Dear Members,

Those of you who attended the Warwickshire Beekeepers AGM may have noticed that Rugby Beekeepers are currently punching above their weight.  Despite the fact that we are one of the smaller branches we now have Samatha Peckett as chair, and our very own Maurice West is now President of Warwickshire Beekeeping Association! Well done!

Beekeeping is always dependent on the weather and this Spring is no exception. With record low temperatures and rainfall in April, what should be an explosion of forage for the bees with tree blossom supplying copious amounts of nectar and pollen from trees like Sycamore, and various plum species that are now blooming well, the drought and cold have delayed the flow. Low temperatures and drought slow down the release of nectar, and of course the bees are not able to fly any distance when temperatures are low. You may have noticed that while there is plenty of pollen in the hive, supers are not filling up quite as quickly as could be expected at this time of year.

My bees are not near any fields of Oil Seed Rape, but if your bees are, your supers should be filling rapidly, so make sure you put on extra supers as soon as you see ¾ of the frames are covered with bees. Also, remember that OSR tends to crystallize in the frames if you do not extract them as they are sealed.

Sometimes people ask what to do with crystallized supers. It is tricky to deal with this problem. You can score the cappings to expose the crystallized stores and put them on for the bees to feed on in August once you have removed the honey crop, but make sure they have water available. They do not always clean them out and annoyingly sometimes they then start to fill the half emptied frames with more nectar, which will of course also crystallize. It is also possible to score the cappings and then soak the frame until the stores have dissolved and then feed this dilute honey back to the bees. (make sure you feed this back to the hive you took it from).

The Zoom talk by Barbara Dalby on Apitherapy occasioned some lively discussion with the suggestion that people should look into this more thoroughly before undertaking some of the suggested therapies.

Next month we are hoping to have more lively discussion as members bring their current concerns and ideas to our next Zoom meeting.

Regards, and stay safe and well,

Margaret Holdsworth


Beebase News Web feed
  • Survey on how training and information sources for beekeepers and bee farmers can be improved now closed
    20 April 2021
    With thanks to those of you who have already responded. 

    Gyda diolch i'r rhai ohonoch sydd eisoes wedi ymateb. 

    Defra and the Welsh Government want to ensure that beekeepers and bee farmers have access to training and information that can help them implement effective biosecurity and maintain good standards of husbandry, so as to minimise pest and disease risks and improve the sustainability of honeybee populations.

    A questionnaire was available for current beekeepers, people who have recently stopped keeping bees as well as bee farmers to give their views and opinions on the type, accessibility and range of training and information available and how it could be improved. 

    The survey closed on 21 April
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) Vacancies
    19 April 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a number of Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in the following areas South Kent & East Sussex, South West Devon and South East Wales

    If you are interested in applying for the job, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs.

  • Reporting Varroa
    12 April 2021
    Amendments to the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (England) Order 2006, the Bees Diseases and Pest Control (Scotland) Order 2007 and the Bee Diseases and Pests Control (Wales) Order 2006 come into force on the 21st of April 2021 requiring all beekeepers and/or officials in GB to report the presence of Varroa in any of the hives that they manage. This amendment will allow Great Britain to comply with the Animal Health Law which is necessary for future working relationships with the European Union.

    To make this simple, a tick box will be introduced to BeeBase, the voluntary register for beekeepers managed by the National Bee Unit. This will be the easiest way to report Varroa but an alternative mechanism will be provided for those who do not wish to register on the BeeBase system. Details of this alternative system will be provided after 21st April. If Scottish Beekeepers wish to, they can report varroa by contacting the Scottish Bee Health Inspectors (

    Although Varroa is known to be widespread, it continues to be one of the most serious pests faced by beekeepers. Reporting Varroa will contribute to the overall pest and disease surveillance work of the National Bee Unit and the Scottish Bee Health Inspectorate. We are grateful for your assistance with this new simple measure.

    No action will be required until after 21st April.