The Newsletter of the North Devon Branch of the
British Beekeepers Association
I'm using this
opportunity to tell you about the branch Bitz4Bees Shop as there appears to be
some confusion about how to use it, what and where it is and what stock is carried.
Fundamentally, it's a mail-order or catalogue shop. However, as the full
catalogue isn't ready yet, please see the Summary Product Listing that's being sent to you
with this issue of Northern Lights. You can also choose any products from the
How to order? Phone Dave Morris on 01237 475705 or email him at email@example.com with your order, using Thorne's
reference and page numbers or the latest Summary Product Listing.
Relatively little stock will be carried so you need to order in rather the same way as
you would from any other catalogue. The only difference is that the
prices will be lower and it's unlikely to include any carriage charge.
Goods can be collected from Horestone Apiary on Tuesdays or from members of the apiary
group who live in your area - details to be arranged when ordering Dave Morris will also
explain method of payment when you phone in your first order.
In the future we plan to have agency agreements with other beekeeping suppliers with
the aim of ensuring that prices are as low as possible and the quality as high as
possible. See the monthly newsletter for specific bargains.
If you have any other queries, feel free to call Dave Morris, Kevin Stach
O79681150l9 or me, Chris Tozer, on 01237 471928.
Now is an excellent time to check out your equipment and replace any kit ready for the
season ahead - and have you sufficient frames and foundation? No? Well, pick
up the phone and try out our new enterprise.
Take care. Chris Tozer
|Apiary Managers Report:
As stated in last months report there has been a subtle change
in the management structure. We now have a small Apiary sub-committee, elected at the
January 3rd meeting, comprising the three project heads, Michael Duncan
(honey production) Kay Thomas (queen rearing) Chris Utting (education) Chris
Tozer (groundsman and planning) and myself as chair.
I would like to formally thank Sue Tait for her support as assistant apiary
manager last year, and further for agreeing to collate and edit the Code Of Best Practice.
Once again we see change within the apiary we will have another hive stand for the
honey section, four more are being laid for queen rearing and still more for the teaching
The honey processing room awaits its new stainless steel working surfaces; we even have
new rainwater guttering on the main meeting room.
A site has been identified as suitable for the instrumented hive project, and work will
begin as soon as possible so that we are ready to hive the bees by mid-February.
The top item on my personal wish list still hasnt been granted - that of having
two Tuesdays in each week, if only
Amongst those New Year
Resolutions, what's left of them, I hope there is this one: "I resolve to take my
bees to the heather this summer". Now is the time to make your plans and
preparations. I list some considerations from one of my favourite bee books, Sixty Years
with Bees, by Donald Sims, which I highly recommend to you.
Ling heather honey, the one with the thixotropic properties, is much in demand and
commands a high price. Timing of the crop is uncertain but on Exmoor it is usually
mid July. But get local advice, and keep your eye on the flowering situation.
Choose a site with at least a hundred acres of heather. Locality, aspect, soil type
and elevation can all affect quality and quantity of the honey. At lower elevations
you can expect mixed flora, giving a blend of honeys. Higher elevations may have
lower temperatures and strong winds. Slopes with more than one aspect should prolong
the flow. Nearby water is advisable and young heather (regularly burned) yields more
than old. Select a sheltered site, one you can get to by car to minimise
carrying. Prepare the site and level the stands beforehand. Don't set hives in
a row, rather in groups facing different directions. Beware of shooting parties,
walkers and picnic people.
The colonies must be really strong with bees, have brood of all ages and a young queen
bred this spring. An adequate supply of stores, e.g. 15lb will be necessary. Build
up your colony ahead of time using double brood box, confine the queen to the lower box
three or four weeks before moving. The top box with some stores can be kept secure
until you return later. In the lower brood box, have the young brood on the outside
frames, and the sealed brood in the centre. That way the outside combs will be
occupied longer, thus preventing storing of honey in the brood box.
When you travel, make a very early start. Block the bees in securely at dawn, and
fix a mesh screen over the top of the box. Make sure the hives are secure, use a
method where you add the supers on arrival at the moor. Don't travel at night.
On arrival at the site, set the hives level, open the entrance just one space, then
go and have your picnic breakfast. After that open fully, and let the bees fly.
The bees will need plenty of room. Use two supers of very thin unwired
foundation, (consider using Manly frames) the bottom super partly drawn if possible. The
top super could have just starter strips if you prefer.
Visit your colonies regularly. They might need full supers removing, more space,
or one might have been blown over. They might even be starving. Give the bees
a feed when you return, the queen might have stopped laying and you may add a little
Fumidil B to the syrup to combat Nosema.
Well, go to it dear friends. Team up with one or two mates, make your plan of
action. Find your site and get the owner's permission. I have never been lucky
enough to take my bees to the heather, but I know a man who has. He will be speaking
to you on Monday, 10th April. Have your questions ready.
FEB 14 Tuesday
Peter Little visits Horestone Apiary, afternoon
FEB 17 Friday Malcolm Blake (Somerset Beekeepers) will
give a talk on frame management. The title is "The Answer Lies in the
Frame". Castle Centre Barnstaple 7.30pm. Bring and Share
FEB 18 Saturday Somerset Lecture Day at Drayton Memorial
Hall near Cheddar
MAR 17 Friday Talk by Kay Thomas "Floral
Biology" Castle Centre 7.30 Bring and Share Supper,
MAR 18 Saturday DBKA President's Day AGM and
Lectures from 9.30.Peter Chalk Building, Exeter University. Also
BBKA Written Examinations, same time, same place.
Please come along to our events and support your wonderful Branch!!
Bentham, Secretary of Holsworthy Branch (Phone 01409 261 152) is
organising a one-day course on Saturday March 25th at Chilsworthy Village Hall, on
Integrated Pest Management, with Richard Ball and Peter Auger. As they
have not quite enough members wanting to register for it, she is asking whether our
members would like to join the course. Times are 10.00am - 4.00pm, fees
about £8 to cover the cost of the hall and teas, coffees, and a
ploughmans lunch. Contact Anne direct if you wish to attend.
|Brians Microscope Corner:
- Transparent refractive medium, usually glass, with curved surfaces. They are
classified according to their surface profile as bi-convex, bi-concave, plano-convex etc.
would like to offer my apologies as I will not be at the February meeting at the Castle
Centre so there will not be the opportunity to return or borrow books then. Please
remember that members are welcome to call at my home as there is an extensive and
under-used library awaiting them there. Just give me a call on 01271 882940 to make
I recommend a newly published book to the more romantic and less scientific members.
It is 'Honey and Dust' by Piers Moore Ede - a travel book really but very
entertaining. We do not have it in the branch library but it is available from the
County Library - just ask at your local branch.
|Have You Any Spare Beeswax?
On my way
to London recently I dropped into Thorne's at Windsor. I have been saving up beeswax
recovered from cappings, brood wax from shook swarms, sacrificial drone brood etc.
and I exchanged my 20.24 lb lumps of beeswax and for a handling charge of only
£29.31 I staggered away with 162 sheets of first quality wired National brood. This works
out at only 18p per sheet compared to 83p per sheet at the normal price.
I have since had a chat with Tony Wright and we agreed that if members can bring
a donation of their wax cappings etc. in sealed plastic bags (to eliminate the risk of
bringing disease) to Horestone I will collect it and put it through my steam wax extractor
and exchange it on behalf of the branch when I (or somebody else) next go near to Thorne's
in London (or Wragby / or Tayport).
|100+ Club Results:
1st Peter Woolard (£20)
2nd Michael Duncan (Free membership)
1st Michael Charters (£20)
2nd Judith Westcott (Free membership)
|Cooking With Honey:
Honey Lemon Chicken
16 free-range chicken wings, tips removed and jointed
1½ tsp sea salt
125ml/4½fl oz lemon juice
1-5 clove garlic, crushed (to taste!)
1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. Place the chicken wings in a baking dish, sprinkle with the salt then roast for 30
3. Place the lemon juice, garlic and honey in a small bowl and stir until the honey has
dissolved. Pour over the chicken wings and stir until well coated.
4. Cook for another 20 minutes. Serve with lemon wedges.
Honey Mustard Green Beans:
8 cups water
1 teaspoon salt
1 pound green beans
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to taste
Few strips pimiento, red bell pepper or red onion
1. Combine water and salt in a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
2. Meanwhile, stem and rinse the green beans, then cut them in half crosswise to yield
about 4 cups. Blanch or steam the beans in the boiling water for about 5 minutes.
3. While the beans cook, whisk together the lemon juice, oil, honey and mustard. Drain
the beans and place in a serving bowl. Pour dressing over and toss well. Add salt and
4. Serve hot or cold with pimiento, bell pepper or onion as garnish.
battle menopausal symptoms will be interested in the results of a study conducted in
Denmark. There, they gave Melbrosia (royal jelly mixed with bee and flower pollen) to
women going through menopause, and 1/3 of the women who participated reported relief of
their symptoms. It seems to work as a form of natural hormone replacement therapy and as a
way to prevent osteoporosis. Apparently men can also benefit its good for
prostate problems too.
Included with the
newsletter this month is the very first product listing for Bitz4Bees which hopefully is
self explanatory. Do support B4B, you will find prices to be competitive compared
with other suppliers and there will also be products only available from this source. If
you want any more information or if there is something that you wish to order contact Dave
Morris (contact info with product listing).
Members and their friends will also shortly be able to help play their part
in making Bitz4Bees successful in delivering value and quality for all of us, through
a further share subscription. Over a dozen members have so far contributed
initial preference working share capital, but more is needed to get the company
off to a flying start. Dave James is preparing an investment
solicitation and this will be mailed out very soon.
Watch this space!
|Honey Bees Recognise People:
too proud of never forgetting a face: It turns out even a humble honey bee can distinguish
and recall different human faces, says an international team of researchers.
Dr Adrian Dyer, of La Trobe University in
Melbourne, Australia and Cambridge University in the UK, and colleagues, report their
findings online in the Journal of
The researchers have found that honey bees show a remarkable ability to spot the same
human face even days after training.
The training consisted of showing the bees the very same series of black-and-white
pictures of faces that are used to test human memory. The bees got tasty or sour rewards
for choosing correctly and incorrectly. The newfound bee ability is likely
connected to their ability to recognise different flowers, says Dyer.
On the other hand, the discovery is one of a long string over the last decade about
various animals which all point to one startling revelation: It doesn't take a huge human
brain or even a mammalian brain to recognise individual human faces or do a lot of other
complex tasks. "The more we study these creatures, the more we find they
have abilities like ours," says insect vision researcher Professor Mandyam Srinivasan
of Australian National University in
From bees to wasps, spiders and even sheep, other animals have proven they can not only
recognise our faces, but they navigate mazes, match objects and shapes and even associate
smells with previous experiences.
"Sometimes I wonder what we are doing with two-kilogram brains," muses
Bees, for their part, have brains about 20,000 times less massive than the human brain.
From Discovery News Online Larry O'Hanlon
|Edited by Marnie Quy.
All contributions welcome, copy by 19th of month for publication in following