‘My Apiary’ – Brian and Karen

Karen and I have two apiaries consisting of eight hives and a couple of nucs.
The first is a south facing apiary with early morning sunshine (when available) in an urban setting, close enough to the Chase to sometimes produce heather honey if the weather is in our favour.

At the moment it consists of 6 hives and a couple of nucs, which will be combined later in the year if required. The apiary is now up to full strength after throwing out a drone layer and replacing it with a split from the same colony.

There was a virgin queen in the original hive, but it appears she never made it back after mating during the heavy rains we had early on. Still that’s all part of beekeeping.

The second apiary consisting of 2 hives is situated in HMP Stafford. Having worked in the prison for 26 years and with Karen working INSIDE as well, we were asked by the Governor, if he purchased a couple of hive with all the basic equipment, could we supply the bees and the knowhow to set up a teaching programme for the inmates.

That was over 3 years ago, and the situation has gone from strength to strength.
Its been very popular with inmates and to date we have taught the basics of beekeeping to half a dozen lads along with a long list of others who have shown an interest.

These two hives have been excellent honey producers, and the honey is now being sold to the inmates in 8 oz squeezy plastic bottles (glass not allowed). The proceeds from the sales help towards the upkeep of the hives, for fondant, wax etc.

The programme has been quite promising, and other establishments around the country have shown an interest, and are considering the same in their prisons. The biggest hurdle with setting up an apiary in a prison is security, but having worked at Stafford for such a long time there were ways to get around the rules.

These last 8 or 9 years have been a challenge, and we’ve had our ups and downs, but we’ve always managed to keep going. HAPPY BEEKEEPING

Club Examination and Assessment results for 2021

Module 2 Products of the Hive.

In April, 5 members sat the online exam, the results being 3 distinctions and two credits. Kate Wilkes scored 90%.


In July the practical assessments took place at Shugborough.

Basic Assessment: 11 members took the assessment, the results being 1 distinction, 9 credits and 1 pass. Ben Bowen achieved a Distinction.

Honey Bee Health Certificate: 3 members took the assessment, all passed.

Thank you to Trevor Smith for all his hard work organising the education courses.

Ambrosia for sale

We are pleased to be able to offer ambrosia again this year. Sadly fondant will not be available.

Our supplier has now given up his agency, and while I have tried to find another competitive supplier I haven’t been able to find such good savings.

Send orders to Dayna by text or email please 07710182468 or dayna.white@virgin.net
State your preferred collection point of SureStore in Cannock or from me in Lichfield.
Orders ASAP please so that I can organise distribution.

Payment by BACS please, the account details are:
• Bank: CAF Bank Ltd
• Account Name: South Staffordshire & District
Beekeepers Association
• Account Number: 00095894
• Sort Code: 40 52 40
using reference: Ambrosia & your name

Jars for sale

lb jars (72 jars per box) cost inc lids @ £25 per box
12oz hex jars (84 jars per box)cost inc lids @ £30 per box

Garden Opening a great success

Remember ‘The Mount’, Cresswell, Stafford, which had an Open Garden week from July 12th to the 18th with all the proceeds going to The Katherine House Hospice.

Well, Chris Williams was really pleased with the turnout saying: ‘We were extremely successful at our garden opening and managed to raise £3,810.

Apparently, this is enough to run the hospice for a morning, including all therapy services. Visitors were very generous, buying plants and raffle tickets. They were also very complimentary about our garden including asking us how many
gardeners we employed! The garden was at its best and appreciated by all our visitors. A huge thank you to all those who supported us.’

Chris Williams

Varroa Treatment

Now is the time of year to carry out varroa treatment on your bees. The winter bees are
starting to hatch, so once you have decided how much honey you want to take off and how much you want to leave for the bees, treat them with one of the approved varroa treatments.

Remember to put your varroa boards in first and do a baseline count before you treat. Go to Beebase and use their handy varroa calculator to check your level of varroa infestation.

There are a number of chemical and biotechnical treatments to choose from, the Club is using Apiguard this season and it is important to change your treatment each year to stop the varroa becoming resistant to it.

It is important that you manage varroa in your hives. If you don’t then colonies could collapse and die. Primary details of biology and control methods can be found in the Fera/NBU booklet ‘Managing Varroa’, which is available online at www.nationalbeeunit.com. This sheet highlights best practice and some important considerations in developing a management programme.

All good bee books have a section about varroa, so get your favourite bee book out now and read up. Varroa feeds on bees by piercing the cuticle of honeybees and grubs with their mouth parts. This feeding can activate and spread various bee viruses and other disease problems. It is generally considered that varroa as a sole bee pest will probably not kill the colony for a number of years, though it does impact on honeybee social
cohesion, ability to function and it can debilitate bees by depriving them of nutrition. However when varroa is acting in conjunction with viruses and other bee disease it can become fatal quite rapidly.

So the message is to read up on varroa and understand how it can affect your bees health and wellbeing and don’t forget to regularly monitor and treat your bees for varroa.