Today (yesterday by the time I’ve finished writing this) was the bi-monthly meeting of DARG, the Devon Apicultural Research Group, at Uplowman Village Hall, near Tiverton. The attendance was good, 15 of us, but it’s worrying that our average age is older than me, the two chaps sitting next to me were swapping memories of WW2!
As usual, the session started with nattering and exchange of information. I was told by the editor of the Devon BKA newsletter that a member of my Dorset branch had submitted an article on multiple oxalic acid sublimation, a thing I haven’t tried yet, although I usually do it once in the depth of winter with my home made applicator.
South Devon Beekeepers have a Convention coming up on the 3rd November at Totnes. The speakers and subjects are Celia Davis (who as kept bees almost as long as me!) on Mr Bee, the life of the Drone and on Bee Plants and the Environment.
Prof. Francis Ratnieks of Sussex University will speak on Policing and Conflict Resolution in Honey Bee Colonies. I first met him in 2000 on my first visit to Gormanston and we visited Newgrange together. He was at Sheffield University then.
The third speaker will be Gerry Brierly on the subject of Apitherapy in which she will explain how bee venom has saved her life! She will also share her research on the medicinal properties of honey , apilarnil (what’s that??) pollen, bee bread, royal jelly and propolis.
If you’re over 18 and not a full-time student the price is £16.50 (soaring to £20 after 20th October) plus £3.50 for a pasty lunch if ordered in advance. I paid cash to Lilah who’s organising it. If YOU want to come and learn you can book and pay on line at http://www.devonbeekeepers.org.uk or if you’re not too techie you could email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Our book: Variations on a Beehive is about to be published by Jerry Burbidge of Northern Bee Books. I have contributed a chapter on Top Bar Hives and so will get a free copy. Jerry will have some for sale on his stall at the National Honey Show but only 16 copies so get there early if you want one!
Our next meeting will be at Uplowman on 8th December where the main topic for discussion will be pollen patties etc but before then we have our AGM on 2th November at Buckfastleigh where the guest speaker will be Francis Ratneiks who will happen to be in the area around then.
Lynne Ingram updated us on next year’s visit to Morocco that she’s organising. I went to this year’s and it was very successful. The main problem is that of timing as early May is in the swarming season when beekeepers prefer to be at home. I haven’t yet decided whether to go but, if I do, I shall take a bigger suitcase to allow me to buy souvenirs in the souks.
After all the nattering (and lunch) we got onto the main subject of the day: Pests and Predators. We concentrated on the Asian Hornet and Chris Utting, who is due to give a talk on this tomorrow, ran through his powerpoint presentation. I think we spotted all his spelling mistakes!
Several of those present have been hornet chasing on Jersey and there were samples for us to see. I took a photo but can’t persuade the computer to add it here, or maybe I can (after several attempts!).
They were very impressed with the support given by the Jersey Government, probably much better than we’ll get when the hornets gain a foothold here. Jersey, being a smallish island, has local politicians whose ears are in reach for bending.
We packed up and left as 4pm was approaching. It was well worth attending but, being the first comparatively dry day for ages, I could have been attending to some of my bees.