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Please look out for the Asian Hornet

Please make sure you are aware of the key features of an Asian Hornet … and that you are familiar with the procedure for reporting a sighting. There is plenty of good information available to keep all beekeepers informed and up to date with the latest news.

Click here for a link to the BBKA Asian Hornet page.

Click here for Dorset BKA information.

The news feed from the National Bee Unit can be found on the left hand side of this page.

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 2019 course has now opened … we have started a list so please do let us know if you are interested. It’s always a good idea to register your details. Places can be secured with a £10 non-returnable deposit. Please see the ‘Courses’ tab at the top of the page to read further details.

 

 

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.

Melplash and the County Honey Show 2018

Thank you to everyone for helping to make the 2018 Melplash Show such a success. We had a lot of entries and as you can see an impressive display of honey was delivered for Suzette Perkins to judge.

From this …

… to this!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The judging gets underway … it was a lengthy process with so many entries

 

We were pleased to have Richard Norman, President of the Dorset Beekeepers Association, to present the prizes.

Congratulations to Carole Astbury for winning a number of trophies, including the Blue Ribbon of Merit for the best exhibit in the show. Her plate of matching heart shaped wax pieces was a work of art… and must have taken hours of work to prepare.

Congratulations Carole

Stephanie Rowse was awarded with the County Novice Trophy as well as the M R Wood Challenge Cup.

Stef receives the Novice Trophy

We were delighted that a frame ready for extraction from the WDBKA Apiary won its class … well done to all!

 

There was a constant flow of people through the marquee and a lot of interest in the observation hives and information table. The Honey Cakes seemed as busy as ever and the Honey Sales table did a roaring trade.

There was a lovely variety of honey and hive products for sale

The honey cakes are always popular

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Melplash Show is an excellent showcase for WDBKA… it’s a brilliant opportunity to share our knowledge and promote our love of bees and Beekeeping.

 

Thank you for your support … see you all again next year!

We’re nearly ready for Melplash … are you?!🐝

Many thanks to everyone who turned up this evening to prepare our marquee for the Melplash show on Thursday. We seem to have more space this year … it will soon be full of interesting bee-related activities and information. We look forward to seeing many friends … a great opportunity to catch up with everyone.

There are over 150 entries for Suzie Perkins, our honey judge, to consider. We hope there will be a wonderful display of hive produce.

Remember to stage your exhibits before the judging starts at 8.30am. Stewards will be on hand to help.

Bee Safari … a grand day out🐝🐝

Members of WDBKA enjoyed a ‘grand day out’ as they ventured into the narrow lanes of West Dorset for their annual safari.

Many thanks to the three WDBKA members who kindly welcomed us to their lovely garden apiaries…. thank you for the refreshments … and the delicious cakes to round off the event.

 

Thanks also to Kevin Pope, our Seasonal Bee Inspector, who demonstrated and inspected each of the hives. By the end of the day we all went home with new knowledge, enthusiasm and fresh ideas to further develop our understanding … hopefully making us better Beekeepers.

What a brilliant hobby to share!

Frame making and Chip Supper evening

Thank you to everyone who came along to join our frame making evening … a brilliant way to get equipment prepared for the new season!

The fish and chip supper worked well and by the end of the evening we had a good stock of frames and supers ready for action.

DBKA AGM

A number of WDBKA members attended the DBKA  AGM on Sunday 8th April. Full details of the meeting will be available in due course.

Carole was delighted to be able to accept the Hambro Cup which was presented to the Dorset Beekeepers Association by Capt A V Hambro JP. DL. when he was President from 1932-1955. The award is made to the Association that increased its membership the most during the previous year (they do it by percentage) We have not won this trophy since 2004.

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. While we wait for the weather to warm up and dry out 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. 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 .

Boil up!

A number of WDBKA members took the opportunity to have their frames sterilised in preparation for the new season. Many thanks to Geoffrey for organising the meeting … lighting the fire and getting the tank up to temperature. It took all morning to give everything a thorough boil … leaving plenty of time between each load for a general catch up with bee related chat.

 

It is always good to have a fresh supply of clean frames ready for use … helping to keep our bees healthy. By the time all the frames were sorted and stacked to dry it was easy to see why it had taken so long …. there were an awful lot of them!

 

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.