If you are interested in bees you have come to the right place

The site is designed to be a resource for members of the West Dorset Beekeepers’ Association (WDBKA) and for interested members of the general public.

Our Association draws its members from West Dorset, the area roughly west of Dorchester and the A37 (a smaller area than that covered by West Dorset District Council!)

Beekeeper opening hive

What to do if you have a swarm of bees turn up in your garden? DON’T Panic! Find out more, and where to get help, by clicking on the “swarms” tab above.

Thinking about starting to keep bees?… again, contact us and we should be able to help, guide and support you in this exciting new venture. We usually run our popular course for beginners, which starts in early February, based at the Christian Fellowship Hall, Bridport  7-9.30pm for seven consecutive weeks. This is followed by three practical sessions in our own teaching apiary, where you can gain some experience in handling bees yourself, even before you acquire your own. The apiary meetings for beginners run fortnightly on Saturday afternoons in April and May.

Cost £75, including a non-refundable £10 deposit. Numbers are limited to 25. The 2017 course has now finished   … but it is always worth getting in touch to  register your interest for the 2018 group .. we have already started a new list!

Let us know if you’d like to visit us or click the tab at the top of this page to find further details about our course.

 

 

The WDBKA is affiliated to the BBKA – British Beekeeping Association. Their website provides a wealth of information and advice. All members of  WDBKA will have been issued with a membership card for the BBKA which includes login details and a password to gain full access to the BBKA site.

All beekeepers are encouraged to register with BeeBase,  the Fera National Bee Unit website. It is designed for beekeepers and supports Defra, WAG and Scotland’s Bee Health Programmes and the Healthy Bees Plan, which set out to protect and sustain our valuable national bee stocks.Their website provides a wide range of free information for beekeepers, to help keep their honey bees healthy and productive.

If you’ve read or heard about the pressures facing the honeybee – diseases, parasites, and so on – and would like to know what you can do to help, click here to download a list of Ten Things to do to Help Honey Bees. There’s guidance on everything from planting bee-friendly plants, through offering a home for a hive or two, to lobbying your MP to press for more support for research! If you’re interested in helping by planting bee-friendly trees, flowers or shrubs, click here to visit the comprehensive list published by the Royal Horticultural Society.

WDBKA Auction


The sun shone for our auction of bee equipment on Saturday 25th March. Sufficient folk came along to clear the majority of the lots and most of us went home with some real bargain buys.

Many thanks to all those who prepared the lots for sale, to our excellent auctioneer and her assistant, and especially to those who turned up to support the Association. An entertaining time was had by all!

A little bee film

At this time of year it is always exciting when we can have a proper look inside the hives to see what our colonies have been up to. Click on the link to the Guardian website below to see Carole and Ken in action in Spring 2011.

They were “volunteered” to take part in a short film about beekeeping for the Guardian website.  The opportunity came about when a friend of David Smith was talking with the filmmaker, Edwin Hasler of Soft City Films, about bees and the enthusiasm and dedication of beekeepers.  Inspired by the idea he approached the Guardian and was commissioned to make this short film that now appears on the Guardian website.

 

Beginners course update

We are approaching the half way point through our annual course for new beekeepers. So far students have covered the basics and are gradually building their knowledge and understanding … and most importantly, are beginning to get to know other folk who could be helpful bee buddies in the future.

Everyone has had an opportunity to build a super frame … and taken it home to share with family and friends … the initial step towards their first hive!

In our latest session we considered the importance of pollen and forage. The WDBKA microscopy equipment was available for students to have a closer look.

 

 

WDBKA Varroa treatment

The colonies overwintering in the WDBKA apiary have been treated with Api-Bioxal. It was straightforward to follow the directions to mix the crystals with sugar solution and apply 5mls to each seam of bees.

At this time of year it is good to be able to have a quick peep under the crown boards and check that all is well. Some of the lighter colonies were given fondant but some were still very heavy.

Thank you to everyone who came to help … hopefully the treatments will help the colonies to keep their Varroa levels down.

Apiary Clean Up

img_0710Many thanks to all those who joined the end of season apiary clear up event. In beautiful, warm sunshine, we scraped, scorched, scoured, swept and sorted! All the equipment is now ready for next year and the sheds are extremely tidy. The bee suits have been removed for washing and winter storage. Even the surrounding vegetation has had a serious pruning. There was time for a quick coffee break … everyone worked hard to get the job done by 1pm … brilliant!

Scraping and sorting …

Scraping and sorting ...

Scraping and sorting …

Scorching ...

Scorching …

Slashing ...

Slashing …

Time for a break.

Time for a break.

 

While we were busy the bees were equally active … still enjoying the balsam and making the most of the glorious weather.

Melplash Memories 2016

After a hectic run up to the show it was great to see so many members, friends and visitors taking time to enjoy the attractions. The Melplash Show is a terrific showcase for our Association and provides a great opportunity to share information with the general public … as well as sign up students for the next Beginners Course, starting in Jan 2017.

An excellent range of local honey and wax products were available for sale.

An excellent variety of local honey and wax products were available for sale.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to everyone who made a wonderful range of cakes ... a sell out!

Thank you to everyone who made a wonderful range of cakes … a sell out!

We had 180 entries into the show classes from 35 people. Thank you to those who made the effort … there would be no show without you!

All set for the judging to start.

All set for the judging to start.

Judge, Hazel Blackburn and Steward, Chris Thompson begin their marathon task.

Judge, Hazel Blackburn and Steward, Chris Thompson begin their marathon task.

WDBKA wins the Branch Shield ... presented to our Chairman, Sarah More.

WDBKA wins the Branch Shield … presented to our Chairman, Sarah More.

Congratulations for 'Best in Show' awarded to Carole Astbury.

Congratulations for ‘Best in Show’ awarded to Carole Astbury by DBKA Chairman, Richard Norman.

Joyce Lyall collects the First Prize sponsorship award for her Honey Cherry Cake

Joyce Lyall collects the First Prize sponsorship award for her Honey Cherry Cake

Carole Brown collects First Prize for her bee photograph ... and awards Richard Norman, DBKA president with the FW Carter Challenge Cup!

Carole Brown collects First Prize for her bee photograph … and also awards Richard Norman, DBKA president with the FW Carter Challenge Cup!

Well done to Dennis Clemens from D&WBKA for winning the Dorset Challenge Cup.

Well done to Dennis Clemens from D&WBKA for winning the Dorset Challenge Cup.

 

Congratulations to Vicky Gaston for her excellent frame ready for extraction!

Congratulations to Vicky Gaston for her excellent frame ready for extraction!

Congratulations to Mr Wood !

Congratulations to Mr Wood for winning the MC Bond Shield.

 

 

Preparations for Melplash!

The show ground is taking shape as preparations for the next Melplash Show gain momentum. The ‘Bee Team’ have prepared our marquee this evening. Thank you to everyone for a slick operation!

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We look forward to welcoming you on Thursday 25th. Stewards will be on duty from 7a.m. onwards for everyone to stage exhibits and drop off cakes for sale.

Fingers crossed for a dry and bright day!

DBKA Bee Health Day

Well over 100 Dorset Beekeepers attended a Bee Health and Hygiene Day on Sunday 17th July. The village hall in Stratton proved to be a convenient venue with plenty of car parking space for all.

Geoff Buckland, chairman of the Dorset Beekeeping Association, welcomed members to the free event and introduced Julian Parker,  our new Regional Bee Inspector. Julian had brought his team of Seasonal Bee Inspectors to lead the afternoon workshops.

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We were particularly fortunate to have Dr Giles Budge from FERA Science Ltd who gave the first fascinating talk concerning the top 10 threats to honey bees. He shared details of recent research and presented the information in an entertaining and accessible manner.

Julian followed up with a session on varroa and gave a very clear message regarding the importance of monitoring and treating with approved products.

After a break for lunch the afternoon sessions were led by the SBIs. Four half hour workshops covered AFB, EFB, Apiary Hygiene and Small Hive beetle and Asian Hornets.

Thank you to DBKA for organising this free event.

Apiary visit for new Beekeepers

On Saturday 7th May a good number of students from the latest course for new beekeepers went to the WDBKA apiary to meet Kevin Pope, SBI.

It was a great opportunity for everyone to watch and learn as Kevin examined each colony to assess the health of the bees.

imageThank you to several WDBKA members who have worked so hard to spring clean the apiary. The freshly painted sheds, clean chairs, table and bench make a real difference.

Bees for Development Fundraising Event

Thank you to WDBKA member Sally Beeson and friends who raised £146.22 for Bees for Development on Saturday morning, 7th May. 20160507_091133

 

It was a lovely warm Saturday market-day in Bridport and the plant stall generated quite a bit of interest.  It was good to have leaflets available as there were a few people very interested in the work of Bees for Development .

 

Surplus plants were donated for sale by local gardeners who always sow more seeds than they need and can’t bare to let them go to waste! The plants are labelled as they are brought in to avoid confusion. It’s a good opportunity to share growing advice and to try out new varieties. A satisfying way to spend a lovely sunny morning in the town.

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Children were invited to get involved by potting up seeds and small plants to take away and nurture at home. Hopefully they will eventually enjoy eating their home grown produce.

This was a great event to promote healthy options for both humans and bees!