Herefordshire Beekeepers Association


HBKA Newsletter for February 2016

This month there are items on mead and moisture, a glimpse of beekeeping in Mexico, reports on national and local meetings – and, on pages 1 and 2, some upcoming events to note, in particular, the AGM on 15th March.

Buzzword 1602

HBKA Newletter for January 2016

First one of the New Year highlighting the abnormal weather conditions, telling a dramatic story, giving instruction on mead-making, offering advice on hive cleaning and keeping you up to date with what you should be doing bee-wise this month.

Buzzword 1601

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’

National Honey Show Newsletter February 2015

As each year’s National Honey Show draws to an end, the planning is underway for the next year.  We have to be patient and wait through the winter for the bees to make their contribution, but not only do all you beekeepers continue with background preparations through the winter, but so, also, do your National Honey Show committee for the next Show.  As you know, our website is currently being redesigned and updated, watch for the new site which will be launched very soon:

The new, early, National Honey Show leaflets and raffle tickets for 2015 will be available at; and at the BBKA Spring Convention  You can order them in advance for collection at either of those shows, or to be posted to you for your association or local show e-mail us at: letting us know how many of each you need.

Our planned programme for 2015 lectures will be Dr Deborah Delaney from the University of Delaware on Honey Marketing, Honey Bee Pests, Integrated Pest Management for the Small Scale Beekeeper and Why Genetics are Important to the Beekeeper.  Dr Juliana Rangel from the University of Texas plans to talk about The Biology of Mating, of Swarming, and of the Colony. Ben Harden, NDB will be talking on Bees in Winter, and Professor Dave Goulson, University of Sussex, on Neonicotinoids, Bees and Politics, followed by Bumblebees, their Ecology and Conservation.  Finally Professor Robert Pickard plans to tell us about Queens he has Known.  These are the current plans, which will be consolidated as the Show draws closer.

The Friday Bee Craft Lectures will take place again this year, as will the Saturday series of lectures for those new to beekeeping, and/or just interested in the subjects.  These will include Yearly Beekeeping Activities, Swarm control, Pests and Diseases and Products of the Hive for showing.

On the subject of showing, we hope you will continue to give our staging committee lots of work in 2015.  Your superb efforts for 2014 entailed an overspill of the exhibit exhibition area into another hall – well done all !!!  and please keep it up!

As we write this, in addition to the lectures from 2013, five videos from the 2014 lecture programme are now available to view on the National Honey Show YouTube Channel:

Funding these superb, professional, videos continues to be a major challenge.  We were grateful for some National Lottery funding in 2013 and for a generous grant from The Garfield Weston Foundation towards the costs in 2014.  Our raffle will be making a contribution towards this venture in future years but it is very much on our wish list for us to be able to sustain funding the video programme.  Do please watch and enjoy revisiting the videos.  We have such a full programme of activities during the show that it is a major bonus that if you miss one of the lectures due to a clash of opportunities, you can catch up on missed lectures at a later date and at leisure. Please support our raffle, meanwhile we’re busy trying to identify and apply for funding for 2015 videos ~ all ideas and input very welcome!.

As ever, the National Honey Show relies on a large team of volunteers, and all offers of help at the show itself are welcome.   Do contact us, – you can e-mail the Show Secretary at and he will pass your offer to the right person – if you can spare some time at the Show, it all helps.

We have a unique collection of displays, lectures and networking opportunities at the National Honey Show, and look forward to seeing you at the Show this autumn:  Thursday 29th to Saturday 31st October 2015 once more at St Georges College, Weybridge.

Heath Robinson was a beekeeper

The AGM this year features a very interesting talk by Graham Royal – ‘Heath Robinson was a Beekeeper

The AGM is being held this year on 25th March 2015 at the Three Counties Hotel, Belmont Road, Hereford and starts at 7.00pm.

Members and prospective members are warmly invited to attend.

Webmasters – Cottage Webcraft

The Webmasters of the Herefordshire Beekeepers Association are Cottage Webcraft –

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