Kent Beekeepers Association Orpington Branch

Branch Newsletter January 2002

Orpington branch newsletter January 2002 by Frank Chappell.



Orpington Branch Newsletter January 2002

I hope you have all enjoyed your Christmas and have made your New Year resolutions - all you have to do now is carry them out.

As usual, the Christmas party was very enjoyable and I think we had more members present than in previous years. Thanks to our helpers, there was plenty of food and wine and our hosts, Gordon and Jackie provided pleasant surroundings and some teasing puzzles. Many thanks to everyone for making it a memorable occasion.

This month you should start receiving "Beecraft" direct in its new improved form. There may be some teething troubles at first but hopefully the new arrangement will prove to be better, though to me, there didn't seem much wrong with what we had. We will have to see how it works out.

We are having a working party at the Apiary on Saturday January 19th, starting at 10.00am where we will hope to sort out some of the jobs which always seem to need doing but which get put off for the beekeeping. This is a wonderful opportunity for you to work off some of the extra pounds (weight) which you have accumulated over the festive season. If you feel up to it, please try to come along and help - every little helps. It may be raining or worse, in which case we will try again on the following Saturday, the 26th. For more detailed information nearer the time, ring Peter Burden or Jim Grierson.

The next talk is at Bromley branch and is on Tuesday January 15th and not January 3rd as given at the back of the December "Kentish Bee". According to this, the talk is about the D-Day landings and particularly about the Mulberry harbours, so it should be interesting and a bit different to the usual talks about bees.

Our next meeting is on Wednesday February 13th and this is an important one since James Morton is coming to tell us how to find out if our varroa are resistant to Bayvarol and Apistan, and what to do about it if they are. This resistance has only been found so far in Devon, but you may remember that varroa was first found in Devon, and it wasn't very long before it turned up here. So try to make sure you come.

Some months ago, James Morton sent me an e-mail asking me to collect information about how much honey per hive members collected and how much they charged for it. This was needed for the DEFRA statistics on food production. I didn't do anything about it because I was a bit suspicious of their motives. It seems I was not alone, since he reports that only twenty-eight replies were received. On honey yield the replies ranged from 0 to 110 lbs per colony and for direct sales, the prices ranged from £1.40 to £3.50 per pound with an average of £2.29. Bulk honey prices (only 4 replies) ranged from £1.00 /lb to £1.25 /lb. These figures are little changed from the last two years.

Another e-mail from James Morton asks for information about any apiaries which you may have noticed and that you may be concerned about. Like the rest of us, he is worried that they may be a source of infection and his inspectors cannot do anything if they are unaware of their existence. The practice is to try to make contact with the owner (if there is one) before examining the colonies. The privacy of the person reporting the colonies is always protected. Since it is in everyone's interest to help him, I hope you will let him know about any which concern you. All he needs is a description of where they are (ideally with a map reference), along with details of the number and condition of hives present.

The following appeared in the "Telegraph" recently: "A bee stopped trains for 80 minutes, delaying 1200 passengers, when it jammed switching points after seeking warmth on a circuit board at Kioroshi, west of Tokyo." Must have been the wrong kind of bee!