This evening, without benefit of gps or maps I managed to drive to Sandford Orcas in time for a Sherborne BKA meeting at the Mitre Inn. I don’t think I’ve been to that village before but I might go again as the stone flagged pub serves excellent beer!
The meeting was a magic lantern show by Dorset BKA Chairwoman Lesley Gasson to illustrate her impressions of the recent Apimondia, which was held in Kiev in Ukraine. Mike Whittick was present, as he had taken most of the photos.
Little was said about the main formal event and lectures beyond the confusion and inefficiency of the organisation. People had to queue for most of the day just to book in! Instead, Lesley concentrated on the visits to the local beekeepers in a pre-conference tour. She told us that the ordinary people are absolutely lovely: kind, helpful and generous, but they are totally disorganised.
The photos showed various types of hive: some imitation tree trunks, a little like one of my bait hives, but they were just for show; some conventional ‘stacking box’ hives and some elongated ‘coffin’ hives. Instead of crown boards, the local practice is to use slats of wood so that only a few of the frame tops are exposed at once. They use cotton on top as an insulation layer.
There was plenty of honey, much of which was monofloral as they have vast areas of sunflowers and of acacia, each producing distinctive honeys. One person they visited had about 2 tons of honey in store that he had been unable to sell. In response to a suggestion that he join a marketing cooperative, he said it would all be stolen.
What seems to have impressed Lesley most was that everyone they met plied them with food!
I had been toying with going to Kiev as I have enjoyed the ones I have attended, at Dublin and Montpelier but didn’t fancy the hassle of getting there. I’m now glad I didn’t go! Next Apimondia is it S. Korea, which I shall also miss and following that, in 4 years’ time will be Turkey which I hope to attend.