Chairman’s letter – September 2023

Dear Kennet BeeKeeper, 

I am afraid that my letter before our AGM (Annual General Meeting) is always long – so here goes…….

First of all we have our AGM and Kennet BeeKeepers Honey Show this coming Wednesday 6 September at 7.30 at Bishops Cannings Village Hall.  You should have received all the paper work for the AGM and the entry form for the Honey Show.  The AGM is when you can ask questions of me, as your chair, or any member of the present committee, and vote for whom you wish to represent our Association over the next year. I attach the AGM agenda and the minutes from last years AGM which have to be approved at this meeting.  After the AGM there will be a short break for tea/coffee and refreshments with a few sandwiches/cakes and then there will be a fun Honey Tasting session where you will be able to taste a number of jars of honey that have been very kindly donated by our members, in order for you to appreciate the differences in flavours and textures leading to you voting for the ones you like best.  

Going on at the other end of the hall will be our Honey Show where we have the same excellent judge as we had last year in Claire O’Brien. You will have already had the entry details so do please try and add to the show with something from your bees!   Last year Claire spoke most interesting about our products and discussed  what she found and liked (and what she disliked) after she had done the judging. So be prepared for a longer session than normal at the AGM, Honey Tasting and KBKA Honey show and prize giving.  KBKA is a real local club celebrating it’s craft of beekeeping with its members – do come and join in.  

Asian Hornet Team.  I have written to you all and the good news is that I have had several members who are offering to join the AH team – but no one who wants to be team leader!  The bad news is that 28 AH nests have so far been found this year in the UK. We need people to play their part in KBKA and I do hope someone will come forward and offer to lead. I know you will have a good team.  Any offers?  Do let me know.

Apiary Manager for Caen Hill.  Sadly David Brown is looking to move from Wiltshire next year and our Caen Hill Apiary will need a new manager.  This has been our main honey producing site for KBKA and has produce over £600 in sales this year.  It is a really good site for bees.  Can you help?  Please email me and let me know you would like to take over this site for the Association.

Further learning for the Autumn

As the beekeeping season ends we all find ourselves missing our bees and with some additional time on our hands. There are a couple of learning opportunities coming up:

Module 2 (Honeybee Products and Forage) covers everything to do with how to manage and prepare different products of the hive, as well as giving a decent overview of what the bees forage on, why they choose particular flowers and how/when those plants produce nectar.  It includes all you need to know about the constituents of honey, the UK honey regulations that must all abide by and how best to store/prepare your honey and wax for sale and to exhibit at shows. If you’re thinking of selling/exhibiting any of your bee products, this module is essential – it will definitely make your life easier!

To support this learning our member trustee, Rachael Banyard, will be running a study group for Module 2 at the Landsdowne Arms hotel in Calne on the following dates: 28th September, 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th October, 2nd and a practice exam is scheduled for 9th November. It is recommended that you have at least 2 years’ experience of beekeeping before sitting a module exam, but this is by no means essential. 

Our County Education Officer, Richard Oliver, will be running a Microscopy Group covering the dissection of bees as well as pollen analysis.  There will be a taster session on the morning of Sunday 24th September for anyone interested, followed by Sunday morning sessions: 1st October, 5th November, 3rd December, 4th February 2024, 3rd March and 7th April. Dates and location to be confirmed.

If interested in any of the above groups/modules please contact Emma Morley when she will provide further details.  Register your place with

The BBKA has a vacancy for a Trustee.  Are you that person? Closing date is 20th October. Contact Elaine for full details:-

Wild pollinators and how we can help them will be the subject of our talk on Wednesday 4 October by By Simon Smart.  Simon is a Conservation Adviser and works with a group of local farmers who have formed the ‘Pewsey Downs Farmers Group’, a collection of neighbouring farmers working collaboratively to enhance the local landscape for wildlife. The group was formed in 2016 and now includes more than 20 farmers, covering over 10,000 hectares on the chalk downland and Vale between Devizes and Pewsey. Not to be missed – put this in your diary now! 

So finally I hope you are spending the weekend polishing your honey, or rather filtering it, and getting ready to enter our Honey Show. Elaine is sat waiting for all your entries forms asap and not of course forgetting that The Wiltshire Bee and Honey Day is just round the corner on Saturday 7th October. Sophie would like to hear from all members who are wiling to help her on 7th October so do send her and email saying you can help out during the  Do take advantage of Claire’s wisdom and advice on your bee products and enter them as well for the Wiltshire Bee and Honey Day.

Hope to see many of you next Wednesday at our AGM and Honey Show.  

All best wishes