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Northern Lights

The Newsletter of the North Devon Branch of the British Beekeepers Association


Chairman’s Notes:

As I write this, the year is nearly over and plans for the coming year are well under way.   The hard part comes in January when we start to implement these projects.

At Horestone Apiary we will be laying more slabs for the new hive stands and creating a purpose built Queen Rearing Area.   The Apiary and the Shows’ sub-committees are yet to be established and we are also in the process of setting up supply channels and production lines for our new shop which should be able to supply pretty much any beekeeping equipment you need - and at better prices than anyone else!    Our nucleus hives will be our own design, unique to our branch and at very competitive prices.

 Yes, it's going to be an exceptionally busy year but I know that with such an enthusiastic and energetic membership our branch will, as always, exceed all the targets we aim for.

 Personally, I'm looking forward to working with you all to achieve another fantastic and progressive season.

Happy New Year

Chris Tozer

Apiary Manager’s Report:News_1_2006_a.jpg (29554 bytes)

Well folks here we are at the beginning of a New Year I expect that like me, everyone is looking forward to that first sunny mid-day when a quick look into the hive will tell us if we have managed to over winter our colonies successfully. No more so than at Horestone where our honey producing team will be working towards achieving an early start to the season, with stocks strong enough to take advantage of the early oil seed rape crops.

Bearing this in mind we will be working with Kevin to finish off the excellent start he made on the honey processing room. The interior is complete but we need to identify the work surfaces we need for the uncapping, filtering, bottling and storage of the crop.

The virtual shop is about ready to begin trading. We will soon find out if a bid for additional finance has been successful. We are working on a stock list of items the shop will be selling, and keeping in stock. Please help David and Jean by giving them as much notice as possible of your requirements, so that they are able to plan ahead.

Chris Tozer has completed the first prototype of the Horestone lightweight nuclei hive, The timber is being cut in preparation for us, as a group to assemble at Horestone in the next few weeks. It will be a case of all hands to the glue bottle.

There are a number of new projects in the pipeline for this new beekeeping year at Horestone, some of them very exciting. One of these will be the instrumented Hive project, to be planned by David and Kevin, who will of course keep all of us informed as to their progress.

The management structure will change subtly when the apiary sub committee is elected and project groups are set up. Tony

The Great Skittle Shuffle:News_1_2006_b.jpg (10327 bytes)

Thirty five members with friends and relations packed themselves into The Plough at Bickington on the evening of 10th December.  The event was a lot of fun, plenty to eat and drink, a terrific contest with wildly unpredictable results which were usually greeted by enthusiastic applause or ribald shouts.  The champion's prize for Gentleman Skittler was won by the illustrious Tony Wright from Ilfracombe.   The Ladies' prize went to…. well I can't remember much about that!

Please note:  The next evening meeting   (at the Castle Centre Barnstaple, 7.30pm)  will take place on Friday 27th January.  Brian Marchant is going to tell us all about Bumble Bees, and no doubt show some of his pictures.   There will be a Bring & Share Supper and a raffle.  Don't miss it!!   Beryl

Branch Directory Correction:

All members will have received a copy of the new Directory from Kevin. There are two corrections Firstly our librarian Elizabeth Reynolds' email address is (the   dash was in the wrong place and makes all the difference if you want to get in touch!). Secondly Brian Marchant has moved to 9 Dune View, Westward Ho!, Bideford EX39 1UH (phone number, email etc are the same as before)

DBKA Executive Council Meeting:

This was my first EC meeting as your Branch Secretary for many years but I wasn't on my own as your new Chairman Chris Tozer also represented our branch.  We were indirectly supported by Kevin Stach in his position of Year Book Editor and Beryl as an observer. 

This brings me to my first point as it is generally accepted that any branch member is free to attend an EC meeting as an observer; but you cannot vote of course. 

It was a well attended meeting and seats and table tops were at a premium.   Chairman Bill Finnemore opened the meeting with a tribute to our own Bar Trew. It has been decided to wind up the 'Brother Adam Research Fund' which stands at 1200 and it is suggested to the Trustees that the funds be passed to 'Bees for Development'.  This is the same organisation that handled our recent Tsunami Appeal.

There are two prize skeps made by Mick Male to be presented to the two candidates getting top marks for the 'Basic Assessment' last summer - both from North Devon - Tony Wright and Kevin Tricker.  The presentation will be held at the DBKA AGM in March. 

Terry Clarke runs a beekeeping club at Wembury Primary School with about 16 children.  He asked for a grant of 1,000 for new bee suits, gloves and equipment - and got it.  Of course the gear will always belong to DBKA.  One member opposing the grant warned that DBKA will go bankrupt if this goes on but I reminded the meeting that we needed another two or three Terry Clarkes throughout the county to take beekeeping into the schools.  DBKA has about 30,000 stashed away and I would like ideas on how we can spend it!

Chris U

Brian’s Microscope Corner:

Kohler illumination - a system which ensures even illumination of microscope slides.  Such light sources can be external, illuminating the slide by means of a tilting mirror, or integral, in which case a mirror is not necessary. This system is instantly recognised as the bulbs have very small filaments wound in the form of a square and the lamp housings, both integral and external, incorporate a condenser and field iris.

Edited by Marnie Quy.     Email:     
All contributions welcome, copy by 19th of month for publication in following month’s newsletter.

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