Today was the December meeting of DARG, the Devon Apicultural Research Group, held at Uplowman, a village near Tiverton in East Devon. It was a good day for the meeting as it was chucking down with rain all day so I’d have been doing nothing outdoors.
I’d missed the AGM last month as I was away on holiday but I remembered to hand Chris Utting a tenner for my annual sub today. Things may be looking up with DARG as there were 15 people there, which is more than usual, and several were younger than me!
The theme of the day was to wind up the current year and to plan next year. Our Treasurer, Bob Ogden, has been kidnapped by his daughter and whisked away to her home in Lancashire to live, so we won’t see him again, probably. A letter will be sent to thank him for his many years service. Chris Utting was formally elected as his replacement.
Chairman Richard Ball told us of some new EU Data Protection Regulations under which it appears that we won’t be able to keep a list of our members on a computer. I suggested that we do something really novel and use paper instead but that won’t be allowed either. We’ve got until next May to get our heads round it.
Much of the year’s activity has involved microscopy of pollen and of queen spermathecae. It is now looking as if the disrupted spermathecae may be the result of normal ageing rather than mite-transmitted virus as some queens with healthy spermathecae had been laden with viruses. Glyn Davies has been able to count the spore density of nosema but could not tell whether they were Nosema apis or ceranae. Professor Keith-Lucas has examined pollen from the Holy Shroud and found that it matches pollen from the Holy Land.
Next year’s programme with commence on 14th January at Buckfast Abbey apiary/studio where Brother Adam’s successor, Claire Densley, will lead us on Chronic Paralysis Virus. February 11th will be either Glyn Davies on drone laying queens or else it will be an Asian Hornet day. 4th March will be a microscopy day at Uplowman, covering both pollen and deformed wing virus. On 8th April we will be playing with an ultra violet camera to look at hives. On 6th May (my birthday!) we will be hunting drone congregation areas in East Devon. 10th June hygienic bees. 8th July microscopy at Quantock’s apiary and big shed. No August meeting. September 7th will be disease and predators day. 7th October to be decided. 3rd November AGM and dinner at Buckfastleigh. 9th December a repeat of today.
Glyn Davies led a discussion on what to do about Asian hornets and the pros and cons of trapping. He’s going to circulate his 10 bullet points for us to consider and comment on.
We finished at 4pm. Driving home through the rain I noticed flooded fields that had been above water in the morning. Miraculously it stopped raining as I got home!