The Newsletter of the North Devon Branch of the
British Beekeepers Association
February: I find the ancient name of
Februarius was derived from the verb februare, to purify. Candlemas comes around on
2nd February. The lore is
"If Candlemas Day be fair and
Winter will have another flight.
But if Candlemas Day be clouds and rain,
Winter is gone and will not come again"
Whatever you are doing this February, it is
good to walk through the woods and see the signs of early spring all around you. Try
keeping a nature diary through the year, and compare your observations with whatever 2006
brings. I hope you have all your beekeeping equipment repaired, cleaned and ready to
begin, your record cards or book at hand for the coming season. February
can be a treacherous month for your bees. Keep a regular check on their stores of
food, and don't be afraid to feed some warm syrup in a contact feeder. The queen
will be laying already. It is very rare to have a day in February warm
enough to open up your hives. Better not to disturb the bees, but on a fine day it is
fascinating to watch their coming and going, and see what pollen is being
brought in. Make sure there is a supply of water, not too far from the hive.
Happy beekeeping! There is much to look forward to.
delicious old fashioned recipe, all in old fashioned measures:
Honey and Apricot Cake
4 oz butter
2 eggs (size 2)
2 - 3 oz pre-soaked, dried apricots
8 oz S.R. flour
pinch of salt
Cut the apricots into small pieces. Cream butter and honey together. Beat eggs well and
add to mixture alternatively with sifted flour and salt.
Add the apricot pieces. Bake for 1 hour in
a 7-inch diameter cake tin at 180ºC, 350ºF or Gas 4.
A request for help from our beekeeper
cooks. If any of you have a good modern recipe for honey bread; please
let me know about it.
for our artistic beekeepers: Please would you think of producing
something artistic for display at our Honey Show. Perhaps a painting or design, a drawing,
or photograph, a model from beeswax, an exceptional candle or a piece of embroidery, even
a wood carving or a pottery piece. Whatever your choice, it must have a
honeybee interest. Beryl
winter maintenance schedule at the apiary continues apace. Since the New Year the team
have repainted the roof of the large shed, prepped the bases for two of the new hive
stands and installed a large tank to collect rain water which will be plumbed into the
toilet. The gardening team have laid (should that be layered?) the hedge along
the road and the ground in front of Michaels hives has been prepped for plants
attractive to the bees. After hefting some of Kays hives it was decided
that at least one is already light and fondant has been added to the bees' stores. The
team have also watched the new DBKA video on shook swarms which prompted a fair
amount of discussion but on the whole was well received.
Tony Wright (Patrick
There was a good turnout for Glyn Davies' talk at
The Castle Centre when he gave us his personal and provocative views of the opportunities,
threats and solutions that apply to British beekeeping.
Clearly there is a demand for honey and
hive products, not just nationally, but world wide. With the advantage of positive
help from European governments the farmers are being provided with encouragement to set
aside land that will be useful to our bees. The reform of the common agricultural
policies is beneficial to our craft. Even global warming should provide the
advantage of warmer and wetter summers. But are we prepared to meet these
opportunities? Compared to other European countries many of us have poor standards
of beekeeping and product quality. Our stocks of bees are often poor. We may
even cause public nuisance in our overcrowded islands. This in turn involves
insurance liabilities and it is increasingly difficult to get cover. We have an
ageing membership who are failing to deal with endemic diseases and the threat of exotic
pests on the horizon.
We are meeting these threats with improved
education and training resulting in record breaking levels of formal qualifications.
We are looking to improve our national queen rearing standards. Our status in relation to
the British government and even pesticide firms has never been better. We are
investing in increased publicity and becoming more self reliant. Over the past 100
years there have been big changes.
What of the next 100 years?
all our budding horticulturalists!
Judith, Peter & Elizabeth are still collecting 'bee plants' for
the stall at the county show. If you can help please let them know ASAP. Volunteers are
also needed to man (& woman) the stall & it would be helpful if the plant stall
stewards had an interest in the plants beloved of our bees.
Following the dreadful
events of Boxing Day & the tsunami which devastated parts of Asia & Indonesia I
decided to do my bit and raise some funds for reconstruction & specifically to
purchase bees & beekeeping equipment washed away by the floods. At fairly short notice
Ken & I organised a coffee & mince pie day and had a terrific response from
members. The idea was to have coffee to drink but in fact nearly everyone had tea!
We all enjoyed it and those who came at the
end made a party and we visited Squires Fish & Chip to celebrate. We raised a total of
£420, a grand gesture, thank you all for being so supportive. The money will go to
Dr Punchihewa who is the Head of Agricultural Biology at the University of Ruhuna, Sri
Lanka and who trains beekeepers to care for Apis Cerana, the type of bee kept in Sri
Lanka. More money is and will be needed throughout the year so fund raising will continue
and we intend to hold other events later on. I will keep everyone informed via the
newsletter about where the money goes, what it pays for and forthcoming events. In the
meantime donations can be sent to me and cheques should be made payable to Presidents
Sri Lankan Fund. Thanks again.
Branch Makes A Difference:
A few months ago your branch committee put forward a proposition to the Devon BKA
"The BBKA Executive is to carry out a feasibility study on the development of a
national queen rearing registration project. This will include consulting with other
national or regional units that are already in existence in other European countries as
well as the UK. The study will include an investigation of funding, breeding
objectives, quality control and record keeping. The EC to report back to the ADM in
January 2006 (estimated cost £300).
This was accepted and sent to the BBKA H/Q and duly put before the BBKA AGM on 15th
January by the Devon delegate (Chris Utting) and seconded by the Wiltshire delegate.
After a full debate the 53 delegates voted 28 in favour, 15 against with 10
for February: Which beekeeper was
also a film star, appearing in 96 films? He gave jars away to friends & colleagues
with the label Henrys Honey. Answer next month. Januarys answer
was of course Sherlock Holmes.
BRANCH LOGO COMPETITION:
ENTRIES CLOSE 31st MARCH. The response hasnt been that great so far so its
time to dig out your pens & pencils & submit entries to the newsletter address!
|Edited by Marnie
Quy, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
All contributions welcome, copy by 19th of month for publication in following