Beginners course Spring 2018

The B&RBKA Spring beginners course will run for six consecutive Saturdays starting 14th April 2018 from 12:00 mid-day through till around 16:30.

As we will be using our teaching apiary membership of the association is required but the course is open to full and associate members (see membership form for details)

We have a 2 hour theory session in Llandew village hall then on to our teaching apiary for practical hands on for a couple of hours.

The theory sessions broadly follow the WBKA and BBKA basic beekeeping curriculum with added extras.

From day 1 you will be handling live bees (weather permitting)

Booking, please contact David Coles  01497 820419

BRBKA Membership form 2018

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

BRBKA Xmas Meal

Our 2017 Christmas meal at the Old Barn, Three Cocks took place today. We met friends old and new, all had an excellent meal and some good conversation followed by our raffle. The proceeds of the raffle will this year be donated to “Bees Abroad” a very worthy charity.


Thanks to one and all and a very Happy Christmas time.

See you all in the New Year (Oxalic Acid treatment at the Wern 6th January)

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Asian Hornet Meeting

There were two cases of Asian hornets being found near apiaries in Devon this year. See Martyn Hocking’s article here –

All beekeepers in the area are invited to an open meeting on Saturday, 20th January, 2018 in Harberton Parish Hall, TQ9 7SD, 2.00pm – 5.00pm at which Martyn Hocking will be the guest speaker and where there will be an opportunity to discuss strategy.

Martyn feels that there is only a short time in which to get organised and prepared for the arrival of the next Asian Hornet queen, if we are to have any chance of keeping this non-native species out of the UK.

Please email Jill Beagley if you are intending to go to this meeting.

Useful links

There is also a new app for mobile phones to help report asian hornet sightings –

Send details of any sightings, with a photograph and location information, by email to:

YouTube video of the Asian Hornet in action at the entrance of a French hive –

There is a useful Asian Hornet website page on the Ryedale Beekeepers’

Association website –

Best wishes

Phil Chandler


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Honey crop declining Warning

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Varroa Tolerant Bees – Ron Hoskins Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group

On Saturday 21st October 2017 we were very pleased to welcome Ron Hoskins of the Swindon Honeybee Conservation Group to talk about his research into varroa tolerant bees.

On the face of it the words ‘varroa tolerant bees’ is not quite believable given that we as beekeepers are told that we must treat our bees for varroa by those who ‘know’. Those who surely know more than us the simple beekeeper. We have to fork out often hundreds of pounds to ply our lovely bees with nasty chemicals. Are there really no other alternatives and what are the side effects?

The WBKA in recent years carried out a survey (page 25)  asking its beekeepers how many hives they lost; those beekeepers who treat for varroa and those who don’t. The findings showed that the beekeepers who didn’t treat for varroa lost fewer colonies over winter.

Beekeepers who don’t treat are castigated by the community for overloading everyone else’s colonies with their varroa ridden bees as they abscond from their own colony to live with another colony as their colony dies away. All I ask is ‘where is the evidence for this’. Is it any wonder that approximately half of the beekeepers in Wales prefer not to join an association when they are almost ordered to treat their bees with no hard evidence.

Earlier this year I visited Ron at his group’s breeding apiary. Ron and his team monitor several characteristics of colonies including varroa drop, but they look for more than just the numbers dropping they are looking for the percentage of bees that have bite marks on them. Why?

In the mid 1990s Ron noticed that the varroa from one colony had ‘bite’ marks on it whereas the varroa from others didn’t. He stopped treating the colony with damaged mites for varroa and it thrived.

Ron and the team have worked tirelessly since then to find evidence for the hypotheses that bees bite varroa from each other. He has an observation hive in his apiary laboratory and managed to film one bee pulling a varroa from another. Now the bees can remove varroa themselves from much of their body, but when the varroa embeds itself between thorax and abdomen on the upper side of the bee, it simply can’t access it. This is when Ron filmed a bee removing a varroa from such a position on another bee with its mouth parts.

Ron and the team have observed other varroa related hygienic behaviour including the bees removing pupae that have varroa on them. Ron noticed the white antenna of the pupae appearing on the floor as well as young under developed varroa This triggered him to investigate further and to film bees removing varroa infested pupae.

Deformed wing virus DWV is also related to an over infestation of varroa. Working with an entomologist and a virologist (marine biology) it was found that Ron’s bees had a type of DWV that the bees can live quite happily with. As Ron explains the entomologist is an insect specialist but not a virus expert. As beekeepers we need the two to work together.

Ron has not seen a bee with DWV in his colonies, yet his bees thrive alongside varroa. How closely do you look at your bees? Ron explained about the different causes for wings being deformed and the key one really is full grown adult bees with deformed wings. You may also have seen small bees with deformed wings, this is caused by the varroa sucking so much of the bodily fluids, up to 60% from the bee. Also bees with wings that are ‘points’. Apparently this is because the bees cannot pump th wings up. Note the differences.

I can only provide a taster of Ron’s talk to us today, but I will continue to visit him, I will start to look for varroa with bite marks in colonies I have that don’t have DWV. I will treat colonies that I feel need treating, but not those that I judge don’t need it. In the meantime I aim to look out for those key pointers relating to hygienic bees. I also feel that breeding queens by AI using the semen from the Swindon bees can be a step to our local bees becoming more varroa hygienic.

Many thanks again the Ron and Eddy Eggleston for visiting us today.

Also special thanks to those who brought cake with them! Claire, Sue, Lyn and Alan and everyone who helped to make this a successful session

Continue reading

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Mr Khamis’ Zanzibar-England Beekeeping Exchange

Through setting up the beekeeping society at my university, I have come across other young dynamic beekeepers who are doing/have done very cool things!

One of these people is George, who is currently taking a year out of his medical degree to dedicate himself to bees. This November he is going to New Zealand to get a taste for the commercial season, and next year he is hoping to bring a Zanzibar beekeeping contact, Mr Khamis, to the UK to experience British beekeeping methods.

He is currently fundraising, and would be very grateful for any support you could give. Read more about his time in Zanzibar and his plans for the Beekeeping Exchange, and find the link for donating here:


Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Christmas Meal 2017

The venue for the B&RBKA Christmas Meal 2017 will be “The Old Barn” at Three Cocks.

The date is 9th December The time 12:30 for 13:00.

Bookings to Peter Bustin with £5.00 deposit/person.

You can email me your choices and either post me your deposit (Bethania Cottage, Upper Chapel, Brecon,LD3 9RG) or I will be at the Ron Hoskins talk this coming Saturday 21st Oct Llanelwedd. and at the Honey Identification workshop on the 25th November. The 25th November is the cut off date.

Menu to download is below :-

Old Barn Christmas Menu 2017

or to view :-

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment