Chairman’s Letter – February 2024

Dear Kennet BeeKeeper,

Here is my Newsletter for February 2024 and the first thing to note is that all beekeeping associations are being encouraged to make members aware of the Asian Hornet. I am sure by now you all are well aware….. But just to make sure,  the BBKA have had a conference on AH which is now on YouTube,  but sadly they have NOT edited it at all, so you get all the people joining or failing to join a zoom meeting.  I am very disappointed that they have not sorted that out.  But for those of you who have the time (nearly 3 hours) it is worth persevering and getting to know how to detect this pest and hopefully deal with it in the future. Go to:- . 

Hopefully KennetBKA will take delivery of some 50 Gard’Apis AH traps.See them here at:- They are normally £25.00 each but KBKA will have them for £15.00 which is a fabulous price. I am still waiting for delivery but if you want one do let me know, and if you have ordered already I have “got a little list” as Ko-Ko sings in the Markado by Gilbert and Sullivan!

On Wednesday 6th March @ 7:30 pm at Bishop Cannings village hall we have an especially interesting talk by Maggie Gill  on “Tropilaelaps Research”  Maggie Gill has worked at the National Bee Unit for 10 years as a Seasonal Bee Inspector and as the Regional Bee Inspector for Wales. Maggie is currently working on research into Tropilaelaps survival and transmission, the efficacy of miticides for Tropilaelaps detection and the monitoring of volatile organic compounds in honey bee colonies to detect sub-clinical disease, pest incursions and environmental contamination. She has kept bees for almost 20 years and is also a small-scale queen and nucleus producer.

Tropilaelaps is an emerging global threat to beekeeping.  Tropilaelaps mites are native brood parasites of Asian honey bees that have subsequently spread to Apis mellifera. Ever increasing global trade provides new transmission routes, making these mites an important emerging global threat to A. mellifera. The National Bee Unit (NBU) is responsible for the surveillance and diagnosis of Tropilaelaps in honey bee colonies and have recently carried out research to test the sensitivity and practicability of existing and new methods for the detection of Tropilaelaps mites. Hear about this research and how the results have led to changes in the implementation of Tropilaelaps surveillance policy in England and Wales, providing more robust methods of detection for these damaging invasive mites.

I would recommend that you all try and make this talk, not only is Maggie a working beekeeper but she is at the cutting edge of science when it comes to protecting our own honeybees, and she is a very good speaker. We are very lucky to have her speaking to us. 

Gilbert White’s House & Gardens was the home of the 18th century writer and naturalist who’s work ‘The Natural History of Selborne’, has inspired generations of naturalists.  BBKA has arranged a special two-for-one-ticket offer for BBKA members, use the ticket on page 11 of the February issue of BBKA News Magazine. More details on Gilbert White’s House can be found on the website:

The Royal Bath and West Show with itsBees & Honey Competition is only  3 months away, but the closing date for entries is 1st of May,  KBKA members need to start planning what they can enter. The show schedule and entry form can be found by following this link to the Bees & Honey Competition:-

So hopefully that is all for this month, do check your bee equipment for the coming year, heft you hives for stores,  and only open your colonies when you know it is warm enough.  Next month it will all start and the bees will be doing just what they want and not what you were hoping!

Do come to the talk on Wednesday 6th March.  I would hope to have a full house for such an interesting lecture. So see you there.