Honey Press for March 2015
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A New Honey Press

We've made some changes

This is the first Honey Press for quite some time that has not been designed, edited and despatched by Tom Moody.  We would like to thank Tom and his partner Sheilagh for all their hard work in putting together a newsletter that Hexham Beekeepers has every reason to be proud of.

However, Tom decided to lay down his digital pen and a new editorial group is needed to take on the task of producing something that meets the needs of our membership (you) in the twenty first century.

We decided on MailChimp as the vehicle for our email delivery of Honey Press.  We are also looking to replace the printed with a digital only version.  We hope that you like this format so much that you will not miss the paper copy..  What the digital version allows us to do is offer instant links to other digital resources, websites, journal articles, videos and photos.  It also means that the editorial team can collaborate on articles as well as resond to comments from readers.  It means we can introduce new articles.  More of that later.

There are many positive reasons for going to digital only. but that's not all.  Print costs money and a lot of time.  As a community of volunteers, we cannot continue to pay for a product that does not meet all our aspirations to educate and support experienced and novice beekeepers alike.

For all these reasons, we feel we have no choice, but to make this edition the last that will be available in both digital and print.  Please let us know what you think.

Chairman's Report


I’m so pleased to report that the membership of HBKA continues to grow and we hope that the programme of activities planned for this season will sustain that continuing growth. Two events I will mention: one, the North of England Beekeepers Spring Convention at the Beacon Centre Newcastle on Saturday March 28th. Check out this on the website , and secondly, the HBKA trip to Willie Robson’s honey farm at Chainbridge on May the 10th. Places available on both but please sign up today. This is apart from a full range of activities at the association apiary near Wylam.

Lastly, I would like to thank Dr Dorian Pritchard for running his beginners course over the past few years at Kirkley Hall which has given so many beginners an opportunity to learn the basics from someone who has such a wealth of knowledge. I’m pleased that the lectures are now being given by another Hexham beekeeper, Dr Ian Robinson.

Philip Latham


2015 Programme

Beginners Sessions at the Apiary - 2015

In 2015 we again intend to hold some informal, basic, beginners’ sessions at the apiary. They will take place most Sunday afternoons at 2pm starting on Sunday 17th May.

You don’t need to have bees to attend just an interest in seeing what it’s all about. The sessions are open to Hexham members both beginners and those with some experience, who would like to see a range of different beekeeping skills and ways to deal with what you may find in your own hive when you open it. The things we will cover are briefly:- Bee & brood identification and health of the colony. Feeding - what to feed, how & when. Equipment. Swarm control and chemical and non-chemical control of varroa and other diseases.

The sessions will depend to some extent on weather and availability of demonstrators. Anyone wishing to attend should email me, at the address below, so that we know how many people are interested. Please check the website for up to date details of the sessions.

Anyone who feels they would like to help at sessions (no need to be an expert) please contact me on the email address below.

Sue Ewing

Beginners Frame Making Session Sun 27th April at Wall Village Hall at 2pm

To get our Beginners’ Sessions off to a good start we have organised a frame making afternoon. We will also talk about preparing for the coming season.

Learn how to make frames and how to prepare your kit for the coming season. This is a practical session so please bring a small hammer, pliers, strong bladed knife and wooden chopping board (to protect the Village Hall tables). Don’t worry if you don’t have all these things just bring what you can, we will have a few spare.

All beginners and new members welcome, you don’t need to have bees, plus anyone who feels they need a bit of practice at frame making. Experienced frame makers welcome to help, instruct and make frames – we need lots for the coming season. Tea, coffee, biscuits and a good chat provided.

If you would like to come along or want more details please email me at so I know how many people to expect.

2015 Summer Programme (including beginners)

Sunday 24th April - Beginners Frame Making Session Wall Village Hall 2pm

Sunday 10th May – Association visit to Chainbridge Honey Farm

Sunday 17th May - Beginners Session – Wylam

Monday 25th May – County Show

Sunday 31st May - Beginners Session – Wylam

Sunday 7th June – HBKA Apiary Meeting - Wylam

Sunday 14th June - Beginners Session – Wylam

Sunday 21st June - Beginners Session – Wylam

Sunday 28th June - Beginners Session – Wylam

Sunday July 5th - HBKA Apiary Session – Venue TBC

Sunday July 12th - Beginners Session – Wylam

Sunday July 26th - Beginners Session – Wylam

Sunday August 2nd – HBKA Apiary Session – Venue TBC

Sunday August 9th – Beginners Session – Wylam

Sunday August 16th – Beginners Session – Wylam

End August/early Sept - Heather Meeting Date & Venue TBC

September - Beginners Session Putting Bees To Bed - Wylam



Making Hand Cream and Lip Balm

I came across this recipe when I was looking for a soothing hand cream for my daughter. It worked so well that we have been using it on everything from sunburn, to insect bites and nappy rash! It makes a lovely hand cream and has become the only cream I use now. I no longer buy hand creams or moisturisers. I use this cream on my hands, face, heels and anywhere else that needs a bit of TLC.

I don’t sell the cream as I think you need to use sterilised beeswax for cosmetics and I prefer to use wax that has just been ‘cleaned up’ by the bees so it still contains traces of pollen, propolis and honey which are what I think gives the cream it’s good properties. No scientific evidence here, just my opinion. After crush and strain honey extraction I put the residue into a feeder & feed it back to the bees. They take out all the honey and leave beautiful, crumbly, pale wax, which I then put into the freezer, which kills any wax moth larvae that may be present. I take the wax out as I need it.

I use little individual jam pots for the cream as these are a good size, you only need a small amount of the cream at each application and it’s very quick and easy to make. When I make a batch I tend to vary the essential oils I use. ie drops of different oil in each pot.

You can use whichever essential oils (or none) as you prefer. The lavender cream is the most versatile as it is excellent for healing and is good for nappy rash, sunburn and insect bites. Roman chamomile is also good for healing. I like sandalwood or vanilla for my face. Juniper is good for arthritis. A pot of eucalyptus or eucalyptus and camphor is good if you have a cold, rub it into your neck. Peppermint is best for lip balm as it gives a nice zing.

To start scald your washed jars and lids with boiling water then assemble your ingredients:

2 Tbsp Almond Oil

1 Tbsp Coconut Oil (organic)

1 Tbsp Olive Oil (organic)

2 Tbsp grated or crumbled Beeswax

Drops of essential oil of your choice, about 4 -5 per jar for the above amount


Put oils into bowl over a pan of hot water and warm until hot enough to melt the beeswax. Add wax and stir until melted. Cool a little then pour into the sterilized jars. When it starts to solidify add a few drops of essential oil to each pot and stir with a cocktail stick. Makes 4 pots.

Lip Balm

½ tbsp each sunflower oil, coconut oil, almond oil

1 ½ tbsp beeswax

4 drops peppermint oil

Same method as before. This makes a whiter, firmer cream and the peppermint oil is great in lip balm.

I use prefer to use organic oils if I can get them. Waitrose & Tesco sell organic olive oil and Waitrose sells organic coconut oil. Holland and Barrett sell almond oil although not organic.

Give it a try, I hope you like it.

Sue Ewing

Assembling The Ingredients
Adding The Wax
Finished Pots Of Cream
(Don't forget to label them with ingredients)



At the time of writing, we still have seats available on the coach to visit the Chainbridge Honey Farm, at the invitation of Willie Robson.


The visit includes lunch, a talk and guided tour by Willie himself so if you missed our previous emails or are now thinking perhaps you do fancy joining us, please contact me on

Or telephone 01434 618446


The cost is £10 for the coach and £7 for the lunch.


It should be an excellent day out.


Jane Hughes


Next Issue

Our next issue is to be a special remembrance of the life of our former President Colin Weightman.  If anyone has any contribution to add, or pictures of Colin, please send them to Judith Stewart.

Future issues will also contain new features.  We hope to introduce a photography competition, book reviews, a Q & A section, a bee themed quiz, Spot the Bee? cartoons, links to importrant bee articles and research.   All this and more...........provided  we get some volunteers to help with writing articles, proofreading or helping with the design and layout. 

First off we are looking for a new logo to replace the cobbled together one at the top of this issue.  Get designing. 

Anyone interested in making a contribution, please contact us.

Copyright © 2015 Hexham Beekeepers Association, All rights reserved.

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