Following Cirencester’s successful Skep making day in February, Easter Saturday saw the second, arranged for the county.
12 members representing Cirencester & District, Stroud, Newent, Cheltenham & Glos. and South Glos. met at Harnhill and spent six hours learning the craft from Chris Park. We did break for a delicious soup and roll lunch.
Chris was extremely patient with all participants, fortunately, and we each left with the beginnings of a skep, fruit bowl, hat or other container. There were ample supplies of straw and lapping cane for us to take home to complete our creations.
Jim Vivian-Griffiths, a very experienced member of the GBKA Forest of Dean Branch, Branch Treasurer, and tutor of their annual Beekeeping Course, obtained his BBKA Master Beekeeper qualification earlier this year.
Jim has now heard from the Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers that he has won the Wax Chandlers’ Award for 2014. This has been awarded every year 1965 to the Master Beekeeper in the year who has scored the highest marks in the module examinations.
Jim has been invited to the Chandlers’ Court Lunch in January to receive the award from the Lord Mayor of London.
Congratulations Jim ! The award is a fitting recognition of your tireless efforts to improve not only your own knowledge but the standards of beekeeping and training in the Dean Forest branch of GBKA.
( The Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers is an ancient livery company in the City of London. In 1371 it gained control over the trade of Wax Chandlers in the City and in 1484 it was granted a Royal Charter by King Richard III. It originated as a “fraternity” or an association of craftsmen which was formed for mutual benefit and spiritual support. It became increasingly important in the 14th and 15th centuries as religious ceremonies became more elaborate and churches were lit by candles throughout the day and night.
The Wax Chandlers have supported the BBKA and the National Honey Show financially and in other ways over many years.
The Court Lunch is a formal occasion in honour of the Lord Mayor of London, currently the Right Honourable Alderman Fiona Woolf CBE. )
from our May 2014 Bulletin for members. Picture: Paul Nicols
A NEW building in Cheltenham will be a hive of learning – in more ways than one. The University of Gloucestershire has been given planning permission to build a beekeeping shed on its Francis Close Hall campus in St Paul’s. Their aim is to teach students, local community groups and schoolchildren about the need for a thriving bee population, and how to grow and maintain one.
The project has been led by first-year student Charlotte Powell. She said: “A specially adapted shed at Francis Close Hall campus will initially house three beehives. While most beekeepers choose to house their hives in the open, the shed will protect the hives, and the beekeepers, from the elements and will help see the bees through a tough winter.”
The scheme will set up a social enterprise which will sell hive products like honey and beeswax through the student’s union and local shops, as well as events to support the project and ensure its long-term sustainability.
Charlotte said: “Students and staff can get involved and the invitation is open to all disciplines within the university. It will give students an opportunity to learn new skills in business and beekeeping and provide an opportunity to build relationships with local businesses through marketing and bee-related events.”
A beekeeping society has been set up at the university, but it’s not only students who will be able to get a buzz from learning how to behave with a beehive. The project involves community and educational outreach. Presentations and workshops are being developed that will be used to show people all about the hobby, and how important to the food chain it is to have plenty of bees doing well.
Charlotte added: “There is always something new to learn in beekeeping and bees always seem to be one step ahead of the beekeeper, which is what makes the art so interesting. With this venture I hope to inspire a new respect for bees.”
The project has been funded by the NUS Students Green Fund, but is also attracting local sponsorship; Blood and Honey tattoo parlour in Winchcombe Street has agreed to design the artwork for merchandise to be sold to support the project.
Some beekeepers have found that MAQS strips have negative effects on their bees, especially during warm weather.
Here is some useful advice from Jim Vivian-Griffiths of Dean Forest Beekeepers:
The instructions for use of MAQS strips are rather misleading, as they were written for the Canadian/US market, in which the majority of beekeepers use Langstroth hives with solid floors. The advice is to remove the entrance block to provide more ventilation.
With our colonies on mesh floors you should do the following:
1. leave your entrance block in, reduced if necessary to guard against wasps
2. put your insert board in only half way, to give plenty of ventilation
3 open the feed holes also to give ventilation
4 use only one strip of MAQS if your colony is not much stronger than a nucleus