The club bees go on holiday…

We have now completed the temporary apiary move requested by the National Trust and for at least a couple of seasons we will be operating from the Kennels paddock area at Shugborough.

The National Trust have supplied us with electricity, a water supply and even our own toilet facilities (portaloo) to make life a bit more luxurious.

To move the bees from our old apiary to the new site we sent them on holiday to our Hilton Green apiary for a couple of weeks during November.

This was to ensure that they didn’t wander back to the old location by mistake.

The club bees at Hilton Green Holiday Camp


The club would like to say a big thank you to Chris and Alan Brewin, Clive Stewart, Chris Shaw, Phil Atkin and the all the teams members who made this happen.

Work party members take a welcome break…

Another big thank you is due to Woody Woodward and her catering team who supplied tea and cakes to the members who came along to help with the big move. Thank you to you all.

A message from the National Trust

As the General Manager for the Shugborough Estate, it’s my job to ensure that everything runs smoothly day to day, and also to plan for the long term future of the estate, balancing access and conservation and conserving the estate for future generations.

We have a lot of changes planned over the next few years and we are going to need some patience and understanding from you while we enact them – they are complex and varied and will take time to settle down.

However this creates exciting opportunities too, and we have factored the future of your apiary in to that, meaning that in a few years’ time we will be able to provide the bees with a new orchard home and your students access to training rooms.

I know that your apiary, and the teaching aspect of it, have been at Shugborough for a long time and I look forward to continuing to work with you to secure its future here.

Best wishes
Hayley Miva, General Manager, National Trust

The Story of the Amazing Travelling Shed…

The expensive new shed was half built when we got the news from the National Trust that the apiary had to move. Alan Brewin was distraught at the thought of dismantling the shed and putting it back together again…

A plan was hatched and with a lot of help from Rosie’s husband Paul, (known as Kenty – see photo on right), his trailer and some willing volunteers, the big move was on.
In no time at all the shed was manhandled onto the trailer.

But, would it go through the narrow gap between the garden wall and the railings?

Very gingerly Kenty inched the trailer carrying its precious cargo around the wall. It made it, but only just. Phew that was a close thing…

It was then on to its new location at the Kennels, where it lifted off the trailer and placed into position ready to serve the club, keeping all our beekeeping kit safe and dry.

Alan Brewin was mighty relieved to see the shed arrive in one piece. A big thank you to Kenty and everybody involved for an amazing job.

Paddock Apiary ready for the 2022 season…

The Paddock apiary at the the Kennels is now up and running with the bees waiting for spring and the new season to start.

A lot of hard work from members transformed the old paddock area from a wilderness to the orderly row of bee hives that you see today (12th Jan 2022).

Along the way we had to cut down trees, rebuild hedges, move lots of kit and equipment and have lots of bonfires and of course tea and cake (thank you to Wendy and the catering team).

A big thank you to all the members that gave up time to come and help with the
work and particularly to Chris and Alan Brewin for masterminding the move with
military precision and planning.

The bees received their winter varroa treatment last week and have been
hefted to ensure they have enough food to get them through the winter months.

During the 2022 season the Association apiary at Shugborough will be open every Saturday morning from 10.00am and again on Thursday evenings from 7.00pm.
We will also be running meetings at our Hilton Green apiary this year, starting with a frame and hive box making workshop in late February early March 2022

The 2022 beekeeping season

Happy New Year to all members. This is what you can expect from the association in 2022.

Following the successful move to the new apiary location at Shugborough ‘The Kennels Paddock’, we look forward to all members joining us on Saturday mornings and Thursday nights, commencing in May.  

On a Saturday morning, members are invited to support the apiary working group to undertake weekly inspections.  Thursday nights will be a mix of social and educational, Covid and weather permitting, where all members will have an opportunity to share their experiences and catch up socially.  The apiary and education teams will work closely to identify practical demonstrations deemed appropriate or necessary on our colonies and we will arrange subjects for discussion throughout the season.

If you have any suggestions on topics you would like to see covered or you would like to share your experience with other members, please get in touch with us.

Our education offer will continue with ….

Basic Assessment in Beekeeping
open to all who have managed at least one colony of bees for a minimum of 12 months – 6 study group sessions, followed by at least 2 sessions in the apiary before the assessment in July.

Anyone interested, please let us know before the end of January 2022.

Honeybee Health Certificate: open to those who have passed the Basic Certificate and kept bees for at least 3 years – 6 study group sessions followed by at least 2 sessions in the apiary before the assessment in July.

Anyone interested, please let us know before the 28th of February 2022.

General Certificate in Beekeeping Husbandry:  
Are there any members who have passed the Basic Certificate and have at least 5 years of beekeeping experience?  If so, why don’t you consider joining our Beekeeping General Husbandry study group which will run during 2022, for assessment in 2023. 

Study Groups
We will be running BBKA module study groups throughout 2022 based on the demand from members.  Study groups are a really good way of increasing your beekeeping knowledge and you don’t have to undertake the examination at the end.

We are currently running module 1 Honeybee Management, which takes place on the first Monday of the month via Zoom.  If you would like to join this study group or undertake any of education opportunities above, please email Trevor on Trevorsmith_13@yahoo.com

If you would like any more information about ways in which you can get more experience of handling bees at the apiary, take part in any of the education offers, or if you would just like to help, please email us at ssbka-mail@southstaffsbeekeepers.com

Stay well and safe 

Alan Greenman