Branch Annual Reports 2014-15

These reports cover the year Autumn 2014 to Autumn 2015.


Chairman’s Report 2015

‘After a favourable year for beekeeping in 2014, this year though far from a disaster, has been less successful due to a rather indifferent summer. Consequently our skills as beekeepers have been put to the test which is no bad thing as we can learn more as a consequence.

Our Branch has continued to thrive with many new members recruited and undertaking training. We have a high retention rate which suggests that we are providing what people want. The recent upsurge of interest in beekeeping has been sustained and we need to be able to rise to the challenge by providing facilities, support, advice and social interaction to meet the needs of both old and new beekeepers.

A number of members have formed study groups to advance their knowledge and prepare themselves for the BBKA modular examinations. We have had a full programme of Friday evening meetings and a successful Bee Health Day a repeat of which is planned for next year along with a Bee Management Day.

What has become apparent to me in particular as Chairman is how fortunate we are to have a core of dedicated individuals working to support the Branch and its members. Management of the Apiary, provision of training, organisation of events, bulk buying and general administration all require a great deal of time and effort. So, I would ask members to fully support these individuals by active participation and also by volunteering their own services where they can.

In summary 2015 has been a successful one for the Branch. Much planning has already been undertaken for 2016. Winter Training and Hands on Training are well subscribed and a full events calendar is being built. I’m looking forward to some bee friendly weather and the continuing support and fellowship of fellow beekeepers.’

John Rowe



Chair’s Report 2015

The Chair reported on the increase in membership which has given the Treasurer the ability to bulk buy items for members such as frames, poly nucs, ambrosia etc.  The funds raised from these purchases have paid for the extra kit required for the Club apiary.  The number of HOT bee participants has increased to 10, 5 first year and 5 second year.  Membership fees for 2015/16 have increased by £1.50 to £31.50.

The Chair also thanked Liz Gardner and Chris Strudwick for the winter training evenings and these have proved very successful.

Thanks also to Liz for arranging the talks and workshops.  Celia Davis was excellent and may agree to come back for a one day workshop.  Marin from Stroud was also good and it is hoped he will return to give a talk on foraging.  Dave Maslen held his usual successful day and this was both interesting and varied.  Roger Patterson gave a talk on bee improvement.

The Basic examination was passed by Derek Witchell, Alan, Franklin, Georgie James, John Stevens, Jack Anderson and Phil Tinker.  Alex Bayliss passed Module 1 and Corinne Hilditch passed Module 2 with Credit.

The Honey Show results were:

Class 1 – One 454 (1lb) Squat Jar of clear light honey was won by Mike Nash

Class 2 – One 454 (1lb) Squat Jar of clear medium or dark run honey also won by Mike Nash

Dave Best won Class 3 – One 454 (1lb) Squat Jar of natural granulated or soft set honey and this entry was also awarded “Best in Show.”

Class 4 – One 454 (1lb) Squat Jar of honey ready for sale Mike Nash a winner again

Class 6 – One shallow comb suitable for extracting was won by Bill Mead

Class 7 – One cake of beeswax (approximately 225g (8ozs) Corinne Hilditch won this.

Corinne also won Class 10 the Photographic Class

John Stevens won Class 11 (An interesting exhibit connected with beekeeping or a project on bees) John’s entry was a wasp deterrent – and we all hope this will prove to be a winner in practice!

Class 12 – Black Jar new beekeepers – this was won by Georgie James

No winners in the Honey Cake Class but Sue Sarna was 2nd in the fudge

 Thanks to Jon Dytor and Chris Strudwick for their work on the Newsletter.  Jon has agreed to continue as editor but would like news items from the members. Victoria volunteered to do a “Plant of the Month” article for the Newsletter.

Outside Events – In terms of the wider community our public displays are more professional and frequent.  We have had much more support this year from members and attended the Highland Show at Sapperton, the Cotswold Show, Lechlade Wyevale Garden Centre and the Corinium Museum.  The Corinium Brewery has taken some honey and produced a honey beer to sell, whilst Chris is hoping to let us sample the mead he made from club honey last year.  Liz held a successful Taster Day.  This year we would like to do more with local schools.  On the social side, the summer barbecue was held at John Stevens and well attended and it is hoped to continue with the Winter Clusters.  



Chairman’s Report 2015

This year has been not been a good year for the bees, cold weather and a limited amount of rain has reduced the amount of honey that we have extracted. DFBK apiary has built up to 12 colonies to go into the winter. We can hope is 2016 is a better year for the bees than 2015 was for both DFBK members and their bees.

Our membership increased to 180, as we gained 38 and lost 25 members this year.

‘To Educate and Inform’

I am again delighted to report that we have retained our 100% success record for basic assessment passes with all eight who took the assessment passing, Congratulations are due to all of the participating members of 2015. We must also thank all who participated in the training. The ‘Microscope an Introduction’ course has again been well attended and we have several members who will be taking the Microscopy Assessment this year.

DFBK have trained and supported many new beekeepers this year and that the driving force of this activity are Jim and Val who give more than can be reasonably asked of anyone. We must also thank all the other volunteers who have made these activities so successful. We are looking towards the next year with training courses again being offered. These are:

  • Introduction to Beekeeping (one day)
  • Basic (6 evenings of theory plus 4 Sessions at the Apiary)
  • Module 5 Informal Sessions at the Apiary (Every other Thursday Evening)
  • Microscopy – An Introduction
  • Microscope sessions will also be held once a mouth at the apiary.
  • ‘Intermediate Disease training’

The bee safari was a great success year with thanks to Colin Pavey (bee inspector), and all the members who let their apiaries be inspected, also for providing such good refreshments. I look forward to having this event in 2016 as this is such an enjoyable and educational day.

The DFBK attended many local events with our information boards and observation hives. We attracted a great deal of interest and recruited a number of new members. My thanks go to the members who contributed so generously of their time and energies to make these events so successful.


The Honey Show was again held at the ‘Main Place’ in Coleford. A quiz was run while the judging took place. Our Summer Barbeque was again held at Ladi Broadmans house and well attended.   We were fortunate that we had such a good venue and the weather was good.

We have throughout the year had a number of projects started and successfully completed these included the purchase of:

  • Microscopes (high and low power)
  • New frame for gazebo
  • Chairs for microscope room
  • Smokers and Nucleus hives
  • Weighing scales for syrup

The forthcoming year looks very busy with all training courses we are running and our supported events. I am looking forward to a successful 2016 for all at DFBK.

Bob Snowdon



Chairman’s Report 2015

The season hasn’t been too bad this year. Disappointingly, membership is a bit down on recent years.

Our programme over the last year was as varied as possible, the highlight being the talk on bee sting allergy, by Dr Phillips from Hereford Hospital Allergy Clinic, which drew a very big audience. We had a number of other informative and entertaining speakers during the year.

Our branch apiary is up and running again at last, and our weekly summer meetings there were very successful and well attended. We did well at the Onion Fayre in September, with a lot of support from members.

As usual, our branch honey show was a very good evening. It was refreshing to have a change of judge in Roger Eldridge, who provided a knowledgeable and entertaining commentary on the entries. We repeated our honey tasting session, which had worked so well last year, and again it was fun and informative; enjoyed by all who attended.

We have covered quite a lot of training over the year. The Basic Exam, was supported by apiary practical sessions.

Many thanks to Derek for organising the bulk purchase of syrup again –a much appreciated service.

Norman Roper



Report not received yet.



2015 has been a good year for SGBKA, we have continued to focus on training and apiary hygiene.

We have embarked on a process of re queening the apiary using both internally raised queens via our fledgling queen rearing programme and also from mated queens from Exmoor. The long term view is to improve the breeding stock and increase honey production to enable reinvestment in the group.

The training element of the group remains strong, this year saw the roll out of a more structured programme with the group holding session on alternative weekends through the active season. This has been well received by those who take an active part in the group. These events are designed to improve our knowledge and share our experiences.

We supported both the Thornbury Carnival and the Berkeley Show, we aim to do the same in 2016 to continue to spread the word about bees.

The group remains strong and well supported guided by a dedicated executive team.



Generally we have enjoyed another busy and successful year thanks to a very active committee.

Winter 2014/15
• We have enjoyed monthly meetings mainly organised by John, with attendances averaging around 30.

• November – a discussion about bee husbandry

• December – the Honey Show run by Beris and Jacqui Hanks

• January – our Social meal at The Canteen in Nailsworth

• February – a talk by Nicola Bradbear from Bees for Development 

Summer 2015
• The beginners course continued with Duncan leading the training, assisted by Ian, Pat, Chris, Ed and Jim, Duncan’s son. Throughout it was very well attended. See Duncan’s report.

• Swarm collection did not prove very successful this year as many swarms failed to develop into queen-right colonies.

• Again Pat continued to support Wick Court Farm. Peter and Pat are supporting both Wycliffe schools with their bee clubs.

• Peter has given many talks throughout the year to both young and old audiences.

• Stroud Festival of Nature fortnight was very successful, during which Pat and Peter visited 3 schools on Greening Days and gave various other presentations.

• Both Stroud and Frampton Shows were sunny days this year and we were there with our marquee. As always attracting lots of attention and interest.

• Marin again ran a very good queen rearing course and Roger Patterson a practical day, both at our apiary.

• General Husbandry training continued.

Peter Lead