WBKA Spring convention

Dear Fellow Beekeeper,

2017 has started and your thoughts start turning to what this season will bring. Why not attend the WBKA Spring Convention this year? With our new larger venue at the RWAS showground you are bound to find something of interest. I attach the list of speakers and how to get your cheaper earlybird tickets.

Jill Wheeler
WBKA Events Secretary

Asian Hornet!

(updated 6 November 2016 with BBC video)

(updated 1 November 2016 to include instructions on traps)


The National Bee Unit has confirmed a sighting of the Asian hornet in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire – the first time the hornet has been discovered in the UK.

The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees.

Work to identify, destroy and remove any nests is already underway, which includes:

  • setting up a 3 mile surveillance zone around Tetbury
  • opening a local control centre to coordinate the response
  • deploying bee inspectors across the area who will use infrared cameras and traps to locate any nests
  • readying nest disposal experts who will use pesticides to kill the hornets and destroy any nests

Nicola Spence, Defra Deputy Director for Plant and Bee Health, said:

We have been anticipating the arrival of the Asian hornet for some years and have a well-established protocol in place to eradicate them and control any potential spread.
It is important to remember they pose no greater risk to human health than a bee, though we recognise the damage they can cause to honey bee colonies. That’s why we are taking swift and robust action to identify and destroy any nests.
We remain vigilant across the country, working closely with the National Bee Unit and their nationwide network of bee inspectors.

A local control centre will be opened tomorrow near Tetbury and bee inspectors from around England will be closely monitoring a three mile radius around the initial sighting.

They will be supported by nest disposal experts who will use an approved pesticide to destroy any hornets and remove any nests.

The hornet found in Tetbury is currently undergoing DNA testing at the National Bee Unit in North Yorkshire to help establish how it arrived in the UK.

The hornet arrived in France in 2004 and is now common across large areas of Europe. It was discovered for the first time in Jersey and Alderney this summer. It is believed the species will not be able survive in the north of the UK due to colder winters.

See www.nationalbeeunit.com for updates.

Further guidance on the Asian hornet can be found on the Asian hornet pages of Beebase where you will find a very useful

Asian hornet ID sheetasianhornetid-0


Asian hornet posteralert_poster which are available for identification purposes.

You can also find very useful instructions for how to make a trap: Monitoring Trap.  Experience in France suggests 70% reduction from using these.

The BBC did a short video showing what the traps look like: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-devon-37867215

Any suspected Asian hornet sightings should be reported to alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk . When emailing, please include your name, the location of the sighting and if possible, a photograph of the hornet. Please do not put yourself in any danger of getting stung when trying to take a photo.

SBKA Success at the Warwickshire Beekeepers Honey Show

One of the classes that always draws attention at the County Honey Show is the “Club Composite”.  Designed around a set theme, the composite must display at least five different classes of honey and hive products, which must be the produce of at least three beekeepers.
Ruth Mosley produced the SBKA’s interpretation of “Our Queen is 90”, using the motifs of stamps, crowns, and images of the Royal family.  With such a classically elegant display, it’s no wonder the Composite was placed First!  Congratulations to Ruth and all those who supplied products for inclusion.
clubcomposite1 clubcomposite2 clubcomposite3

Shipston Food Festival

The SBKA stand had a great outing yesterday at the Shipston Food Festival 2016. Offering honey for sale, candle-rolling, “Guess the Name of the Bee” and a colouring competition, the stand had something for everyone.

The Observation Hive proved very popular – with even grown-ups asking if they could have a sticker for spotting the queen!

The day was a real success in raising the profile of the SBKA and in introducing people to the wonderful world of the honey bee.

Huge thanks to all those who helped with the stand, and came along to say “hi”!

sff3 sff2 sff1


Oxhill Honey

Now Every Beekeeper Can BeeConnected

BeeConnected, the new web-based communication system between farmers and beekeepers is now open to all beekeepers to register and to receive alerts from local farmers of insecticide spraying events.

BeeConnected is a nationwide initiative that provides a more efficient and effective way for farmers to inform beekeepers of their intention to apply an insecticide.

Alerts from farmers will tell local beekeepers by email:

  • when spraying will occur
  • the crop being treated
  • the compound being applied
  • and enable appropriate mitigating action to be taken

In addition to receiving accurate and up to date information of a spray event happening in the area BeeConnected provides direct contact from local farmers and provides the opportunity to establish a relationship with local farmers.

BeeConnected in a joint venture under the Voluntarily Initiative between the BBKA, National Farmers Union and Crop Protection Association.

Register now for the system launch at: www.beeconnected.org.uk

SBKA August Apiary meeting and barbeque

Last night was the ‘formal’ opening of the SBKA branch training apiary and club house.

Despite the odd spot of rain, there was a great turn out, with members being shown the storage facilities, sheltered teaching area, and hives being maintained by some of this year’s new beekeepers.

Of course, the gathering wouldn’t have been complete without not one, but TWO barbecues, delicious salads provided the The Gate, and Dan’s delicious sourdough bread.

Huge thanks go to all those who helped with the construction work, those who have shared their years of experience through teaching, and to The Gate for hosting our apiary.

IMG_20160825_200217 IMG_20160825_200226 IMG_20160825_200232 IMG_20160825_202321 IMG_20160825_202334

2016 Village Shows

The SBKA has officially attended Cherington, Brailes and Tysoe village shows with the SBKA gazebo.  We sold some honey (and with 50p per sale going to the club, helped our funds!), but more importantly these shows served a great educational role, talking to members of the public about bees.  We took the observation hive to Brailes and Tysoe, which went down really well!

The pop-up banner looked great at Cherington
The pop-up banner looked great at Cherington
Cherington, ready for our first customers!
Cherington, ready for our first customers!
The observation hive was a star of Brailes show.
A gorgeous day at Brailes
A gorgeous day at Brailes

Disease Awareness Training Day

National Beekeeping Centre, Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire, CV8 2LG
Saturday 9th July 2016

Are your bees healthy?
To be able to tell if your bees are healthy you need to know when something looks wrong. There are pictures in booklets for guidance but there is nothing like seeing and inspecting diseased comb frames yourself. On Saturday 9th July you have the opportunity to do just that. The local APHA Bee Inspectors are running a hands-on disease awareness training day at Stoneleigh with Warwickshire Beekeepers. They will be covering the notifiable foulbrood diseases, new pests and what we can do to combat our biggest threat, varroa. Delegates will also receive a field pocket guide for future reference.

I attended a similar event about 6 years ago and still regard it at as one of the best investments of beekeeping time I made. It was invaluable in helping me monitor my colonies and deal with health problems, as well as having the chance to discuss issues with the SBIs.

Places are limited and will be allocated by each Branch Association so if you would like to take up this rare opportunity please let me know as soon as possible.
David Blower