Dear Members,

Our Honey Show was again beautifully organized by Fran and it was wonderful to see our youngest member, Dean Oldfield sweep up two firsts with his Novice honey and honey cake.

Gail Plester also managed to take the cup for the most points in show, with Steve Brown a close runner up. Rowan Moore has retained the cup for best light honey - he is the one to aim to beat next time round.

Considering how much work is involved in putting on the Honey Show it was a little disappointing that the attendance was rather low this year. I always am amazed at the creativity entrants demonstrate in the craft and D.I.Y. categories. As John Home the Judge pointed out, entering the honey show helps to improve the quality of how honey is presented for sale, and I would urge members to think about entering the show for this reason alone!

One of the lectures at the Warwickshire Honey Show this year was a member of the Shipston branch who presented a fascinating lecture on honeybee genetics. One of his lines of argument was that perhaps by treating for varroa we are interfering in the process of natural selection and delaying the bees ability to develope their own resistance to the effects of the mite.

There seems to be a great deal of discussion on this topic currently in the beekeeping community and it is something for us all to think about and consider. However all those advocating this approach are cautioning that by not treating there is likely to be an initial serious loss of colonies. Also in areas where there are a number of beekeepers, some of whom treat and other not, because of the mating habits of honeybees it is difficult to establish a community of hygienic bees that are more able to identify cells where varroa are breeding and clear them out before the mites mature.

We also need to not forget our other potential threat which will seriously impact on beekeeping in the Uk if it gets established - the Asian Hornet. Those of you who are keen walkers should keep an eye open to see any evidence of nests as there seems a real possibility with a nest discovered in Staffordshire that we could find these hornets in our area.

For the past few years members of RBKA have taken a table at Crackerteria one evening in December to support this local charitable venture which raises money for a project in India which teaches women tailoring and has aided the community by providing a fresh water. A four course Christmas dinner is on offer, home cooked. and providing an opportunity to socialize with other beekeepers. Let Martin or me know if you are interested in joining us on the 11th December.

Don't forget our annual ’Bring and Share’ Christmas meeting on the 4th December which we are holding at the Sacred Heart Church Hall in Bilton this year as there is ample parking and you can bring along alcoholic beverages if you wish.

Margaret Holdsworth