Report From The Chair.
Can you remember what the weather was like last May. The endless cold North Easterly wind that kept bees inside and went on to badly affect the production of nectar which in turn led to much Queen failure. This appears to be have been a combination of poor stores and weather which meant mating with drones was unsatisfactory.
This honey harvest has got of to a much better start with reports of full supers where the bees have oil seed rape within range. As I write this the wind and rain have prevented any foraging today and temperatures have plummeted with a promise of better temperatures in a couple of days. At the same time it appears that some queens have failed in the last three or four weeks. This could be linked to a lack of drone sperm from last year.
Looking forward you might be thinking about entering your lovely harvest into a local show later in the season. With small local shows its a great way to promote bees and beekeeping and you will also be able to enter classes closely related to bee products.Look out for honey cake and beeswax products. Why not have a go this year.
Lastly it appears that on the bigger estates where shooting provides an income, money is now available under the Stewardship scheme to plant wild flower mixes for bumble bees and small birds. It apparently pays more than corn at the moment, but there's no mention of honey bees although the mix will be visited by them. No doubt it will provide cover for partridge and pheasant. I got this information from my local gamekeeper so its not clear whether this information has been shared with the BBKA. Details on the DEFRA website