Welcome to South Staffordshire and District Beekeepers Association website
SSDBKA is a Registered Charity, Charity Number : 519681. We operate through out the South Staffordshire area covering Stafford, Wolverhampton, Stone and Lichfield. Our aim is to educate those interested in beekeeping and the general public with an interest in bees, about bees and the techniques and requirements for keeping bees.
We are affiliated to the BBKA, British Beekeepers Association
If you have come to this site looking for help with swarms or identifying bees follow this link
If you are here to find out about courses and having an introduction to beekeeping click here.
If you are interested in joining us click here
Hopefully you will find what you are looking for but if not please contact us by clicking here
Whats on this week?
Week beginning Monday 19th August
Monday 12th August
- Group 1 Apiary inspections Shugborough 10am
Wednesday 21st August
- Groups 2&3 Apiary inspections Shugborough 10am
Wednesday 21st August
- Full SS&DBKA committee meeting SureStore 7.30pm.
Thursday 22nd August
- Training and Learning Schedule Shugborough 7pm
- Alan will be covering winter preparation, assessing stores, hefting, fitting mouse guards and making syrup.
- Dayna and Jo will be demonstrating how to make wasp/hornet traps with plastic bottles.
Friday 23rd August
- Groups 2&3 Apiary inspections Shugborough 10am
Have your say!
How well do you think we are doing? SSDBKA exists to support its members, so we committee needs to know how well we doing in meeting the needs of the membership. To that end we have launched a survey which will be emailed to all members and is also available here and at the remaining meetings at Shugborough.
It has been felt for some time that the old pattern of Teaching & Learning that the association offered was falling short, this year we tried something new, and in retrospect very ambitious. However we now need to review what we did and decide how to make it work better in future, so if you have been involved please let us know how it was for you.
We would greatly appreciate you spending the time to give consideration to these questions and responding.
Returns to Alan Greenman. If you wish to email them please use this address: Alan Greenman email@example.com
Important notice: Shugborough & Hilton Green apiaries given the all clear.
After a heart stopping scare when suspect brood was found in one of the colonies at Shugborough, investigations by Ben Bowen our bee inspector found a suspect frame which was sent to the NBU labs for further investigation and Shugborough was put into a voluntary standstill. I am pleased to confirm that the NBU have confirmed this is not EFB, and is most likely Sac brood. The standstill has been lifted and the regular programme of inspections and education has resumed.
Shugborough apiary hits the News!
Follow the link above to find out what the Shropshire has to say about beekeeping thanks to our chair Alan Greenman.
Congratulations to the successful Basic candidates…..Well done!
Top Bar Hive going well…
The top bar hive at Shugborough followed the pattern of many other colonies this season by having a early summer break having made an apparently good start. It may have swarmed but certainly seems to have re-queened. However things are now back on track and combs being created and filled further and further from the main nest which is in the centre of the hive. Below Keith is demonstrating one comb filling nicely with honey.
For any one interested in Top Bar Hives, this one has a centrally placed entrance, the colony was created by shook swarming from a National Brood box in 2018. The bees chose to build from the centre out, though we used the follower boards to restrict the initial space available. As can be seen from the picture above they are moving further out building new comb and the bars beyond the one being held.
Second Bee safari – A select group!
A select band turned out to experience Phil and Keiths out apiary. Nice position at the corner of a field. Notice that the apiary is fenced off, just as well, the other inhabitants were an inquisitive bunch determined to re arrange the mirrors on our cars. Fortunately David used another part of his skill set, ineptly aided by us, to move the cattle into the next field, the grass was greener on the other side! Keith and Phil inspected a number of hives including several WBC’s, most were from swarms. One nucleus was re-hived, another colony thrown out as it was down to handful of bees.
Phil almost put his back out lifting two full supers off a WBC with a colony only housed in May, Summer honey is rolling in.
There was of course tea, cake and cheesy scones to finish, and although huddled under the rear car door we were not disheartened. They say its good to talk and when six beekeepers get together its difficult to stop them. I think we all learned something and it was a very pleasant day.
Thanks to Phil and Keith for hosting, Penny for catering and to those who came along,
The best bit! tea, cake and chat!
The Inspectors Called!
Thursday Beekeeper Education
The new education programme continues this week at Shugborough. Please see the programme on here for current details. Sessions will start promptly at 19:00.
Access will to the apiary will be through the original route next to the walled garden.
There will usually be 3 sessions offered:
- Basic assessment
Beginning Beekeeping Course 2019 apiary sessions began on Saturday 1st June.
At last the beginners course members get to delve into to mysteries of a colony of bees.
First Bee safari – A Great Success!
Our first Bee Safari for a while was held Lapley Wood Farm, where our host Dave Rawsthorne showed us how he operates the site.
Dave has 12 hives on this site and all were inspected by the 18 or so members attending. The sun shone, the bees were generally well behaved, and through up a number of issues for Dave and his willing helpers to sort out.
Best of all there was cake and plenty of hot water for tea. Thanks Margaret and others who supplied cake.
Apiary inspection records go online!
With the increasing complexity of demands on the apiary and our colonies, we are attempting to record the results of the inspections electronically, through our website. The records are stored on the associations Google Drive, and data entered through a Google form embedded in a page. It is now possible to view the inspection data for the whole apiary or individual hives.
If you are interested in what we are up to visit the Apiary Records page here
Shugborough Apiary gets power!
The first Thursday education session of the season saw the weather cold and wet, however it also saw the launch of the new generator, so we had light in the cabin and a fan heater in the marquee….. Whatever next!
Swarm season is with us!
The unseasonable weather has put many colonies in the mood for swarming, they got going early and now are stalled, and the Rape is in full flower. Is there anything that can be done to reduce the risk of swarming?
For some help with methods of splitting colonies check out our Education Page which has some information on different ways on splitting colonies.
2019-20 Committee Elected
The SSDBKA AGM was held on Thursday 28th of March and the following were elected to form the new committee:
- President: Stuart Roberts
- Chair: Alan Greenman
- Treasurer: Claire George
- Secretary: Lynne Lacey
Additional Committee members
- Keith Thompson
- Paul Twibill
- Clive Stewart
- Phil Atkin
- Trevor Smith
- Wendy Woodward
- Dayna White
There are currently spaces on the committee which can be filled by coopting additional members if required.
Committee meets up to 10 times a year as required.
For more information click here
Hilton Green further improvements!
We now have a storage shed in the Hilton Green apiary despite the best efforts of our bees which were determined to distract the shed builders!