Our plans for 2016
1 Core purpose
We are clear that everything we do is focussed on breeding Apis mellifera mellifera queens of the best genetic stock and to make these queens available to our members to establish this bee in their own apiaries.
To achieve this we intend to do the following
2 Out apiary mating sites
During 2016 the new site will be established with new drone colonies. In February a schedule of tasks with approximate times will be drafted to enable all who wish to help with the complexities. It will be a collective effort. We will over the year try to locate one more site in that area.
3 Pure breed queens
Our existing 5 colonies with pure bred Amm queens will be the source of our future drone colonies. To this we will add queens located in Scotland and Northern Ireland to bring the best queens available into our apiary. These will be the source of new virgins to be taken to the out apiary. These will populate hives at the Thrumpton site and others will be handed on to members involved in the development of this process across 2016.
4 Building competences and understanding
Our group is very inclusive and welcomes all who wish to support our core purpose. Our intention is to run informal training workshops to ensure those who wish to become involved have opportunities to develop their skills to take part. Currently a queen rearing workshop is planned for mid April. A morphometry workshop will be arranged. Other sessions related to manipulation of the bees, record keeping, tasks for managing the two sites and taking nucleases to the out apiary will happen alongside those activities as the year unfolds.
5 Analysing the quality of our bees
To do this we will be keeping appropriate records and refer to morphometrical data to guide our practice. We will review the pilot system to ensure that relevant data is kept as colony records and queen records.
6 Other possibilities
6.1 Artificial insemination – The group possesses equipment and two members have been trained. We are considering the feasibility on introducing this dimension to our programme in 2016. No decision has been made yet.
6.2 Building the member base – we do not want to be distracted by a membership drive this year. We want to consolidate the members we already have. Once these new practices have been established and the quality and number of queens available improved, then the membership will naturally expand as other bee keepers begin to understand why and what we are doing.