Introduction to beekeeping

Would you like to become a beekeeper? Are you interested in what honey bees need?

Come and find out more including:

  • what bees need
  • some key choices for beekeepers
  • a beginner’s guide to keeping bees through the year
  • main beekeeping pests and diseases
  • some key products from the hive
  • a practical session with the bees

To find out more contact Louise Evans on 01489 781155 or by email
or at Meridian Beekeepers’ Association website

There are 2 options:

DateMonday 6 January to 10 February then 2 March (7 sessions) 2020 and a practical session, date TBA
Time7.15-9.15pm. weekly
Cost £95
VenueCurdridge Reading Rooms, Reading Room Lane, Curdridge, Southampton SO32 2HF
DateSaturday 28 and Sunday 29 March then 25 April 2020
Time9.45-4 pm.
VenueCurdridge Reading Rooms, Reading Room Lane, Curdridge, Southampton SO32 2HF

What have students said about the course?
‘excellent course- Informative and with humour and honesty- very keen for the next step’
‘Great teacher- very engaging! : lots of information – could course be slightly longer?’
‘Thank you for re-energising me with my beekeeping’
‘I look at dandelions in lawns with new eyes’

HBA Convention November 2020

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association will be hosting a full-day Convention on Saturday 14 November.
We have invited top speakers and are pleased to say they have accepted. We are discussing topics so you can be sure of talks that are of interest and benefit to us all.
In the meantime, please make a note in your diary. Numbers will be limited so early booking will be advised.
Please come back to this page to look for more information as and when the venue, the speakers and booking arrangements are confirmed.
If you would like to help by stewarding for a short time during the day, please contact us

HBA Honey Show 2019 – Report

Congratulations to all who contributed to making this year’s Hampshire Beekeepers Honey Show a happy success.

On Friday afternoon Mike Barrie from Andover Beekeepers Association arrived with signage, benches and fresh white tablecloths. With a little assistance (or as he had me there, a little assistant) and much jollity and banter- probably made the job longer – we placed them in position ready for the exhibits. I might not have helped had I known he’d beat me to First in the Soft Set Honey class – well done Mike.

He then drove off in the early evening light which was fading rapidly to the entrance and the roundabout to hammer in the signage, a safe distance from the road, pointing the way into the Hampshire Beekeepers Honey Show.

It was fun meeting and chatting to beekeepers from all over the county, exchanging ideas as well as contact details and, as always at such gatherings, making new friendships.

The weather was kind, the motorway on Saturday morning created a little excitement with trying to get some entries in on time but we managed with the help of the volunteer stewards, who, dressed in crisp white coats, hairnets and hats helped to stage the last few items (pots of honey, mead and wax blocks) ready for the similarly attired judges.

A steady stream of notes was stewarded from the show bench to Gillian’s laptop to be recorded and then on to the desk for certificates to be filled out and placed next to the exhibitors’ winning samples.

The purifying scent of beeswax filled the room as the judges watched the steady flame of moulded, non-moulded, decorative and plain candles burn with a golden glow.

Photographs; fun, interesting and educational were critically appraised with helpful notes scribed for the winners.

Cakes, scones, biscuits, sweets and preserves were all tasted and tantalisingly left visible for the visitors to be inspired to bake more with honey.

Crystal clear mead, all in traditional tall bottles with matching corks, gleamed in the sunlight and finally the cosmetics and furniture polish, which added a pertinent perfume of past times when furniture and chopping boards were made of natural wood.

Opposite the encased frames for extraction were the shining silver and gleaming glass trophies which this year were presented to the winners by The Rt. Hon. The Countess of Mountbatten of Burma.Honey show exhibits

The Countess showed great enthusiasm for the need for good forage and the craft of beekeeping, visiting Meon Valley’s spectacular display, including a treasure trail for children, an observation hive, the Asian Hornet tableau, Winchester’s honey extraction equipment including a heather press, Romsey’s candle rolling bench with wax of many colours, Portsmouth’s historic artefacts, the library and Southampton’s sunny sales table.

Having the show in the grounds of Hilliers, with ample parking, its café, shop and arboretum made it a great day out for all the family, educating the general public about the importance of pollinators and providing members of HBA with an easy sales outlet for their hive products.

Best in showChecking the extractor

On Sunday evening the marquee and showrooms were derigged, and the cloths removed for more laundering. Jim Stuart from Andover Association manfully took away the props to be stored.

People wandered in and out of the room over the weekend oblivious of what was involved in setting up a honey show.

Packing up was much quicker than setting up. With the rooms and marquee empty we strolled back beside the parkland tapestry of autumnal colours to our cars and headed home to a welcome cup of tea. Together everyone achieves more. It was that teamwork which made the weekend work so well. This is what HBA stands for and next time even more associations will be showcased and promoting pollinator protection and products from our hives.

Thank you all for your time, efforts and participation.

(You can see some photos taken at the Show if you click here)

Asian Hornets in UK – LATEST NEWS

Asian hornets (Vespa velutina) are easier to spot as the leaves fall from our deciduous trees and pollen and nectar on ivy (one of their favourites) becomes abundant. Honey bees are another favourite because they live as a colony so provide a feast, but no insect species is safe.
Please put monitoring traps where you can watch them, perhaps from your kitchen window.

Recent confirmed sightings in the UK:

  • 11 October 2019 – Christchurch, Dorset
    A second Asian hornet nest was found and destroyed. Thought to be a primary nest, it has been removed and is being tested for genetic links to the one previously found
  • 1 October 2019 – Christchurch, Dorset
    A member of the public sighted an Asian hornet. A nest was found high in an oak tree and has been destroyed but 2 more sightings are being investigated
  • 9 September 2019 – south west of Ashford, Kent
    A member of the public sighted a single Asian hornet. It has been captured; NBU surveillance continues
  • 2 September 2019 – Tamworth, Staffordshire
    The National Bee Unit confirmed a sighting of an Asian hornet after it was reported by a member of the public. The nest was found and destroyed
  • 3 July 2019 – New Milton, Hampshire
    The National Bee Unit confirmed a sighting of an individual, female Asian hornet after it was reported by a member of the public. Based upon visual examination, the hornet is likely to be a queen

It is vital that members of the public are made aware of this threat; an increasing number of sightings are reported by people who are not beekeepers.
Please spread the word.

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Honey Show 2019

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association held a Honey Show on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October 2019 at Hilliers Arboretum, Romsey.

Our bees have had a busy summer and we have harvested their surplus honey and wax. The wonderful display of more than 250 items was open to the public after 13:30 on Saturday and experienced beekeepers were on hand to answer questions.

We also had several displays and attractions including beekeeping history, honey extraction, books, candle rolling; and of course tables with lots of delicious honey to buy, direct from the bees and beekeepers of Hampshire.

We were delighted to welcome The Countess Mountbatten of Burma on Sunday, 20th October at Hillier’s Arboretum circa 15:30 to present our awards.

Please click here for the printable A4 2019 Schedule, which includes a list of prizes, the classes, the recipes, and the rules and regulations. (* see below)

The same schedule is also available in A5 booklet form. (To print, download the schedule then open it in Adobe Reader. Click “File” then “Print”. Under “Page size and handling” click the button labelled “Booklet”. It will print on 4 double-sided sheets of paper, the pages in correct order for folding in half.)

(*) If clicking the links above returns a schedule or forms that are not 2019, please clear your browser cache/history and try again. If you are unable to download the schedule or forms, please contact us and we will email a copy to you.

Used Bee Book Sale

… at the HBA Honey Show on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October, in aid of the HBA Library.
If you have outgrown or duplicate books that are surplus to your requirements, why not sell them at the HBA Honey Show? Either bring them to Hilliers Arboretum on the day or send them with a friend, or contact Avril (see the “Library” page) to arrange collection prior to the event. Please include a note listing each item with the price that you would like to charge, together with your contact details. We will do the rest!
After the event, unsold books will be returned to you together with your ‘takings’ less 15% in aid of the HBA library.
Thank you from Avril.

Early Reminder- taking Hives to the Heather in 2020

HBA members have the privilege of taking their colonies between July and October to the Forestry England (formerly the Forestry Commission) enclosures in the New Forest in order to benefit from the heather when other forage is slim.

The old hands know the procedure but any potential newcomers who fancy a trip down to the Forest and the challenge of dealing with a different type of honey need to plan now. This will allow plenty of time for preparation and a reconnaissance thus avoiding a last-minute panic. The sites available are spread throughout the New Forest with variable ease of access: I will send you a list of the sites available when they are released by the Forestry England.


What to do next to obtain a New Forest Heather Permit:

  • If this is your first application for a permit, contact me asp – deadline 1 June 2020.
  • If you took bees to the Forest last year you will automatically be sent an application form in May.
  • If you took bees last year but do not intend doing so this year, please let us know.


Each hive:£3.85 set by Forestry England (probably a tad higher in 2020)
HBA administration fee:£2.50 (£3.00 in 2020)
Refundable enclosure key deposit:£30.00

One last point: if you wish to take under 5 hives I may have to ask you to share a key.

For more information please email Jim

Healthy Bee Day 2019

A “Healthy Bee Day” will be held at Awbridge Village Hall SO51 0HG on Saturday, 29th June from 9 am to 5 pm.

It is kindly sponsored by Bee Diseases Insurance and led by our seasonal bee inspector.

Only two such events are held in each NBU region each year so we are fortunate in having one in our county.


  • Apiary hygiene and disease control
  • Disease inspections
  • Disease comb recognition
  • European and American Foulbrood and other brood disorders
  • Small Hive Beetle and Tropilaelaps monitoring
  • Varroa – Integrated Pest Management
  • Asian Hornet update

The charge for the day is £10 per person. Light refreshments will be provided.

To book your place please email

You will need to bring:

  • A packed lunch (teas and coffees will be provided)
  • Your freshly cleaned bee suit or jacket and veil, boots and gloves. Leather gloves will not be permitted.

Please go to for directions to the hall. Parking availability is good.

Please note that the visit to the hives is weather dependent.

HBA Honey Show 2019

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association will hold a Honey Show on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October 2019 at Hilliers Arboretum, Romsey

Our bees have had a busy summer and we have harvested their surplus honey and wax. The wonderful display is open to the public after 13:30 on Saturday and experienced beekeepers will be on hand to answer questions.

We will also have several displays and attractions including beekeeping history, books, candle rolling, and of course honey sales.

Please click here for the printable A4 2019 Schedule, which includes a list of prizes, the classes, the recipes, and the rules and regulations. (An A5 booklet-form version will be available soon.)

Please click here for a printable Show entry form. All entries must be received by Saturday 6 October. Please note that entries must be submitted by post.