Newsletter January 2016



Secretary: Sally Leslie, 86 Chiswell, Portland DT5 1AP Tel: 01305 823043

Gobbledy gook
 Monday 12 January at The Lugger, 30-34 West Street, Chickerell DT3 4DY at 7.00pm

This is the next monthly informal ‘get-together’. The Lugger is just off the B3157 Weymouth to Bridport Road. Turn right about 50 yards from the small roundabout to Moonfleet onto West St. It is then the second turning on left. You can get onto the B3157 quite easily from the Weymouth Relief Road, follow the signs to Bridport. We are meeting in the restaurant side of the pub and meals are available. We have done one quick reconnoitre visit and the Pub looks reasonable. It is probably further out than we would wish but it is difficult to find somewhere that ticks all the boxes. At the last get-together at The Trumpet Major, being December the pub was quite crowded but we managed to find a table. About ten people turned up and had a good time.

Two of our members run the Hive Café in Weymouth town centre and have offered to host one of our get-togethers. Having investigated, I think we will definitely take them up on this offer as the café is very welcoming, has enough space and right opposite a car park (parking free after 6.00pm). Watch this space for a date for this one.

Any suggestions for Dorchester in February ??

 Thursday 12th January at 7.30pm

‘Talk on the Warré Hive & How the use of them can change the thoughts of conventional Beekeepers!’ By John Haverson.

This is hosted by West Dorset BKA with East Devon and will be held at the Whitchurch Canonicorum VH. Further details can be found on West Dorset’s website.

Further dates to be noted are:

County AGM & Talk, Sunday 13th March at 2.00pm at Puddletown Village Hall. Nominations are particularly sought this year in respect of the position of Chairman. The current Chairman has been in post for three consecutive years and may not stand for re-election to that post. I attach a Flyer for the AGM detailing where you can find descriptions of the various roles.

Auction on Saturday 16th April at Nordale Farm, Broadmayne.


Basic Beginners Course:  Starts Tuesday 16th February to Tuesday 26 March. The Colliton Club, Dorchester

The Course is designed to give new Beekeepers the basics needed to start. It covers equipment; bee space & how to handle bees; the life of the honeybee, queen, worker & drone; swarming and swarm control; pests & diseases; honey harvest & the annual cycle. Cost is £40 per person payable on the first evening.

Basic Assessment:

If any member is interested in taking the Basic and would like more information please contact either Terry Payne ( or Lesley Gasson (   Both Terry and Lesley will also help with a mock assessment for the Basic as this will help give confidence and the knowledge of what you need to do to pass it.


Varroa treatments:

At this time of year the most effective chemical is Oxalic acid.   Apiguard (Thymol based) is less effective because of the low temperatures. Oxalic acid can be used in several ways although the only “legal” application method is by using ApiBioxal which has recently been given official approval (see BBKA News November 2015 pages 389-390).

Some beekeepers have started using vapourisation (sublimation) which involves heating the Oxalic Acid under the hive to give a vapour which spreads through the hive and kills the varroa. Although it still does not kill any varroa in capped brood it is claimed that it does not harm the bees and repeated treatments can be applied 5 days apart.

Sussex University has recently produced a Broadcast News Item on research they have been doing on the best way of using Oxalic Acid. They suggest that the vapourisation method is the best way. I attach a link to their Broadcast which makes interesting reading:

If anyone wants to comment on how they have managed with the various different methods of treatment, please let me know. This might be helpful to members particularly as the first time using a different method can be quite daunting.


Apiary Meetings: We have not arranged any formal meetings this year but the intention is to use Richard Norman’s new apiary site at Stinsford, Dorchester for regular weekly meetings.   He has agreed to host these meetings not just for beginners but for anyone interested. The meetings will probably start at the end of March. This will help the beginners progress to more ‘hands-on’ experience following the Basic Beginners Course.

Equipment: Just a reminder that most of the Suppliers have sales going on at the moment. I have received an email from Thornes to advise their winter sale started on Saturday 2nd, full details can be found on their website;    Telephone sale orders can be made from 9.00am on Monday 4th January.

International Meeting of Young Beekeepers: This was discussed at our last County Meeting and it was agreed that Dorset generally does not have many (if any) young beekeepers.   Apparently there is far more interest in beekeeping from young people in the Eastern European Countries than in England. Difficult to know why this is but definitely something that needs to be addressed. West Dorset BKA has started a Beekeeping Club at a local primary school where some of their members work. I am wondering whether any D&W members have similar contacts or have any ideas on how we can go forward with this. If so, please let me know. I will be raising the issue at our next Committee meeting which is on Thursday 14th January, so any information before then would be gratefully received.


This weather is extremely frustrating and the bees must be feeling this as well. Not clustering as much as usual as it is mild enough for them to be more active but too wet to fly and when they do obviously not enough forage. As a consequence they will be getting through more food. One plant that is proving its worth in my garden at this time of year is the winter honeysuckle (Lonicera Fragrantissima). Andy Willis mentioned this plant in one of his talks I went to some years ago and I promptly went and bought one. As it layers well I have managed to get two small plants so far from it. I have seen Bumblebees on it as recently as a few days ago.    Two other good plants for this time of year are Viburnum Tinus and Mahonia.

Whatever the weather has in store for us we can only try to keep our bees in good health and make sure we have reasonable colonies ready for Spring, whenever it might appear. On that note I wish everyone a Happy New Year and Happy Beekeeping for 2016.

Sally Leslie