I have a Swarm of Bees!

Many Beekeepers offer a voluntary collection service for swarms of bees.  For details of these Beekeepers please click here…

Unfortunately we cannot help with wasp or bumble bee nests, or established honeybee colonies in buildings.  See below for more information about bumble bees.

About Swarms:

picture of a swarm of Honey Bees

A ‘typical’ swam of Honey Bees

Swarming is a natural process by which bees colonies reproduce. Normally when bees swarm they do not sting, so if undisturbed they are not an immediate threat. Don’t panic! Usually they will find themselves a suitable home and disappear after a few hours.

However, their idea of a ‘suitable home’ might not be yours. They have been known to occupy chimneys, wall cavities, bird boxes and house roofs. It is better to ask a beekeeper to collect them. This ensures that they will be given a good home and not destroyed. This service is normally provided free, but a contribution towards travelling expenses, or perhaps a donation to charity might be requested.

Unfortunately we cannot help with wasp or bumble bee nests, or established honeybee colonies in buildings.

If you are worried about bees in the roof or in a bird-box please watch this video before phoning. These are tree bumble bee drones. THEY DO NOT STING. The nest will die out at the end of the summer when you can block up the hole or move the bird box. We cannot help with these bees but you can find out more at http://bumblebeeconservation.org/

Other sources of information:

Concerned about Bumblebees? Visit www.bwars.com to find out more.

BBKA Swarm Help Page


Low food stores

A message from the National Bee Unit:

In some regions of the UK beekeepers have reported excessive use of food stores due to the un-seasonally warm weather. It would be advisable that you check your colonies have adequate stores and add supplements if required. With the weather being quite variable, fondant is the best option not liquid feed.

For those of you thinking about treating your colonies with Oxalic acid, we remind you to only use only approved products Api-bioxal or Oxuvar and to administer the treatment by label instruction only.

Further information about colony feeding and keeping good and accurate medicine records can be found on our website at www.nationalbeeunit.com .

Memberships Due

Welcome to 2017!

Just a quick reminder that Memberships are now due for renewal.   Go to Join Us to select and pay for your membership.  Remember to select the Renew Membership options if you are renewing your Full or Associate Membership.

We have a new payment system this year that will accept payment by:

  • PayPal
  • Debit & Credit Cards processed through PayPal (no PayPal account needed)
  • Bank Transfer – BACS
  • Payment by Cheque

The website will create an account for you as your purchase and send out a password to you – keep this handy as this will speed up future transactions.  You can manage your account on the My Account page, here you can edit your details and see details of purchases etc.

The new system should work seamlessly, however if you encounter any glitches please let us know at admin@herefordshirebeekeepers.org.uk and we will check it out.


Asian Hornet in Gloucestershire

An update from The National Bee Unit

asian-hornetFollowing the finding of Asian hornets in Gloucestershire recently the  The National Bee Unit have received a large number of suspect Asian hornet reports from members of the public and beekeepers which we are following up. Bee inspectors have now visited over 100 sites. Asian hornets have been seen at just six locations within 500 meters of the original site.

Efforts to track down the nest and destroy it are ongoing. There have been no other substantiated reports of hornets anywhere else in the UK so please be patient while we continue our field work and be assured that when appropriate, national alerts will be sent out via our email alert system. In the meantime, our news feed on BeeBase will be used to keep everyone updated.

Please also see the updated ID sheet to help you Identify Vespa velutina in your apiaries.  At this time of the year, the best bait to use in traps is fish bait diluted to 25%

Please continue to monitor your own apiaries using hornet traps and encourage those whom you know are not registered on our database to sign up here….

Association Programme 2016/17

Here is the draft Association Program for 2016:

October 29th-31st National Honey Show  
November 14th MSWCC Delegates meeting


November 17 th 7.30pm President’s choice evening Three Counties Hotel
January 9th


February 16 th 7.30pm

Delegates meeting


Evening meeting



Three Counties Hotel

February 20th First aid course WRVS tbc
March 15th 7.00pm AGM Marin Anastasov

How do bees learn?


Three Counties Hotel

Feb 25th, March 3rd, 10th, 17th






March 25th-28th Easter  
April 8-10th Spring Convention Harper Adams
April 16th, 30th


Beginners practicals


Holme Lacy
April 26th Evening meeting

Dr Phillips-allergic reactions

Three Counties Hotel
May 2nd,


Bank holiday


May 7th Swarm control practical Holme Lacy
May 30th


Bank holiday


June 11th Hog roast Holme Lacy
June 17th-19th


Three Counties Show


July 16th Garden party tbc
August 6th


Country Fair


September 3rd Preparing for the show tbc
September 10th Kington Show


September 17th 18th Honey Show


October 14th-16th MSWCC


October 20th evening meeting


October 28th-30th National Honey Show  
November 12th MSWCC delegates meeting


November 24th President’s choice evening


February 16th Evening meeting  
March 16th    
March 23rd,30th, April 6th, 13th    
April 14th-17th    
May 1st    
  Bank holiday  
May 29th    
  Bank holiday  

To be arranged:

Summer 2016 garden party James Devereux

June 2016 proposed outing New Quay (with WVBKA).

Basic assessments first or second week in July.

NBU Alert – Bee Starvation Risk

In many areas of the UK nectar flows have ceased and reports are coming in from Regional and Seasonal Bee Inspectors of starving bee colonies, where the beekeeper is not aware that the bees are severely short of food, or the colony(s) have already starved to death. It is also apparent that Wasps are becoming populous in many areas and they too are desperate for nutrition so Beekeepers should be mindful of the need to protect hives from Wasp invasion particularly where feeding is taking place in the apiary.

Colonies particularly at Risk are:

• Bee Colonies where supers of honey have been removed this season and no feeding has taken place.
• Splits / Artificial Swarms and Nucleus colonies made up this year.
• Swarms collected this year where little or no supplementary feeding has taken place.

Immediate action:

• Firstly – Check all colonies feed levels by ‘hefting the hive’ – Check the weight of the colony by lifting below the floor on both sides of the hive to see how much it weighs (see Hefting a Hive). Where the hive is light, liquid feed should be applied directly above the bees. Remove any supers from above the brood box which are empty or have few bees in them. This will help the bees get to the food quickly.
• Feed can be sugar and water mixed at 2:1 ratio or one of the proprietary ready mixed syrups available from Beekeeping Equipment Suppliers.
• Fondant can be used in an emergency if nothing else is available – but liquid feed will be more appropriate at this time of the season.
• Large starving colonies of bees will take 1 gallon (Approx 5 Litres) of syrup very quickly – smaller colonies ½ gallon (Approx 2.5 Litres) may be sufficient to keep them going, but after feeding heft hives again and check the weight – if in doubt feed some more in a few days time.

Further information and Guidance:

Further information on supplementary feeding can be found on Beebase – Best Practice Guideline Number 7 – ‘Emergency Feeding’


Webmasters – Cottage Webcraft

The Webmasters of the Herefordshire Beekeepers Association are Cottage Webcraft – www.cottagewebcraft.co.uk.

If you have any questions or queries – or suggestions! about the operation of this website please contact Cottage Webcraft.

Awards made at the Herefordshire Beekeepers’ Association 2014 Honey Show

Tom Bradford Perpetual Trophy           Debbie Smith


Maidstone Cup                                       Debbie Smith


Novice Cup                                             Chris Stowell


Perpetual Challenge Cup                       Debbie Smith


Eaves Cup                                              Debbie Smith


Harry Gardner Memorial Trophy            Louise Sheppard


John Harley Cup                                    South Hereford LAN


Best in Show                                          Mary Walter


Wyevale Certificate of Merit                  Mary Walter



National Bee Unit Advice on Varroa

We have received reports from our Appointed Bee Inspectors that many colonies are showing signs of high Varroa infestations and consequently bee deformities.

If you have not already done so, it may be worthwhile to treat your colony with a registered varroacide. When administering a treatment, please use a registered veterinary product and ensure that the label is followed and not deviated from. Beekeepers may find a list of registered products in our advisory leaflet, ‘Managing Varroahttps://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/index.cfm?pageid=167

After colonies have been treated, beekeepers should then reduce colony entrances and assess whether feeding needs to be carried out. Lift the roof off of the colony and heft the hive from each side of the brood box. If the colony has sufficient stores, then it should be difficult to lift. Each colony should have between 20-25 kg of stores for the winter.

If feeding needs to be carried out use either inverted sugar syrup or a 1:1 solution, i.e. 1kg of granulated white sugar: 650ml water.

Please note that if any of your colonies are showing signs of both Varroa damage and lack of food, it may be useful to feed and treat simultaneously. This should not be done if there is a honey flow on, only in emergency cases.

Kind regards,

National Bee Unit.