Happy New Year.

As we move into 2022 we hope that the restrictions Covid has imposed on us will lessen, and our beekeeping will benefit from meeting other beekeepers and sharing experiences and knowledge at our monthly meetings and at trade shows and the annual national beekeeping Conferences across the UK and Ireland.

Eva Crane, the world renowned researcher and author said “You must remember that you are a beginner [beekeeper] for the first 20 years”, so we all benefit from the knowledge and experience of others. 

Queen bees start laying again in mid January after a December break in brood rearing. This year’s unseasonably warm weather over New Year may influence the bees to start their cycle of brood rearing early, although daylight length may be a greater influence on their behaviour.

Whichever, this is the time to make sure your bees have sufficient stores and access to fresh pollen to support the start of the brood rearing process. Each year the early spring flowers like snowdrops, crocus and hellebores seem to flower earlier, and these are important sources of pollen for the bees, so think about planting these lovely flowers near your hives if possible. Snowdrops are best established ‘in the green’ i.e. planted when they are growing rather than as bulbs.

I was heartened to read that following the catastrophic volcanic eruption on the island of Palma in the Canary Islands, a local beekeeper with 6 hives found 5 of them alive and well after a month of being buried under volcanic ash. The bees had apparently sealed their hives with propolis and survived on their stores until they were ‘rescued’ by the beekeeper. Another example of the amazing adaptability and survivability of honeybees.

Nevertheless, as beekeepers we need to take our responsibility for our bees seriously, and heed of the appeal by our seasonal bee inspector, Colleen Reichling, who, because of the rapid increase in European Foulbrood (EFB) in Warwickshire has appealed to us all to register on BeeBase and to update our details so that she has up to date information about hive locations. This means that she can do inspections of known hives to limit the spread of this destructive disease.

December was a time of festivity and some of us enjoyed our December social at the beginning of the month with a sumptuous array of shared food followed by a fun game of “Turkey foot” dominoes. Two of our new beekeepers ran away with prizes of Christmas cheer (alcohol) while the wooden spoon (chocolates) fell to a more experienced beekeeper. Then some of us shared an enjoyable and social Christmas meal at “Crakerteria”, the annual charity set up in one of the many empty shops in the town centre.

Another Christmas activity for the branch was decorating a tree for the St Andrews parish church annual “Festival of Trees” - which, surprise, surprise, we won for I think the 3rd time in recent years! So well done decorators!

Regards, and stay safe and well.

Margaret Holdsworth  


Beebase News Web feed
  • Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies / Swyddi gwag - Arolygwyr Gwenyn Tymhorol (SBI)
    03 January 2023
    The National Bee Unit currently has  Seasonal Bee Inspector (SBI) vacancies advertised in:
    • Wales: North and Ceredigion.
    • West: Staffordshire, Shropshire
    • East: Norfolk, but particularly north
    • North East: Lincolnshire, East Yorkshire

    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 region.

    Ar hyn o bryd, mae gan yr Uned Wenyn Genedlaethol swyddi gwag ar gyfer Arolygwyr Gwenyn Tymhorol yn y rhanbarthau canlynol:
    • Cymru: Ceredigion a'r gogledd yn bennaf.
    • Gorllewin: Swydd Stafford a Swydd Henffordd
    • Dwyrain: Norfolk, ond ardal y gogledd yn bennaf
    • Gogledd Ddwyrain: Swydd Lincoln a Swydd Dwyrain Efrog

    Os oes gennych ddiddordeb mewn gwneud cais ar gyfer y swyddi hyn, gellir dod o hyd i'r holl fanylion ar Swyddi'r Gwasanaeth Sifil.

    Os oes gennych unrhyw gwestiynau am y rôl, cysylltwch â'r Arolygydd Gwenyn Rhanbarthol ar gyfer y rhanbarth.
  • Annual National Hive Count Commences / Y Cyfrif Cychod Gwenyn Cenedlaethol Blynyddol yn Dechrau
    01 November 2022
    The National Bee Unit is pleased to launch the 2022 National Hive Count today, 1st of November.

    The hard slog of summer beekeeping is done so make yourself a nice cup of tea, grab your laptop and sink into your favourite chair. It’s time to update your BeeBase records!

    We would like to ask all beekeepers to please login to BeeBase and make a note of the total number of colonies you will be taking into the winter as of 1st November 2022. This task is quick and simple, just click here, login and fill in the short form. Even if you have no overwintering colonies this season it is still important to update your BeeBase record to reflect that. This survey will run until 31st December 2022.

    For more information about the Hive Count click here.


    Mae'n bleser gan yr Uned Wenyn Genedlaethol lansio Cyfrif Cychod Gwenyn 2022 heddiw, 1 Tachwedd.

    Mae'r haf hir o gadw gwenyn wedi mynd heibio felly gwnewch baned o de, estynwch eich gliniadur ac ymlaciwch yn eich hoff gadair. Mae'n amser i chi ddiweddaru'ch cofnodion BeeBase!

    Hoffem ofyn i wenynwyr fewngofnodi i BeeBase a gwneud nodyn o gyfanswm nifer y nythfeydd a fydd gennych dros y gaeaf o 1 Tachwedd 2022. Mae'r dasg hon yn un syml a byr, cliciwch yma, mewngofnodwch a chwblhewch y ffurflen. Hyd yn oed os nad oes gennych nythfeydd sy'n gaeafu y tymor hwn, mae'n dal yn bwysig eich bod yn diweddaru eich cofnod BeeBase i gadarnhau hynny. Bydd yr arolwg hwn yn para tan 31 Rhagfyr 2022.

    I gael rhagor o wybodaeth am y Cyfrif Cychod Gwenyn cliciwch yma.
  • Credible sighting of a single Asian hornet in Dover, Kent
    06 October 2022
    National Bee Unit inspectors carried out enhanced surveillance in Dover after a member of the public took a clear photo of an Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) before it flew away.  No further insects were seen.

    Local Asian Hornet Teams have been alerted and are continuing to observe forage and monitor insects in the area.

    The National Bee Unit is encouraging beekeepers and the public to remain vigilant, especially near ivy in full flower which is particularly attractive to Vespa velutina.

    Please report sightings of Vespa velutina using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for iPhone and Android, or the online reporting form. Please direct all media enquires to Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560