Due to the exceptional circumstances connected to COVID-19, this year’s AGM was conducted through an online and postal vote; the following members will be taking the Association forward in the coming year.
President: Jackie Mosedale
Vice Presidents: M Barnes-Gorell, M Blake, S Blake, C Butter, AD Charles, K Edwards,
G Fisher, F Horne, A Morrice, D Morris, J Mosedale, S Perkins, N Trood, J Friend, AK Tredgett
Chairman: Stewart Gould
Vice Chairman: vacancy
Secretary: Elizabeth Friend
Treasurer: John Smales-Cresswell
Executive Committee: Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, Cathy Edge, Sharon Blake, Bridget Knutson
AHAT Coordinator: Lynne Ingram
Archivist: David Charles
BBKA Delegate: Richard Bache
BDI Delegate: Suzette Perkins
Bee Diagnostic Officers: Simon Jones and others
Education Officer: Richard Bache
Education Support Group: Alan Nelson, Tricia Nelson, Bridget Knutson, Lynne Ingram
Examinations Secretary: Bridget Knutson
Gift Aid Secretary: Rosemary Brooks
Membership Secretary: Alison Dykes
National Honey Show Delegates: Suzette Perkins, Neil Trood, David Charles, Mark Gullick
Newsletter Editor: Elizabeth Friend
Publicity Officer: Anne Pike
Spray Liaison Officer: Chris Harries
SWBKF Representatives: Stewart Gould, Sharon Blake, Richard Bache (deputy)
Webmaster: Neil Cook
Yearbook Advertising Manager: Alex Morrice
Yearbook Editor: Bridget Knutson
South West Asian hornet action teams are launching an Asian Hornet Spring Watch publicity campaign over Easter. They are calling on the public to get involved.
Somerset’s AHAT coordinator Lynne Ingram said: “Lockdown means that people will be spending more time in their gardens and on walks around their neighbourhood this Easter.
“We would like people to look for Asian hornets on flowers such as camellias, trees that ooze sap and in sheltered spots like sheds and porches while keeping within government guidelines in relation to Covid-19.”
Asian hornets have distinctive orange faces and yellow tipped legs and are smaller than the bright yellow striped European hornet.
“If anyone sees an insect they think is an Asian hornet, check it out on the Asian Hornet Watch app which has an identification guide and lets you send in your sightings.”
Beekeepers and conservationists hope to mobilise support from all over the region to prevent the destructive insects getting established in the UK where they will decimate populations of pollinating insects and honeybees.
“Given the many pressures on our precious pollinators, including climate change, habitat destruction and pesticide use, it’s vital we do all we can to support them by reporting sightings.”
Somerset Beekeepers’ Association has many useful ID materials on its website including a children’s colouring-in sheet. https://www.somersetbeekeepers.org.uk/resources.html
Asian hornets are a notifiable invasive species and should be reported immediately, preferably with a photo using:
Notes to editors:
Asian hornets (Vespa velutina nigrithorax) are slightly smaller than native European hornets and look like large black wasps with an orange face and yellow legs:
A single Asian hornet can kill 50 bees a day, with a nest containing up to 6,000 workers and up to 350 queens.
In Jersey, France and large areas of Western Europe they are stripping the environment bare of insects before moving on to prey on managed honeybee colonies.
Asian hornets are a notifiable invasive species and should be reported immediately with photo using:
Somerset BKA's Asian hornet action team co-ordinator Lynne Ingram is urging us all to start monitoring for Asian hornets:
"We're approaching the time when Asian hornet queens will be emerging from hibernation – when the temperature is consistently reaching 13 deg C – and so we need to be monitoring for their presence.
We don’t know if there are any Asian hornet queens over-wintering in the UK this year, or whether any mated queens will make their way into the UK post-hibernation. But we need to be prepared.
We strongly recommend the use of monitoring stations, rather than killing traps. This allows us to get the evidence of Asian hornets that we need, without killing our native beneficial insects, in particular European hornets.
Asian hornet queens will be searching for sugary foods to build up their energy, not preying on your bees. This means that all monitoring stations need to be positioned where you cannot help but see them and where you can easily check them daily - e.g. outside the kitchen window, or in a sunny spot in your garden. All beneficial insects must be released from monitoring stations daily.
From mid-May Asian hornet queens will be mainly in their nests and so monitoring stations can be removed.
We are recommending the adaptation of Thorne's traps to include the wick stations inside. This allows wasps and small flies to escape. (See photos above).
Use Suterra (now sold as Trappit wasp attractant). Get this from your AHAT Team leader if restrictions allow (keep yourself and others safe and comply with government guidelines) or buy online (Pestfix.co.uk sells smaller bottles).
If you cannot get it due to current restrictions try one of these French recipes:
• Dark beer mixed with 25ml strawberry dessert sauce and 25ml orange liqueur
• 350ml sweet white wine (or white wine sweetened with sugar) + 20-30ml mint syrup
Please also observe any flowers where Asian hornet queens may be feeding. Any trees that may be oozing sap are also very attractive to queens in Spring. Being confined to our homes at the moment gives us the ideal opportunity to spend time monitoring for Asian hornets.
From the August onwards, Asian hornet workers may be found preying on your bees, so monitoring stations may also be hung in your apiaries. Again, we need to be monitoring regularly so that we protect our beneficial insects, and so that we have live samples that could be tracked if necessary. Please register your monitoring stations in apiaries on BeeBase.
What to use
• Monitoring stations as above
• Open bait stations – plastic tray with screwed up kitchen roll, a stone and your liquid bait. Ideally protect these from rain - on a bird table
In the Autumn Asian hornet workers can be observed on fallen and growing fruit and on ivy plants, where they will often be seen taking prey. Males and new queens will be produced in the late Autumn and males can be seen feeding on flowers. This is a crucial time to spot Asian Hornets as it is important to find any nests before the queens emerge and go into hibernation. Observe plants, fruit and also around your apiary.
If you think you have seen an Asian Hornet:
• Get a photo (or sample)
• If you are not sure or are struggling to get evidence contact your local Asian Hornet Action Team – firstname.lastname@example.org
• If you are sure and you have evidence, then report on the Asian Hornet Watch App or on email@example.com – and to your local AHAT.
Due to current restrictions please make sure that you keep yourself safe and comply with government guidelines. Check BBKA website for updates on how this relates to beekeepers."
We are trialing the use of online meeting platform Zoom to help us continue ‘advancing the craft of apiculture’ at a time when we are prohibited from getting together.
Zoom has recognised Somerset BKA’s educational role and offered us a free package which allows us to run online meetings and webinars (live broadcast talks).
SBKA is currently exploring ways it can use Zoom for lectures, topical tips and courses as well as run Council meetings etc.
In addition, each division will be invited to use the Zoom package to host their own activities.
This is a trial to help us through the COVID-19 lock-down period and we look forward to returning to business as usual when the government advises us it is safe to do so.
Three hives complete with bees and their hive stands were stolen from Pat Rich’s apiary near Chilcompton sometime between March 1 and March 20. They were taken from a fenced and gated (locked) apiary out of sight of the road from within a field which itself was fenced and securely gated.
The hives are nationals in red cedar and each had a small circular metal disk marked ‘Wansdyke Precision Engineering’. These will probably have been removed but may have left behind a small darker or lighter circle.
If anyone is offered hives similar to this, we’d be grateful if you could let me (07555 966 964) or Pat know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Hitchens, Secretary, Mendip Division.
Image copyright: Véto-pharma
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.