Kent Beekeepers Association Orpington Branch

Branch Newsletter December 2001

Orpington beekeepers branch newsletter December 2001.



Orpington Branch Newsletter December 2001

I must start with two important bits of information. The first is a reminder that our Christmas Party is on Saturday December 8th and that you need to obtain a ticket in advance from Tony Trinick or me. Everyone who comes has a jolly good time, and it would be a shame if you missed it through an oversight.

Secondly, "Beecraft" will be delivered to you directly from the printers next year and they will need to know by the tenth of the previous month the details of our members. This means that those people who have not paid their subscriptions will not receive the magazine until one or two months after they have. I hope you have paid up! The magazine is now going into A4 format and promises to be greatly improved.

Did you notice what was on the front page of the November issue of the "Kentish Bee"? Fourteen hives had been stolen from a farm site at East Peckham, which is not all that far away. This wasn't just empty equipment, but working hives each with three or four supers, hive stands and spare supers ready for use. The thieves obviously knew what they were doing. If you happen to notice someone starting beekeeping with a bang or suddenly increasing their stocks, please notify Tonbridge police. More importantly, you should consider how secure are your hives. It is a good insurance to brand your hives, or maybe identify them by a pattern of drilled holes. At the Apiary, we are hoping to resurrect the branding tool which was used some time ago. The insurance you have as a KBKA member doesn't cover you for a loss of this kind, though if you keep your hives at home, they may be covered by the House and Contents insurance. You have been warned!

One of our members - Hugh Perkins- wants honey, so if you have any to spare could you please give him a ring on 020 8693 5040

At the National, Kit Erhardt won a Second for his comb ready for extraction and Greg Snell achieved a Third for his Crystallized Honey, so both deserve great congratulations. I didn't win anything but three entrants is a great improvement. If we can keep this going, we may eventually win the Bee Cup again.

There were a number of classes where the judges were unable to make any awards, which I don't recall happening before. Maybe the judges were stricter this year. It was also sad to see the absence of entries from Trinidad and Tobago because the British Authorities had decided that each of their entries was a separate import which had to be tested at a cost of £100. I don't suppose our European partners would have been so stupid.

An interesting development shown was the Dartington Long Deep hive which uses twenty-one 14x12 frames and has two entrance blocks, a divider, four honey boxes, four covers, two clearer boards and a long roof, all on a mesh floor. The divider and entrance blocks give the possibility of doing an artificial swarm with very little manipulation. Just confine the queen in one part of the hive and leave the bees to produce queen cells in the other. When the new queen emerges, kill the first queen and remove the divider. The four smaller supers make it much easier to carry without damaging your back. I have a leaflet about it if anyone is interested.

There was also shown a travelling observation hive, which was really a nucleus box with one side replaced by Perspex, a sheet of queen excluder at the back of the frame nearest the Perspex and a double level mesh top covering two trays, one containing a sponge for water, the other candy. In use, the frame containing the queen is positioned nearest the Perspex so that she can be seen, though it is probable that she would move to the side away from the light.

Christopher Chope, a Tory M.P. who wants the Government to prevent the spread of bee diseases, is reported to have said "Beekeepers are the unsung heroes of British farming, like the bees they look after".

I'd vote for him!

Finally, "Seasons Greetings to you all" and I hope you have a very happy New Year.