Dear Members,

Hopefully, if you have not lost too many swarms you will be seeing your supers fill up with honey during July. This is the month that, as colonies will be at their strongest, don’t forget that a lot of hatching bees also means a lot of hatching varroa mites - so, be prepared, and if you have not done so already, order your varroa treatments to use next month.

The Rugby beekeepers stall at the Dunchurch fete was apparently well attended and both honey sales and candle rolling were popular with the public. These events are vital for us as beekeepers to attend, and as the main aims and objectives of the branch are to inform and educate the public about bees and beekeeping this is a golden opportunity for us to do so. If you can offer to help in the future, it is often an enjoyable opportunity to share your enthusiasm about beekeeping. The event this year was organized efficiently by Helen Ireland, one of our newer beekeepers.

The issue of defensive or aggressive bees has recently come to the fore in my apiary and I have heard from others experiencing something similar. Aggressive bees in an urban setting are difficult to manage and as I am finding, it is often difficult to identify from which of a number of hives they are originating, so it is difficult to deal with the problem. I define aggressive bees as either those who when you open the hive start to bat on your veil or attack your hands, but more importantly those which follow you from the apiary and mean you need to keep your veil on, even at a distance from the hive and are also likely to attack any casual passers-by. These are the ones which are difficult to deal with - which of 5 or six hives/nucs are they flying from?

Record keeping is obviously important and recently I came across a copy of records that detail behaviour traits like running on the comb, following, and attacking the veil. I am thinking that perhaps if I included this detail in my notes it may make it easier to identify the offending hive. If neighbours or passers-by are being attacked it is important to deal with the problem, however, it is also possible that external factors may influence bee behaviour so it is important to measure this over time and not react precipitously as weather, rough handling, availability of forage, and queenlessness (or a new queen starting out) can all influence bee behaviour and need to be ruled out before taking drastic action. 

Also, if we have ‘badly behaved’ bees we should be aware that by breeding drones from these hives we are helping to spread these genetics in the wider bee-keeping community and we should take steps to remove them. This means once you have identified the culprit hive you need not only to remove the queen and re-queen but also remove any drone brood in the hive. 

Speaking of drones, I have noticed that some of my hives seem to have very few drones and I wonder if this is something others have observed, or whether it is owing to most of my hives currently having new queens. 

At our next Apiary meeting we will be dealing with removing honey and extracting, so do come along to discuss any issues. Also, if you wish to loan the Branch Extractor please contact Steve Martin to book a turn.

Regards, and stay safe and well.

Margaret Holdsworth  


Beebase News Web feed
  • 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
  • Asian hornet confirmed in the Rayleigh area of Essex
    28 September 2022
    A local Asian Hornet Team member in the Rayleigh area of Essex captured three hornets and reported this using the Asian Hornet Watch app. National Bee Unit inspectors were  dispatched to the location to carry out enhanced surveillance and the hornets were confirmed as Asian hornet (Vespa velutina).

    An Asian hornet nest in a sycamore tree was killed in the Rayleigh area of Essex on Friday the 30th September and removed the following day.  Monitoring will continue in the area supported by local beekeepers.

    The ‘Asian Hornet Watch’ app is free to download from the Apple and  Android app stores.

    Further information regarding the Asian hornet can be found on our Asian hornet page of BeeBase and on Defra's news page. Please direct all media enquiries to the Defra Press Office: 0330 0416560.