I’m delighted that in the coming year we’ll be working with Yeo Valley to raise awareness of Asian hornets with their customers and staff.
Yeo Valley is a national organic dairy company based in Blagdon and recently donated more than £3,600 to us which we’re using to fund our Asian hornet action teams across the county.
Our treasurer Christina Kennedy and I met Yeo Valley farmer Sarah Mead and Luke Bigwood, head of communications, at the farm to thank them for their generosity. And we took the opportunity to talk about the threat that Asian hornets pose to honeybees and pollinators.
We’ve just issued a joint press release in which Sarah said: “It is so important to raise awareness of the imminent danger to our bees and pollinators from the Asian Hornet. Until I met Anne Pike from Somerset Beekeepers’ Association I had no idea how serious the situation could become.”
Sarah’s comments should galvanise us all to tell everyone – family, friends, gardeners, wildlife watchers etc – about Asian hornets. Although there was publicity this year, a great deal more has to be done.
Incidentally, the money was donated by visitors to the company’s organic gardens where hundreds of crocheted bees made by the fabulous ‘Blagsaey’ yarn-bombers were displayed among the flowers. Thank you crocheters and garden visitors!
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
SBKA is actively considering how best to help members if they spot, or suspect, Asian hornets. Devon, Avon and Jersey presented action plans at the recent meeting of the South West Beekeepers' Forum which are available to read if you click here. We are keen to hear your thoughts - how would you like SBKA to support you? Please email your suggestions.
All SBKA members are invited to the AGM which takes place at 2pm on Saturday (March 10) at Wedmore Golf Club, Lascott Hill, Wedmore BS28 4QT.
Dr Pete Kennedy, part of a major Asian hornet research project, is giving the lecture.
Pete, from the University of Exeter, will talk about the latest project findings which saw researchers tracking Asian hornets using radar and radio waves.
1. Apologies for absence
2. Minutes of the 2017 AGM
3. Matters arising
4. Treasurer's report
5. Council proposal: 'That the possibility of SBKA becoming a charitable incorporated organisation is explored'
6. Election of officers
7. Election of Executive Divisional Representatives
8. Appointment of independent reviewer: Bruton Sweet
9. West Country Honey Farms Award
10. Honorary Membership - John de Winton, Somerton
11. Hosts and venue for the 2019 AGM - Quantock Division
A few last minute tickets are still available for our Lecture Day on Saturday (Feb 17) - There's a great line-up of expert speakers and South West Regional Bee Inspector Simon Jones will give an update on Asian hornets.
Bee farmer Ged Marshall – ‘Queen rearing’ and ‘A year in the life of a bee farmer’ Michael Keith-Lucas – Pollen in Forensic Science
Paulo Mielgo, Vita (Europe) Ltd - ‘Honey bee nutrition is not only sugar’
Pam Hunter C.Biol. F.S.Biol. FLS. MB t – ‘The evolution of plants & insects’
When: 9am – 5pm on Saturday, February 17
Where: Edgar Hall, 8 Cary Court, Somerset Business Park, Somerton TA11 6SB
Tickets cost £5 and include light refreshments but not lunch.
Contact Ken Tredgett: 01373 464736 firstname.lastname@example.org
If you didn’t make it to the Asian hornet open meeting held in Devon last month, you may be interested to hear Martyn Hocking recount his experience of Asian hornets attacking his apiary in Woolacombe in the autumn. Martyn has some interesting observations to make about the actions he took, how he felt about identifying the hornets and working with the National Bee Unit, and suggests there are lessons we can all learn. The meeting was attended by 150 people from across Southern England - beekeepers, representatives of organisations with a special interest in the Asian hornet, university researchers and NBU officials.
This month, on Saturday, February 17, our regional bee inspector will be giving us an update at SBKA's annual lecture day. Tickets are still available!