Did you see a group of Somerset beekeepers in The Times and the Guardian earlier in the month? Photographer Zach Culpin went along to an apiary session for Somerton’s beginners' group and took a series of colourful photos which he kindly shared with us. Great work Joe King, Stewart Gould and the new beeks!
The start of the New Year is an excellent time to look ahead to the coming season and plan what you'd like to achieve with your bees. Whether that's trying a new type of hive, creating more colonies or breeding your own queens (and this is the year to mark them green), then give it a go!
SBKA is focusing on helping all members recognise EFB through leaflets, new digital content and 'Read the Comb Day' on June 15.
Also, we want to alert everyone in Somerset (and beyond) to be on high alert for Asian hornets. We'll be running a publicity campaign via the press and our own social channels as well as working with organic, national dairy Yeo Valley to spread the message far and wide.
If you have connections with local gardening groups, garden centres, wildlife groups and trusts etc, please spread the word. [You can request laminated Asian hornet posters from the Non Native Species Secretariat (NNSS) to give to these groups].
Our Asian Hornet Action Team is getting prepared ahead of the Spring and we're printing new leaflets and ID cards for members ready for what we expect will be more sightings this year.
Here's hoping that 2019 brings us strong and healthy colonies supported by local people who, just like us, want to see honeybees and all pollinators flourish.
We are making EFB a focus for our work in 2019 through a series of activities to help everyone gain the knowledge, skills and confidence to recognise EFB.
Our Education Officer Richard Bache has written a SBKA EFB leaflet to put the disease in its Somerset context and explains through clear text and excellent photos how to prevent, spot and manage it.
At a time when there is a little active beekeeping to keep us busy, we hope everyone will have time to read up on EFB ahead of the coming season.
If you’re interested in honeybees - or know someone who is - then one of our beginners’ courses could be perfect for you.
Somerset Beekeepers are running courses around the county this winter which covers beekeeping basics followed by practical hands-on experience with live bees.
Beekeeping is a big commitment and requires a gentle hand, patience and on-going learning.
On the courses experienced beekeepers explain what’s involved in keeping a colony of bees through a series of lectures and practical sessions.
The craft spans lots of different elements including animal husbandry, environmental knowledge, woodwork and processing the products of the hive like honey and wax.
Find out more on this page of our website.
What people are saying:
“It was very informative and there was lots of support from expert beekeepers who were on hand to answer questions. The theory was well backed-up by the practical sessions in the apiary later in the season.”
“I find beekeeping very calming and I enjoy doing something very slowly and methodically and being surrounded by thousands of bees knowing they are unlikely to harm me.
“The course offers the opportunity to find out about something which at first seems fairly straightforward but, the more you learn, the more you see there is to learn and the amount of knowledge you can acquire seems never-ending.”
“Beekeeping is hugely rewarding; I’ve discovered these incredible creatures appear to operate at some higher level, living for the colony, and it is a joy to watch them at work.
“I’ve managed to do a bit of woodwork to build frames for the hive, have started gardening to encourage pollinators, harvested the most glorious honey I’ve ever tasted and have overcome my fear of stinging insects!”