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News from BBKA

News from the British Beekeepers Association

News feed from the British Beekeepers Association.

  1. This course is very popular and provides a valuable insight into the life of bees.

    The syllabus of the course broadly aligns with the Basic Certificate in beekeeping and on completion will allow you to move on to the Beginner’s Practical Course. Recommended pre-course reading: ‘The BBKA Guide to Beekeeping’ by Ivor Davis and Roger Cullum-Kenyon. Published by Bloomsbury.

    To book: Use our new secure online shop at Chelmsfordbeekeepers.com Debit, credit cards and paypal accepted Cost: £70. Equipment: Notebook, pencil/pen

  2. A course to help all beekeepers whatever their experience to assess their colonies with a view to improving them using criteria they set themselves.

    The course also covers simple recording to give information on which queens to cull and which to breed from. There is encouragement to rear queens using natural methods as well as some of the simple "artificial" methods.

    Cost: £10.00

    For more information contact E: ja.banks1@btinternet.com

  3. 6 pupils at the school recently received the first Junior Beekeeping certificates under the BBKA’s (British Beekeepers Association) new School Scheme.

     

    The school has established a wildflower meadow and in that they have hives keeping honey bees. It was this project that won them the award and the school has said a huge array of pollinators have visited the meadow this year and they will be adding more flower types next year. Their beekeeping mentor is teacher Emma Turner-Bone.

     

     

    The BBKA is thrilled that they are getting this recognition.

     

    -ends-





  4. Update to BBKA Statement on Neonicotinoid Pesticides – 9th November 2017

    Introduction 

    This statement provides an update on the position of the British Beekeepers Association in relation to the EU ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides released on 30th June 2017. This update follows a statement made by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on 9th November 2017.https://www.gov.uk/government/news/environment-secretary-backs-further-restrictions-on-neonicotinoid-pesticides
    BBKA Comments 

    The BBKA has maintained that the policy of both the UK and the EU should be led by sound science. It is encouraged to note that Mr Gove’s comments are based on the updated advice of the UK’s Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) which has been released today.
    They have concluded that:
    • Exposure to neonicotinoids under field conditions can have an unacceptable effect on honeybee health.
    • Such unacceptable effects are occurring at a landscape level and between seasons.
    • These neonicotinoid pesticides are relatively persistent in the environment and can occur in non-target plants foraged by bees.
    • Wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees) are negatively affected by exposure to neonicotinoid residues from across the landscape.
    The position of the BBKA has, and continues to be ‘That, until there is convincing independent scientific evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are not harmful to honey bees, the BBKA will support the continuation of the EU moratorium on their use.’
    The advice to ministers indicates that Neonicotinoid pesticides are causing harm to both pollinators in general, honey bees in particular and equally importantly the overall environment. This means that the BBKA will support the continuation of the moratorium on their use and would support an overall banning of their use. The UK government position which will feed into the European discussion is likely to have a significant impact as they were one of the few voices arguing against the moratorium originally, making it more likely that EU wide ban will be extended or made permanent.
    The BBKA was pleased to be involved in discussions across a wide range of farming related sectors about how the regulatory regime would evolve as the UK leaves the EU. We were encouraged that the government is thinking about the importance of pollinators in general and honey bees in particular in the context of Brexit. Equally we are pleased that the government is offering to work with farmers to develop an alternative approach to treating crops. We remain concerned however that any alternative treatments used do not cause harm to honey bees and other pollinators.
    We will continue to update both our members and the public as the current debate evolves.
    Martin Smith Director of Communications
    Martin.smith@bbka.org.uk
    9th November 2017
  5. Introduction

    This statement provides an update on the position of the British Beekeepers Association in relation to the EU ban on Neonicotinoid Pesticides released on 30th June 2017. This update follows a statement made by Michael Gove, Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) on 9th November 2017 BBKA Comments

    The BBKA has maintained that the policy of both the UK and the EU should be led by sound science. It is encouraged to note that Mr Gove’s comments are based on the updated advice of the UK’s Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) which has been released today.

    They have concluded that:

    • Exposure to neonicotinoids under field conditions can have an unacceptable effect on honeybee health.

    • Such unacceptable effects are occurring at a landscape level and between seasons.

    • These neonicotinoid pesticides are relatively persistent in the environment and can occur in non-target plants foraged by bees.

    • Wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees) are negatively affected by exposure to neonicotinoid residues from across the landscape.

    The position of the BBKA has, and continues to be ‘That, until there is convincing independent scientific evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are not harmful to honey bees, the BBKA will support the continuation of the EU moratorium on their use.’

    The advice to ministers indicates that Neonicotinoid pesticides are causing harm to both pollinators in general, honey bees in particular and equally importantly the overall environment. This means that the BBKA will support the continuation of the moratorium on their use and would support an overall banning of their use. The UK government position which will feed into the European discussion is likely to have a significant impact as they were one of the few voices arguing against the moratorium originally, making it more likely that EU wide ban will be extended or made permanent.

    The BBKA was pleased to be involved in discussions across a wide range of farming related sectors about how the regulatory regime would evolve as the UK leaves the EU. We were encouraged that the government is thinking about the importance of pollinators in general and honeybees in particular in the context of Brexit. Equally we are pleased that the government is offering to work with farmers to develop an alternative approach to treating crops. We remain concerned however that any alternative treatments used do not cause harm to honeybees and other pollinators

    We will continue to update both our members and the public as the current debate evolves.

    Martin Smith Director of Communications

    Martin.smith@bbka.org.uk

    9th November 2017

    [News] New show trailer offer for Associations

    Dear Members, 

    The weather is getting wetter and the nights are certainly drawing in.  I have not been able to get into my bees for over two weeks and with the forecast it may be another two weeks before I can give them their final check before winter really sets in. 

     

    BBKA HQ

    So, what is happening at BBKA? Well, the building work has well and truly started.

     As you can see, it has opened the space out considerably, there is a wall to be built but you get the general picture, all the staff are now temporarily working from the board room and kitchen  upstairs, so if there are delays in answering any requests please bear with them. 

    As we approach the year end, we will have to take stock of all that we have of value.  It is our intention to start a new and effective stock control system from the beginning of the new financial year. We should be able to start with the numbers that we have to produce for the accountants.  This will make life easier as we will include minimum stock dates so that we can re-order effectively before the stock runs out. 

     

    Asian Hornets 

    By now, you should all know that there has been a sighting of Asian Hornets in Woolacombe in Devon.  We know that every available inspector has been working on this and they have found and destroyed the nest. Hopefully they managed to do this before the new queens have left home to hide somewhere over winter. 

    We have had an offer from Nigel Semmence from DEFRA to come to the Stoneleigh Office to train staff and trustees about the Asian hornet. What exactly to look for and how to identify and who to report to.  That will help if any members think they have a sighting and are not sure what to do. 

    DEFRA have released a mobile phone App to help people correctly identify the Asian Hornet, the App is free from both the Apple and Android App store and works on all suitable smart phones.  

    Apparently the nest for the Asian Hornet in Jersey was found in a shed, so they are not necessarily up in the tree tops. 

    More information here: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-app-to-report-asian-hornet-sightings

     

    Apimondia Convention – Istanbul, Turkey.

    Whilst Margaret Murdin and John Hendrie were at the Apimondia Convention, they entered our own BBKA News and all the Special Issue Booklets into the World Beekeeping Awards competition, sadly it was not a winner as the judges went for more scientific journals.  But at least we tried. 

    It is nice to note that a BBKA judge (Margaret Davis) was in charge of all the judging at the World Beekeeping Awards at Apimondia. 

    More details at: http://www.apimondia2017.org/default.asp

     

    New BBKA Schools Scheme

    We have just been told that Calderstones School which was first to get the Junior Certificates in the new School Scheme has been shortlisted for Eco School of the Year in the North West - this is based on the wildflower meadow and presumably the beekeeping. Here's the article from Educate Magazine showing the shortlists: 

    http://www.educatemagazine.com/schools-react-educate-awards-shortlist/

     

    National Honey Show

    We will have a stand at the National Honey Show and the initial run of ‘How to’ laminated leaflets will be available; the first one is on a Bailey Comb Change, kindly written by Wendy Maslin. You will be able to take it with you to the Apiary without the fear of it being damaged by weather or bees’.

    We also have a new BBKA News Special Issues booklet out, which should also be available at the stand.  It’s called Flower Families for Forage, by Celia Davis, Master Beekeeper, NDB.   It will be £3 from the BBKA stand at the NHS and £4 (inc P&P) afterwards from the BBKA shop.

    Visitors to the BBKA stand at the NHS will also be able to get an early view of the new BBKA website. There has been a lot of work put into this especially by the office staff and George Brown and we do hope you like the results of all their labours. 

    The Northern counties are looking to work together in a similar way that the South West counties do, this is still work in progress, but it looks good. 

    We have some interesting meetings scheduled with companies who want to be involved in promoting bees and beekeeping. These will happen in the next few weeks, so when we have some positive news resulting from the meetings we will let you know. 

    Show trailer 

    The Shows committee held a meeting recently and we are still looking at providing a ‘Trailer’ which can travel to any Association which may want to use it for their show. One option might be a self-contained unit with a drop down walk-in front and ‘wings’ that open out with display boards. Hopefully it will hold the Hive Experience and all the equipment you will need for a show. It would be good if Associations would let us know if there is any interest in using this - after all, the whole idea is to support you as major stakeholders in achieving our Charitable Objectives.

    Margaret Wilson 

  6. This is an excellent 10 week theory course, starting on Monday 15th January and going through until 19th March. 

    The theory sessions are followed up during the following April by four weekly practical beekeeping sessions at our apiary near Dorking on Wednesday evenings. 

    This course gives you the knowledge you need to start keeping your own bees.  The price of the course includes a copy of a well known beekeeping manual - title to be confirmed.

    Cost: £150.00

    For more information contact: Gill Simpson - E: Secretary@ReigateBeekeepers.org.uk or T: 01883 343791

  7. Introduction to Beekeeping 2018

    This 6 week, one evening per week course, starts on 5th February 2018, and is aimed at those wishing to start keeping honeybees. It will take place on six consecutive Monday evenings at the British Beekeepers' Association Offices, Stoneleigh Park, from 6.30pm to 9.00pm (with a tea/coffee break during the evening).

    The Delegates will also be invited to attend the Hive and Frame Assembly Workshop planned for April 2018.

    There will be practical bee handling sessions arranged if the weather is warm enough to open the Branch beehives. Those who decide to join our branch will be assisted in acquiring honeybees and equipment, will be eligible to request mentoring support in their first year of beekeeping, and will be encouraged to attend weekly branch apiary meetings in order to gain practical experience.

    Cost: £70.00

    For more information and enrolement form please go to the Warwick and Leamington Beekeepers website: http://www.warleambees.org.uk/

    Please complete a separate form for EACH PERSON enrolling on the 2018 course

  8. The two most productive regions in England continue to be the South East, producing 30.1 lbs of honey and the East with 29.3 lbs of honey per hive, while those areas which suffered a particularly wet summer, Wales and the South West, both saw their honey crop drop to 18 lbs per hive.

    Britain differs from the rest of Europe in that most of its beekeeping is carried out by amateur beekeepers, whereas in much of the rest of Europe it is carried out by bee farmers. In common with the EU as whole,  Britain does not produce enough honey to meet demand. 

    “A honey crop of fifty to a hundred pounds was typical when I started beekeeping in the 1950’s,” said Job Hobrough who was recently awarded his BBKA certificate for sixty years of beekeeping and is the BBKA’s Adopt a Beehive representative for the North East region. 

    He continues:

    “In those days farmers under-planted crops with clover to nourish the land, nowadays there just isn’t time or space for this style of farming. I think it is having a huge impact on the honey crop, by reducing the forage available not just to honey bees, but all our insects.  

    “I warn new beekeepers not to expect a big crop of honey, and to be fair many people aren’t in it nowadays for the honey.”

    While weather conditions will always cause variations in the honey crop, for example the cold winter of 2014 saw the honey crop drop to just 8lb a colony, it is the steady overall decline in quantity which is worrying.  

    The top five factors worrying beekeepers about the future of the honey bees are:

    • use of pesticides including neonicotinoids 62%;
    • loss of forage from agricultural development 31%;
    • Asian hornet 32%;
    • Varroa mite 28%’
    • climate change 28%.

    Margaret Murdin, BBKA Chairman, concludes:

    “Everyone can play a part in helping honey bees and all the other insects they love such as butterflies and bumble bees by planting the right sort of flowers and shrubs. Check the label to see that anything you plant will be rich in nectar and pollen, as not all plants are equal in this respect. A crocus is so much better for bees than a daffodil, for example. 

    “Our survey shows that suburban gardens and urban roof tops produce some of the best honey crops, so how we garden really can make a difference.”                         -ends-       

  9. The honey crop from British beekeepers remains depressingly small, just 24 lbs or approaching 11 kilos per hive, pointing to a steady decline in the crop and an increase in worries about the future of honey bees

    The results of the British Beekeepers Association’s annual Honey Survey released today reveal that the average beekeeper in England produced 23.8 lbs (10.8 kilos) of honey this year – a decrease of 2.3 lbs over last year’s crop.

    [News] British Beekeepers are Losing Fewer Bees over Winter

    The overall trend continues to show a welcome decline in the number of colony losses. Respondents gave a variety of reasons why they believe their colonies failed and these included various aspects of queen failure, starvation, lack of forage and cold weather restricting foraging activities and forage availability. Regional analysis showed the highest regional losses were seen in the North East at 23% and the lowest in the Eastern region at 9.7%. This reverses the regional pattern of 2016 which showed higher losses in the South of the country. It is unclear what is driving these regional variations BBKA Director of Communications, Martin Smith, said: “One of the key drivers of success in overwintering honey bees is the level of competence of individual beekeepers. The BBKA and its member associations have worked hard to provide educational resources, training courses and other materials to allow beekeepers to improve their husbandry skills. This in turn enables them to maintain healthy bee colonies, despite the various threats to their survival.” The above data preceded the arrival of the Asian Hornet into the UK and this aspect will also be monitored in the 2018 survey in the light of the development of the Asian Hornet invasion. Notes​ ​to​ ​Editors Importance​ ​of​ ​winter​ ​losses of​ ​honey​ ​bees The honey bee is the only bee to maintain a colony throughout the winter. The colony reduces its size in autumn and relies on its stores of honey to last it through the winter months when it is too cold for foraging or there is no forage available. The loss of honey bee colonies impacts the available pollination resources as well as reducing honey crops, so it is essential that beekeepers rebuild stocks. This is done by ‘splitting’ colonies and building honey bee numbers back up to strength over the season. So if, for example, a beekeeper takes 10 hives into the winter but loses two colonies by the spring, a further two colonies must be ‘split’ to get back up to 10 colonies by the end of the season. The net effect being that the beekeeper has effectively only 6 hives running at full strength during that season. Experienced beekeepers keeping bees in good conditions are able to increase the number of colonies highlighting the importance of beekeepers in managing and growing honey bee colony numbers. Honey​ ​bee​ ​survival In winter, worker bees can live for up to five or six months, But in the summer, worker bees only live for around six weeks having to work much harder foraging. Honey bee queens live for three to four years but cannot survive without worker bees. In some other species of bees or wasps only the queen survives by hibernating through the winter months. About​ ​the​ ​BBKA With around 25,000 members the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) is the leading organisation supporting honey bees and beekeepers within the UK. It aims to promote and further the craft of beekeeping and to advance the education of the public in the importance of bees in the environment. For further details: Please contact Diane Roberts, press officer, BBKA: 07841-625797 16​ ​October​ ​2017

  10. Beekeepers checking their hives after Storm Ophelia Beekeepers checking their hives near the beach after Storm Ophelia battered Anglesey with winds of more than 80 miles per hour for more than 5 hours heard distressed calls from a baby seal. 

    The seal had been thrown far up the beach by the winds and was trapped behind large rocks. 
    An RSPCA marine mammal vet from Anglesey Sea Zoo was called to check the seal over and an anxious watch was kept for signs of the seal's Mum. The vet said the baby was fit as a fiddle and just missing his mother. 
    The decision was made to wait for high tide at 10pm to try to bring the two of them together. 
    The baby seal was placed in a sling and helped over the rocks and into the water where his anxious mum was waiting. 
    This morning they have been seen together in the bay but many other baby seals on Anglesey and the LLyn Peninsula died in the storm. 
    it was a long, soaking day for the beekeepers but luckily all their hives had stayed intact during Ophelia. 
    -ends- 
  11. British​ ​Beekeepers’​ ​Association​ ​(BBKA)​ ​10​th​ ​Annual​ ​Colony​ ​Survival​ ​Survey results​ ​are​ ​published​ ​today​ ​and​ ​show​ ​a​ ​reduction​ ​in​ ​the​ ​over-winter​ ​losses compared​ ​to​ ​the​ ​previous​ ​year,​ ​down​ ​from​ ​16.7%​ ​to​ ​13.2%.

    [News] Baby Seal Rescue

    The seal which still has its white baby fur was on its own with no sign of any other seals in the area. 

    The beekeepers called Anglesey Sea Zoo which has a maritime research department and they are on their way to rescue it. 

     

    -ends- 

  12. Willow Weaving Course - Make a Bee (Saturday 20th January 2018)

    Learn a new skill this winter. Join our professional willow weaver, Heather, as she guides you through the techniques needed to build your own willow bee.
    ​
    This practical and enchanting course is ideal for participants from a wide range of ages and abilities. It is ideal for families.
    ​
    Gift vouchers will be supplied for Christmas or other special occasions.
    ​
    The course fee includes:-
    ​
    Extensive tuition
    All materials needed to create your own willow bee

    Teas and coffees will be provided throughout the day

    At the end of the day you can take your bee home to take pride of place in your garden.
    ​​
    You will need to bring:-

    Lunch
    Warm clothing (in case the building gets chilly (after all it will be January)
    ​
    The Venue

    The course will be held at "The Bee Centre" on the Samlesbury Hall estate near Preston. We are 5 minutes from J31 of the M6. The facility includes a large indoor visitor centre and classroom area alongside our outdoor apiaries and half acre pollinator garden.
    ​
    Set in the heart of Lancashire, the location is ideal for those who wish to integrate the course with an extended visit to the North West. We are a short hop from the Lake District, the North Yorks Moors and the beautiful Trough of Bowland. There is also Samlesbury Hall itself; a striking 12th century building and visitor attraction which now includes an excellent restaurant and wafflery. There is also plenty to do for partners who wish to accompany delegates and/or for those of you who want to take the opportunity for an extended stay.
    ​
    Accommodation, food, etc.
    ​
    There is accommodation available on site (in glamping-style shepherds huts) at additional cost, as well as local hotels, pubs and B&Bs. A selection of links are provided below.
    ​
    Samlesbury Hall
    Premiere Inn
    Samlesbury Hotel
    Tickled Trout
    Holiday Inn Express

    The price for this course is £45.

    Places are limited as this course is expected to be popular and we need to keep numbers low (maximum of 10 people) in order to ensure good support for all participants. It is therefore advisable to book early.

    Bookings are taken on a first come first served basis. When full, a waiting list will be created. We may run a second course in March.

    Once paid, the fee for this course is not refundable.

    For more information contact: Simon Cordingley or Kath Cordingley - T: 07971956148 or E: info@thebeecentre.org

  13. Weekend Course on treatment free beekeeping in horizontal hives with Dr Leo Sharashkin of Missouri, USA.

    The Course will take a natural approach to beekeeping including:

    •How bees live in nature and how to respect their ways in your apiary.
    •Natural and less intensive management.
    •Start or increase an apiary by attracting swarms of local bees.
    •Horizontal hives and their advantages.
    •Wax foundation v foundationless natural comb.
    •Colony management - what to do and what not to do.
    •One-box hive, no feeding, no queen excluders, no requeening.
    •Healthy strong colonies without any treatments.

    Dr Leo Sharashkin is editor of Keeping Bees With a Smile: A Vision and Practice of Natural Apiculture, a comprehensive resource on keeping bees naturally in horizontal hives. He is contributor to American Bee Journal, The Beekeepers Quarterly, and Acres USA, and speaks internationally on sustainable beekeeping, organic growing, and Earth-friendly living. He holds a PhD in Forestry from the University of Missouri and a Master’s in Natural Resources from Indiana University, USA.

    Cost: £325.00

    For more information contact: Donna Regan - T: 01600714848 - E: bfdoffice@beesfordevelopment.org

  14. This course provides a practical introduction to managing a colony of bees safely and responsibly. You will have the opportunity to work in small groups with an experienced tutor to inspect and manipulate "your" colony of bees for the whole summer season and discover if beekeeping is for you.

    There may be a chance to purchase a nucleus colony of bees from the apiary at the end of the season.

    We will provide a protective bee suit.

    Please note this course ideally follows our winter evening classes on the theory of beekeeping so is most suitable for those already secure in some knowledge of beekeeping.

    Cost: £100.00

    For more information contact: Helen Worwood - E: info@epsombeekeepers.co.uk

  15. The morning session will introduce you to the theory of beekeeping - bee biology, hive set up, cost and equipment required, the beekeeping year and all about honey!

    Weather permitting, after lunch we will open and inspect a hive alongside an experienced beekeeper.

    A protective bee suit will be provided.

    16 places available each date - book early to avoid disappointment.

    Cost: 50.00

    For more information contact: Helen Worwood - E: info@epsombeekeepers.co.uk

  16. The morning session will introduce you to the theory of beekeeping - bee biology, hive set up, cost and equipment required, the beekeeping year and all about honey!

    Weather permitting, after lunch we will open and inspect a hive alongside an experienced beekeeper.

    A protective bee suit will be provided.

    16 places available each date - book early to avoid disappointment.

    Cost: £50.00

    For more information contact: Helen Worwood - E: info@epsombeekeepers.co.uk

  17. This 10 week evening class is designed to give you a theoretical overview of Beekeeping. It provides a fascinating insight into the world of the honey bee and the craft of keeping bees.

    You will discover more about:
    * Life of the honey bee and colony
    * How bees forage
    * A season of Beekeeping
    * Honey and Wax products of the hive

    Please note this course does not provide practical beekeeping.

    For those wishing to keep bees we recommend attending the practical beekeeping course that follows this.

    Cost: £110.00

    For more information contact: Secretary of EBKA - E: info@epsombeekeepers.co.uk