HBA Winter and Spring Talks, 2021

HBA has arranged a series of 3 excellent talks to be delivered on Zoom while we wait for the pandemic to go away and the beekeeping season to start:

  • Tuesday 19th January at 7 p.m. – Marin Anastasov, BSc, MSc, NDB gave an excellent talk about the “Father of the Drone”
  • Tuesday 16th February at 7.30pm – Dr Peter Kennedy (University of Exeter) will talk on telemetry work on Asian Hornet
  • Wednesday 10th March – Margaret Murdin NDB will talk about “Selecting the right qualities in your bees”

All HBA members should have received a link to the January talk by email, sent on 1st January. If you missed it, please email the HBA honorary secretary. Links to the February and March talks will follow in due course.

HBA Web-Vention tickets

Tickets for our 2020 online convention are now on sale, costing £5. This covers:

  • Talks by 2 excellent speakers (Bob Smith and Celia Davis) with an opportunity to ask questions
  • Entry for all attendees to a lucky dip to win prizes donated by our guest suppliers
  • Entry for all Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association attendees to a draw with several prizes

Numbers are limited so please make sure you have registered in good time.
To buy your ticket, please read through and follow these simple steps:

  1. CLICK HERE then click on the green button to buy your ticket on our Eventbrite page
  2. Then register on Zoom via your CONFIRMATION EMAIL from Eventbrite
  3. The confirmation email from Zoom contains the information that you will need to attend the Web-Vention. Please keep that email safe.

Note – if you lose your Zoom confirmation email or have any difficulties with booking your ticket, please email the HBA Secretary for assistance.

For those who have not used Zoom before, we will be scheduling 2 or 3 short sessions in the week before the Web-Vention so that you can check that everything is working well. Please check this website later for more information. Please email the HBA Secretary if you need assistance with installing Zoom.

CLICK HERE to return to the HBA Web-Vention page.

Asian Hornet Week September 2020

Asian Hornet Week runs from 7th to 13th September 2020

We live on an island relying heavily on imported goods. Accidental importation of the Asian Hornet into France has caused devastation to the European economy, agriculture, and the insect life. From there it has spread to the Channel Islands. Jersey beekeepers have destroyed 38 nests this season so far.

Here in Hampshire, in some areas, this season has been severely affected by wasps in the apiary.
Asian Hornets behave similarly to wasps with three differences; they are faster, blacker and have a bigger stinger. There are two other differences. They can be found in Asian restaurants wrapped in a spring roll and they’ve proved themselves very adaptable in foreign countries.

From August onwards, Asian hornet workers – just like wasps – are losing their source of flower nectar and begin looking elsewhere for sugary energy and may be found preying on your bees, fallen fruit, ivy and near boundary hedges etc.

We need to be monitoring regularly to protect our beneficial insects, and so that we have live samples that could be tracked if necessary. Please register your monitoring stations in apiaries on BeeBase.

  • Open bait stations – a plastic tray with screwed up kitchen roll, a heavy stone, and your liquid bait. Ideally protect these from rain – like a bird table you can watch them come and go; and hopefully obtain a photo

In the Autumn, Asian Hornet nests will be in protected zones away from wind and rain; under the eaves of your house, in your tool shed, the corner of your garage. Worker hornets can be observed on fruit trees, grape vines, and windfall apples and on ivy plants, where they will often be seen taking insects (biting off their head and tails and taking the muscle meat back to their offspring). They have been observed on the carcasses of dead mammals, dead birds and at the back of fish restaurants picking off the prawns – if there are baby hornets in the nest needing protein.

Males and new queens will be produced in the late Autumn and males can be seen feeding on flowers. This is a crucial time to spot Asian Hornets as it is important to find any nests before the queens emerge and go into hibernation. Observe plants, fruits and look around your apiary.
If you think you have seen an Asian Hornet:

  • Get a photo (or sample)
  • If you are not sure or are struggling to get evidence contact your local Asian Hornet Action Team – ahat.hampshirebeekeepers@gmail.com
  • If you are sure and you have evidence, then report on the Asian Hornet Watch App or email alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk and to Janelle Quitman 07447 035 668
  • Janelle has a container of Trappit for those members who want to be involved in a monitoring record programme

Due to current restrictions please make sure that you keep yourself safe and comply with government guidelines. Check BBKA website for updates on how this relates to beekeepers.

HBA Special General Meeting and Annual Council Meeting 2020

Both meetings were held on Monday 9th March 2020 at Badger Farm Community Centre, Winchester SO22 4QB.

The Special General Meeting regarding our new Constitution began at 19:00, chaired by John Lauwerys.   Representation was good, with 10 out of the 14 Hampshire associations present.   John explained that provided 2/3rds of the attendees present agreed to this constitution it could be passed in accordance with the terms of the current HBA constitution for enacting constitutional amendments.

After a short discussion about specialist groups’ rights and partner members’ capitation fee to HBA, John recommended that the meeting adopt this constitution, and if refinements needed to be made they could be implemented at the next ACM.

The meeting voted unanimously to adopt the new constitution.
Thus the new constitution, based on the Charity Commission model constitution,  replaces the HBA constitution previously adopted on 3rd October 2007.

The Special General Meeting was then followed by the Annual Council Meeting summarised as follows:

  • In his address, the Chair (John Lauwerys) stated that the approval of the new constitution will significantly streamline the running of HBA. He thanked individuals who had helped to run HBA and its events throughout the year. He was pleased with the 2019 Honey Show and he, with HBA Hon.Sec. Janelle Quitman, has visited a potential venue for the 2020 Honey Show. John and Janelle had also visited the Principal of Sparsholt College and secured premises to hold the HBA Convention on 14th November, 2020. Janelle is working on Asian Hornet control with the 14 HBA associations, 9 of which now have an Asian Hornet Action Team.
  • Mike Lloyd-Owen (Hon. Treasurer) reported that with no income in 2019 the accounts showed a significant deficit. In light of the planned activities of HBA in 2020 the ACM supported his recommendation for the reintroduction of a capitation fee, to come into effect in 2021. The report and accounts were formally adopted.
  • Janelle Quitman (Hon. Secretary) stated that a paper had been circulated to the membership regarding monitoring for the Asian Hornet, the Honey Show, and the forthcoming Convention in November.
  • Jean Frost (Education secretary) stated that for 2020 15 applications had been submitted for the Bee Health Certificate assessment. All Basic Assessment applications must be submitted to Jean before the end of April.
  • Gillian Bird (website manager) stated that a paper had been circulated to the membership, encouraging all associations to submit information about their events to which others are invited, and changes to contact details.
  • Avril Tillman (Librarian) stated that a paper had been circulated to the membership. The library has moved into another building on the same site. Avril is considering offering weekend access to the library once security issues have been agreed. Avril asked local associations to encourage new beekeepers to visit and make use of the library.
  • Jim Stuart (heather permit facilitator) had circulated a paper. He will retire from this position after 2020. John Lauwerys thanked Jim for his work over many years, covering paperwork, liaison with beekeepers, park rangers, forestry commission and the general public, complaints and advice, as well as being keyholder and manager, and organising fees and maps.
  • Janelle Quitman (AHAT – Asian Hornet Action Team – co-ordinator) explained the cost benefit of placing a bulk order of Suterra/Trappit (the most effective bait) in 5-litre containers that could be distributed among the associations. Monitoring for Asian Hornets daily from a convenient location such as a kitchen window is effective. Once the bait is found, the hornet will make repeat visits to the bait, making tracking easier.
  • Elections – all members of the executive committee are willing to continue. John Lauwerys explained that under the new constitution we do not need to elect any additional members this year. Janelle Quitman was formally elected as Hon. Secretary for a three year term from March 2020; nominated by John Lauwerys and seconded by Jean Frost, carried unanimously.
  • A paper was circulated prior to the meeting on BBKA Annual Delegate Meeting.
  • Insurance will be extended for AHAT teams on a similar basis to swarm collection insurance.
  • The 2021 ACM will be held at Itchen Abbas Village Hall
  • Christine Coulsting (Chair, Romsey) had held a meeting in January for all education officers with a view to improving association training.

John Lauwerys thanked members for their attendance at the ACM and invited everyone to remain for an opportunity of a social gathering with refreshments.

The meeting ended 8.25pm

Covid-19 update 30 July 2020

You will be aware that most events and meetings in the UK have been cancelled as from 16 March 2020 to prevent the spread of this virus. If you plan to attend any beekeeping event, please check with the organisers for up-to-date information.

BBKA have published some helpful advice which can be accessed by clicking here

Please also read Government guidelines and the BeeBase bulletin and advice pages

In a nutshell, we must continue to tend our bees within the constraints of social distancing; alone, or with another member of the same household.

If this means that you cannot care for your bees please let your association know how they can help.

Swarm collection continues but within the constraints of social distancing. If you cannot take the swarm without keeping the safe 2 meter distance, you must let the swarm go.

HBA Honey Show 2020 has had to be postponed for a year. For latest news about our 2020 Convention please click here

HBA Web-Vention, Saturday 14 November 2020


On a wet and windy day, we welcomed beekeepers from Hampshire and beyond to our “Web-Vention” on the morning of Saturday 14 November.
Renowned experts Celia Davis and Bob Smith talked about “Queens” and “Forage”. There were prizes to be won and other features.
Please click on the links below to navigate around the highlights quickly!
Read about our speakers and their topics
The programme
Suppliers’ Lucky Dips
The HBA Draw
Our aim to have a second event in spring

The Speakers

Celia Davis – “The world of the honey bee Queen”

Bob Smith – “Forage for Honey Bees”

Celia covered the structure and life of the honey bee Queen; practical ways to ensure that colonies are headed by fertile, productive Queens Bob talked about forage for honey bees including how far they go, what they forage on, what is best for them, etc
Celia Davis BSc, NDB
Celia started beekeeping in 1980 and now runs two colonies having recently moved house. She has been actively involved with beekeeping education since the early 1990s, serving for six years on the BBKA Examinations Board and continuing to act as a tutor for the Correspondence Course and an examiner at all levels.
Celia holds the NDB, lectures widely and has served her County Association as both Secretary, Chairman and President. She has authored two books, The Honey Bee Inside Out and The Honey Bee Around and About, both of which are very popular.
Bob Smith, NDB
Bob has been keeping bees since the late 70’s, currently managing 9 colonies in 14×12 WBC’s, in 4 quite different apiaries in North Kent.
He was a Seasonal Bee Inspector for 6 years, is a holder of the NDB and the person with responsibility for leading the busy and committed Education Team within the Medway Beekeepers Association. He is also current Chairman of the Central Association of Beekeepers (CABK) whose aim is to “bring science to the beekeeper”

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The Programme

The morning began at 09:30 with a welcome from our Chair, John Lauwerys.
Celia Davis and Bob Smith were the key speakers, with plenty time allowed to answer several questions.
Woven through the programme were short suppliers’ videos, each followed by a “lucky dip” to award a prize (see below) to anyone attending this Web-Vention.
There was also an HBA members-only free draw, the prizes (see below) for which had been donated by local Hampshire associations and HBA.
Our HBA library presented a short informative video to remind us of the rich resource that we have.
The Web-Vention closed at 12:45.
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The Suppliers’ Lucky Dips

We invited some of your favourite suppliers of bee-related goods to attend by way of a short video. In return, each donated an excellent prize that was awarded by a free lucky dip. Everyone who attended this Web-Vention was automatically eligible.

Thornes of Stockbridge
Lin at Thornes gives a warm welcome to beekeepers and browsers.
You will find a wide range of beekeeping equipment downstairs and an Aladdin’s cave of wax working and candle-making supplies upstairs.
Thornes of Stockbridge gave £20-worth of foundation of choice to one lucky person attending our Web-Vention.
Compak South
Compak’s online shop offers a wide range of bottles and containers.
They also provide and association price-list giving reductions of up to 40% for bulk orders. An order for a complete pallet (35 boxes) qualifies for free delivery but they are willing to relax rules and split between 2 addresses by arrangement.
Compak gave 72 1lb honey or 108 8oz hex or 84 12oz hex or 128 8oz round or 72 12oz round honey jars with lids to one lucky person who attended our Web-Vention.
Bee Craft
Bee Craft is the UK’s best selling monthly beekeeping magazine with the largest paid circulation. It is known as ‘The Independent Voice of British Beekeeping’ and is published by Bee Craft Ltd which also publishes a wide range of beekeeping books and booklets.
Bee Craft gave a 12 month hard copy subscription with complimentary digital access and two further prizes of digital subscriptions to lucky people who attended our Web-Vention.

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The HBA Draw

As well as the suppliers’ lucky dips (to which all were eligible) every Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association member who attended this Web-Vention had automatic free entry to the HBA Draw.

HBA donated a £50 Thornes’ voucher as first prize. Other generous donations from local Hampshire associations included Thornes vouchers worth £20, £10 and £5, 2 boxes of nitrile gloves, a smoker, 12 ‘Marigold’ type pairs of gloves, and a Thornes candle mould TS43 with wick.

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Next spring

We are considering a second Web-Vention (or convention, depending on that virus) in early spring 2021.
This page will be updated frequently as soon as information is confirmed, so please come back soon!
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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 show Checking 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 Hornet identified, Gosport September 2020

An Asian hornet has been positively identified in Gosport, Hampshire. Please read the Government press release.

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 a bait station, such as a plastic tray with some scrunched kitchen roll weighted down by a stone, topped with liquid, sugary bait or fallen fruit. Protect it from rain if possible. You can use a bird table but make sure you can watch visitors come and go; and if a suspected Asian hornet visits, take a photo.

Please report sightings using the ‘Asian hornet Watch’ app for Iphone and Android.

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.