Wet Day Fun

In case you have forgotten this is the knot used to join the binding material used when making a skep. Press "New Game" and see if you can get the knot back to how it should be. Page refresh will set the picture right again.

June Tasks in the Apiary

June already and the bees are busy in the lovely sunshine we are experiencing. Has anyone told them next weekend will be cold and wet?

Anyway I have added a page of information as to what we should be doing in  the apiary this month.

On the swarm front I know that several of us have been called out to swarms and with the splendid weather that we are experiencing then I would not be a bit surprised if we do not get more call outs this week.

One area where it has been very quiet is in our alert system for the Asian Hornet. So far this year we have had no confirmed sightings in England to the best of my knowledge.

Jersey has reported rising numbers of Asian Hornets but numbers are down compared with this time last year.  Remember we must “Be Alert, Control Vespa Velutina, Save our Bees” and the essence of our program is “Track and Trace and Exterminate”. I am pleased to say that the the Covid Virus programme is not quite the same as the Asian Hornet programme!

Oil Seed Rape

Having been out on my walk today – and yes I was totally legal. The scariest part of the walk was when I met a lady who waved her stick at me and warned me not to come any closer because her stick was 1.8 metres long.

Anyway on my walk I saw a lot of oil seed rape. Let us face it oil seed rape is not a shy little flower. Anyway that has caused me to do some research into oil seed rape and bees. It is a crop that can cause bee keepers quite a headache so I thought I would explain why here.

We are also into May and I have added the tasks for this month. It is the month for swarming but who knows what this month will bring. On my walk today the temperature was about 20C which was very pleasant. By Monday the daytime temperature could be as low as 10C – too cold to inspect the hive – and it is May. What a strange year this is!

At the moment the Dorchester Show is still scheduled as usual. In connection with this we have had a request for some bee equipment details of which are on the Wanted page. Do not forget that we also have a For Sale page and if you have used the lockdown to sort out and tidy your kit you may have something that can go on that page.

March 2020

25th March
Still the lock down continues but I am not idle. I am reworking a lot of the web site. Significant are the additions to the Covid-19 page which contains the latest updates.
I have also been updating several other pages. Some is tidying up and I have found a lot of pages which were not easy to see from the front end. These I am making visible from the main menu so keep checking.

19th March
With so many closures as a result of Covid-19 I have set up a separate tab at the top of the site showing what I know. This same information is on the Dorset Beekeepers website.

But enough of this gloom. This is an ideal opportunity catch up on some background reading.

In the March tasks page I mentioned “At The Hive Entrance” by Professor H Storch. I had a link there for a downloadable pdf copy of the book. That link has subsequently disappeared but the book is still available on biobees.com as are several articles by Brother Adam.

17th March evening
Sign of the times but closures are coming in thick and fast:

  • All East Devon BKA events are cancelled until further notice.
  • BBKA has cancelled Module exams for March. Candidates are being offered free deferment till November 2020 or March 2021.
  • April’s Social at the Colliton Club is cancelled.
  • Basic Assessment Training Day has been cancelled.
  • Beginners’ Course has been postponed


If you are unable to get out to your apiary as a result of this pesky virus then let one of us know and we will see what we can do.

17th March morning
I have updated the Diary Pages as several events have been cancelled due to the Covid-19 virus. This includes the Equipment Auction at Taunton and the Bee Convention at Harper Adams.

One thing we are still able to do is go out for exercise. I suggest you take the opportunity to get out into the woods and look for Asian Hornets. Chances of finding one are low – but it is possible. It is warm enough on many days. Yesterday I was on the South West Coast Path above Bincombe and I saw a butterfly. If it is warm enough for me and a butterfly then it is warm enough for the Asian Hornet.

On a related issue we were watching “Art of France – Plus Ça Change” on BBC ipLayer and in one of the shots there was an Asian Hornet crawling across the shot. No comment was made. Let us hope we never get to that point in this country.

12th March
We had a very chatty social last night at the Colliton club where we seemed to discuss everything from the Black Death to aggressive bees. It was well attended though there was no shaking hands!
Having discussed viruses I felt it was a good time to think of viruses and our bees. They can suffer from a variety of diseases, some from bacteria and some from viruses. One way we can help our bees is to do a Bailey Comb Exchange. It is not a difficult process and I have added a page on how to carry it out. It is a good time to do it as soon as you can get into the hive so prepare your new frames now.

4th March
We held a meeting last night for all those who wish to be available for any call outs if, or should it be when, we get called out to a suspect sighting of an Asian Hornet. It was well attended but if there is anyone else who wants to be added to my list then email me.

The presentation took about an hour but I have extracted it to an mp4 video which lasts not more than 4 minutes! It is worth looking at to see what work is going on behind the scenes. It is here.

One important point is that we want to get the information out to as many people as possible. If you know of a group that would put up with a talk on the Asian Hornet then let me know.