This year the AGM is postponed until April 14 because of the COVID-19 situation and the business of the meeting will be conducted through an online and postal vote.
As the Constitution makes no provision for the adjournment/postponement of the AGM, or the holding of an electronic vote, Council delegates were asked whether to postpone the AGM or to hold a vote by other means; they chose the online/postal vote.
At the end of this month (March) we will contact all SBKA members with further information by email and, for those without email, via their Division’s secretary.
This will allow the new committee to take up office and continue the smooth running of the Association.
These arrangements are being put in place for 2020 only.
And, of course, SBKA hopes you stay well, the sun starts shining and we have a good beekeeping season!
Anne Pike, Chairman
All members are invited to the SBKA AGM on Saturday, March 28 at Frogmary Green Farm, South Petherton, TA13 5DJ.
This is your chance to hear an interesting lecture, meet members from other divisions and to have a say in how the association is run. Do come along and help SBKA to continue to be a successful beekeeping association.
If you would like to have lunch, please book by March 21. Otherwise arrive by 2pm in time for the talk and AGM.
Lynfa Davies is the latest beekeeper to be awarded the National Diploma in Beekeeping. Not only is she very knowledgeable, but also she is a practical beekeeper keeping around 20 colonies.
Lunch will be two courses, costing £14.50. Booking for lunch should be made by sending a cheque payable to ‘SBKA Yeovil Division’, stating your choice of menu options for both main course and dessert to: Sharon Blake, Stratton Court, Over Stratton, South PethetrtonTA13 5LQ by 21 March 2020.
Beef and Cider Casserole, served with seasonal vegetables and potatoes.
Chicken Parmesan, served with potatoes and mixed salad or seasonal vegetables.
Vegetable Lasagne, served with mixed salad and specialty herb bread.
Followed by a choice of:
Blackberry and Apple Crumble with cream or ice cream
And tea or coffee.
Special dietary requirements can be catered for if advised by 21 March 2020.
12 noon – Frogmary Green Farm will be open for guests to arrive and purchase their own drinks from the bar upstairs.
12.30pm – Lunch
2pm - Welcome by the SBKA President.
2.05pm – Lynfa Davies, Master Beekeeper, NDB
We asked Lynfa to introduce herself:
I live in Mid Wales where Rob and I are part of Aberystwyth and District BKA. I have been keeping bees for 15 years after Rob bought me a week's beekeeping course as a birthday present. I was immediately hooked and over the years worked my way through the BBKA modules to become a Master Beekeeper in 2015. This year I passed the National Diploma in Beekeeping.
I have 20ish hives (if Rob asks it is a dozen!!) that are on Nationals with most of them on double brood. We have had two exceptionally good seasons; we thought last year was amazing but this year has almost equalled it despite the weather being more unstable.
I rear my own queens and sell a few nuclei locally. I really enjoy teaching new beekeepers and sharing what I have learned with others and hopefully help make a difference to their beekeeping.
When I am not with my bees I can usually be found on my bike cycling up all the hills near my home or going for a dip in the sea.
3.15pm - Tea or coffee. The cost will be £1.75 per person, payable on the day.
From the M5: Exit at junction 25 and take the A358 towards the A303. At the Southfields roundabout with the A303, take the first exit and travel east on the Ilminster by pass. At the east end of Ilminster by pass take the fourth exit from the roundabout, passing the Esso garage on your left. On for 1.1 miles to the first mini roundabout where you turn right. Frogmary Green Farm is on the left after .6 mile.
From the A303: At the east end of Ilminster by pass take the fourth exit from the roundabout, passing the Esso garage on your left. On for 1.1 miles to the first mini roundabout where you turn right. Frogmary Green Farm is on the left after .6 mile.
Do not use your SATNAV for the last part; please follow the directions above. If you have any problems finding the venue, please phone Frogmary Green Farm on 01460 249758.
There is plenty of parking at Frogmary Green Farm
The coronavirus situation is fast-changing: currently we are planning to go ahead but we are closely monitoring the situation. We will follow government advice and keep you informed.
Like everyone in the country, SBKA is concerned about the rapid spread of coronavirus. Currently events are going ahead as planned. However, this is a fast-moving situation and we will continue to follow advice from Public Health England and keep you informed.
And, of course, if you have symptoms of coronavirus (which include a cough, a high temperature and shortness of breath), or have been in contact with someone who has the illness, contact the NHS and please stay at home.
Dorset beekeeper Chris Slade is blogging about Lecture Day and declares that in spite of a long journey through Storm Dennis "It was worth it though and I’m glad I went."
Read all about it here: https://chrissladesbeeblog.wordpress.com/
We hope all who attended enjoyed the day and look forward to evaluating the online survey feedback.
There were more than 220 beekeepers at this year's annual Lecture Day held by SBKA on Saturday (Feb 15) - a record number for us and we sold out for the first time.
If you attended we will email you a short survey about the day in due course and we'd be grateful if you could complete it. Meanwhile, we will be looking at how to accommodate more beekeepers in future years.
Here's a snapshot of the day taken by our education officer Richard Bache MB. Our main photo shows Clive de Bruyn in full flow talking about how to go from winter to Spring.
The Annual Lecture Day on February 15 is FULLY BOOKED. It's great that so many of you are coming to this event and we're sorry to disappoint anyone who hasn't bought a ticket yet.
After Lecture Day we will review arrangements to see if we can accommodate more people in future years.
If you've bought a ticket but can't make it - let someone else come in your place
And remember to bring your ticket - either a prepaid paper ticket or an Eventbrite ticket - without it you won't be admitted!
SBKA has published a digital version of the Year Book for the first time.
Online publication makes the Year Book available to nearly all members, saves on the cost of print and is more environmentally friendly.
The Year Book is available for SBKA members to view and download in the members' only section of the website.
If you requested a printed copy through your Division's Secretary or Membership Secretary, it will be available after Lecture Day (Feb 15).
Thanks go to Year Book editor Bridget Knutson and officers from all Divisions who supplied information.
Somerset BKA’s new education support group, made up of four Master Beekeepers, has launched with a flying start.
There’s been an overwhelming response to news of our first county-wide queen rearing course, ‘How to rear your own queens when you only have two or three hives’.
Within hours of sending an email to members the course was three times over-subscribed. Currently tutors are looking at additional dates and will inform anyone who has registered an interest in due course.
Also, the training day later this month for members interested in taking the BBKA's honey bee health certificate is full.
Meanwhile, the group publishes articles in SBKA’s newsletter and on the website.
Somerset BKA with Devon BKA - on behalf of the South West Beekeepers’ Forum – organised a practical one-day training event for about 150 members of the region's Asian hornet action teams on January 25.
The event was hugely successful and elicited comments including: 'Congratulations on today - a Triumph'; 'It really was a key event and a turning point in AH control in the SW'; 'THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR TODAY!!!'
The programme included workshops, presentations, displays and discussions to help AHAT members to learn new skills, share good practice and discover the latest developments.
Speakers included Dr Peter Kennedy of the University of Exeter and Dr Sarah Bunker, author of The Asian Hornet Handbook; Jersey’s Asian hornet coordinator, Alastair Christie, shared his experience tracking the non-native hornets on the Channel Islands.
Somerset’s Asian hornet action team co-ordinator Lynne Ingram said: “We are on the Asian hornet frontline here in the South West and this training day was a great opportunity to prepare ourselves for the season ahead.
“Asian hornets don’t respect boundaries so it was important to start preparing to work together across the region. Although it was mainly beekeepers who attended the event, one of the key messages to get across is that Asian hornets are not just a problem for beekeepers.
“We now know that these hornets build nests in garden hedges, bramble patches, in holes in the ground and also on buildings. We will be working hard to educate the public so that everyone can recognise a hornet and report a sighting. With thousands of people looking out for them, we have some chance of slowing the invasion.”
SWBKF Chair Peter Darley commented: “I certainly learned a lot from some very good speakers and workshops and came away with a far clearer idea on how to proceed in our preparations to fend off the coming invasion…All of us can learn from Somerset's lead and, as a Forum, we are lucky to have them and their experience to show us the way.”
Asian hornets (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) have distinctive orange faces, yellow tipped legs and are smaller than the bright yellow striped European hornet. They are a notifiable invasive species and sightings should be reported immediately:
Thank you to all SBKA members who completed our annual end-of-season survey.
The findings reveal that on average members have more colonies at the end of the season than at the beginning and most enjoyed an excellent harvest.
Summary: On average a member has five colonies going into winter (one more than in the Spring), harvested up to 50 lbs per productive colony and 175 lbs in total.
Based on the findings provided by the 222 members who completed the online questionnaire, the total membership harvested more than 60 tonnes or 134,000 lbs from nearly 4,250 colonies.
For a detailed breakdown of responses to each question, take a look at the January newsletter.