Archive For The “News” Category

OBKA Winter Talk – ‘Differences in sub-Saharan and UK Beekeeping’

The video of the Zoom talk is now available to watch in the Members Area

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OBKA Honey Show 2020 – video of George McGavin’s talk

The recording of George McGavins talk, on The BioSur Foundation in Costa Rica, is now available in the Members Area.

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Video of OBKA Honey Show Awards now available!

Dear Member,

We now have the ability to host videos on this website.

Our first video is of the Honey Show 2020 Awards ceremony. This was of course held virtually and the video is a recording of the Zoom session.

It can be found on the home page of the Members Area. Enjoy!

And more videos are on the way.

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OBKA Honey Show Results 2020

The results of the 2020 Honey Show, that were awarded tonight, 08 November 2020, are available in the Members Area.

For a bit more information and some lovely photos see the OBKA Honey Show 2020 page.

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The Hive Count 2020

If you have registered your bees with BeeBase then you should have received the following; if not, the please read on for the annual hive count.


Dear Beekeeper


It is again time to update your BeeBase records with the total number of overwintering hives as of 1st November 2020.


To complete this year’s hive count please click the link below which will take you to BeeBase. Once logged in, please answer the hive count questions displayed and then click the ‘Submit response’ button. It is as simple as that! Please update your records by 31st December 2020.


If you currently have no colonies, please update your BeeBase record to confirm this by selecting “non-current”.


Please click this link to update your Hive Count.


More details of this project, its importance and why we need your help can be found on BeeBase:


2019’s count indicated a total UK population of honey bee hives at approximately 264,000. Please note that several assumptions formed part of the calculations used to get derive this number. It is therefore classed as an ‘experimental statistic’.


If you have any security concerns about clicking on the embedded links in this email, you can access BeeBase directly from your Internet browser to complete the hive count. Simply log in to BeeBase and select ‘Hive Count’ from the list of options displayed.


We have produced additional guidance on how to update your records within BeeBase, these are included in the ‘Frequently Asked Questions’ document on the Hive Count information page of BeeBase.


For more information on the National Hive Count you can email or call the National Bee Unit Office on 0300 3030094.


Thank you in advance for your assistance.

National Bee Unit

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Report on our first Winter Talk ‘Queen Substance’

If you missed our first Winter Talk there is a report in the Members Area by our Secretary, Richard Stansfield.


Don’t miss the next next session, details are in the Events calendar.

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OBKA Sponsors National Honey Show 2020

Well, to be precise, we sponsored a beeswax wrap demo:


OBKA Sponsors Beeswax wrap Demo National Honey Show 2020

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Latest Covid-19 Update from National Bee Unit

If you have registered your bees on BeeBase you will have received their email with the latest Covid-19 beekeeping guidance.


If not then


(a) Why not – register your bees immediately on beebase, and


(b) Here is their guidance, as a downloadable .PDF : COVID-19_and_Beekeeping_-_GB_Update_October_2020.pdf

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OBKA (Virtual) Honey Show 2020 – Entry form and details

Honey Show 2020


Please find below the entry form for our Honey Show. Entries must be submitted by 1 November with judging on 8 November.


Our President, George McGavin (who many of you will know from various BBC nature programmes, including one where he allows himself to be covered by swarming honey bees) will present the cups via Zoom.


We hope to recruit a few more people to assist with collection of entries, details to follow.


For drop-off of entries, please respect the following COVID-secure guidelines:


  • Wipe all jars / bottles with a disinfectant wipe and then place in a clean cardboard box along with the entry form. The box should be left open, so we can see the entries. (Do not wipe the wax products or the photos to avoid damaging them.)
  • If leaving at Peter Hawkin’s house, place the box in the front porch, having cleaned your hands with alcohol hand sanitizer before touching the door/door handle. Please do not ‘stop for a chat’!
  • Similar arrangements for dropping off at other people’s house.
  • If dropping off at Woodstock apiary on 1 November, please park in the car park, leave your box in the place as directed by Peter and then leave. We need to avoid more than six people being present at any time.


When we return entries, we will follow similar arrangements in reverse at a date to be arranged.


Peter will contact members in possession of an OBKA cup to arrange for its safe return. Under no circumstances leave a cup unattended at Peter’s house.


If you have any questions, please send an email to:




Honey Show Entry Form – 2020.pdf


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Apiary Clean Up days 11/12 Sept – Volunteers needed

Apiary Clean-up and Maintenance Days Friday 11th September, 4-6pm, and Saturday 12th September 10-12am


We had a successful first apiary day last week but there are still a number of clean-up and maintenance jobs that need doing while the weather is still fine. We are looking for volunteers for the following tasks (you need to bring your own tools):



  • Preparation of shed before painting. If you have a powered sander and / or coarse sandpaper please bring it along.
  • Ground work to paving slabs – bring shovel
  • Heavy gardening / clearance – bring cutters / loppers etc.
  • Rubbish collection (heavy duty work gloves)
  • You will need a bee suit to work in the apiary.


If you can help, please contact Sandra Simpson

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OBKA Beekeeper training under Covid-19 restrictions


We are pleased to announce that we have been able to carry out some training for new beekeepers at our Training Apiary at Marlborough School.


In line with Covid-19 guidance we are limiting the number of people at the Training Apiary to 6 people – 4 students and 2 tutors. We also require students and tutors to wear facemasks when working closely around a hive.


For further information please contact

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European Foulbrood incidents in West Oxfordshire

We have become aware of a number of incidents of European foulbrood in West Oxfordshire, centred on Burford. The latest information from BeeBase may be found here:

We suggest you pay particular attention to monitoring for EFB at your next inspection and review your hygiene protocols to ensure you don’t make the problem worse.

If you have any concerns about the health of one of you colonies please contact our seasonal bee inspector, Mark Lynch.

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