Orpington branch newsletter September 2003 by Fran Chappell.
KENT BEEKEEPERS` ASSOCIATION
Orpington Branch Newsletter September 2003
Saturday September 13th is the day of the Honey Show at the Emanuel Church, The Grove, West Wickham. Entries will be accepted up to 10.00am on the day. I have received a limited number of schedules and am aiming to include one with this newsletter to those members that I hope will enter. If you do not have one but would like to, please let me know and I will obtain it for you.
This year the Trenear Trophy is amongst the awards and I would dearly love an Orpington member to win it. It is awarded to the Orpington or Bromley member winning the most points in the confectionary classes and there are six of these – two cakes, biscuits, sweetmeats, lemon curd and flapjacks, so come on, those of you who cook and try to get this handsome trophy on your mantelpiece.
I am happy to take your entries to the show if you cannot make it on the day.
There is a new item for your diary. On Saturday September 27th at Gordon and Jackie’s home, we will be demonstrating the hardware of beekeeping (bees being soft) - what are the pros and cons of the various designs of hive and frame, how you assemble the latter and all sorts of things like that. It is primarily intended for the new beekeepers amongst us but all are welcome. Why not come along– you will be able to contribute your ideas and, who knows, you may learn something yourself. The Apiary will not be open on that day. It starts at 2.30pm.
We had a very enjoyable evening at the barbecue. A lot of members and friends came including some of our new members and it was particularly pleasing to be able to welcome them. Although the recent hot weather had departed, it was a fine evening though it became a bit chilly later on. Needless to say, Gordon and Jackie had provided everything to make the evening a success and deserve a big “thank you” from all of us.
Gordon Dowson has written to me about his bees as follows: “I had a strong colony which swarmed on March 31st, and when I went into it to reduce the number of queen cells to one, I found a standard brood chamber and a shallow packed full of sealed brood – no wonder that they swarmed. Regrettably, weeks passed and there was no brood from the new queen. I had practically them up as queenless, but eight weeks after swarming the queen started laying – is this a record?” I can’t remember what the weather was like then – maybe that played a part.
A paragraph in the “Daily Telegraph” reported that the reason that male bees have no father has been discovered by an international team of scientists. This turns out to be rather technical, so I will not attempt to précis it.
“Female bees have two copies of a gene called csd – complementary sex determiner – one from each parent, that trigger female development. Unfertilised eggs, which have only one copy of csd from the mother default to being males. Csd comes in 19 versions and while females have two different types, males have only one. The team believes that the two different versions of csd code for inactive proteins can pair up to make an active protein that drives female development. But if only one type of csd is made, no active protein is formed and the bee grows into a male.”
So now you know!