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 £60, including a non-refundable £10 deposit. Numbers are limited to 25. The 2017 course is nearly full … but we will keep a reserve list… so it is still worth getting in touch to register your interest.

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.

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!

 

New Beekeepers visit the Apiary

Having completed the theory part of the course  our student beekeepers have now moved on the gain practical experience in the apiary.P1010004

Although the weather was too cold for full inspections there were still plenty of jobs to do.

Cleaning and sterilising equipment, learning how to light a smoker … and keep it going!

 

 

 

Varroa levels were checked and colonies treated as required.

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WDBKA Course for new Beekeepers 2016

We are approaching the halfway point for the theory part of the current course for new Beekeepers.

So far the 25 students have listened to a variety of speakers and begun to develop their understanding. Last week we enjoyed a practical session during which everyone was able to make their own frame to take away with them … the first of many!

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NBU Annual Newsletter

Click here to download a copy of the annual NBU Southern Region Newsletter from Nigel Semmence.

Congratulations to Nigel who has been appointed as the Contingency Planning and Science Officer at the NBU.

Julian Parker is our new RBI. We look forward to meeting him at the Health and Hygeine Day on the 17th July.

 

Hive Theft Alert

Police are appealing for information after three hives containing honey bees were stolen from some allotments in Middlesborough, in the north east.

Closer to home we are concerned to hear that several hives have been stolen this month (Feb) in the Wimborne area.

Please be mindful of your own hive security and check that equipment is marked to aid identification.