Chairman’s Letter – June 2024

Dear Kennet BeeKeepers,

I would like to start by thanking Chris and Mark for making all the Hornet Bait Stations. I have found mine quite fascinating to see who has been visiting it – it has worked very well.   On several occasions, I have had two European Hornets fighting each other for this free lunch, and all just outside my kitchen window. I have had to take it inside now as there were too many wasps and additional European hornets.  But the whole idea is to see what is going on in your area and I can say, with fairly good certainty, that there are no Asian Hornet Queens in my area at the moment, and so hopefully therefore there will be no nests.  As long as no one in the KBKA area has not spotted an AH Queen we are fairly safe to assume there will be no AH nests locally.  The next important time is in September when we put out AH traps to catch any AH workers or later in that month any AH Queens. But because of the visual information I have now from my bait station, I doubt that I will catch any AH later this year. But don’t forget a new arrival AH Queen could come, perhaps in a cauliflower from your supermarket and start a nest (one was found in a cauliflower from France a few years ago).   But I will still be trapping in September as double security to make sure AH does not get here and raise a few new Queens in September/October that also manages to overwinter and then start a new colony in 2025!  

We have a new enhanced website coming online in the next few weeks. With the new website, you will be able to pay for,  and book online, our new Honey Kitchen situated within the apiary. When you use the facility you will get an email confirming your booking fee date and time.  The charges are £25 for a four-hour session, morning or afternoon, either 9.00 am -1.00 pm or 2.00 pm – 6.00 pm. This includes all running costs for use of the equipment, electricity and hot water. We are just getting the rules written out (leave the place spotlessly clean for the next person etc)  and testing the website before we go live.  This will save you from having to remove the family, dog, cat etc from your kitchen as you can bring your super down to the Honey Kitchen, park your car by the door and do four hours of extracting in a clean and food-safe room.  You will love the auto speed control on the extractor – this made our apiary manager smile with joy! Thanks to Barney for the website, and Jeremy and the Apiary team for all this hard work building the Honey Kitchen.

This is an early call out that we have 2 fetes in the Association’s diary, during August. The Easterton fete takes place on 26th August and on 31st August we will be at Upavon. The fetes are an excellent opportunity to sell your honey or hive products and make others aware of KBKA. We do need support from members.  We cannot run these events if no members come forward to help, as is the case with the Ramsbury “D-Day” event that we should have been attending this coming Saturday. Can you help at any of the August events? If so please get in touch with John Hooper our fetes Co-Ordinator by email:- or phone 07595 265802 as I know he will be delighted to hear from you.     

If you are short of things to do try the BBKA Zoom talk on 18 June. – all the details at the bottom of this page, and also at the bottom of the page Ocado search for the best local honey?  Could this be YOURS?

Our next KBKA meeting is on Wednesday 5 June at 7.30 pm, at Bishops Cannings Village Hall.   I have a somewhat older beekeeper giving a talk on “Other People’s Bees”  not sure what he’s going to be like so do come along and support – could be a really interesting evening! 

Hope to see many of you at the talk.

All best wishes