Hampshire Beekeepers’ Association Posts

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

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:

Date Monday 6 January to 10 February then 2 March (7 sessions) 2020 and a practical session, date TBA
Time 7.15-9.15pm. weekly
Cost £95
Venue Curdridge Reading Rooms, Reading Room Lane, Curdridge, Southampton SO32 2HF
Date Saturday 28 and Sunday 29 March then 25 April 2020
Time 9.45-4 pm.
Cost £95
Venue Curdridge 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 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.

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 rdbkachair@gmail.com

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 www.awbridgevillagehall.com/how_to_find_us.htm 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 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.