Report From The Chair.
Another roller-coaster year
This year has been a roller-coaster for bees and beekeepers. A mild winter followed by a cold April and wet and cool June which meant that bees were always under pressure. Such mini variations in the weather is not unusual in the North East with the strong influence of the the North Sea. Add this to more uncertainty about forage these days and the old certainties are fast disappearing. The only bright period was the two week period from about the 12 of August for those that took their bees to the heather. Talking to experienced beekeepers who worked hard with their bees it appears that the heather honey crop doubled their harvest for the year. Once more this suggests that those who do venture onto the heather are finding good rewards.
Those of you who were able to hear Willie Robson's master class at the Rachel Lowther lecture will realize that Willie is considerably exercised by the pressure that bees are experiencing these days. Such pressure is seen in the failure of queens. Twenty years ago queens would last 2 or 3 years without the need to requeen. Nowadays it seems that queen breeders are also unable to explain why so many of their queens are failing.
Willie has invited HBKA to visit Chainbridge in the next two years when we will be able to find out whether putting shallow frames in the middle of a brood chamber to increase drone counts in hives helps to improve the resilience of his queens
Northumberland BKA AGM October the 4th
It was disappointing but not surprising that only five members from Alnwick and Hexham BKA's attended the AGM. After the formal bit there was discussion about such a poor attendance and whether it matters. It was decided that respective members would report back to their associations about how to proceed. One option to consider was both associations Alnwick and Hexham applying for separate membership of the BBKA. There are smaller associations with such direct membership. Please think about this and bring your views to the AGM in January 2017. See you there and at the talks and socials beforehand.