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West Sussex Beekeepers Annual Convention

Annual Convention

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.


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Beginners Beekeeping Course 2020

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

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.

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Apiary meeting Sat 15th June 2019

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.

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Apiary meeting yesterday 4th May

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!

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West Sussex Bee market & Auction 27th april report.

West Sussex Auction at Brinsbury College yesterday 27th April. Despite the weather forecast’s during the week it was dry but very windy so at least the Auction team and the punters didn’t get wet, a bit windswept though.
A lot of people turned up, so the day seemed to go very well, well Central Sussex cakestall sold out and a lot of plants were sold, I think I grew too many Tomato plants!
Thanks to all those that gave up their time to make this traditional West Sussex Beekeepers event go smoothly.

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Apiary Meeting 20th April

Last Saturdays apiary meeting 13th April, incorporating with the Introduction to beekeeping course was changed to be inside as it was a cold 8c with an easterly wind, well yesterday’s meeting 20th was quite different with temperatures in the 20c’s. Plenty of the course beginners could make it so they all had their first experience with “live” bees. The apiary teams new suits stand out well, which was the brief but with a slightly thicker material did get warm. Luckily we had no queen cells to show the beginners after a short briefing first, just in case we did see queen cells. We found that we are short of super frames made up so that will be a priority. Julian supplied the photos.

Introductory Beekeeping Course

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.


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The West Sussex Convention yesterday 23rd February 2019

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.

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Apiary meeting 16th February 2019

Today (16th Feb) was our second meeting of 2019. Cleaning equipment and tidying up the sheds. Our dirty bee suits were bagged up ready for a visit to the cleaners. Members will be able to identify the apiary team as they have some smart colourful new suits now! Phill is officially part of the apiary team now.
We were treated to two cakes today a lemon drizzle and walnut cakes, to avoid any embarrassment we had to have a piece of each!
The bees look fine at the moment, the level of stores look good, the colony that had the slab of fondant have used some of it and today were tucking in well, see photo. The other photo is one of the other colonies and is looking good I would say, the weather was cool and misty so not a lot of flying today.
Hope to see plenty of you at the West Sussex Convention next Saturday the 23rd Feb, tickets are going fast so contact Chris for yours now

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Frame with eggs

CSBKA Blog January 2019

Welcome to the first blog in our news section of our website.

We will keep you up to date with what has been happening at our weekly apiary meetings (starting in April, weather dependant) and at our other meetings and events. Also, any items of interest will appear here too with up to date tips that may help you and your bees.

Our first apiary meeting of the year was on Saturday 12th January the agenda for the morning was to discuss Varroa treatments with an option to use Oxalic acid by vaporizing, cleaning and sterilizing some donated equipment, checking our stock of frames/foundation and the disposable gloves and most importantly to check the bee’s stores.

There was a very good turnout and enjoyed a good chat of course while doing the chores, Dennis came along and talked us through his latest project, which should appear in the next Buzz, he also brought along some of Theresa’s lovely cake!

I have included a photo with some eggs in the cells, just to keep your eyes accustomed to seeing eggs, I thought twice about putting a photo with a queen!

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