News Update

Words by
Mary Hunter

Hello everyone, I hope you are safe and well in these troubled times. Here is an update as we progress in the Covid 19 lockdown. This is a long email as there is a lot to consider.

Trading hut and equipment supplies

Ron has put a lot of thought into how to help members look after their bees at this difficult time, please follow the instructions below as they are designed for everyone’s safety and well being. 

Message from Ron Beckwith Trading Secretary.
We are opening the hut on Sunday June 7th at 10 am. This is only possible if members purchasing equipment order items in advance, and observe strict social distancing when collecting. The toilet will not be open at this time. Please do not come to the hut on this occasion if you have not placed an order, as we will not be able to serve you.

If you wish to purchase equipment – We ask everyone to e mail, text or phone the orders to Ron Beckwith  mob. 07979 593 783 by Wednesday 3rd June please, with your phone number and name. 

Please note, we cannot accept add-ons after the order is placed as we will be going to the hut ahead of Sunday to prepare the orders.  

Ron will then let you know how much it will be, and the order will be made up for you to collect at the entrance to the apiary. Collections will be timed to help members observe social distancing. Ron will let you know what time to arrive. 

Please line up on the path, observing social distancing, and your order will be passed to you. Start queuing at the grass area and walk forward when it’s your turn. Please be mindful that allotment plot holders may be working their plots and take care not to block their access. 

There will be a restriction on the wax and frames. The committee have decided that there will be only four packs of each type of frames and four packs of each size wax for each member. 

Payment is only by cheque or cash, correct money only as no change will be given, in an envelope with your name on. Cheques payable to Enfield and District Beekeepers’ Association Trading Account. We will not check the cash until we are at home. 

Unfortunately we will not be supplying jars this year, but we will have treatments later on.

A big THANK YOU to Ron and Carol for organising this for the members. 

Extractor hire 

After reading the Government advice, following the DEFRA Guidance for Beekeeping – which is on Bee Base and also BBKA website –  and taking further advice from the Regional Bee Inspector, the committee has decided it is not possible for us to loan out the honey extractors until further notice. Defra Guidance says You should not share beekeeping equipment with other beekeepers, particularly hive tools and other handheld devices and protective clothing. 

Extractors are close contact equipment and cleaning products which are effective against Covid 19 may not be suitable to clean an extractor as there is a risk that they may leave residues in honey and wax. The use of hot soapy water will melt any residual wax and leave a sticky mess which will be difficult to remove. 

The virus could be transmitted during transport and in a home. If unfortunately a member of the household develops Covid 19 while the extractor is in use, it would be difficult to ensure that it has been cleaned sufficiently to prevent further transmission. We are unable to ensure that the extractors are sanitised before changing hands, and the practicalities of managing the hand over, transport, and use of the extractors mean it is unworkable.

We need to consider the safety of members and the risks are too great. This also applies to the warming cabinet and library books.

If you are unable to extract your honey, why not have a go at producing cut comb. Make up super frames and insert a starter strip of unwired foundation in the top. Bees will pull out the comb, and you have a premium product which will keep really well in the freezer. See articles in BBKA News March / April 2020 

Honey show – watch this space

We have a date, 12-13 September, a venue  at Capel Manor, a honey judge and honey cake class judges booked. The committee will make a decision in July whether this will go ahead. In the mean time trophy holders should keep the trophies awarded last year, and Carole Finlay will contact you about arrangements to return them. Trophies will need to be sanitised before returning and presenting to the new winners.

Swarm collection- see guidance on BBKA website.

Individual swarm collectors will decide how to manage each request for swarm removal. As a general rule the guidnce is not to go through a property to access a swarm. 

Swarm management: do not feed syrup for the first 3 days. Swarms of unknown origin should be quarantined for 6 weeks -2 brood cycles- to ensure they are healthy. They should not be placed on an Association apiary until health checked. If you are on a shared apiary site, it makes sense to protect the bees already there.

Cast swarm is small and contains a virgin queen. Leave a queen excluder between the floor and brood box for 5 days, then remove to allow the queen to mate.

Prime swarm is large. Leave queen excluder between floor and brood box until combs are pulled out and brood is found.


All sessions are on hold until Government guidance permits. We have our programme and the room booked, and will let you know when it is possible for things to happen. 

If you have any questions about your bees, please contact a member of the committee for advice. Members making mutually convenient arrangements for looking after their bees are advised to organise this ahead of time, and to ensure there is sufficient equipment available to hand.

I hope you are managing to stay out of harm’s way in these troubled times.

This week beekeepers celebrated World Bee Day on Wednesday as recognised by the United Nations.

We all care for our bees and recognise their importance in the environment. Have a look and see how others celebrated and manage their bees.

Bee health is our prime concern and there are 18 viruses identified which our bees have to deal with, along with Varroa, nosema, AFB and EFB, and they are remarkably successful despite all this. 

I hope your colonies are healthy and making good progress in this hot weather.

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