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.

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.

Master Beekeepers in Hampshire

Hampshire currently has 5 Master Beekeepers:

Christine Coulsting Romsey & District Beekeepers’ Association
James Donaldson Fleet Beekeepers’ Association
Angela Gales New Forest Beekeepers’ Association
John Hanks Romsey & District Beekeepers’ Association
Thomas A Salter Andover Beekeepers’ Association

A Master Beekeeper is someone who has gained the BBKA Advanced Theory Certificate by passing all 7 BBKA written modules and has also passed the BBKA Advanced Husbandry Certificate.

It is a great achievement. The written modules cover a broad range of bee-related topics; a candidate who has passed all 7 modules has shown a thorough understanding of bees and beekeeping.
The Advanced Husbandry qualification is tested in person by a panel of experts and covers lecturing, manipulations, bee diseases including microscopy, queen rearing, and an interview.

HBA Committee Meetings


Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association Executive meet about 5 times a year to discuss local and national beekeeping issues. Please email  the HBA Hon. Secretary at secretaryhampshirebeekeepers@gmail.com for more information or to add items to the agenda.

An Annual General Meeting is held in March each year; the agenda and details are distributed through locals
associations’ secretaries.

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association also aims to hold a Convention and a Honey Show each year, which relies on support and involvement from members of our 14 local associations. Please return to this website for news of next year’s events.

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

Gallery – Honey Show 2019

HBA Honey Show 2019

Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association will hold a Honey Show on Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th October 2019 at Hilliers Arboretum, Romsey https://www.hants.gov.uk/thingstodo/hilliergardens/visitus.

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.

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.)

Contact HBA

Please use this to contact Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association: