Monday, 24 May 2010

15-May-2010 Meeting Note

Yet another glorious day for our meeting - just as well as with at least 29 people, and I don't think everyone signed the contacts sheet, we'd have struggled to get everybody indoors! Yet again many thanks for those who brought biscuits and Joyce for the baking - yummy!!!
Our speakers in full flow
Yet again we were able to welcome some new members from both near and far.

Just as we were about to start we had a visitor from the next village to report a swarm so there was more even reason to keep the meeting short! We had already re-jigged the agenda as it was felt that to do a round-Robin of introductions would take far too long with the numbers present so instead members were asked to give an exceptions report on their colonies, additions, deaths, strange happenings, etc. - we'll probably stick to this format in future as a shorter business meeting allows more time for informal networking after.

Future events
None of interest were known - a quiet time on the sustainable beekeeping front, I guess everybody's busy chasing swarms.

Event Feedback
hTBH autopsy
Safe Land for Bees event - A brief report back was given on this successful day held in Bristol on 11th April. For those who would like to hear Barrie Trower talk on microwave communication he will be appearing in Glastonbury this summer. Similarly Carlo Montesanti's from The Global Bee Project will be talking at Cadbury Garden & Leisure. When dates are known I'll circulate them to members. As a result of this YABeeP we have now hooked up with The Global Bee Project as Carlo is interested in getting groups like ours established around the country and thinks we can assist - I'll be seeing him on Monday so can report back to the next meeting.

The Kingsdown/Cotham Bee Group Launch - YABeeP was invited to talk on bees at this launch and several members went. Nick Miller had suggested that if there was sufficient demand then he would extend the group from his Spanish style feral bee boxes to include those interested in top bar hive hives along the lines of YABeeP. It would be linked with the Bristol Slow Food. Nick is currently away in Spain but will hopefully arrange something when he returns.
Gareth starts with a hug
The Global Bee Project - Robin caught up with this Stroud based group that are doing tremendous things to promote bees. We have agreed to meet with Carlo Montesanti next week to discuss how we can support them particularly in spreading the word about setting up a network of local groups like YABeeP. Given their work YABeeP members are encouraged to join them, become Bee Guardians and post what you are individually doing on their website.

Monthly Features
Monitoring for Varroa & Nosema
Nick Delaney gave a short talk on this subject. Nick has kindly let us have his notes which, as it is an important area which we wish to refer back to, has been posted separately here. Many thanks Nick.

Gareth also contributed by outlining his own essential oils Varroa treatment and a simplistic method for identifying when mite numbers become a problem which is posted here.

Inspecting a horizontal Top Bar Hive
Once the business proceedings had ended our guest, Gareth John, gave us a practical demonstration on this subject starting with an autopsy on a recently deceased horizontal Top Bar Hive (hTBH) which had been dwindling since the winter with no new bees, then moving on to inspect a living hive. Because of the large numbers the group split and Nick kindly took some of our number next door to inspect his hives. 

Wot's going on 'ere then?
The 'dead' hive still had around 20 bees in the colony and interestingly one of these turned out to be the queen - well spotted Ali! There was no disease or excessive varroa seen so it was surmised that she had not started laying post winter hence the colony die off. Luckily, Simon J had a queeenless hive so he took her hoping that a new strong colony would kick-start her into laying - keep us posted Simon.

An inspection of the live hTBH was carried out by Gareth John. The hive has central entrances and natureal wool carpeting as a cover over the top bars, below the roof. The warmth of the bees could be felt through the top bars once the carpet had been removed and this suggested that the colony had expanded leftwards from the hive's central entrance. The left hand followed board (which has provision for a jar feeder) was removed. The first two bars contained open stores of nectar/honey. Following this were 8 bars well filled with a mix of pollen, sealed and unsealed brood and eggs (which were pointed out to interested group members). Very little drone brood was present. No queen cells were found. Attachments between the sides of the combs and the hive wall were carefully cut using a sharp blade, cutting in an upwards direction before each bar was carefully lifted out. There was very little cross combing between the top bars.
YABeeP members all thank Gareth and his wife for travelling down from Oxfordshire to give us this excellent demonstration and pass on his considerable hTBH experience - we hope to see them at other meetings.

Other Business
Hive Building Workshop - 22nd May
Given we have now entered the busy period swarming period and the small numbers wanting to build it was agreed that this fixture would be dropped. Those wishing to build hives needing and needing help are to contact Robin and we will either arrange a couple of evenings or one to one sessions. A further workshop will probably be arranged for later in the year.

Bristol Group
Lazy queen goes to new home 
Given the growth of YABeeP and the numbers attending from Bristol it was felt that we need to do something to 'help along' a stand-alone Bristol group. Both Nick Miller's Kingsdown/Cotham group and Safe Land for Bees could be the catalyst plus we have been informed by Phil Chandler of Biobees that some who attended one of his recent hTBH courses also plan to start a group so we really need a YABeeP Bristol Champion to possibly arrange a meeting and help move this along. If anyone feels up for the challenge please contact Robin asap.

Raising Funds
Whilst YABeeP wishes to stay a free and open group without the ties of formal membership, committees and constitutions we do need to raise some funds to cover the increasing costs of swarm collection and a few other bits and pieces. 

A merry throng
Following some discussion it was agreed that with immediate effect we would charge members who receive bees via YABeeP as follows. £25 for a colony of honeybees (swarm or split) and £10 for a nest of bumbles. Swarm catchers acn also claim a mileage allowance of £0.50 per mile. 

Bumble bees
Members with empty bumble boxes wishing to have a rescued nest need to get their empty box, clearly marked with their name, to Robin. Bees will then be allocated on a first-come-first-served basis as we rescue nests - see Bumble Rescue Programme link.

Next Meeting
The next meeting is Saturday 19th June and this will end with a lunch time American BBQ so if you are saying for food please bring something to contribute - all YABeeP members and hanger's on are invited.

1 comment:

Madwag said...

very keen to meet other Bristol people. We were unable to attend the meeting in Hotwells this past weekend... I got a nasty virus. I am on face book as Patti Sprunger Tucker and hubby is Julian Tucker. We have our tbh built and more in the plans to make... just no bees yet :0( we are members of a smallhold here and have all the space we need...