Kent Beekeepers Association Orpington Branch

Branch Newsletter July 2001

Orpington Beekeepers Branch Newsletter July 2001.



Orpington Branch Newsletter July 2001

We were certainly blessed with fine weather for the two-day event at Coolings. In fact, the second day was really too warm for comfort (or so I am told, since I wasn't there!). It remains to be seen whether the number of people who expressed interest will actually become beekeepers, but at least we have tried. As far as I was concerned, the highlight of the show was a new feeder for the observation hive, made entirely of glass by John Cowley. It even has a glass bee at its top! This was its first use, and as with all new designs, it had a few teething problems, but I'm sure all will be well in the end. Our observation hive is double-glazed and so it is very easy for the bees to get over-heated. To cope with this, Jim Grierson had incorporated a small fan working from a battery. I'm not sure whether the bees really appreciated this!

One of the benefits of these shows is the chance you get to meet interesting people. An elderly Canadian lady described to me how her husband's grandfather in Ireland had devised a frame for his hive that forced the bees to build the honeycomb in strips, to produce a sort-of mars bar shape. In the days before such handy confectionery was in the shops he thought he could be on to a winner, and worked out how to package all the strips. And it worked -once- but he could never get the bees to repeat it. I think that people who try to produce sections often have a similar problem

I didn't manage to get to the demonstration by Godfrey Munro but according to all accounts it was very good. It suffered from a poor turnout, as did the barbecue after. Maybe beekeepers and barbecues don't mix. It is probably doubtful whether we will attempt it again, since the organisers (Gordon and Jackie in this case) put in a lot of effort and it is a bit dispiriting to see such a poor response.

James Morton has written giving details of foul brood cases in the south-east up to June 8th. Over 80 cases of EFB have been confirmed and two cases of AFB. He hopes all our members will look carefully at their bees to try to find any signs of disease at an early stage. If anyone is uncertain about what to look for, he and his officers are only too willing to help.

For those of you with access to the Internet, he mentions a new web site by the National Bee Unit: it is .. He is also distributing a monthly newsletter by e-mail and you can subscribe free of charge by contacting him at and putting 'subscribe' in the e-mail subject line.

Also for those on the web, look at . Here you will find details of local honey for sale (none in Orpington apparently), an Auction Room (nothing at the moment), a list of swarm co-ordinators and a twelve-page article by Nick Withers on Swarm Control. You will even find information about our branch and our newsletter.

Greg Snell tells me that bumblebees have moved into a nesting box for birds at his home. I have had two telephone calls this year so far telling me the same thing. I wonder whether the news has got about amongst the bees and that it is going to happen more frequently in the future.

An article in the "Daily Telegraph" reported that honey crops in areas affected by foot and mouth disease are likely to break records this year because of the growth of wild flowers in areas where there has been no grazing. It's an ill wind...

A last reminder about the Kent Show, where the last date for entry is July 5th.