A one day Beekeeping Convention is held annually at the beginning of the year. It is intended to suit all abilities and as well as the main lectures there is a choice of seminars to attend. Please see West Sussex Beekeepers Website for more details.
This year’s event will be held on Saturday 29th February 2020 at Lodge Hill Centre, Watersfield, Pulborough, RH20 1LZ. 9:30am – 4:30pm. Reception open from 9am.
This is our annual beginners course which comprises of two Saturdays 4th & 18th April 2020,the two mornings are at the Holbrook Tithe Barn Horsham, the two afternoons are at our Training Apiary at Pease Pottage. £50.Please contact Pip at firstname.lastname@example.org
All protective clothing is provided for the two afternoons, please bring along wellies for foot protection. This course is an introduction to beekeeping and proceeds weekly apiary meetings to provide students with knowledge and help gain confidence when handling bees.
Apiary meeting Saturday 15th June. One colony was dead, starved, some of our other colonies were very short of stores. The “June gap” plus the poor weather is making this season very poor and attention to saving the bees at the moment is a priority. Most beekeepers have found that the bees are very “grumpy” and smoking the bees makes them worse, there are little stores in the brood box and when smoked they have no nectar/honey to go to.If you need to check your bees for stores its best to use a water/syrup spray to calm the bees down. Try to avoid getting the spray on your gloves as they will be all over them. The unfortunate colony that died had several frames of brood but no stores, the bees managed to keep the queen alive in case conditions improved. The queen was introduced to a queenless nuc. Some full colonies had to be fed as the supers were empty,of course take the supers off first so the stores are near the brood box. It goes without saying feed any nucs.
We had reports that a lot of virgin queens haven’t mated properly, could it be the weather? there seems plenty of drones around. Not the best season, quite a contrast to 2018! fingers crossed it picks up, Paynes have extracted their Rape honey and have put the supers back on in anticipation that conditions improve.
It seems to turn cold every Saturday at the moment, it was certainly too cold for a check on the bees yesterday 4th May. Our new members are not getting hands on experience with the bees at the moment but they know how to make frames and are learning the different sizes of frames to go with different types of hive. We have standard National, Jumbo National (14×12) and Commercial (16×10) hives to show our new members some of the hive types available. It may make apiary logistics challenging but it is a training apiary after all. Luckily the colonies were checked during the week after checking the weather forecast, several colonies needed some swarm control. The bees carry on with swarming preparations even though the temperature fluctuates so much. We had some lovely cakes yesterday too!
The next apiary meeting is Saturday 27th 9.30 some of the apiary team will be there so please go along, some of us will be helping at the West Sussex BKA Auction at Brinsbury College.
The first day of our two Introductory Course was Saturday 6th, it seemed to go very well with 31 attendees, I was worried the room at the Tythe barn Horsham would be too small but it was fine and all went well. The day went well because we had plenty of willing volunteers, it makes all the difference.
Unfortunately the fickle weather let us down for the afternoon at the apiary with 8C and drizzling, despite the weather most stayed well into the afternoon and were not too disappointed that the bees were not touched. There was plenty of tapping with frame making and plenty of smoke around with lighting smokers, also a table with hive parts being explained.
I would like to thank all the helper’s that gave their time to make the day run smoothly.
Let’s hope for better weather for the second day 13th April.
The West Sussex Convention was excellent yesterday. Clive de Bruyn’s two lectures, one on queen rearing and the other one on beekeeping mistakes (more like useful tips) were very well received by all, Dr Martin Bencsik colony activity with accelerometer sensors, may be useful research but won’t change the way we keep bees. Adam Leitch his main lecture was about the study of pollen in honey, I think we all wonder what our bees have been foraging on, Adam’s other lecture was an Asian Hornet update was very informative if not alarming at times with a simulation of where we could be in 10 years if do nothing now.Unfortunately you cannot see all the lectures, the ones I missed were experiments with Skep beekeeping, BBKA exam system, Mead making and Wings, Stings and other things under the microscope. Shame that just a few Central Sussex members went along.
. Here is a photo of Clive de Bruyn with his array of props.