Skittles Night

Last Friday(17/5/24) was our branch skittles night at the Selly Park Tavern. After a long wait, we were all ready for a night of fun. Ian ran the competition and he started off with the individual round which Lauren won. She declined her prize .Following this was the team knockout stage that was won by Ian’s team comprising of Ian, Barbara, Colin, Clare and Anne. Each of them were presented with a box of  M&S biscuits. The buffet was served at 8 (not  for those on a low carb diet!) and Tim provided the music.

AGM February 2024

This years AGM was made extra special as some of our long serving branch Committee members decided to pass on the committee torch to others (after many years service between them) We presented each of them with a personal, engraved hive tool and a special commemorative gift .

Sam Walker joined the committee in approximately 2017 where she was the newsletter editor until 2019.She then became president of the branch from 2020-2022.Sam then had a year as our swarm coordinator in 2023 and is now concentrating on her own apiary, teaching bee courses and she is currently our branch Asian Hornet co-ordinator.

John Gale has been with the committee for many years and he has done the vast majority of committee roles. He made sure that every month we had a copy of the newsletter. He could often be found in the stores, mending or replacing equipment. John was also our branch swarm coordinator and more recently our honey show manager.

Sharif Khan joined the branch approximately 16 or 17 years ago .He became the president in 2015 and he then moved on to become the treasurer. In 2023 he stepped up and became the acting honey show manager he co ordinated the volunteers ensuring the success of the event.

Jane Nimmo (seen here collecting her  module 5, honey bee biology certificate) has been our education co-ordinator for approximately 4 years. She  ran lots of training courses, queen rearing sessions  and is always encouraging people to take their basic bee assessment. Jane is currently the secretary for the Wbka.

Many thanks on behalf of the B&DBKA for the tireless work they have all done for the branch

HONEY SHOW VOLUNTEERS BARGE TRIP 11/11/23

On a brisk November afternoon, some of the people that volunteered during the Honey show came aboard the good barge “Victoria” for a 2 hour cruise down from Gas Street Basin. Did you know Venice has more gondolas down the canal than Birmingham? The sun was very welcoming, the rain held off and although bee talk was banned during the trip, im sure the ban was lifted on several occasions! A lovely buffet was put on for us .The slightly metallic taste to the pasta was added by Tim who dropped his keys in it(not really .They were found under the table) We had a bit of a sing along as DJ TIm played the tunes for the trip.
After this “do”, some of us ended up in the Tap and Spile. It was a really enjoyable afternoon and evening.

Bumble Bee Conservation Trust

As always, a HUGE Thank You to the Birmingham and District Beekeepers Association for making us so welcome at the Birmingham Honey Show.

Special Thanks also to our 2 Bee Inspired Walsall volunteers for their amazing help on Saturday.

So, we engaged with well over 300 people.

We raised £159.50.

We possibly have 4 new members for BBCT.

We met some great people.

We were overwhelmed with the rise in pollinator awareness, so many people of all ages turning their gardens in to havens for bumblebees.

The weekend left us filled with optimism and hope for the future, we had a lot of fun and talked so much we had sore throats.

We left tired but very happy, calling at a flower known in Stafford known as the Greyhound. A sure source of nectar for thirsty bees!

Ron Rock

Bumble Bee Conversation Trust

Beekeeping experience day at Kuenhe Nagel Aston

Some time ago I was approached by Keunhe Nagel who are interested in housing a bee hive on their company premises in Aston The plans for this are well under way and next spring there will be a hive on site managed by one of our members.
After this  introduction ,I was invited to come and judge their national cake competition , meet some of the staff and let them know a little bit about bees.
Jane joined me and we were made to feel very welcome with exceptionally hospitable hosts.
It all felt a bit surreal as porters took all of the bee displays through the office on a trolley.
We set up our display at lunch time and  the first person I spoke to had bees on his patio in Canada. He actually pays a bee keeper to manage his colony. It looks like I’m moving to Canada!
Then it was down to tasting and judging the cakes( I know. The hardships I have to go through as a beekeeper!)
The site is in quite an industrial district. I had a good look around the area when I was going home(I got lost!) and there seems to be a lot of pockets of greenery and trees.
I’m looking forward to trying some Keuhne Nagel honey next spring/summer
By
Richard James

NATURE BUDDIES BEEKEEPING CLASS

I was approached by Rob the manager of Dorothy Parkes Centre in Smethwick asking if I could run a class about Beekeeping on 2nd Sept for their Nature Buddies students and parents.
I agreed to help out as it was for a good cause. Many thanks to Sam who helped me immensely with honey bee paraphernalia, a virtual hive and other bits and pieces which all came in handy.
The children liked the Bee toys immensely which they could touch and play with.
Finally, everyone thoroughly enjoyed and commended the taste of my honey being way better tasting than any shop bought honey.
Rob contacted me today and commented how well received my class was by all and they would like me to host more classes in the coming weeks. Some local schools have since got in touch with Rob to attend the Beekeeping classes in Sept and Oct.
It seems in the coming weeks and months I’ll be kept busy!

Abid Hussain

Marsh Hill Allotment Open Day

The annual open day was on the 12th August. Due to the fact the allotment had its own apiary they have a stall displaying an observation hive and information for visitors. Also there was a small quantity of honey for sale, unfortunately the honey wasn’t produced from the allotment apiary as the 2 colonies didn’t come through the winter, and the area where the apiary was  before was being developed as below. So there were no colonies on site.
The allotment Committee has gained funding to create a wildflower area with a pond and has given an area to site the new apiary, currently there are 2 colonies but there is space for a total of 6 colonies.
I was there to explain the structure of the colony, the process of honey production and extraction.
Although it was a small affair I had about 15 visitors who were interested in learning more about the honey bee. Amongst the 15 visitors there were about 6 young people who were willing to learn about the bees.
Going forward the committee are looking at having more structured meetings and getting the plot holders more involved. Any honey produced is sold to the plot holders
By Roger Peczek

A Day using an Observation hive at St John,s Church Halesowen

In 2015 the theme for the RHS Britain in Bloom Competition was Pollinators. Being part of the Halesowen in Bloom committee, it seemed a readymade opportunity to take up beekeeping. Visits to Highbury Park, joining the B&DBKA and going to Winterbourne Gardens followed. A hive was purchased from a retiring beekeeper and was set up in a fairly remote and unused church hall walled garden. A local beekeeper offered a six frame NUC of bees, having first inspected the hive and location. So in June 2015 everything was up and running!

The Local Primary School had shown an interest, but the best I could offer was to show them the working hive, from a distance and the safety of the back door to the hall. The following year I gained a lot more experience from working with the bees and beekeepers and I discovered the Observation Hive. This enabled the bees to be shown up close. My talk still consists of a short DVD on the History of the Honey Bee and the Working of the Hive followed by making up a basic hive from the various individual parts. Then all we need are some bees and the front plywood panel of the Observation Hive is taken off. The surprised look on the faces of the children and adults together with their questions is worth getting up early to sort out a frame of brood in all stages and the marked queen. Two frames of stores with open nectar and sealed honey complete the Observation Hive. The Halesowen in Bloom RHS Judging Day takes place every July in St John’s Church, an 11th Century Grade 1 Listed Building. The location of the hives moved to Leasowes Walled Garden some years ago, but the Observation Hive is as popular as ever with children and adults alike.

 

By Ken Rudge

School Visit

One of the aims of our association is to ‘advance the education of the public in the importance of bees in the environment.’ Children and young people are fascinated by bees so surely taking an observation hive full of bees into a school is a good idea?
Two of our members, Jan and Jane, visited Lindsworth School (at the end of June 2023) a specialist school in south Birmingham. The 20 youngsters who took part in the visit were really knowledgeable about bees and enjoyed rolling candles, tasting honey and meeting the queen and her entourage.
The staff enjoyed the visit as well and couldn’t help trying on the bee suits and buzzing around the playground

Gardeners World Live 15/6/23

I was recently asked to attend Gardeners world live as a bee steward.I arrived at the BBKA stand at 9 am for a four hour slot.Their stand was very impressive with lots of information about bees. There was a chance to look at bees and pollen through a microscope and a chance to spot the queen in an observation hive.

Once the public stampeded into the show there was a lot of attention at the stand and a quick chance to try various types of honey(not the mead unfortunately!)

 

The Gardeners world presenters were filming throughout the day but sadly they didnt come and say hello. It amazed me how many people were needed to do the filming.

At the end of my 4 hours I was free to walk around the show and enjoy the wonderful gardens and plants.

Richard James