Chairmans Letter – August 2021

Dear Kennet Beekeeper, 

Welcome to my newsletter for August. I am changing back to google groups for sending this monthly email Newsletter.  We tried using the BBKA data base but the formatting went wrong and it was not really successful.  You are all on our Google Group data base so everyone should get this. The problem with all these multi emailing programmes is not “What you see is what you get” it always rearranges photos that are in the text. So my pdf that look in the right place on my Mac may appear at the end or the start of this letter. 

Now we are over half way through the year beekeepers should already be thinking about preparation for winter.  My general rule is that after putting the wet supers back on for cleaning anything the bees gather from now onwards is for them.  During August we should have taken the honey crop and decided on what, if any, varroa treatment we are going to give our colonies.  Always treat ALL the hives on the apiary for varroa if you are treating.   

Apiary Open Day on 24 July. Very disappointing as only two, yes, only two, new members turned up at the club apiary open day when we demonstrated the varroa wash to check the clubs hives.  We had a full team there to show how this should be done. If you want to keep your bees alive you really just have to check for mites and give treatment for varroa, it is most likely that colonies with high varroa will die out due to varroacies in late September or during the winter.  Some people do have low varroa counts and it is not always necessary to treat. I am a great believer in IPM (Integrated Pest Management) thats a bit of natural treatments like open mesh floors and drone brood removal and some chemical treatments. But if you don’t check your varroa and it is a high number you will lose your bees.  The good news from the Horton Road Apiary is that there is little varroa.  We put in inspection boards in the week before and there appeared only the odd mite. Nothing like the 5 a day I have seen in previous years.  Richard Oliver demonstrated the varroa wash method of checking for varroa (said to be the best way of checking) and it showed that one of our hives hives had no varroa and the others only 1 mite per 300 bees.  That is really low and really good news.    

This is the time of year when we order medicines for our bees – mainly to ward off varroa. I must remind you that you must only use one of the licicienced medicines below.  I am publishing this list because it is hard to find on BeeBase and almost totally impossible on the VMD (Veterinary Medicines Directorate).

You MUST also keep medical records for your bees – here is the records card.

Bath and West Festival 27-29 August.  This will be a much smaller show this year but Chris Rawlings is organising a bee display for Wiltshire BeeKeepers.  If you would like to help him I am sure he would be glad to hear from you.  His email I have done this a couple of times and it is well worth getting involved. 

Honey Extractors. If you need to hire the clubs extractor (at £13 for the newest extractor or £10 for the older) I have the bigger one here and Dick has the smaller one. Full details in my last newsletter.  

Wiltshire Bee & Honey Day on Saturday 9 October, Devizes Corn Exchange  Just a reminder to put in your diary.  You may well want to enter that jar of honey or help on the day.  Full details later by email. 

Extraordinary people over 70’s.  Well that’s what a television production company is looking for, participants over 70 and they may well want a beekeeper for an upcoming documentary.   Are you interested?  To find out more contact Jacci Parry of Tuesday’s Child Wales at email:- or mobile:- 07855 358525 or if you want to find out about the comapany got Could be fun but I bet there’s no fee! 

Finally, and at last, we have a KBKA face to face meeting at Bishops Cannings Village Hall at 7.30 on Wednesday 4 August.  The wearing of face masks is optional, please do what you feel comfortable with.All members welcome it will be a general discussion with questions and I hope answers.  I look forward to seeing old friends and welcoming our new members. There will be free Tea/coffee and goodies to welcome you back. Hope to see you there. 

All best wishes 

Robert Carpenter Turner, KBKA Chairman