Dear Members,

What a wonderful Autumn we are having. Our bees have been out and about bringing in that essential pollen to build up their fat bodies to enable them to stay youthful and survive the five or six months of Winter. 

Those of you who attended Celia Davis’ informative lecture at our last meeting will hopefully now understand what makes the difference between Summer and Winter bees. These wonderful little creatures that we care for have over ages developed in amazing ways to survive the different conditions that climates in different countries and areas throw at them.  These adaptations to local conditions are why there is a strong move to encourage beekeepers not to import queens or packages of bees from other countries.  Apart from the risk that this practice imposes on importing non-native pests and diseases, local bees are best adapted to local conditions.

Some of you may have seen the 2030 Action Plan that the NBU, Defra, BBKA and WelshBKA have formulated to improve the beekeeping practices of bee farmers and hobbyist beekeepers.  There is a stress on Education, mentoring and ongoing training.  It makes interesting reading.

My own experience is that undertaking some of the BBKA modules deepens and increases the pleasure of beekeeping. I realise formal learning is not for everyone, but increasing your knowledge is really important in becoming a good beekeeper and the first step along this path is to take the basic assessment which you can do once you have kept bees for two seasons.  This is a practical assessment and I always think of it as being like a driving licence, it reassures both you and other people that you know the basics and can demonstrate that you do. If you are interested in doing this next year, contact Sam Peckett.

This month there is the opportunity from the 30th November till the 7th December to think about giving a donation to a very worthwhile charity, ‘Bees Abroad’ .  Any donations given in this period mean the charity gets a double contribution from the Big Give Xmas Challenge. Perhaps think about this as an alternative to sending Christmas cards or as a proxy gift for someone who has everything.

For several years Rugby Beekeepers Association members have supported the local Rugby charity ‘Crakerteria’.  This little charity opens every December, taking over an empty town centre shop (this shouldn’t be a problem this year!) and setting up a café/restaurant staffed by volunteers (some with learning difficulties). All profits go towards a tailoring training workshop in India and providing clean drinking water in rural India.  RBKA members come along with their partners to enjoy a 4 course home cooked festive evening meal. Payment for the meal is by donation and it is usually a very enjoyable occasion. Some beekeeping talk may take place, but with respect to partners, other topics make it a sociable and festive time. Please consider joining us this year. Martin will send out details when we know more about where it will be.

Also, don't forget the Festival of Christmas trees (theme this year -‘Let there be Light’) at St Andrews Parish church in December.  There is still time to volunteer your ideas, time and creativity - contact Samantha Peckett for more information.

Regards, and stay safe and well,  

Margaret Holdsworth  


Beebase News Web feed
  • New Appointments within the National Bee Unit
    14 January 2022
    We are pleased to announce the temporary appointment of Dhonn Atkinson as the National Bee Inspector (NBI) whilst the current NBI Cristina Ruiz is on maternity leave. Dhonn has held a variety of roles across the National Bee Unit and Animal and Plant Health Agency where he held the role of Regional Bee Inspector for the North East of England.

    Following the retirement of Keith Morgan, Colin Pavey, and shortly Frank Gellatly and the temporary promotion of Sandra Gray, we are pleased to confirm the following movements and appointments:-

    Regional Bee Inspector for Western England – Jonathan Axe has been promoted from the role of Seasonal Bee Inspector.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Eastern England - Pete Davies, an experienced manager has moved from the Central England Region.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Central England - John Geden. John joins the National Bee Unit as an experienced bee farmer.

    Regional Bee Inspector for South East – Daniel Etheridge a seasonal bee inspector has been offered a temporary promotion to manage this area.

    Regional Bee Inspector for Wales – Maggie Gill has been promoted from the role of Seasonal Bee Inspector.

    Regional Bee Inspector for North East England – David Bough a seasonal bee inspector has been offered a temporary promotion to manage this area.

    For full up to date details please visit the contacts page
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies
    21 December 2021
    The National Bee Unit currently has a Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancy advertised in:

    East England: Norfolk.

    North East England: East Yorkshire

    Mid-South Wales: Swansea, Neath Port Talbot, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Merthyr Tydfil, South Pembrokeshire, West Carmarthenshire

    West England: South East Shropshire, South Staffordshire, North West Worcestershire

    If you are interested in applying for these jobs, full details can be found on Civil Service Jobs

    If you have any questions regarding the position, please contact the Regional Bee Inspector for the area.

    Closing date for application: 16th January 2022
  • Bee Health Advisory Forum - Science Advisor
    08 November 2021
    The Bee Health Advisory Forum brings Defra & Welsh Government policy and stakeholders together to discuss honey bee health issues and is inviting expressions of interest from applicants interested in being Bee Health Advisory Forum Science Advisors. The closing date for applications is Friday 17th December at 17:00.

    Full details about the role can be downloaded here and can be found on the Bee Health Advisory page. Please circulate to prospective advisors or feel free to apply.