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.
All members of SBKA are to be given an Asian hornet trap and the attractant Suterra.
We anticipate starting to distribute the Veto Pharma traps at Lecture Day on February 16 in good time before any over-wintering queens start to emerge.
The remainder of the traps and the attractant will be available for members to collect from their Divisions.
We are determined to stop Asian hornets becoming established in the county and to that end AHATs (Asian Hornet Action Teams) have been set up, publicity materials produced and a PR-campaign started.
Last November Council set a £6,000 budget for our 2019 Asian hornet campaign and we subsequently received a £3,600 donation from Yeo Valley which Council decided to allocate to this work.
The costs of providing the traps and attractant will be £4,200; £3,400 being the cost of the traps supplied by Thornes at a slight discount and £800 for Suterra bought in bulk.
Members will receive Asian hornet fliers and identification cards, plus an EFB leaflet, with their 2019 year books. Pick up your year book at Lecture Day; the remainder will be posted.
As soon as day time temperatures reach 10-12 degrees C, any over-wintering queens will emerge. Time for super-vigilance to start!
Today we issued a press release about this season's honey harvest to coincide with the BBKA's publication of the annual honey survey.
According to the survey, beekeepers in the South West saw their honey crop drop to 18 lbs per hive. But many of our members are reporting far lower totals.
One of our Vice Presidents, who has been keeping bees for 61 years, says 2017 is the worst season ever and averaged just five pounds per hive.
The reason? The weather is the main culprit: A great early Spring when colonies built up rapidly followed by a hot June and wet July - if only the weather of those two months had been reversed...