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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.  Booking for the 2018 course has now closed … we have started a waiting list so please do let us know if you are interested. It’s always a good idea to register your details so we can let you know when further courses become available.

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.

Honey soap with Dr Sara Robb

In February members of WDBKA gathered to welcome Dr Sara Robb of ‘Bath Potions’, to our programme of monthly winter lectures.

Sara started the evening by explaining how her studies as a chemist in America and subsequent move to the UK to continue her research, eventually led to the establishment of her own honey soaps and beeswax creams company. She has become well known to Beekeepers through the promotion of her books, talks and demonstrations at the National Honey Show and the BBKA Spring Convention. She is well qualified to have developed her popular range of products and explained the chemistry behind the process of soap making in a clear and entertaining manner.

The audience were interested to learn how to make use of their own honey and wax to create products. Sara gave a demonstration of soap making which required surprisingly few ingredients. .

Sara also told us how to make cerate ointment and told the audience that she had written an article for the Bees for Development Journal in March 2016 … which is easy to find on line. The curative properties of the mix of beeswax, honey and olive oil have been known for centuries. Sara referred to a record she had found in the 1809 edition of the Royal College of Physicians Pharmacopeia.

By the end of the evening many folk were keen to have a go at creating their own soaps … Sara reminded us that in order to sell to the general public each product required a safety assessment in order to comply with EU regulations… although there is nothing to stop us from making gifts for family and friends!

 

2018 Course for new Beekeepers is underway!

The latest course for prospective Beekeepers has now started. We have already enjoyed two weeks of presentations from a variety of tutor volunteers from within the Association. Course participants have started to learn about different types of hive and the basic needs of a colony.

Last week everyone had a go at building their first frame to take home with them … another important step on the road towards managing their own colonies.

WDBKA supports Apple Day at Groves Nursery

Members from WDBKA had an enjoyable time at the Apple Day at Groves Nursery. The information stand was visited by many folk who were interested to chat about bees and taste the variety of honey samples on offer. Thank you to everyone who gave time to help out on the day, baked cakes and biscuits for sale, donated honey and pollen for people to try … and generally all worked together to promote our Association and enthusiasm for Beekeeping!

Melplash 2017

Very many thanks to everyone who came along to help before, during and after the show. We hope our visitors to the Bee Marquee had as much fun as we did!

We had a lovely display of honey and frames ready for extraction. There was a lot to see and do in the tent. The cakes sold quickly and there were very few pots of honey left by the end of the afternoon.

The observation hives were as popular as ever and the information post was kept busy answering questions and promoting the next course for new beekeepers in Jan 2018.

David Lyall, WDBKA Vice President, awarded the various cups and sponsored prizes at the end of the afternoon.

Congratulations!

The Bee Marquee is ready for the Melplash Show!

Many thanks to everyone who came along this evening to make light work of preparing our Marquee for the show. Everything is in place … most things have been found from last year (white painted display stand for honey sales still missing!) … and all we need now are the exhibits for the show and lots of lovely cakes and honey to sell on Thursday.

Thank you to all those who turned up to lend a hand … let the show commence!

Honey for sale at Melplash

Preparations are well underway for the annual WDBKA Honey Show and sales at the Melplash Show.

The honey from the Association Apiary is now bottled and ready for sale … we are delighted that our bees have been so busy!

WDBKA honey from the Netherbury Apiary ready for sale.

WDBKA Apiary Outing

On the 6th August members of the Association enjoyed a visit to Annabelle Jackman.

There was plenty of time for a leisurely inspection of her very calm and friendly bees before we all sat down to share a delicious array of teatime treats.

The skep cake was amazing … another entry for Melplash?!

WDBKA honey extraction workshop

Many thanks to the small team of willing volunteers who helped to extract the honey crop from our Netherbury Apiary. We had five heavy supers to process and used two, six-frame tangential extractors to complete the job in good time. Several buckets of honey have been emptied into the settling tank, the empty supers are back on the hives, and a power washer made short work of cleaning up the equipment! A good job done.

We just need to bottle and label the honey so it will be ready to sell at the Melplash Show.

Dont forget to make time to prepare your entries!

WDBKA Outing to Buckfast Abbey Apiary

WDBKA members and friends were fortunate to have a dry, warm day for our visit to Buckfast Abbey. Twenty four of us spent an enjoyable time with Clare Densely, the Buckfast Bee Manager. The party split into groups and had the opportunity to see the bees on two different sites. We received a warm welcome and there was plenty of time for bee-related chatter!

We hope Clare will be able to come to Bridport to give us a talk sometime next year.

Look out for a full report in the newsletter.

The Community Apiary at Buckfast

A grand day out!

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!