Learn what happened at the HBA Bee Health Day 2022

HBA members examining infected comb

Learning how to identify a notifiable disease is much easier in a real life situation

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association hosted its Bee Health Day in partnership with our Regional Bee Inspectors on Saturday 18 June 2022. The free event was held at Sparsholt College, Winchester and combined talks from a variety of experts with practical hand-on learning.

After teas and coffee and a catch-up with friends, the day started in the lecture theatre with an overview of exotic pests by Seasonal Bee Inspector Nigel Semmence. There was particularly emphasis on the Asian hornet and Small Hive Beetle.

The Asian hornet information was particularly pertinent to members as most of the incursions so far have been close to our area due to its proximity to the channel ports. It was also interesting to hear (and see, with the benefit of visuals) how the team tracked down and removed the last reported nest in Ascot, Berkshire.

After a break for coffee, our regional bee inspector John Geden talked through how to identify European and American foulbrood in preparation for our afternoon session in the laboratory. This is an important subject not least because as beekeepers, we are legally obliged to report these diseases and therefore must know how to identify them.

At 12.30 members stopped for lunch at the college cafe, there was an excellent choice of reasonably-priced, good quality fare before starting the afternoon workshops.

We were split into three groups which rotated through the workshops. The first workshop was a much more detailed look at Varroa (varroaris), its effect on our honey bees and the various treatment and control techniques open to us. Whilst the threats discussed earlier in the day such as the Asian Hornet and Small Hive Beetle are thankfully at the moment, not of immediate concern, Varroa is a clear and present danger and it was good to be reminded of what we should be doing and when, the options available to us as well as new developments and ideas. 

Seasonal Bee Inspector Mark Lynch

The next workshop, hosted by seasonal bee inspector Mark Lynch was a practical demonstration of the various methods of comb changing and apiary and equipment hygiene.

Mark talked the group through various methods of comb change before demonstrating how to correctly flame a box.

Members discussed comb rotation (the movement of dirtier comb from the centre of the brood nest to the edges of the box prior to removal), the bailey comb change and the Shook swarm method.

Members also looked at the basics of good apiary hygiene, like how to clean a smoker, hive tool and bee suit. The National Bee Unit has produced a series of short videos which are available to you by subscribing to their YouTube channel. You can access the channel by clicking on one of the links in this paragraph.

The third workshop took place in a laboratory and provided the chance to examine frames recently removed by Bee Inspectors infected with European and American Foulbrood. This was an opportunity most beekeepers would not get in an ordinary apiary meeting and was a chance to really expand knowledge of these notifiable diseases.

Reading about EFB and AFB in text books and looking at photographs and videos is one thing but being able to actually see the frames, pull out and dissect infected grubs and carry out the matchstick test really did increase our confidence in being able to identify these diseases.

The workshop, hosted by JohnAvril Earl and Rob Poole, was carried out in strict laboratory conditions with every care being taken to ensure no infection could be transmitted to attendees for onward transmission to their bees. 

John Geden taking a group through a frame

The whole day was extremely informative and interesting and our gratitude goes out to our regional bee inspectors for the time and effort they put in to making the day so useful and enjoyable.

Our bee inspectors are a rare and precious resource, available to all of us free of charge. If any of our members ever worries that their bees are infected with any of the notifiable diseases or pests, the bee inspectors are their to help and are not to be feared. Beebase is also a free resource packed full of definitive information designed to help you to keep your bees healthy and if you haven’t done so already, its a good idea to register there.

The day ended with a questions and answer session and various handouts including a guide to the Miller method of queen rearing and an Asian Hornet fact sheet were handed out.

If you missed the Bee Health Day, we hope this page provides some of the information you missed. If you get a chance to attend next time, it is thoroughly recommended, not just for new beekeepers but for those with more experience too. The most up-to-date information is presented clearly and in an engaging way and encourages and motivates us all to better look after the welfare of our bees.

HBA Honey Show 2022

Honey Shows have been sadly missed in the last 2 years; so this year we look forward to showcasing our hive products at an impressive venue. The HBA Honey Show 2022 will be held at The Great Hall, Winchester. on Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd October.

Image - 2019 HBA Honey Show The Show schedule will be published in the coming weeks, so please come back here to keep up with the latest information. There are several awards, cups and prizes to be won as individuals and for your local association.

Judging will take place on the morning of Saturday 1st October. The exhibits will be on show to the visiting public for the remainder of the weekend. There will be informative displays, books, candle rolling, and honey sales; all organised with the support from Hampshire’s local associations.

If you are an HBA member, please:

  • Make a note in your diary, start saving your best hive products and planning your entries
  • Encourage your beekeeping friends to do likewise
  • Think about offering to help (send us an email)
  • Spread the word – The Great Hall is always worth a visit, even more so with the bonus of a Honey Show

Hampshire Beekeepers Association Autumn Convention 2022

HBA has now agreed on a date and location for the Autumn Convention. The event will be held on the 19th of November 2022 from 09:00 – 16:00 at Sparsholt College near Winchester. A subgroup of the trustees has been set up to make this another fun-filled and informative day for all.

So please save the date and we will update you all on the speakers, vendors, and activities as they are confirmed.

Gallery – Honey Show 2019

HBA Honey Shows

Hampshire is fortunate in having a mild climate and a wide range of forage for our bees ranging from urban gardens to New Forest heather, oilseed rape to wildflower meadow, and more. This means that our bees collect a wide range of nectars making beautiful honeys from the palest (borage) to the darkest (chestnut).
Bees also produce beeswax and our skilled beekeepers use this to make candles, blocks, polishes and cosmetics.

We display our products with pride, and our Honey Shows are open to the public when judging is complete, and experienced beekeepers are always on hand to answer questions. There are many awards to be won across all classes.

Sadly, we have had to put honey shows on hold in 2020 and 2021 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

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

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 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. 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.)

County Events

Hampshire Beekeepers organise county-level events such as honey shows and beekeeping conventions. You may see some listed in the “New on this website” and “Upcoming events” panels to the right of this page.

For locally-organised events and training, please click the ‘Local associations’ link under ‘Contacts’ above.