boxes.

At Herne Hill we carried the boxes down a few steps and up a few more to reach the back garden. By this time, we were getting good at steps. Here we placed them, without the troublesome mesh floor, on top of the hive which was to receive them, and separated by newspaper. At this point we were very relieved to see that there were still plenty of bees, despite the complications of the journey.

I subsequently learnt that the bees had settled into their new home, and that the mission was therefore successful. All in all, a good beekeepers’ day out.

Tony Ashby

Tony Ashby


1 comment(s) on this page. Add your own comment below.

bob jackman
3 January, 2011 6:15pm [ 1 ]

This is clearly a job to be done on stilts - fancy not realising this beforehand. With all your experience, Tony, I can't see how you missed it.

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