New Year and lots to look forward to:

Well what a lot is planned for the new year.

13th May : Jurassic Coast Wild Exhibition at Weymouth College Sports Hall. It is about Ants mainly but as beekeepers anything in the insect world is probably of interest.

4th June : Thomas Hardy Fair. Always an interesting day in Dorchester. Come along and see us Skep making – we may even finish the one we started last year!

15th July : BeeFest in Poundbury. A fun event. Watch this space and their website for more details.

July some time : Warmwell Village Fete.

August some time : Sunflower trail

September 2nd-3rd : Dorset County Show including the Honey Show

Watch this space for further updates.

An update.

Just a quick update which has come to my attention in the last few days:

Beginners’ Course: The course for 2023 is now full. It is so popular that we have a full reserve list as well.

Asian Hornets – why worry? Well if you think it is nothing to worry about then I suggest you look at this video on YouTube. It is by Richard Noel who is based in Brittany. His mood comes over so well in this video.

I have just checked and a straight line from Cherbourg-en-Cotentin to Dorchester is just 133km or 83 miles. Given a wind from the South, as we have had recently, that is a short flying distance.

So when you get an alert to look out for Asian Hornets please take it very seriously or we could be seeing what Richard Noel sees in his apiary.

More Information on Winter Things

As I look out of the window it is raining very heavily. Interesting that our rainfall figures for the year may come out as about average. This is not what we have experienced.

First we had a baking hot summer and a very dry one and now we are having a very wet autumn but on average it is all about normal. Don’t trust averages!

Not wishing to go out and get wet I have been updating the web site. I have updated the training courses page. If you are interested then do get in touch soon as places are going fast.

I have also been working on the BeeInfo pages which are hosted by the Dorset Beekeepers website. On there I have put more information about the BBKA exams as well as updating other pages.

AGM coming up

AGMs can be so boring – but not the one for the Dorchester and Weymouth Beekeepers Association.

Firstly – it is held at the Colliton Club in Dorchester – so drinks may be purchased.

Secondly – there are loads of fellow beekeepers there and you can look them in the eye rather than through their veil.

Thirdly – it is an opportunity to influence the direction of the Association. There are a lot of threats to our wildlife – including the new government’s Investment Zones. It is one of these that may be coming to Weymouth. The effect on the environment – and therefore our bees – is enough to stir the RSPB and the National Trust into suggesting national action.

Also, there is a talk by Kevin Pope – our Seasonal Bee Inspector. Always entertaining, always informative – this is a talk not to be missed.

So, I hope we will see you at the Colliton Club in Dorchester on Thursday 20th October at 7:00pm.

Couple of other points: – there are more items on the For Sale page and it is time to renew your membership – and the form is here.

And one more point. There is a petition to cut the use of pesticides in farming. I know the feeling – “have we not signed these before and it makes no difference?”. Well, if we don’t sign the government can claim that we don’t care so if you believe in restricting pesticides then do sign here. So far just 131 people in West Dorset Parliamentary Constituency have signed. That is out of an electorate 83,000.

Swan Feathers

What, you may ask, are you on about.

Well swan feathers can play an important role in beekeeping. Many of us have a bee brush with which we brush bees from frames and our bee suits. The problem with the standard bee brush is that it is too easy for bees to get tangled in the fibres. An entangled bee is not a happy bee, and we all know what that leads to.

A swan with all their feathers.

An alternative tool is to use a swan feather. It has the advantage that it is plastic free and bees do not get tangled in it. The problem is getting hold of swan feathers. Swans do not appreciate you grabbing their feathers. However, there is an easier way to obtain feathers and that is through online suppliers. One I have been recommended is Gold Leaf Supplies from whom feathers can be obtained for about £1.25 each.

This is the time of year to be buying swan feathers as it is moulting time for swans. If you want to take more biosecurity precautions then perhaps buy a feather for each of your apiaries