We know everyone is busy, but thought we’d draft a little newsletter of the topics covered in March and April. Tried to keep it short, but please get in touch if you need more information on any of the topics. Links and names have been included to try help you Google your way.
As with all our communications – please make contact if you wish to be removed from the list.
- We’ll start with the wider activities of the group members:
- Two social meetings at Row Barge Pub in Henley to further the education portion of our aims. Interesting discussions included lectures attended at the Spring Convention and understanding sources of black bees at stud stock. Questions about crop spraying raised interest in this website: https://beeconnected.org.uk/
- Visit to Samlesbury Hall between Blackburn and Preston in the Ribble Valley
Affiliated with BIBBA, Gearing up for Sunday 19th May – World Bee Day.
Largest selection of different hive types we’ve ever seen in their teaching apiary, great shop, friendly team.
- Work has started to collect data for the Plymouth Uni PhD project run by Victoria Buswell on the phenological brood cycles of our bees and temperament.
- Cambridge BKA Winter Lectures included lectures by
- David Evans – DWV and Varroa Timing – St Andrews Uni, evanslab.org.uk and The Apiarist Blog
- Wally Shaw – Apicentric Beekeeping – Welsh BKA
- Prof Gilles Budge – CBVP – Professor of Applied Crop Science at Newcastle University
- George Clouston – Hive monitoring (Arnia)
- Bee Tradex at Stoneleigh Park, shopping opportunity and change to catch Jo Widdicombe speak on raising his AMM bees.
- Spring convention, really needs a separate report, but standout speakers include:
- Prof Maria Bouga talking about the certification of Queen quality in Greece
- Dr Kirsten Traynor explaining her research on pesticides http://www.mdbee.com/info.html
- Dr Samuel Ramsey covering both Varroa and Tropilaelaps mites https://youtu.be/Fyfyj-2O47Q
- Next we list the activities which are underway focused on rearing queens:
- Selection of hives as genetic is well underway, there may be some standardisation required later with a Stud Book. For the moment hive temperament and swarming tendency are being scored as selection criteria.
- Drone were encouraged early by many members adding drone comb foundation to their hives in March during those few warm days
- The first modest batch of AMM grafts have been taken to standardise the method and educate the core team.
- Queen cages are being prepared, either plastic bought at the Tradex or Benton Cages constructed from timber.
- Mating preparations have started; making Queen Castles and attending lectures on Apidea management
- Activities we have planned:
- Swarm control !!! 🙂
- More evening social meetings
- Apiary visits in BBOBI area to encourage others to have a go at rearing queens
- Mount Edgcumbe return visit to catch up on their black AMM rearing project and reserve in their newly improved apiary.
- Submission of honey to Dr Anna Oliver at CEH in Wallingford. https://honey-monitoring.ac.uk/
- Completion of COLOSS Winter Loss survey: https://www.bee-survey.com/index.php/368949?lang=en
- Completion of BBKA Winter Colony Survival Survey: https://www.bbka.org.uk/winter-colony-survival-survey-1819
- May & June Queen rearing continues
- July training get together to review our progress to our aims and share our lessons.
We’ve had interest from new beekeepers and keepers wanting more bees. We can’t promise to supply nucs in this our first year, but if interested please get in touch and we’ll add you to the list.
Communications are doing really well via WhatsApp group, so if you wish to be involved, please make sure we have your mobile number, (email to Brian Green)
Membership of our group is growing really well, mainly from the BIBBA website and contact from our local BBKA organisations.
Please see: https://bibba.com/bucks-berks-oxon-bee-improvement-bbobi-rg9/ and please spread the word about us.