Chairmans Letter – February 2022

Dear Kennet BeeKeeper, 

First of all this coming Wednesday 2 February @ 7:30 pm we have our first lecture of the year at Bishop Cannings Village by Kevin Pope “Whether the weather weathered the health of the bees in 2021″.  Kevin Pope is an experienced beekeeper and the regional bee inspector for Dorset.  He has been keeping bees for 50 years and keeps roughly 50 commercial hives.  In this talk Kevin will discuss the weather for each month between May to September and describe the effect it has had on the bees last year.  This talk will be of interest to all our members and maybe some of their family members.  No Zoom, so do come along and new beekeepers do please make your selfs know to me and other members of our KBKA committee.  The hall we open for us at 7.00 pm (there is another event booked till 7.00) Tea and coffee served from 7.15 pm. 

Hive and frame assembly.  I only had three replies from when I last mentioned this in my December newsletter.  We are planning a session on this in March, as I know all the new members will/should  be interested in learning this. Watch this space. 

KBKA WhatsApp.  For those that wish to join the Associations WhatsApp group, please see original newsletter for details.  Please can I request that you only keep it to general beekeeping matters that would interest or amuse members and not as a private email between two people.  

It looks as though our umbrella organisation Wiltshire BeeKeepers (WBKA)  may well be changing so we can all be registered for charity status. All the bee associations within Wiltshire BKA will be asked to provide two trustee each. The trustees will be able to vote on WBKA committee.  Also three other trustees from WBKA which include the Wiltshire Chair, Treasurer and Secretary. So each of the four branches will each have two trustees making 8 plus 3 from WBKA  making a total of 11 voting trustees.  Our KBKA committee has decided that one of our trustees should be our chair (myself at present time) and one other non-committee member to represent our Association.  Is there any member who is interested?  I have a few suggestions of my own if no one comes forward, but if you are really interested do please contact me now.  On the matter of WBKA becoming a registered charity there is a SGM (Special General meeting) on 8 March which will decide the matter. You should have already received  your letter from WBKA asking you if you would like paper voting. Can I ask you to respond to the request as it is a very important matter that needs everyone’s input.  

Asian Hornet Co-ordinator,  I think this will be the third time I have asked about this. Is there anyone out there who will take this position?  Please let me know.  You might all like to take the BBKA Asian hornet team Exercise.  You can find it on .  I took it and passed (I should have having been a bee inspector!) but it will make you aware of this pest and I think you will find it interesting and well worth doing. The BBKA want us to have 15 members who have passed this test.   Just another aspect of beekeeping that we need to be aware about. 

At the foot of this email I have included a few word from the Stephen Barnes, BBKA chair, regarding banned pesticides which some of you will already have seen but for those who have not, here is the information and the links. 

Finally to remind you all that booking for the BBKA Spring Convention has just opened, Friday 8, Saturday 9, Sunday 10 April.  you will find all about it on 

Hope to seen many of you at the talk this Wednesday.

All best wishes 


Note from Stephen Barnes. BBKA chair

You are probably aware that a derogation has been approved by the Minister for Agriculture allowing the use of a banned pesticide (Cruiser SB: Thiamethoxam, a neonicotinoid) to be used on sugar beet in 2022. This pesticide will be applied to seed as a dressing before planting if a high aphid count is seen. Aphids carry a virus known as Yellows which adversely affects some crops.


The BBKA is totally opposed to the use of this and similar pesticides due to their effect on not only honey bees but other pollinators, and the wider environment. The BBKA has considered the use of the HMG petition system, however, with a decision due on the 1st of March 2022, we believe that sufficient time does not exist for a petition to be raised. As this matter is urgent, will you please register your opposition to the use of this type of chemical by signing any petition which opposes the use of any of such damaging pesticides. 

A petition has been started  on the government website. Enough signatures on this link forces the government to discuss it in the House of Commons.

Two other such petitions are

The ‘precautions’ for the use of this chemical to ‘protect’ pollinators is to ban any flowering crops (or ground cover) in the soil where this treated seed is used for a period of 32 months following the crop planting and the use of herbicides to prevent flowering of any weeds (wildflowers?).

Therefore, there cannot be any forage for Bees or other Pollinators for 3 years in any land used to grow crops treated with this chemical. This will be effectively at best a green monoculture with no forage for any pollinator. If any pollinators survive they will STARVE.

Please express your opposition to the use of this chemical by supporting any suitable petition and writing to your MP. You can find the contact details for your MP by using the link and entering your postcode.

Thank you

Stephen Barnes, BBKA Chair