This year's County Honey Show, held as part of Taunton Flower Show on Friday and Saturday, attracted more competition entries, thousands of interested visitors and facilitated lots of bee-talk.
It was great to see entries from Exmoor, Minehead, Axbridge, Highbridge, Chard and even Devon, as well as from Taunton and the surrounding area. Over all entries were up by about 30 which made the competition stronger as well as giving a lot more exceptional exhibits to admire.
One of the youngest competitors was 19-year-old Jacob Trood (grandson of show vetran Neil!) who entered a fantastic array of artworks - one of which the judges recommended that he enter at the National Honey Show.
Thanks must again go to Taunton Division whose members staged, ran and then dismantled the hugely popular feature over a very hot couple of days.
Anne Pike, Chairman of SBKA
The Asian hornet watch week is timed to coincide with when Asian hornets start hawking honeybees at hive entrances; the early autumn is the last chance we will have to prevent the emergence of new Asian hornet queens.
#AsianHornetWeek aims to encourage beekeepers to spend several one-hour sessions looking out for Asian hornets at their apiaries during fine weather. If you pin a 'skirt' around your hives you will force Asian hornets to hawk in front of the hive rather than ambushing bees from underneath and you can see if your bees are under attack.
For more information: https://www.bbka.org.uk/asian-hornet-week
Protect your hives from wasps! A number of Somerset beekeepers are losing colonies to wasps and we suggest reducing the entrance to just one bee-width and putting out wasp traps. If you lose a colony to wasps you may want to move your other hives out of the apiary for the rest of the summer.
Don't use varroa treatment when the temperatures are so high - it could harm the queens. If you've harvested your honey, it's tempting to start making preparations for the winter. But hold off if you can until it's not so hot.
The Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association will hold its biennial conference during 6-9 September 2018 at the Royal Agricultural University, Cirencester, Gloucestershire.
The three lecture streams are themed as follows:-
Check the programme https://bibba.com/event/bibba-conference-2018/, tell your local beekeeping friends and why not fill a car for an enjoyable break where you can mix with beekeepers from other areas?
Booking is open, with early bird discounts. Don't miss it.
BBC Somerset’s Emily Brown called round this week to discuss whether the heatwave is making our bees aggressive. She was looking into reports from beekeepers “that bees are this summer becoming very protective and aggressive over their honey. One beekeeper has said he’s been stung multiple times this season, which never normally happens.”
Now that isn’t my experience – I have one lively lot but they haven’t stung me (yet!) – and suggested the colony either need requeening or it was being opened up when the conditions were thundery etc.
Emily was keen to see the bees for herself so visited one of my apiaries to take a look. I steered her towards a small colony (created as part of swarm control measures in May) but which is busy filling a couple of supers.
Fortunately the bees carried on working and didn’t take any notice of us even when she asked me to get them to buzz louder (we’re talking radio!). Hopefully the bees and I dispelled the notion that the heat and honey is sending our bees wild. And that seems to be the experience of our members – the comments on Somerset’s Facebook page suggests the sunshine and heat is making our bees happy.
Anne Pike, SBKA Chairman
ahere was a very warm welcome and encouraging response to SBKA’s address to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee on Monday (June 25).
I was asked by campaigning charity Sense about Science to focus on how we use evidence in our everyday activities and talked about our links with Exeter University around Asian hornets.
Speaking in response, Mary Greagh, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, pledged her support in the fight against their establishment.
“Part of what I want the committee to be looking at is how we watch out for Asian hornets, that invasive species which is coming into our country and potentially wiping out populations of bees.”
And she admired the passion people have for bees and described them as ‘these magical creatures that wander around our gardens doing this incredibly important but mostly invisible work’.
The slots were only 60 seconds but that was plenty long enough to bring beekeepers and honeybees to the attention of some of the decision-makers in the government. And it has given us other ‘warm’ contacts to approach if we need to in the future.
Sense about Science say to watch out for an article about the event, including our (very small!) part in it, which should appear in The Guardian.
Anne Pike, SBKA Chairman
Today SBKA is giving evidence to the Houses of Commons Science & Technology Committee as part of campaigning charity Sense about Science’s Evidence Week which highlights the need for evidence-based policy.
For us this is about links with Exeter University, who are conducting research in Europe where the invasive and predatory Asian hornet has become widespread.
Based on their findings (and the advice of our bee inspectors), we are taking a ‘recognition and reporting’ approach.
We are one of two dozen national and community organisations taking part in this week of briefings and events.
With the row about the third runway at Heathrow today, and the fact that these slots are only last 60 seconds, don’t expect a mention on the news!
But it is an honour for me to represent the county’s beekeepers and raise our concerns about Asian hornets to this influential Committee.
Anne Pike, SBKA Chairman
I should like to thank all those members who so generously gave up their time to help in putting together this year's display and returning in the evening at the end of the
Show to dismantle the stalls. Their assistance and hard work are invaluable and very much appreciated.
I must also thank the many stewards who manned the stalls throughout the Show, giving up their valuable time to interact with the visitors, especially the sterling work done by the “newbie” beekeepers. Hopefully they thoroughly enjoyed the experience and will look forward to coming back next year.
Congratulations to David Pearce who, this year, won the Somerset Cup, having the
most points amongst the Somerset members.
Once again my thanks to all those members who took part in any way in making this year's Show the success it was. The County Shield was again won by Wiltshire – but it will be back!
Ken Tredgett, SBKA President
The County Honey Show takes place on August 3 & 4 as part of Taunton Flower Show.
Although last year was rotten for many beekeepers in the county, we hope there will be an improving picture this season.
Take a look at the schedule and see what you can enter. There are trophies, cups, prize cards and prize money at stake!
If you spend £10 or more on entries (you can combine honey show entries with other classes), the flower show will offer you a free one-day ticket.
Click to download a TFS schedule.
Somerset Beekeepers are out in force in the Bees & Honey feature at the Royal Bath & West Show, Shepton Mallet.
From helping visitors to understand more about beekeeping (& signing up new beekeepers), to publicising the Asian hornet threat, winning coveted prize cards, honey tasting, lots of hands-on activities for children and lots more...call in & say hello!
The Show closes at 5pm on Saturday, June 2.