Sheffield BKA Honey Show at the Sheffield Fayre

We had yet another successful honey show at our Norfolk Park venue over the Bank Holiday weekend 26-27 August. With 116 entries we achieved Blue Ribbon status – which we have managed for the last 4 years or more.

Competition was hot but it could have been fiercer. With only 16 entrants some prizes went to sole entries! All entries are a celebration of beekeeping effort and it contributes enormously to the SBKA community spirit when we have more entrants. You don’t have to wait until you have the faultless entry of course  – see the magnificence of the carrot entry below.

Class Class desciption First Second Third
29 light honey Mrs O Lane Tony Lane Ian Smith
30 medium honey Ian Smith Philip Khorassandjian Cathy Butcher
31 dark honey no entries
32 ling honey Cathy Butcher no award
33 naturally granulated Tony Lane Bronwen White no award
34 creamed honey Tony Lane Bronwen White no award
35 chunk honey Bronwen White Philip Khorassandjian Cathy Butcher
36 3 distinct varieties Tony Lane no entries no entries
37 honey for sale Cathy Butcher Philip Khorassandjian Nicky Campbell
38 cut comb Philip Khorassandjian Bronwen White Cathy Butcher
39 sections no award Tony Lane no entries
40 comb Bronwen White Cathy Butcher John Shaw
41 cake wax Mrs O Lane Bronwen White John Shaw
42 Wax commercial Bronwen White no award John Shaw
43 decorative wax Mrs O Lane Bronwen White John Shaw
44 Candles John Shaw Bronwen White
Philip Khorassandjian
45 photo Philip Khorassandjian Mrs O Lane Cathy Butcher
46 plain cake Sharron Henderson Bronwen White John Shaw
47 fruit cake Sharron Henderson Anne Whitworth Nicky Campbell
48 honey sweets Nicky Campbell no entries no entries
49 honey chocs Mrs O Lane no entries no entries
50 wholemeal cob Philip Khorassandjian Tony Lane Cathy Butcher
51 dry mead Tony Lane Bronwen White Helene Pigott
52 sweet mead Bronwen White Helene Pigott Tony Lane
53 melomel Tony Lane no entries no entries
54 blacked out jar Philip Khorassandjian John Shaw Mrs O Lane
55 two different honey/wax products Mrs O Lane Philip Khorassandjian no entries
56 6 pieces wax Bronwen White Nicky Campbell John Shaw
57 display beekeepng products Mrs O Lane no entries no entries
58 educational /interesting no entries no entries no entries
59 Novice Class no entries no entries no entries

Trophy winners

best in show Mrs O Lane
best honey Mrs O Lane
Blue Ribbon Mrs O Lane
best cake Class (46 or 47)
Sharron Henderson
wax trophy Mrs O Lane
dry mead Tony Lane
sweet mead Bronwen White
Novice Class no entries

Summer Barbecue & Auction

We all enjoyed the association barbecue held 19 August with more than 30 people taking part (and some of them were vegetarians). Many thanks to Peter for organising it so efficiently and making sure we all had plenty to eat. Many thanks to Ron for making sure our sausages weren’t burnt to a cinder and many thanks to all who brought food to share.

The highlight for many was the spectacular auction that took place before the food was dished up. Members were able to purchase outstanding equipment at rock bottom prices – brood boxes for as little as 3 for £5, crown boards for £1, floors for £5. Not only did purchasers get amazing bargains, we helped a member raise over £300 for St Luke’s Hospice and we made space in our lock up whilst raising over £250 to bolster the Association coffers. It looks like we’ll have to make the auction a regular feature of the barbecue.

July 2018 SBKA monthly meeting

Dr. Andrew Barron, originally from Lincolnshire, studied zoology at the University of Cambridge, where he gained his doctorate, and has since worked at universities in the USA and Australia, having worked at Macquarie University in Sydney for almost 10 years where he is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences. His current interests are split between studying the neurological systems of bees and ants including developing mathematical models of honeybee brains, and also, in response to the recent colony collapse phenomenon, he is now studying how to improve the resilience of honeybees to the likely causative factors.

Having already given a lecture at Sheffield University recently on the first topic, he came to the SBKA meeting on 11th July to talk on matters arising from the second. In spite of the clash with the screening of the football match between England and Croatia a surprisingly large number of members attended. Australia is one of the very few places not as yet invaded by the varroa mite, this has enabled a study there of the effects of thymol, currently used as a treatment against varroa, on the honeybees themselves (and not efficacy against the mites).

One cohort received the treatment as prescribed by the manufacturers, while the control cohort received no treatment. The bees in those colonies thus treated suffered a knock down in colony growth from which they did not fully recover later in the season, and some were adversely affected even to early the following year. This was not found in the control group. (This would presumably affect the number and quality of vital winter bees in the UK.)

Those exposed to the treatment as larvae were neurologically damaged and never performed well afterwards. There was an effect on the hygiene behaviour of house bees, and the uncapping and removal of faulty larvae increased by some 40%. Unfortunately however, the activity was then less discriminatory, with healthy larvae becoming involved as well as unhealthy. Perhaps this is not surprising as both bees and mites are arthropods having similar neurological features.

Although not yet tested, it is thought that probably all other known chemical treatments, such as oxalic acid, formic acid and amitraz, may prove to have similar deleterious effects on bees.

Factors affecting the performance of foraging bees were then raised. Very sophisticated technical experiments had been carried out involving the identification of foragers, weighing them and timing them on leaving and returning to their hives. The investigators became frustrated that they were unable to measure the pollen loads of returning bees as they were lighter on return than when they had left. This was because the bees loaded up with heavier nectar before leaving to fuel their forthcoming flights and returning empty.

The investigation revealed that it is most important that the worker bees are able to go unstressed through the whole normal development process before becoming foraging bees. Stressed colonies where foragers die prematurely forces younger bees to forage too early. They are then inefficient, may only do a handful of trips and then die or get lost, whereas ‘normal’ experienced foragers are very efficient and may do a hundred or more trips before they die. 20% of them do 50% of the work. However, anything that stimulates an immune response in the foragers (and they are very sensitive) will curtail collection of pollen.

With regard to the other topic of research interest, it was mentioned that a variety of ideas to help beekeepers overcome their more recently arisen problems are currently under active investigation and consideration for practical application.