The Newsletter of the North Devon Branch of the
British Beekeepers Association
surely is "I'cumen In" at last, and the meadows and verges are thick with
meadowsweet. St Swithin's Day, 15th Jluly, came and went without a drop of rain.
"St Swithin's Day an it be fair, for forty days t'will rain nae mair".
We'll see about that I guess. Meanwhile, the nectar pours in. Remember to put
a couple of your very best super frames of honey in a safe place for the Honey Show.
This year we have had quite a spate of courses for the Branch, all greeted with
enthusiasm I am pleased to say. That spate is still in full flow, amazingly, with Tony
Wright lining up some of his carpentry wizards to show us all the best way to make and
repair our own equipment. This is a tremendously useful skill for a beekeeper to
acquire, even to give hope for someone as hopeless as I am, always hitting my
thumb instead of the nail.
Now for something entirely different. We will be offering a course on Food
Hygiene, date and place yet to be decided. You can easily imagine how important that
is for honey producers. A beautiful new Honey House is being prepared at Horestone
by Kevin Stach. We will be proud to support Kevin with a
good knowledge of best hygienic practice.
Finally, my friends, I would recommend that you attend Devon's bi-ennial Buckfast Bee
Day on 29th October. To have such a program of lectures, at such a low cost, in such
a setting, on your doorstep, is indeed a big asset. Brian Gant suggests
you apply to our Social Secretary Chris to make a block booking, so Chris can
co-ordinate transport. Alternatively, book your own ticket through the Beekeeping Magazine
Could we have some of your observations, experiments, particular beekeeping experiences
which interested you, for the Newsletter please? Go on - have a go! Beryl
|From the Apiary:
apiary is looking its summer best. It is a garden of tranquility, a place of refuge from
the noise and dust of the holiday traffic. Lots of new bee friendly plants are blooming
and the limes are well in bloom.
With one or two exceptions the colonies are all doing well. Thanks to queen rearing and
colony division we now have twenty one units all working.
Three new queens were brought in from outside to widen the gene pool, two donated by
Beryl and one bought by the branch. Unfortunately the latter failed to prosper so will
Despite a massive demand for nucs, brood boxes, supers and countless frames to be
made up, not to mention shopping and wax processing our quartermaster and his assistants
have done us proud and kept everyone happy (must be a first).
This year it was thought prudent to manage the apideas away from Horestone. Beryl has
this in hand. I look forward to next season when all the various activities will take
place within the Apiary,
Should you see a pale looking person wandering around blinking at the bright sunlight,
that will be Kevin Stach. He has spent so much time refurbishing the honey
processing room he must have missed most of the sun, but wait till you see the rewards of
his labour, a fantastic facility. So hygienic, so clean, so white, so different to what we
had, and he assures me that "we aint seen nuthin yet". Thanks
The last open day was a success with plenty of activities going on for people to take
Finally I would like to say thanks to all the new members we have had turning up on a
regular basis. Despite the parking problems we do need you; its you who make the
Tony & Sue
|The next Horestone Apiary
Open Day is 14th August. Please note that this date has altered since the
original dates for open days were published at the beginning of the year.
would like to thank all people who came to Elizabeth and Paul's Garden Party and
spent their money. It was a lovely day weatherwise and what a beautiful garden. I do hope
the Committee will be able to persuade them to repeat it next year.
Special thanks to Diane Goodacre and Peter Woolard for plants, Judith
Westcott for her Linocuts - which are still selling - Chris and Jill Utting for
books and everyone who helped backstage. Kay
|Garden Party 2:
of an English Country Garden, full of flowers and sloping to the sun. A hum of
insects, a buzz of beekeepers, plenty of birds and their broods. On Sunday 12th
June Paul and Elizabeth Reynolds opened their wonderful garden at Kentisbury, in
aid of the Tsunami Appeal organised by Kay Thomas, in liaison with "Bees
for Development". Around the upper part of the garden were a few stalls, with
plants, books, home produce, bric-a-brac, all kindly donated by some of our members
and friends. It was a lovely afternoon, with a delicious tea provided by Elizabeth
and her helpers. As a result, a total of £344.15 was raised.for this good cause, and a
happy afternoon was enjoyed by all who came along. Many thanks to Paul and
Elizabeth, and to all who contributed. Bery
|A Message From Our
Despite my best intentions, I'm afraid I won't
be able to bring a small collection of books to either the August or the September Apiary
Please continue to put any returns in the red box in the apiary store-room. If you wish to
borrow a book or have a copy of the book list, please call me on 01271 882940.
This is not the number listed in the current year book.
GLARE - Light scattered by the object which does not contribute to the
formation of the image reducing its quality and contrast.
GRATICULES - discs marked with scales or patterns which
locate into the ocular at its field limiting diaphragm and used variously for
measuring and/or determining three dimensional information from a two dimension image.
|Chocolate Honey Almond Truffles
(4oz) plain chocolate
2 tbsp thick honey
2 tsp rum
vermicelli for coating
56g (2oz) very finely chopped blanched almonds
Melt the chocolate, add the honey and rum and allow to cool until the mixture becomes
slightly sticky. Add the blanched almonds and mix thoroughly. Form into approximately 30
small balls and coat with vermicelli.
Note: Always pack or present your honey sweets in an attractive way if
you are making a gift, or an entry into a show. The receiver or the Honey Judge will
be impressed with your care.
Juice of 3 lemons
Wine yeast and Nutrient
1 Camden Tablet
Approx. 1 pint fresh orange juice OR grape juice
Make up the yeast starter with a little juice and the nutrient. Bring
honey to the boil with 5 pints of water and skim off any impurities.
Cool, then add the fruit juices and the activated yeast. Put into a jar and
fill with boiled cooled water to shoulder. Fit air lock and ferment at
64ºF /18ºC. Rack off when finished into a clean jar, add 1 Camden
tablet and fill up again to 1" below the cork. Store until clear in a
|Thanks for recipes go to the Cornish
HIVE ASSEMBLY AND REPAIR COURSE:
There are still some vacancies for this course to be held on 4th September -
details in last months Newsletter. Phone Chris Utting on 01237 474 500 to
reserve a place.
BASIC ASSESSMENT DATES REVISED:
Unfortunately the colonies at Horestone Apiary were not strong enough to hold the
assessments last month as we need at least four colonies with sufficient bees to cover
eight brood frames. So the Assessment and Revision Days have been put off for a month to
enable the colonies to build up. The Revision Day will now be on Thursday 11th
August and the Assessment Day is on Monday 15th August. We all wish the seven candidates
the best of luck.
Chris & Beryl
Kay Thomas will also be starting her annual beekeeping course next
January in Braunton. Details can be obtained from local libraries and more information
will be provided in a forthcoming newsletter nearer the time.
|Diary of Forthcoming
||North Devon Show
||Rosemoor Family Weekend
||Basic Assessment revision day
||Apiary Open Day (NB: Date altered)
||Hive Assembly & Repair Course
||Eggesford Apple Weekend
||Branch Honey Show
|Instow Village Show:
The Branch was represented at this Show which was held in the village hall and surrounding
area on Saturday 16th July. The stall was organised by Beryl, assisted
by Jean and David Morris. The show was attended by hundreds of
villagers and holidaymakers and many leaflets and lots of information about bees was given
|Me and EFB:
This is the story of my first and only experience with EFB. Also known as
Melissococcus pluton, EFB is a rare occurrence in North Devon. I have only heard of half a
dozen cases. I have been keeping bees now for over 20 years and have attended all the
training courses on bee diseases that have been available. On the courses you do see the
brood frames showing signs of EFB but it is not the same as the real live, hot under your
nose, heaving and breathing EFB.
I have an apiary at Annery Kiln at Weare Gifford. At the beginning of the year I only
had three colonies in this apiary although there was room for a lot more. So I volunteered
for it to be used as a quarantine apiary to take swarms collected during the summer for
the Branch. The idea was to keep them under observation for at least a worker brood cycle
to establish that no disease was present. The swarms were to be re-queened for the
branch to sell to beginners at a reasonable price. We had a waiting list of a dozen
Things were coming along fine and the swarms were developing beautifully. I was about
to go away for a few days holiday and thought that I had better just check through the
colonies to see that they were in good order. All were in fine condition. But when I
removed the roof of the first large colony, I was confronted with a strange and unpleasant
smell. The smell can only be described as dog poo! My first reaction was of
annoyance. Who could have done such an unpleasant thing as to contaminate a hive on
this way? The apiary site is near to the Tarka Trail and it is just possible that
some evil doer could have
.but then the training clicked in and I realised
that this was a symptom of EFB. Off with the supers and an examination of the
unsealed brood revealed the twisted and discoloured larvae. Peter Auger, the Seasonal Bee
Inspector was on sick leave but as he lives very near me I phoned and arranged to take a
sample for him to examine. One look and a sniff from the expert agreed with my
suspicions. A larvae sample was then subjected to the EFB testing kit and the
lateral flow device soon produced the second blue line. It was EFB!! By this
time it was late on Friday evening and I was off on holiday the following morning so there
was little that could be done.
On returning from my holiday Peter checked the other colonies and
swarms and I was relieved to find that there were only two of the original colonies
infected. A shook swarm treatment was successfully applied and all the frames and
comb were burned. The hive woodwork was scorched. Now I have to wait for six
weeks which expires in the middle of August. This is the period for two brood cycles
to be absolutely sure that EFB is no longer present. So I am keeping my fingers
crossed. In the meantime I have received a Standstill Notice which means that no
bees or equipment can be moved from the site on penalty of a maximum fine of £5,000.
My bee disease insurance claim has been sent off and I am now waiting for the
cheque to arrive.
I feel sorry for the beginners who now have to wait so long for their first bees.
But the good news is that the by using a quarantine apiary, the disease is
contained and my main apiary at Buckleigh with fifteen full size colonies has been
protected and is producing a healthy crop of bees and honey.
|"Sometimes The Bees
Dont Read The Same Books That We Do
Words of wisdom from Chris Utting for the dozen students on the September 03
Beekeeping for Beginners Course.
Thanks Chris! Well 18
months and some actual beekeeping later he wasnt wrong! Last year (our first)
was by most if not all accounts the worst year on record. This year has seen better
prospects for a decent crop of honey but all manner of strange behaviour by the
bees. One of the problems experienced, it would seem by more than a few beekeepers,
is colonies becoming aggressive for no discernable reason (presumably the bees know
) I resolved the issue in one of my own colonies by re-queening but when one of
Tony Wrights colonies turned we knew we had to act fast as it was
located in the grounds of an Ilfracombe hotel and the people being stung were guests, not
which was on a brood and a half, had always been susceptible to the weather but was in a
secluded corner away from people and we had leant to keep well away if a storm was in the
air. However when the swimming pool pump was turned on for the summer the bees
emerged angrily and several of the bathers suffered stings. Not good PR! The
following night, having enlisted the assistance of Michael Duncan, Tony attempted to move
the hive at midnight (it had to be late as we were only just past the longest day).
In the pitch black the bees boiled out of the hive in their thousands, resisting any
attempt to shut them in. A hasty retreat was called for, together with
reinforcements and Tony, Michael, Tonys wife Joan and myself returned a day later in
Swathed in double layers of clothing with so many gloves we could barely move our
fingers and with any gaps wound around with gaffa tape - we did look a sight!
Even for a brood and a half there were a lot of bees; they had obviously thrived in their
spot, even if they couldnt stay there.
First the hive was sealed, then screwed together with scraps of wood
and moved down to the lawn. So far so good but there were so many flying bees
returning to the site that a travel box with a frame from the hive was set to catch the
stragglers. Thank goodness for the extra clothing as I had dead bees hanging in dozens
from my wrists and hands where
they were trying to sting smoking had absolutely no effect. We then loaded
the whole package into Michaels trailer (nobody wanted them inside a car) and VERY
VERY SLOWLY drove in convoy to one of Tonys out apiaries on a farm a few miles
away. The rest was comparatively easy as we
were able to drive right into the field which was their new home and move the whole hive
onto a stand which had already be set up in preparation.
A successful operation in which none of us suffered a sting (it
wasnt for the bees not trying!) but a bitter-sweet one nonetheless as the colony
itself had thrived at the hotel, had never swarmed (in fact hardly ever even produced
queen cells) and even last year produced honey in saleable quantities.
We are closely monitoring this colony and will report on how successful was the
relocation, not just for the beekeepers but for the bees themselves! Marnie Quy
|Off On Their Hols!
some honey recently with a visitor from Yorkshire who was interested to hear more we
explained that in order to make a pound of honey, a bee has to fly the equivalent of twice
around the world. "Oh", she exclaimed! "I hadnt realised they left
|Quiz Question for August:
OK Julys answer was Virgil which was a bit dull! On a sweeter note for August,
who said "Good friends are as sweet as honey".
|Edited by Marnie Quy.
All contributions welcome, copy by 19th of month for publication in following