Chairmans Letter – July 2022

Dear Kennet Beekeeper,

We are now just pasted the year’s half way mark and your bees should have gathered you some honey by now, which if from oil seed rape you should have extracted.  July is all about getting ready to clear the honey supers at the end of the month or beginning of August and checking to make sure that varroa is under control. KBKA does own a hand operated tangential baskets extractor – you have to spin one side of the comb facing outwards first and then turn it over and do the other side. Please contact me if you need to use it. Hire fee £14. 

Talking of Honey. Now is the time to be thinking about preparing for our Honey Show on 7 September and the Wiltshire Bee and Honey Show on 8 October.  I  have noticed that many people are selling honey in smaller jars these days than the standard 1LB honey jar.  All Honey Shows are judged in 1Lb jars.  So to make it really easy to enter we will give any member entering the Honey Show who does not use lbs jars, a free 1 Lb jar/jars so that you meet the rules. Let Elaine know if you need any and she can bring some along to our next club night ( elainelewis@hotmail.co.uk).  Also on 3 August Chris Rawlings is giving us a talk “Preparing honey and bee products for show” – a date for the diary for everyone. To get you thinking I have attached a draft version of the Kennet Honey Show categories so that you can get thinking about which of the categories you would like to enter!! The full schedule, notes and application forms will be issued in due course.

Apiary News.  We are having to move from our Horton Road apiary as the Crown Landlords wish to build on the site!  Our farmer landlord has offered us a great new site at Bishop Cannings with running water, electricity. parking and lock-up buildings.  The KBKA committee visited the site last week and all agreed this was a great improvement on what we have at present.   It will need a clean up during the winter, when I hope we can get it ready to move all our bees and equipment over.  Having a lock-up we will be keeping all our fetes kit there – so at last we will have all our equipment in one central place.  I will be twisting arms to get you all to help in getting the place ready. So start preparing your excuses as I shall hope for a bit of help from eveyone! 

The Association Bee Chat evening Wednesday 6 July Bishop Cannings village hall.  This is the last, for this year, of these informal get togethers to chat about our bees and the problems we have.  If you have any photos that would be interesting to discuss  please send them to me by 5 July so I have time to load them onto the computer ready for projection.  

Visit to Pertwood Organic Farm Saturday 16 July.  The farm is about 28 miles from Devizes (30 mins drive) (See Email for details).  Please arrive by about 11.30 pm with a picnic and something to drink.  They will let us use their Tithe Barn with tables for eating our picnic lunches.  We will be shown round the farm by Dave Scales and will meet the natural beekeeper Jonathan Powell. There will be some walking so come with suitable shoes. Please share a car if you can. (We had original thought we would hire a mini bus but that is not happening this time). Limited to 20 – 25 members.  Please email me to be on the list of those expected.

Finally, an update from Elaine regarding the offer of free sheep’s fleece for use on the hives over winter. The National Bee unit are unfamiliar with the product used on the fleece and are therefore unable to endorse its use. That said, Elaine has had conformation from a experienced beekeeper and sheep farmer that the product effectiveness diminishes over a few weeks and as this has now past that duration, if the fleece is washed and dried, placed into a sealed hessian bag or similar and set above the crownboard this should provide safe insulation. The choice of whether to use the fleece must be yours, without recourse to KBKA or NBU. Please contact Elaine on the email address listed earlier if you would like some.  

All best wishes

Robert