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					                                YEOVIL BEE NEWS
                                           July 2010


                Yeovil & District Division, Somerset Beekeepers’ Association:
                              www.somersetbeekeepers.org.uk

June Meeting Our June meeting was held on a fine day in June at Roland Moore’s apiary in
Odcombe. The demonstration leader, Paula Edwards, discussed various problems with queens
raised by an attentive audience before starting the demonstration. Roland’s well-behaved bees
were a delight to handle, and novices took it in turn to boldly take the hive tool and manipulate
the colonies under the guidance of Paula and the watchful eyes of the other beekeepers. Finding,
marking and clipping the queen were discussed as well as how to recognise a poorly performing
colony and the likely causes. In particular, Paula warned us of the threat of Nosema infection and
how to avoid it – take a sample of bees for microscope examination now! An excellent tea
rounded off a splendid afternoon’s beekeeping. Our thanks to Roland and his wife for welcoming
us to their apiary and home, and to Paula for an interesting discussion and a cracking
demonstration.
July Meeting: ‘Supers and Samples’ with Bernard Diaper (Warwickshire BKA)
Bernard first became interested in beekeeping as a young boy and worked with his father, who
was one of the first appointed disease officers; he gave his first talk on the subject of beekeeping
at school when he was 10 years of age. Since then he has always been involved with beekeeping.
He currently runs 16 colonies and has been the apiary manager for his local association running
beginners’ courses for the past 31 years. He has held various positions in Sutton Coldfield &
North Birmingham BKA, where he was Chairman, and in Warwickshire BKA, being a previous
County President and now life Vice President. He is currently on the National Honey Show
committee where he is responsible for organizing the workshops. He was President of BDI for
seven years and is currently the BDI Claims Manager. Last but not least he holds the BBKA
Senior Beekeeping Certificate and is a BBKA Honey Judge. So, an experienced demonstrator for
our meeting at the Blake’s apiary on 17 July 2010. The arrangements are as follows:
12.30 pm: Lunch at the Royal Oak, Over Stratton (menu attached; no need to order in advance,
this is just to give an idea of the choice).
2.30 pm: Malcolm and Sharon Blake’s apiary at Stratton Court, Over Stratton, South Petherton.
This meeting will start with a practical demonstration in the apiary and then move indoors where
3 or 4 microscopes will be set up for you to learn how to check for disease. Bernard, assisted by
Paula Edwards , will guide you through this. So take this opportunity to bring a samples from
some of your hives and let the experts guide you through checking these samples for adult bee
diseases.
Simon Jones, the Seasonal Bee Inspector for the South-West Region, wrote a very good article in
June BBKA News on how to take a sample of bees. As a reminder:
To check for Nosema, a sample of thirty bees should be a put in a match box or similar porous
container (not plastic bags as the bees decompose very rapidly). The bees that you sample should
be older flying bees. Pathogens will have had more time to reproduce inside them, so this gives a
better chance of seeing them if they are present. The number of bees is important, as a sample of
thirty bees statistically gives a 90% chance of seeing a 10% infection within a colony.
To ensure you sample the older bees, take them from outside combs in the brood chamber away
from the brood nest (be careful not to sample the queen). Alternatively, the method I prefer is to
temporarily block the entrance to the hive when the bees are flying, and sample the returning
foragers which naturally tend to be older bees. The bees should be scooped up with an open
match box, which is then shut. You can check the number of bees that you have sampled by
opening the match box under a piece of glass or clear plastic. If you do not have enough bees,
take a second sample with a second match box, and amalgamate them once the bees have been
killed. It is important to label the sample so that you can identify the hive that it comes from.
Next, kill the bees by putting them in a freezer overnight. They can then be checked for Nosema
using a compound microscope. If you do not have the necessary skills yourself, then send or take
them to your local microscopists as soon as possible. Most county beekeeping associations have
beekeepers that have the necessary microscopy skills, and are prepared to offer this service.
If you put the sample in the post, the match box will usually stop them being crushed, ensure that
the package is small enough to go through a letter box and that the correct amount of postage is
paid; failure to do this could create a delay, because the microscopist will have to go to the local
sorting office to pick the samples up and pay for additional postage. It is important to include a
covering letter with your contact details, some microscopists might make a small charge to cover
their costs and ask you to enclose a stamped addressed envelope should you want a written reply.
Taking the time to sample your bees and the cost of postage is a small price to pay to keep your
bees healthy. Any beekeeper in doubt about the health of his/her bees can always contact their
local bee inspector for free advice.
Coming Soon
Sat 17th July: 12:30 pm, Pub Lunch at the Royal Oak, Over Stratton, followed at 2.30 by ‘Supers
and Samples’, with Bernard Diaper from Warwickshire BKA, at the Blakes’ apiary, Over Stratton
6th & 7 th August: County Honey Show at the Taunton Flower Show in Vivary Park, Taunton
Sat 21st Aug, 2:30 pm, at Richard Le Flufy’s apiary at Tintinhull, Ivor Davies will demonstrate
“It’s not too late to prepare for winter”.
Chairman’s Chatter
After complaining about the temperament of our bees last month, the better weather seems to
have settled them down to gathering honey rather than bothering us; so, inspections are no longer
a task to be dreaded, except that the bees are embarrassing us by filling up supers quicker than we
can prepare them. We had cleaned all the wax out of our supers after experiencing EFB, and
have not yet completed re-foundationing them!
So far, in one of the driest years on record, the bees have benefitted if there was forage in their
area, but if there is no rainfall soon the July flow will be reduced in spite of the warm weather.
Here’s wishing for some rainfall at night and warm weather by day and honey by August! In
spite of the warm weather, swarms have been fewer and later than previous years. We did not
start to get calls until the end of May, and most of the call-outs have been to swarms (rather than
casts) with a few wasps’ nests thrown in for good measure. What is your experience, have you
had to gather many swarms?
Donated Equipment A local beekeeper has passed on her old equipment to our division. None
of it has been used for many years, but the best of it has been rescued by us. There are half a
dozen National supers and roofs as well as a table-top two-frame extractor. They all need a bit of
attention before they are usable but if you are interested, it is free to whoever wants it: preference
will be given to novices and beginners, otherwise it’s first come first served. Please contact Nic
or Jane on 01935 424 759
Bees can help Arthritis Venom from bee stings could help to treat and even prevent arthritis.
Scientists at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil found that the venom could control the harmful
inflammation in joints that led to rheumatoid arthritis. It contained molecules that caused an
increase in natural hormones that regulated inflammation. Bee sting therapy, in which patients
endure hundreds of bee stings, is a form of alternative medicine used to treat conditions such as
asthma and multiple sclerosis. The new research is the first time a scientific explanation has been
shown for the effect. Courtesy of the Daily Telegraph. (My bees have something I should thank
them for..?)
Hire of Equipment If your bees are gathering plenty of honey, don’t forget that the division has
a 9-frame honey extractor you can borrow to claim your reward for the season! We also have a
honey settling tank and a heated uncapping tray. Please contact Nic or Jane to arrange to borrow
any of the equipment.
Nosema Testing With the increasing pace of honey foraging by the bees and the beekeeper
endeavouring to keep up with the supply of empty supers, don’t forget that autumn is just around
the corner! Autumn is the time of year to treat for Nosema and Varroa, and before treating you
need to know how infested you are. So you will need to put a Varroa tray under the bees soon to
check for mite drop to gauge the size of the infestation. And, more importantly, you should check
the level of Nosema in your bees to see if you need to treat with the autumn feed. You should not
delay in testing for Nosema as you will need the test results before you decide whether to treat or
not. So, gather some samples at the next inspection (see the advice from Simon Jones on page 1)
and arrange for an analysis with Paula. If you do have Nosema, she will provide you with free
Fumidyl B for each infected colony, courtesy of the divisional funding. If you need further
advice on gathering a sample, contact Paula or one of your committee members.
2011 Programme
Work is starting on the 2011 programme for Yeovil Beekeepers. Now is your chance to influence
what it will include; so please pass on any ideas for subjects, speakers or demonstrators to
Margaret O’Neill on 01935 471890 after 6pm. All suggestions welcome.




Divisional officers; please contact them with any comments or suggestions. President - Fred Horne 01935
421623. Chairman - Nic Bard 01935 424759. Vice-Chairman Neil Evans - 01935 822933. Secretary – Jane
Bard 01935 424759. Treasurer & membership secretary - Sharon Blake 01460 242124. Librarian – Jane Bard
01935 424759. Newsletter editor - Neville Morley 01963 351702 (n.d.g.morley@bris.ac.uk)

				
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