Dear Member

Towards the end of this month, if the weather starts to warm up, you should start to see your bees bringing in pollen. The flowers they will be foraging from at this time of year are crocus, snowdrops, helebore, mahonia and pussy willow. It is a good idea to have some of these planted in the vicinity of your hives as while the weather is still cool, the bees cannot fly too far, about 100 yards maximum, before getting chilled and then they are unable to fly back to the hive. They won’t be bringing nectar in until the temperatures get to around 15degrees C, so keep hefting your hives and feed fondant if necessary.

Those of you who attended Celia Davis’ excellent talk on using Nucs in beekeeping may be thinking about trying out her ideas for using Nucs in doing an artificial swarm so a visit to Tradex at Stoneleigh at the beginning of March would be a good time to pick up a spare Nuc. I have bought and used poly nucs and although they do seem to be very effective for getting a small colony through the winter because they are better insulated, I think we should all be considering how these pieces of equipment are adding to the global proliferation of plastic waste. I have also found them very difficult to clean as you really need a tub large enough to emmerse the whole hive in a solution of washing soda. Cathy has mentioned that she used a steam cleaner and this worked well.

Talking of Cathy, many of you will know that she and her partner Peter have purchased a house in Spain where they will be spending a large part of the year, so Cathy has given notice that she will need to retire from the post of Secretary which she has so successfully filled for the past 4 years. Her boundless energy and enthusiasm for beekeeping will be sorely missed as I always knew I could rely on Cathy to deal with difficult swarms or problematic situations involving bees. She has now also left a big gap in the committee because the secretary is a pivotal role in keeping us on track and dealing with the regular input of information from the County and BBKA nationally. So we wish Cathy and Peter well in their new venture, and I hope that anyone who is interested in taking on the role will come forward at the AGM.

Talking of the AGM, we are looking for both a Secretary and Chair, so do think of nominations and send these to Martin Wibberley at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Martin is kindly covering for Cathy until the AGM, when either he will be ratified in this post, or the meeting may appoint another candidate, if any one else is interested in standing (Martin may breathe a sigh of relief!). I have also now completed two years as Chair and as we failed last year to appoint a Chair elect, we will again be trying to find someone to take over this post.

After the AGM we will be holding an equipment ‘Bring and Buy’. Anyone who has equipment they want to sell is welcome to bring it along. For larger items you may want to bring a picture, or a written description. Please also label items with a price and your name.

Margaret Holdsworth


Beebase News Web feed
  • Beebase Registrations
    19 August 2019
    Due to an IT problem there may be a delay in processing some Beebase registrations. Apologies for any inconvenience caused.
  • Reported Turkish bee has been identified as a UK native leafcutter bee
    05 August 2019
    DNA barcoding analysis of a suspect sample of Osmia spp. from Turkey has confirmed it to be a native UK species of leafcutter bee, Megachile centuncularis.

    The UK has a diverse variety of native bees and we encourage members of the public to seek identification of bee species through the many groups and societies with a particular interest in entomology such as; The ‘BWARS’ (Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Society) Facebook page, or Sightings may be recorded with the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology;

    We encourage the reporting of non-native species identified by interest groups or members of the public. Guidance on where to report this information can be found on the GB Non-native Species Secretariat (GB NNSS) website ( The Government will then take action in accordance with the GB Invasive Non-native Species Strategy to minimise the risks they pose to our flora and fauna. We encourage everyone who travels abroad to check luggage especially if it has been kept outside during their trip. If you do spot a stowaway upon your return to the UK you should report it with the dates and places you went on holiday, and ideally a photo of the insect via the GB NNSS website.
  • Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire
    03 July 2019

    The National Bee Unit has today (Wednesday 3 July 2019) confirmed a sighting of an individual, female Asian hornet in New Milton, Hampshire, after it was reported by a member of the public. Based upon visual examination, the hornet is likely to be a queen.

    Further information can be found here.