Dear Members,

I am sure those of you who attended Steve Brown’s talk on processing and using wax last month received valuable advice on how to deal with this useful commodity.

It's been said that it's is not possible to call yourself a beekeeper unless you learn to deal with wax! After all, the bees have expended a huge amount of energy and nectar resources on producing wax and we should not just discard it as worthless debris. While you may not yet be able to use it to produce wax polish, candles and cosmetics, cleared wax is valuable in itself to trade in for foundation.

With the cost of living going up, beekeeping equipment and supplies are also rising in price and trading in your wax is a good way of offsetting some of these price rises.  At a recent committee meeting, we were made aware that British Beekeeping Show (AKA BeeTradex), the trade show held at Stoneleigh, which usually takes place in early March has been moved to early February.  While many of the beekeeping traders now have online sales, this event on our doorstep is a convenient place to take your wax to exchange it for foundation. Also, it is possible to avoid transport costs by picking up heavy items like bottles and hive and frame parts. 

You may have noticed that the ivy started flowering early this year, also, you may be seeing a lot of it around as I recently read that one of the consequences of climate change is that ivy has become much more prevalent in the UK.  This is both good and bad news for beekeepers as it is a very valuable source of late-season nectar and pollen for the bees.  Ivy nectar does however crystallize quite hard so is difficult for the bees to dissolve without access to water, sometimes not easy for the bees to find in winter without getting chilled themselves. I was recently shown a picture of the ivy bee on ivy near my apiary. The ivy bee was first recorded in 2001 and has slowly spread north - currently in Rugby! The ivy bee emerges late in the season and feeds mainly on ivy flowers.

Bees are constantly surprising.  Recently I was sent a picture by a beekeeper whose bees were apparently ‘bearding’ outside the entrance to the hive.  Temperatures were below 20 degrees C so overheating was unlikely to be forcing the bees outside to cool off.  Any suggestions about what was happening would be gratefully received.

When recently doing a quick check on my hives to see if they were stocked up with stores for the winter I noticed in one hive that the queen had been laying neat little patches of drone brood.  She is a new queen and the brood pattern was good, no pepper-pot brood which could indicate a drone layer, and the drone brood was neatly round the edge of the brood.  Why would the queen be producing drones at this time of the year when normally the drones are being evicted?  I was at a loss, and then I was told by another beekeeper that he had seen something similar in another hive. So, what is happening?

Perhaps like us the bees are being confused by climate change and thought spring was in the air!

Situations like this remind me that we actually know very little about what goes on in hives and our understanding of why the bees do things is quite incomplete.

Do go along to the Warwickshire Honey show this month.

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.