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June Newsletter


									Sussex Beekeepers Association
Brighton & Lewes Division
                                  Or  t s  n ng,
JUNE 2010                          i t hypr

Last months meeting 1st May - Whitelands apiary

A    fter an inauspicious start the weather relented
     allowing the 20 or so members to enjoy the
afternoon. As we have yet to install our own hives on
                                                                Ben Pratt brought his mobile shop (well back of his
                                                            estate car) and his ubiquitous yellow baseball type cap
                                                            to the meeting. He tells me it is good for keeping the
site, Richard Marwick has three hives (nucs last year)      veil from your face.
and opened them for demonstration. Richard has a                As usual discussion ensued over tea and cakes – all
very calm approach to his bees and this reflects in the     in all a pleasant afternoon. Thanks to all the organisers.
way the bees react to being invaded by people in white      Ed
boiler suits etc. He also is able to impart his knowledge   Did you ever wonder what happens when you’r seeing
of beekeeping in a thoroughly interesting manner to         the bees? Picture below!
those wishing to learn. Thank you Richard!

36th Annual Bee Market, Saturday May 15th, 2010

A  n estimated 300 people attended the market at
   Heathfield Community College.
   For many visitors the bee handling demo was a
                                                            look at bees. The raffle raised several hundred pounds.
                                                            Regional Inspector Alan Byham was able to help many
                                                            people with advice and bee disease booklets.
main attraction as there were lots of enquires prior to         Pam Hunter gave an insightful lecture on pollen.
the event at the information desk.                          The adults were able to make the most of the lecture
     The Information Desk itself proved a useful focal      thanks to Maggi Pratt keeping the youngsters amused
point. Prospective new members were directed to             with another of her children’s workshops.
stalls manned by the division local to them.                    Eric Miller, fluorescently attired, conducted the
   The food stall run by Hastings & Rother and              auction; much reduced in ‘lot’ quantity. The sole lot of
Brighton & Lewes kept everyone fuelled with delicious       live bees sold for £290 whilst an electric extractor sold
home-made goodies - especially the wonderful home-          for £390. Plenty of empty hives and other equipment
made cakes.                                                 were sold - with Eric’s auctioning banter as always a
   Eastbourne’s second-hand stall proved as popular         delight for bidders and bystanders alike.
as ever. High Weald’s plant stall was almost stripped           County Chairman Jonathan Coote said: “To me the
bare and Messrs Pratt and Payne were worked flat            day had a very good feel about it, which is important
out on their trade stalls. Special thanks to Moyra          as it is the only real opportunity during the year for the
Davidson for bringing her observation hive - it provided    divisions to work together for the common good.”
a brilliant chance for non-beekeepers to get a good         Sean Killick

Meetings-see diary back page. 10/11/12 June, South of England Show, Ardingly
swarm                   Amanda deals with a swarm on the ground.
                        A tad more difficult than hanging down from
                        a branch.

Nearly walked past them, thought they were part of   Trying to find the queen - failed
the shadow
That loose smudge on the left was a quarter of the   Cannot knock them into a box, will just have to
swarm run over by a car                              sweep them up, good job I remembered my bee

I move the sheet close to the remaining bees with    Queen must be in the box they are all Nasonov
box on top                                           fanning at the entrance. 20 mins later I take them to
                                                     Burgess Hill. 2 days later there were eggs in the hive.
    swarm	 2                          The Queen flies - Anne Sinclair

A    combination of circumstances means this year
     we have been able to allow our bees to swarm
naturally, and I am pleased to report initial success,
                                                              the used brood frames and each was soon covered
                                                              with bees– these were then put into the hive. When
                                                              most of the bees were in the box we shook it into the
they are in their new home and busily bringing in             hive, then returned it to the fence to let the rest climb
pollen. A less invasive practice sits better with our         up into it, this was then left in front of the hive and we
personal ethos, and as I have an ongoing fascination          watched the remainder climb up the white ramp we
with watching the bees at the entrance, I get to see the      had put in place. Our mistake was to put the hive in
daily changes. About a week before they swarmed, I            the wrong place, and so now we have the laborious
noticed a significant increase of drone activity and the      process of moving it a couple of feet every few days.
drones seemed excited. We readied the spare hive.             The whole process was much easier than artificial
On the day, coincidentally we were weeding in the bee         swarming, is it better for the bees? – I feel so but that’s
garden, Ian commented on the noise coming from                a whole debate. We now have to get another hive for
the hive, much louder than the other two. This was            our second colony, if the pattern is the same they will
followed by comparably more activity around the porch         swarm at the weekend, we plan even less intervention,
and a change in tone. I commented that I felt they            I’ll report if it works or not.
were going to go within minutes and this was further
confirmed when on looking at them saw there was no
pollen going in. We baited our spare hive with a little
lemon food flavouring, and a couple of used brood
frames along with new ones. Our cedar travelling box
was also rubbed with a little of the lemon. Within 10
minutes they were out, the morning air full of sparkling
wings, it was a wonderful experience to stand amongst
them. One of the panels of our bee garden fence is
painted cream and this obviously attracted them as
they began to land all over it. We carefully placed the
travelling box over the largest clump and watched
them move up into it, other bees coming to join,
confirming the queen was there. Ian also offered up

From the Bee Forum - Heather McNiven spotted this
        ell I’m now up and about after a very eventful 24
        hours that I really dont fancy repeating again in a
                                                                  They managed to give me two of the most painful
                                                              stings I remember in a long time to my ankles. after
                                                              removing the offending stings I managed to finish of
    I apologise for the length of this post but if there’s    the job as best I could and was trying to start sorting
a chance someone may learn something from my                  out 10-15 virgin queens we had in various queen
stupidity then its worth it.                                  cages, matchboxes etc.
    After 20 years of beekeeping and God knows how                After this things started going pear shaped pretty
many stings over the years, I was poleaxed while going        quickly, I started getting the pear drops smell in my
through newbie BKA members hive that was giving her           nose, a metallic taste in my mouth and I started to
problems (swarming that is not aggression)                    sweat uncontrollably. shortly after this over a period of
    I started going through her colony that was a             a couple of minutes I started to feel dizzy and slightly
propolised mass of mismatched combs, and managed              nauseous also a overwhelming tiredness started to
to find over 40 queen cells all emerging as quickly as        take over. At this point an ambulance was decided on
I could find them! The workers had obviously done a           as a wise precaution.
sterling job of keeping the queens in their cells during          A few minutes after calling the ambulance, I couldnt
the cool weather, but as soon as the workers dispersed        support myself sitting up and had to lie down. I tried
during the manipulation out popped all the queens! at         to crawl further away from the hive so the ambulance
one stage I was watching three virgin queens running          crew were in no danger and managed to move maybe
round the same comb!                                          another three feet before I finally couldnt move any
    Anyway by the by, I managed to sort out the mess          more and had to wait where I was.
as best I could and get the hive back into some                   Help finally arrived in the form of a rapid response
resembalance of order, only to move a super full of           unit and an ambulance. By this point I was barely
brace comb and drop a couple of hundred bees onto             conscious and pretty much incoherent, not being
my shoes!!                                                    able to recognise a simple request for my surname! ➔
Between the medics and the ambulance crew they                passing by that way anyway. I didnt even think it would
managed to carry me around the side of the house,             be a problem if I was stung as I normally shrug off any
over a pile of builders rubble and into the back of the       stings anyway.
ambulance. The last real thing I remember seeing was              WRONG! I couldnt believe how quickly things
the horrified look on passers by faces as they were           changed during this episode, and the speed everything
trying to quickly remove my beesuit and get rid of any        went from normal to a possibly fatal was VERY
hitchhiking bees before putting me in the ambulance.          sobering.
    At this point they removed my shoes and found a               The doctors on duty confirmed anaphalaxis and
10-15 stings still embedded inside my sock.(so much           I’ve now been prescribed an Epipen and steroids for
for only having two stings)                                   emergency use in the event of any more stings that
    I also vaguely remember them getting concerned            start to cause any more symptoms
when my blood pressure fell below 70 over 40, at that             They were baffled by the length of time it took for
point they gave me adrenaline and I was then given the        the onset of symptoms after the stings, and the only
full siren and blue flashing light treatment.                 thing I can think of is that it was caused by the amount
    By the time I reached casualty my condition hadnt         and potency of the venom injected rather than any
really improved, so was placed in the resus unit where        allergy or hypersensitivity.
finally the adrenaline started to kick in and I ended up          Whatever it was PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
with almost uncontrollable shakes for two hours               everyone please respect the bees in your care, they
    I finally stabilised 3 hours after the ambulance          are not fluffy cute little critters, you have in your care
was called and had to sheepishly explain why I hadnt          animals with the potential to inflict FATAL injuries to
worn my normal boots to my wife Rach who had been             yourself and others.
patiently waiting by my side for me to regain some sort           Dont assume that because you have had no
of control.                                                   reaction to stings that you wont have in future. I did
    The reason?:                                              and have now got a new found respect, even though I
    I went out on Saturday afternoon to my BKA                greatly respected them anyway.
apiary meeting and wasnt expecting to be close to                 Sorry about the huge post but I really do believe
the and was going more to socialise, so wore only my          after recent beekeeper fatalities, that there are a few
walking shoes. But while there was introduced to the          more just waiting to happen.
member who was having problems with her hive, so I                Be safe people, the world would be a lot duller
volunteered to have alook on the way home as I was            without even ONE of you

It gets worse! Gerald Legg sends this cutting
Beekeeper killed by his own swarm [sic]                       at the couple’s home just yards from the beehive when
Metro Thursday April 29 2010 p14                              he collapsed on April 12. ‘He was the sort of person
                                                              who was adamant that he knew what he was doing.

A    beekeeper and personal injury lawyer died after              ‘He was always being stung.’
     he was attacked by his own swarm [sic], it was               His mother Monica, 80, said: ‘He took up
revealed yesterday.                                           beekeeping years ago and he was hooked on it good
    Father-of-two Christopher Weaver, who was not             and proper – although he got stung so much that he
wearing protective clothing, was stung on his head,           probably thought he was immune.
chest and stomach.                                                ‘Everybody liked him and he loved people – he was
    The 56-year Falklands war veteran collapsed in            all heart.
front of a horrified friend and died later in hospital from       ‘He adored his wife Sandra and they were so
a heart attack triggered by the venom, doctors said.          happy.’
    Mr Weaver, who was a personal injury lawyer but               His 79-year-old father Alec, from Plymouth, added:
took up beekeeping to ‘relieve the stress of his work’,       ‘Chris was very careful but one day they just turned on
was attacked as he tended one of his large hives in an        him.
allotment.                                                        ‘He had several beehives and was very passionate
    ‘He went up to feed them and, the next thing I            about them. It was something he loved to do.’
knew, his friend was banging on the door saying he’d              During a 12-year career with the RAF, Mr Weaver
collapsed.,’ said his 28-year-old wife Sandra, who was        served as a radar operator in the Falklands War.

If your still keen to keep bees…Kathy Stephens was approached by a lady at Lewes Farmers Market with
an offer of an out apiary in an orchard in East Hoathly. Interested? ring Sarah Burgoyne on: 01825 840216.
Bee notes – TRH
I f our bees swarm in late June most of the colonies
  honey gathering potential is lost as its rather late in
the season to build up sufficient flying bees to give
                                                              replace the queen excluder, supers on top. Turn the
                                                              hive to face another way if possible this may add to
                                                              their thinking “we have swarmed”. Using this method
us much of a surplus, the emerging bees have to go            you have all of the flying bees from the swarm and
through various jobs before they are ready for field          the original stock and still a good honey gathering
work, also the virgin queen has to be mated and start         potential.
to lay, it may be a good potential colony for next year           In the old stock make up with fresh foundation,
but probably to late for the current season (you may          leave one unsealed good queen cell, (an unsealed Q
get a crop if the ground is moist and the weather is          cell you can be sure there is a grub inside), there will
warm, bees may collect honey well into September).            be plenty of young bees to look after the brood but not
Even if the prime swarm is captured and is re hived           enough flying bees to swarm again even if you miss a
they still will take several weeks to replace the             Q cell. Do make sure they have stores, if in doubt feed
dwindling flying bees even though the queen may well          syrup.
lay within a day or so. At this point it may be a good            Keep extracting rape supers as soon as the combs
idea to remove the parent brood box a short distance          are sealed then put them back on the hive. Continue to
within the apiary (if you know which hive the swarm           give supers ahead of the colony’s needs and continue
came from) then hive the swarm on the old site with a         the checks for disease. One cautionary note do not put
couple of combs containing young brood and 1 or 2             wet rape supers on in a normal honey flow as it may
near empty combs. This gives the queen somewhere              well seed your normal honey, put them all on the one
to lay, the rest of the frames should be foundation           hive to clean up.

Book review – Amanda Millar
Keeping Healthy Honey Bees                                    problem bees, moving bees, hygiene and comb
David Aston and Sally Bucknall, 2010                          change, handling virgins etc.
Published by Northern Bee Books £16                               Throughout, the text is clear and well written

T    his 194 page paperback would be an asset to any
     beekeeper’s bookshelf. As the name suggests it
concentrates on all aspects of keeping bees healthy.
                                                              with enough detail to satisfy a scientifically minded
                                                              beekeeper without confusing a more casual one. I
                                                              do like to see a good index in a book though and
After a brief introduction into the natural history of bees   this book does not have one but the contents list is
it then goes into integrated bee health management            comprehensive and doubles up as one. Also I would
including the stressors which increase the likelihood         have put the section on handling virgins in with the
of disease, then covers the diseases themselves, of           section on caring for the queen, so when you are
brood and adults with symptoms and treatments.                dipping in it for a particular topic it would pay to go
Published just a couple of months ago it is refreshing        through the whole index as one person’s idea of
to have some really up to date details of the latest          linked topics may not be the same as another’s (here
diseases. There is a small section on animals which           an index would have helped). The small black and
can cause problems for bees including those which             white illustrations of techniques and equipment are
may reach us such as the small hive beetle and                clear and well chosen and the 4 pages of small colour
Tropilaelaps.                                                 illustrations of diseases are also adequate. There
     The book then moves on to good husbandry,                are some excellent tables of disease symptoms and
with advice about apiaries, inspections and feeding           treatments. Further reading mainly includes books, it
and an excellent section on looking after the queen,          would have been nice to see a list of organisations with
including rearing, replacing and introducing. Swarm           useful websites for further information, but I suppose it
management is covered thoroughly with a selection             is intended for sale in other countries and such things
of different techniques. I was pleased to see a               would go out of date very quickly.
sensible straightforward artificial swarm described,              The information in this book can be found in a
with some of the more complicated ones relegated to           variety of other places; I recognised some of the
‘historical notes on swarm control’. Advice on keeping        illustrations and descriptions, however it is very useful
bees healthy throughout the year follows, and the             to have it all to hand in one place. In stock at Paynes
book closes with guidance on a good selection of              or by post from Northern Bee Books.
techniques such as dealing with a variety of different

S    warms headed by virgins are notorious for re-swarming and disappearing. If you have a drawn frame previously
     used for breeding put that in, if you have another colony strong enough to spare a frame of brood, shake/brush
off all the bees and put it in trying not to chill the brood.
    A beginner will have neither of these so try spraying the foundation with sugar solution and putting a queen
excluder between floor and brood box (virgins can sometimes pass through these though). Finally cross your
fingers, pray and be vigilant.
     A good site for many different techniques of preventing an established colony from swarming:                                             Amanda Millar
Divisional Diary Winter/Spring Programme 2009/10
Winter/Spring meetings are held monthly on Wednesday evenings at St Thomas’s Church Hall, Cliffe High
Street, Lewes (7.30 for 7.45pm). Summer meetings are held at our divisional out-apiaries at Whitelands,
Plumpton and Burgess Hill (downloadable maps available at, as well as at members’
apiaries and those of other divisions; summer meetings start at 2.30pm (bring a mug for tea and
something to share to eat).

      5th June – Heather McNiven’s home Apiary, Burgess Hill.
    19th June - Plumpton Apiary Wales Farm, Plumpton.
    10th July – Charles Keen’s Apiary, Lewes.
    24th July – Whiteland’s Apiary, Underhill Lane, Hassocks.
    14th August – Ann and Ian Sinclair’s home Apiary, Isfield.
    28th August – Grassroots Apiary, Burgess Hill.
    11th September – Plumpton Apiary, Wales Farm, Plumpton.
    25th September - Whiteland’s Apiary, Under Hill Lane, Hassocks.

 Other dates
   24th April – Brinsbury, WSBA Bee Market, Pulborough.
   26th May - Committee Meeting, Lewes.
   10/11/12th June - South of England Show, Ardingly.

 Occasionally Dates and Venue’s do change - check out the diary/newsletter at
 Non-members are welcome.
 The Brighton & Lewes Division of the Sussex Beekeepers Association cannot accept any responsibility for loss, injury or
 damage sustained by persons in consequence of their participation in activities arranged

Officers of the Division
President                                                                 Librarian
Tudor Hawkins, Peacehaven T:01273 584522                                  Ann Sinclair
Chairman/Education                                                        Webmaster
Heather McNiven T: 01444 241627                                           Gerald Legg, Hurstpierpoint E:
Vice-Chairman/Newsletter Editor                                           Out-Apiary Managers
Lionel Reuben, Whincroft, Station Rd, Nth Chailey, BN8 4HG                Heather McNiven, Lionel Reuben “Whitelands”
T: 01825 723453; E:                                 Chris Smith “Plumpton”
Treasurer                                                                 Amanda Miller, Heather McNiven “Burgess Hill”
Charles Keen, The Barn, Littledown Farm, Brighton Road, Lewes,            County Representatives
East Sussex BN7 3JL. T:01273 480746                                       Heather McNiven, Ann Sinclair
Secretary/Swarm co-ordinator                                              Committee Members
Amanda Millar, Hurstpierpoint T:01273 833258                              Richard Markwick, John Claydon, Suzie Johanson
E:                                            and Oliver St John
Meetings Secretary
Lyn Hawkins, Peacehaven T:01273 584522

 Beginners buying bees                                                     Paynes Beefarms.
 If you are buying bees this summer and do not have a                         If you buy from someone about whom you cannot
 great deal of experience it is a good idea to buy your                    get a good reference then I suggest you have them
 bees from someone you can trust and who will be able                      inspected by a good beekeeper before purchase. Alan
 to give you some after sales advice if necessary, such                    Byham at the National Bee Unit may also be able to
 as members of your Brighton and Lewis committee or                        inspect them for health if appropriate.
                                                                           Bees, 2 stands, 1 varroa floor, 2 ordinary floors, 2
                                                                           Commercial brood chambers, 4 Commercial supers,
                                                                           2 queen excluders- (one wooden framed, one metal),
   2 x Smith Hives, all complete with supers bees etc.
                                                                           2 crown boards with porter escape holes and 2 roofs.
Ideal for beginners. £185 per hive.
                                                                           The lot £220. Contact Stephanie Tucknott 07901 56337
    Contact Sharon Knight 01825 750733.
 Contributions to our newsletter                                                   Our South-East bee Inspectors
     Contributions to the newsletter (max 900 words) can be sent preferably        Regional Bee Inspector:
 by email to the editor or by post to Lionel Reuben,   Alan Byham, 01306 611016
 Whincroft, Station Rd, Nth Chailey, BN8 4HG. Photos for the website should be     Seasonal Bee Inspector:
 emailed to our webmaster, Gerald Legg,                    Nick Withers, 01883 722194

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