Avon Beekeepers – Spring Day School

 Avon Beekeepers Association Spring Day School

Saturday April 21st 2018

9.45am – 4.30 pm with breaks for refreshments & lunch


Lectures from very knowledgeable beekeepers and researchers

Gerry Collins – What’s going on in my hive? What can I do about this (Problems in beekeeping and some of their solutions)

Richard Ball – Vespa velutina and other wasp species

Lynne Ingram – Dance like nobody’s watching….The role of honey bee communication in colony well being

THERE IS A SMALL CHARGE FOR THIS EVENT OF £12 in advance or £15 payable on the door

All visitors are welcome subject to booking but please note we are expecting a very high attendance and it is important that you book your place to avoid disappointment.

BOOKING is ESSENTIAL – If you wish to attend the Spring Day School please

Send a cheque for £12 payable to Avon Beekeepers + a stamped addressed envelope to: Anne Rowberry 4 Flatwoods Crescent, Bath BA2 7AH  You can book a place via email at annerowberry@gmail.com or by telephone on 07802425929 and pay on arrival (£15)

Please ensure you send the following information: Names of attendees; Branch; email address or telephone number and send a stamped addressed envelope if you require a postal acknowledgement for your cheque.

REFRESHMENTS – A light lunch will be provided and tea, coffee & biscuits will be available during breaks.

A raffle will be held on the day to raise funds towards the cost of the event.

Diane Sleigh (Thorne’s agent) will be bringing bee equipment/ hive parts etc. for sale.

Claire Barker from ‘Hive Original’   will be bringing her wonderful creams and bath oils etc. for sale.

In Remembrance of Sylvia Croke

It is with great sadness that we have to announce the death of Sylvia, a valued member of the Cheltenham and Gloucester branch of the GBKA. The funeral has been arranged for Friday, 9th March at 2.30 pm at the Cheltenham Crematorium. with the wake in Alderton Village Hall.
Sylvia joined the C&G branch in 2005 where she signed up to the two year hands on training course. Sylvia had a very organised mind, it was the former teacher in her coming out and everything had to be cross recorded including where it was stored. Sylvia never did things by half, she took on an allotment in her village of Alderton where she joined the allotment committee and, as with her beekeeping, she threw herself 100% into it.
In beekeeping Sylvia liked the idea of the twelve inch deep brood boxes and every frame was marked with the start date and hive number. She ran up to about a dozen colonies in her out apiary, when the club asked members to open up their apiary for a summer visit Sylvia would step forward to help by allowing others to visit her site.
After completing her two year training Sylvia wanted to give something back to our branch, Sylvia suggested she could keep the club apiary tidy, cut the grass, trim the bushes and do whatever was needed to be done. Sylvia would often visit the apiary on a Friday evening assist me in tidying up, she knew how she could help and was the support worker in the apiary that nobody ever saw, it just always looked perfect.
Sylvia will be missed a great deal especially by Mike Hunt the branch apiary manager with whom she struck up a good friendship, in his words “I never had to nag Sylvia as the tasks were always done and she was my right hand in the apiary”.
Mike Hunt

Royal Three Counties Show – 15-17 June 2018

The 2018 Three Counties Show will be held at the Three Counties Showground, Malvern, from Friday 15th to Sunday 17th June. The event continues to be one of the premier shows in the country with around 4,500 livestock entries 3,000 equine entries and a customer base of around 90,000 over three days.

The Bees and Honey Show schedule is now available. There are two schedules (the Regular Schedule for 2018 and the Children’s Bees and Honey Schedule 2018) with multiple sections open to entries from across the UK as well as specialist classes for exhibitors within the three counties of Herefordshire, Gloucestershire and Worcestershire. Please note that the closing date for applications using the ENTRY FORM 2018 is the 15th May 2018 and if you have any further queries please direct them to Liz Voyce (Organiser) via 07717708860.

For information about the Show, which will include the Honey Show and a large beekeeping stand, visit the Three Counties Show website



NBU – Western Region Annual Report 2017

A copy of the 2017 Western Region Annual Report  is now available from the Regional Bee Inspector Colin Pavey.

  • Notifiable disease levels were below average – but with one or two hotspots.
  • High varroa levels were seen especially late in the season.
  • Levels of minor disease were average or below.
  • No reports of Small Hive Beetle in the UK.
  • No reports of Asian hornet in Gloucestershire in 2017 but a nest was found and destroyed in Woolacombe, North Devon (see NBU website and adjacent NBU news for latest updates).
  • A reminder that it is a legal requirement to notify the National Bee Unit of any bee imports into the UK.
  • It is also a legal requirement to only use approved Veterinary Medicines and to keep proper records of any treatments.
  • Please remember to also register your colonies on BeeBase.

Asian Hornets


The Asian hornet is smaller than our native hornet and poses no greater risk to human health than a bee. However, they do pose a risk to honey bees because they will kill them when they need protein to feed their own larvae.

Asian hornets were found in the Tetbury area of Gloucestershire in September 2016. The National Bee Unit found and destroyed a nest, which they believe was the only one in the area. A confirmed sighting was also reported in the Woolacombe area of Devon in September 2017.

Since Asian hornets are now established in France it is probable that there will be further arrivals in the UK at some point.

Beekeepers should check for the presence of Asian hornets by putting out traps. On warm spring days, mated queen hornets may emerge from hibernation as early as February, and worker hornets will be on the wing throughout the beekeeping season, right up until November, so hanging out traps between these two dates is a useful monitoring tool. Sugary liquid bait should be used in the spring, and a fish-based bait is recommended in the late summer when hornets are looking for protein to feed their young.

Simple wasp traps will also catch European and Asian Hornets if the trap entrance is at least 12mm diameter.

The National Bee Unit web site has full information about Asian Hornets and how to deal with them, information on suitable traps, and links to articles and videos covering the experience with Asian Hornets in France. Please read their information here: NBU Asian Hornet page

Bee Connected

beeconnected-logoBeeConnected is a system to notify beekeepers when a neighbouring farmer is applying insecticides to their crops.

Farmers and spray contractor are being encouraged to enter the details of when and where they are planning to spray an insecticide that may present a risk to bees, and a simple notification will be sent to neighbouring beekeepers registered with the system.

If you are a beekeeper, simply register at beeconnected.org.uk, enter the position of your hives on the easy-to- use mapping system, and you will receive notifications from registered farmers when they are planning to spray their crops at a proximity of your choosing up to 5km away.

Phil Phelps, Forest of Dean beekeeper, 1937 – 2016

It is with great sadness that we have to announce that our dear friend and long standing Dean Forest member Phil passed away peacefully last month. He had been ill for 18 months, and was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer about 6 months ago.

He died at home in the house where he was born 79 years ago. I’m sure you will all join with us in sending his wife Jean and his family our deepest sympathy.

Phil’s funeral was held at on Friday, 27th May at the Forest of Dean Crematorium.

Jim and Val Vivian-Griffiths

Arthur Taylor

Arthur Taylor


It  is with deep sadness that I have to inform you of the death of our former President, Arthur Taylor, on 28th March 2016. His funeral was held on Wednesday 13th April 2016 at St James Church, Staunton.

Arthur has been part of Gloucestershire Beekeepers Association life for many years and was a great beekeeper, assessor, national honey judge and president of GBKA. Together with his wife Mabel, who died earlier this year, he inspired new and experienced beekeepers with his great knowledge and sensible practical advice.  He will be remembered with great affection by many members.

Val Vivian-Griffiths