Dear Members,

The observant among you may have noticed that the previously vacant Chair of the Association has now been filled!  With only a little pressure Andy Dixon has agreed to take on the Chair until the next AGM in February 2023.  This was agreed at our last Committee meeting and we are very grateful to Andy for agreeing to take on this task to keep Rugby Beekeepers running smoothly.

As the beekeeping year starts to take off in earnest we will hopefully be calling on you, as members, to also support the Rugby Beekeeping Association by participating in some of our planned events during the year.  One of the main objectives of the Association is to inform and educate both beekeepers and the public about bees and beekeeping and participating in events such as the Spring Fair, Dunchurch Festival and other smaller events, which give us the opportunity to do so.  So, please, volunteer when asked even if you feel you are not an ‘expert’ on beekeeping, you know a great deal more than most of the public and if you get asked a question you can’t answer, there will be others present who can, but we do need your support to fulfil our aims - and it can be quite good fun too! 

We also desperately need someone to take on co-ordinating these events, so if you think you could organize a willing group of volunteers, please let Martin or Andy know either directly, or via our Contact Us page.

Our annual Beekeeping for Beginners course this year was well attended and as a result we will be welcoming new beekeepers who will need support and mentoring to hopefully become good beekeepers.  If you think you could mentor a new beekeeper, please let us know.  

Also, I do hope that those of you who have been beekeeping for a year or two (or more!) will consider undertaking the Basic Assessment.  If you do, it will give you and others the confidence that you have the basic knowledge required to be a good beekeeper.  You may also then decide to undertake some of the BBKA modules to further your knowledge and enjoyment of beekeeping.  If you want more information look on the BBKA website or talk to a committee member who will help you through the process.  The Rugby branch offers to reimburse you for the first Module you undertake and if you set up a study group (two or more people) Warwickshire Beekeeping Association will refund you half the cost of the correspondence course to assist the group study.

April is an exciting time as this is when the beekeeping season becomes very active.  The blossom is out and forage becomes more plentiful allowing the bees to build up quickly and beekeepers need to be prepared.  Make sure you have hives and frames made up to deal with swarm control if you come across queen cells or if you collect a swarm.  

If you have time available, contact Sam to be put on the BBKA swarm collecting list so that members of the public can contact you to collect local swarms. As a beekeeper you should know how to collect a swarm, so if you are unsure, speak to a more experienced beekeeper and ask to accompany them when collecting a swarm. Remember to leave the box or skep in which you have collected the swarm until evening so that you collect all the flying bees and don’t leave a lot of disoriented bees who can’t return to their original hive. Be aware that the 3 metres 3 mile rule ceases to operate with swarms, so swarms you collect near your apiary can be returned to your apiary and won't fly back to the original hive.

Regards, and stay safe and well.

Margaret Holdsworth