Orpington branch newsletter December 2002 by Frank Chappell.
KENT BEEKEEPERS` ASSOCIATION
Orpington Branch Newsletter December 2002
The most important thing this month is to remind you about the Christmas Party on December 7th. If you haven’t done so yet, get your tickets from Tony Trinick. The party is at Gordon and Jackie’s house, 7.30 for 8.00pm, and if you can bring a bottle so much the better.
At the AGM, a decision was taken to amend the rule limiting the length of time that could be served by the Officers. It reads: “The rules on length of service of Officers and Branch Committee Members may be waived for the coming year provided that there are no candidates willing to stand for the vacancy(ies) that would otherwise have arisen. The motion for the waiver must be approved at the meeting. If carried, the waiver will expire at the next AGM”. As anyone who has attended the AGM will know, it is extremely difficult to get volunteers to take over, so this offers the opportunity for the existing officers to keep going. However it is better to get a change if possible to introduce new ideas on how the branch should be run. (I never volunteered to be secretary – I was instructed to do it by Stanley!)
Another decision at the AGM was to cancel “Beecraft” for members who had not paid their subscription by October 1st. We have been a bit lenient about this in the past, but it can cost us money.
The final point arising from the AGM was that we still don’t have an application for the Trenear Trophy. So could you please give it some thought and let us have your ideas.
We were down to only one entrant for the National this year – me. I did surprisingly well with two Firsts, two Seconds and a Very Highly Commended. As a result I won the Coronation Cup and a very welcome £20. I’ve come to the conclusion that judges don’t like dry mead because for our honey show, I added some sweet to the dry and won a Second. For the National, I added some more and got a First!
A working party is planned at the Apiary for Saturday January 18th so I hope some of you will be able to come. If the weather is as lovely then as it was this year, we should have a very pleasant time.
James Morton has sent me an update on the health of bees in the south-east. There has been a noticeable reduction in the number of confirmed cases of Foul Brood with nine colonies in two apiaries having AFB and 186 colonies in 61 apiaries with EFB. The reason for the reduction is not known but it is thought that the Shook Swarm technique may be playing a part. West Sussex is the worst affected area with Kent having just 26 colonies affected. Tests to find whether varroa have become resistant to pyrethroids in the south-east have so far proved negative, but it is becoming widespread in the south-west. We should all try to carry out the test this year to provide better coverage.
A possible problem in the future is the small hive beetle which originated in South Africa, has become a serious problem in America and has now been found in Australia. If it can move about like this it is only a matter of time before it reaches us – it may be here already. Both adult and larval beetles live in beehives where the larvae cause serious damage by eating brood and honey. Their excrement contaminates honey causing it to ferment. Damage to the colony becomes very severe, often causing the adult bees to abscond. Small hive beetles are also a serious pest of stored comb and can quickly ruin full supers prior to extraction. So watch out for beetles in your hives. They are about a third the size of a worker bee, black or dark brown in colour, oval in overall shape with short wing cases. The larvae resemble wax moth larvae but have two rows of spines along the centre of the back.
However, don’t worry too much at the moment, just have a jolly good Christmas and a Happy New Year!