Dear Members,

What a wonderful Autumn we are having. Our bees have been out and about bringing in that essential pollen to build up their fat bodies to enable them to stay youthful and survive the five or six months of Winter. 

Those of you who attended Celia Davis’ informative lecture at our last meeting will hopefully now understand what makes the difference between Summer and Winter bees. These wonderful little creatures that we care for have over ages developed in amazing ways to survive the different conditions that climates in different countries and areas throw at them.  These adaptations to local conditions are why there is a strong move to encourage beekeepers not to import queens or packages of bees from other countries.  Apart from the risk that this practice imposes on importing non-native pests and diseases, local bees are best adapted to local conditions.

Some of you may have seen the 2030 Action Plan that the NBU, Defra, BBKA and WelshBKA have formulated to improve the beekeeping practices of bee farmers and hobbyist beekeepers.  There is a stress on Education, mentoring and ongoing training.  It makes interesting reading.

My own experience is that undertaking some of the BBKA modules deepens and increases the pleasure of beekeeping. I realise formal learning is not for everyone, but increasing your knowledge is really important in becoming a good beekeeper and the first step along this path is to take the basic assessment which you can do once you have kept bees for two seasons.  This is a practical assessment and I always think of it as being like a driving licence, it reassures both you and other people that you know the basics and can demonstrate that you do. If you are interested in doing this next year, contact Sam Peckett.

This month there is the opportunity from the 30th November till the 7th December to think about giving a donation to a very worthwhile charity, ‘Bees Abroad’ .  Any donations given in this period mean the charity gets a double contribution from the Big Give Xmas Challenge. Perhaps think about this as an alternative to sending Christmas cards or as a proxy gift for someone who has everything.

For several years Rugby Beekeepers Association members have supported the local Rugby charity ‘Crakerteria’.  This little charity opens every December, taking over an empty town centre shop (this shouldn’t be a problem this year!) and setting up a café/restaurant staffed by volunteers (some with learning difficulties). All profits go towards a tailoring training workshop in India and providing clean drinking water in rural India.  RBKA members come along with their partners to enjoy a 4 course home cooked festive evening meal. Payment for the meal is by donation and it is usually a very enjoyable occasion. Some beekeeping talk may take place, but with respect to partners, other topics make it a sociable and festive time. Please consider joining us this year. Martin will send out details when we know more about where it will be.

Also, don't forget the Festival of Christmas trees (theme this year -‘Let there be Light’) at St Andrews Parish church in December.  There is still time to volunteer your ideas, time and creativity - contact Samantha Peckett for more information.

Regards, and stay safe and well,  

Margaret Holdsworth  


Beebase News Web feed
  • Bee Health Advisory Forum - Science Advisor
    08 November 2021
    The Bee Health Advisory Forum brings Defra & Welsh Government policy and stakeholders together to discuss honey bee health issues and is inviting expressions of interest from applicants interested in being Bee Health Advisory Forum Science Advisors. The closing date for applications is Friday 17th December at 17:00.

    Full details about the role can be downloaded here and can be found on the Bee Health Advisory page. Please circulate to prospective advisors or feel free to apply.
  • The National Hive Count 2021
    02 November 2021
    The 2021 Hive Count launches today (2nd November)

    It is time to update your BeeBase records with the total number of overwintering hives as of 1st November 2021. You can do this by clicking this link to update your Hive Count:

    More details of this project, its importance and why we need your help can be found at:
  • Asian hornet nest killed in Portsmouth, Hampshire
    01 November 2021
    A report of Asian hornet in the Portsmouth area was received via the Asian Hornet Watch App on 29th October. The report was accompanied by clear photographs, allowing National Bee Unit inspectors to follow up the sighting quickly.

    An Asian hornet nest was located in a tree on Saturday 30th October and the nest was killed on Sunday 31st October. The nest will be sent to Fera for analysis and monitoring will continue in the area supported by local beekeepers.

    Further information regarding Asian hornet can be found on Defra's Asian Hornet sightings page and on our BeeBase Asian hornet page. Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560

    Use the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Android and Iphone to report sightings.