February means snowdrops emerging and it also heralds our AGM. While snowdrops are greeted with enthusiasm the same cannot always be said for the AGM.
But, do consider participating as keeping our Association working effectively is the way in which we promote beekeeping to the general public, and inform them about bees and beekeeping, also importantly it is the way we can continue to educate and support new beekeepers.
Some of you may have seen the report from Beebase indicating that they are doing some research into ‘churn’ - the turnover of beekeepers.
From my experience unless many new beekeepers get appropriate support and education in the first few years of their beekeeping, they rapidly become disillusioned and give up. This is an important reason for us to continue to foster a healthy Rugby Beekeeping Association.
Our parent body, Warwickshire Beekeeping Association is also asking for support for various posts in the county. Please consider if you think you could support in any way.
I was unfortunately unable to attend the January Zoom meeting where the valuable work of Bees Abroad was discussed. This charitable organization works in sub-Saharan Africa, training and supporting local people to undertake beekeeping. Many people are subsistence farmers and they have no means of earning the cash needed to pay school fees and buying essentials. Beekeeping therefore improves the quality of life for many families, and this charity deserves our support.
The reason I was unable to attend the meeting was that I had double booked myself for a lecture organized by Cambridgeshire Beekeepers by Dr Jamie Ellis about “The form and Function of the Honeybee”.
BBKA’s education Module 5 - “Honey bee biology” covers this area of beekeeping knowledge, and this lecture was a wonderful refresher, with beautiful photography and diagrams from the classic Dade book “Anatomy & Dissection of the Honeybee”. It reminded me how wonderfully complex bees are. They are covered with hairy sensors that are super sensitive to smells and vibrations so we need to pay attention to this when inspecting bees - no visits to the Pub (you should be so lucky!) before inspecting the bees, no washing your bee suit with scented
soap or conditioner, or using hairspray - also be gentle, no banging or rough handling of combs.
Regards, and stay safe and well and all the very best for 2021,