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April 2018 SBKA monthly meeting
Our April speaker was Derrie O’Sullivan who gave us some interesting alternative views on working with your bees. Derrie is the Chairman of Huddersfield Beekeepers Association. He shared a wealth of experience on his philosophy of ‘hands off’ beekeeping.
April 8 – General Bee Husbandry Day at the Sawmill
April 1 – Bee Health Day at the Sawmill
Graham Royle spoke at our March club meeting on the ins and out of swarming. Graham is a celebrated national speaker from Cheshire and is very involved with the education of beekeepers at all levels. He has been keeping bees for over 25 years and holds both the BBKA Master Beekeeper qualification and the National Diploma in Beekeeping. Graham is an excellent speaker and this timely talk on swarming provided many incites to this miraculous and occasionally troublesome aspect of the bees life cycle.
We were very fortunate to have our Regional Bee Inspector, Ivor Flatman, who spoke about bee health. He gave us an update on the invasive Asian Hornets, how we can help to spot them, and what action the National Bee Unit is taking to confront this threat to our bees. In view of the recent outbreak of European Foul Brood in the area, he also advised us how to mitigate the impact of this disease and for what signs we should look out.
Our January meeting was our DIY special. Members brought in their creations great and small. We saw creative ideas and beautiful workmanship as we we were treated to a variety of creations including an incubator, honey warming box, vaporisers, clearing boards, a beautiful nuc, equipment transporter and solar wax melter. We even had a demonstrion of a vacuum swarm collector.
We also had a demonstration and a video of how to make your own hornet trap.
Our November speaker was John Vendy. He is an experienced maker and user of Top Bar hives and a proponent of ‘natural beekeeping’.
John spoke about the workings of a top bar hive and how they can easily and cheaply be made from a variety of reclaimed materials and what standards are usual in their construction. He even brought along one of his hives for us to look at. He outlined the use of the top bar hive and how the frames are manipulated. He included some tips on finding the queen that are handy for all beekeepers.
His explanation of his own ‘natural beekeeping’ practice and the thinking behind this philosophy of beekeeping was illuminating. The evening allowed us to better understand beekeepers who follow this method of beekeeping and gave us all food for thought.
Our October speaker was Yvonne Kilvington on “Setting up beekeeping in Schools” and what an inspiring talk we were presented with.
Children learning about growing vegetables, pollination and beekeeping, with an immaculate apiary and well-managed hives. Extracting & jarring honey, making candles and wax mouldings, honey sweets. Food hygiene, trading standards, enterprise all came into the programme. Looking at bees under a microscope! Wow!
We learnt about risk assessments, health & safety, parents’ consent forms and students’ rules drawn up jointly with the students themselves. But most of all we learnt about the positive effect on the students’ learning & behaviour – confidence building, improved concentration, improved communications, better performance in the classroom.
Why don’t all schools do this….
Not just interesting but informative and thoroughly enjoyable.
We had an enthralling talk to start off our winter programme by Master Beekeeper Pete Sutcliffe with “The hive as a processing centre”. With their origins going back 6o million years, we learnt that bees have not evolved for the last 20 million years or so.
Pete painted a fascinating insight into the world of the honeybee hive and what goes on. Not just honey, but wax, pollen, propolis & water are collected or processed by the colony – a “super organism”.
Those of you who didn’t make it missed a treat!
Sheffield Fayre and SBKA Honey Show. Bank Holiday Monday 28 August.
We had lovely weather for the Fayre and an increased number of entrants and entries in the honey show. Download the winners’ list here: SBKA 2017 honey show results