31-Mar-21 – Country Living

How bees and drones team up to find landmines

30-Mar-21 – BBC

How is apivectoring innovating agricultural systems?

30-Mar-21 – Open Access Government

How is apivectoring innovating agricultural systems?

Developing Varroa Resistant Bees: Steve Riley’s Guest Blog

26-Mar-21 – The BeeListener

Developing Varroa Resistant Bees: Steve Riley’s Guest Blog.

Neonic authorisation ‘was against expert advice’

26-Mar-21 – Ends Report

Making honey without bees and milk without cows

23-Mar-21 – BBC News

Beekeeper, 89, blasts CPS after it drops charges against three teenagers who were accused of destroying 30 hives

23-Mar-21 – Mail Online

Liquid gold: beekeepers defying Yemen war to produce the best honey

23-Mar-21 – The Guardian

After Almonds, The Beekeepers’ Enduring Race Begins

22-Mar-21 – BeeInformed

The Great Bee Marathon

Honeybees run vaccination programmes, too

20-Mar-21 – The Economist

The Syrian beekeeper helping fellow refugees in West Yorkshire

18-Mar-21 – ITV

Jersey islanders asked to report Asian hornet sightings

17-Mar-21 – ITV

These biodegradable face masks turn into flowers when you plant them

12-Mar-21 – Country Living

What Does The New Ruling On Oxalic Acid In Honey Mean?

10-Mar-21 – BeeInformed

What Does The New Ruling On Oxalic Acid In Honey Mean?

Angelina Jolie named ‘Godmother’ of bees in new humanitarian venture

08-Mar-21 - NME

Angelina Jolie named ‘Godmother’ of bees in new humanitarian venture

Has China messed with your honey? How the country's 'blending' factories are now producing MORE honey than the world's bees

05-Mar-21 – Mail Online

Tory government U-turns on bee-killing pesticide plan after threat of legal action

03-Mar-21 – The Canary

Tory government U-turns on bee-killing pesticide plan after threat of legal action

Neonic seed treatment will not be used on 2021 beet crop

02-Mar-21 – FarmingUK

A common soil pesticide cut wild bee reproduction by 89% – here’s why scientists are worried

02-Mar-21 – The Conversation

Bee Farmer Turns Up the Heat with New Hot Fire Honey

02-Mar-21 – Business News Wales

Bee Farmer Turns Up the Heat with New Hot Fire Honey

Bringing nature to life at the home of Rolls-Royce

28-Feb21 – ProLandscaperMagazine

Bringing nature to life at the home of Rolls-Royce

A quiet conservation success story, the likes of which aren’t told enough

26-Feb-21 – Positive News

Chemical detection triggers honey bee defense against a destructive parasitic threat

25-Jan-21 – Nature Chemical Biology in 2021 Links on  by Peter Halford.

Links and eMails etc. – End of February

Plantwatch: fungus creates fake fragrant flowers to fool bees

17-Feb-21 – The Guardian,from%20Guyana%20in%20South%20America.

 Bee keeper stung by Brexit rules

16-Feb-21 – ITV News

 Scientists explain why plant diversity is crucial for bee conservation

10-Feb-21 – Open Access Government

Scientists explain why plant diversity is crucial for bee conservation

 A pair of skydivers play CATCH in freefall - with a jar of honey

09-Feb-21 – Yahoo News

 Canadian Solar gets the buzz about bees

09-Feb-21 –

 Old drug is new weapon against tsetse flies

04-Feb-21 – The Naked Scientists

 Virtual beekeeping is buzzzing in 2021

04-Feb-21 – Country Living

 The Wildlife Trust challenges ‘unlawful’ use of killer pesticide

03-Feb-21 – Environment Journal

 Brexit: 15 million baby bees could be seized and burned over ‘monumentally stupid’ rules

02-Feb-21 – The Independent

 Flowering inferno: Beekeeper says imported bees could be burned due to Brexit rules

02-Feb-21 – The Mail in 2021 Links on  by Peter Halford.

Links and eMails etc. – End of January

Wildlife Trusts mulls legal action after neonic authorisation

28-Jan-21 – FarmingUK

The Wildlife Trusts explore legal challenge to Government decision to allow emergency use of neonicotinoid

27-Jan-21 – The Wildlife Trusts

UK needs “actions, not words”, argues Labour as environment bill delayed

26-Jan-21 – Labour List

The Bolivian couple saving honey bees from coca deforestation

25-Jan-21 – Reuters

Quarter of known bee species have not been recorded since 1990

22-Jan-21 – The Guardian

Plan Bee: How Labour is seeking to protect Britain’s pollinators

22-Jan-21 – Labour List

EU lawmakers raise concerns about UK 'regression' on pesticides

19-Jan-21 – edie

Defra approves emergency authorisation of neonicotinoid

09-Jan-21 – FarmingUK

The hidden symbols you may have missed in the Bridgerton costumes

08-Jan-21 – Cosmopolitan

Buzzing with excitement! Israeli biologists discover new bee species

08-Jan-21 – Jewish News

Powys Honey Producer One of the Fastest Growing Businesses in Wales

07-Jan-21 – BusinessNewsWales

Powys Honey Producer One of the Fastest Growing Businesses in Wales

Cellnutrition Health Introduces Promising New Vaccine and Immunotherapy

06-Jan-21 – Pharmiweb

Online beekeeping business buzzes towards £2m turnover

06-Jan-21 – The Business Desk

Online beekeeping business buzzes towards £2m turnover

Honeybee venom as cure of cancer

05-Jan-21 – Kashmir Reader

Honeybee venom as cure of cancer in 2021 Links on  by Peter Halford.

Come and have a fun, relaxing evening at the
Saturday July 22nd at 6.00pm

By very kind invitation from Rachael and Simon Bishop

Address:- Stillyans Farm, Maynards Green, HEATHFIELD. TN21 OBU

EVERYONE will need to bring their own chairs, cutlery, plates, glasses and whatever you choose to drink!!

Please choose something from the list that you will be able to supply;-

To accompany BBQ food
Green salad Potato salad Cole slaw Pasta salad    Salad of my choice.
Strawberries & cream Flan/tart Gateaux/cake Desert of my choice

The cost will be £5.00 for HWBK members and £6.00 for partners and friends.

Name   Member £
Name   Non member £
Any dietary requirements.
I will supply                                                                         (enough for approx. 8 people)
I am a ‘dab hand’ at the BBQ and  willing to cook the food..      Yes/No
I enclose a cheque made out to HWBK for £

Please send a cheque made out to HWBK for the full amount with the above slip.

To Rose Marie Riley

12 Buttsfield Lane

East Hoathly


Before the 12 July.

Chair’s AGM Report 2021

This is essentially an overview of 2021 for the HWBKA picking out some of the highlights … and lowlights. More detail can be found in each of the committee members reports which you also have received.

Starting with the ‘lowlights’ we are obviously still being impacted by COVID although not as severely as in 2020 when almost everything stopped.

On more positive notes the Association continues strongly with 247 members, only one down on last year.

Finances are still strong with a healthy balance of ≈£21k although this would have been even greater had we been able to run the course last year in 2020. It is still our hope and intention to be able to fund an Apiary with a permanent Club House and we are slowly building funds to accomplish that.

Despite the BBKA increasing their charges last year, when we had to absorb the cost as we could not do anything about it until the following AGM, we have decided again to maintain our current level of subscriptions and absorb that cost increase once more. Most of your dues do go to the BBKA and for BDI as can see in Peter Halford’s and Rob’s reports. It was for this reason that we changed our rules and constitution to enable us to increase dues by whatever the BBKA impose should we need to, without having to wait for the following years AGM to pass a resolution or hold an EGM.

At the beginning of 2021 it was not at all certain we would be able to run the Beginner’s Course. It represents a major revenue for the Association both financially and in terms of new members. In anticipation of future difficulties, we setup an education sub-committee, an objective for which would be the generation of a comprehensive course manual, and this was completed during the bleak mid-winter and early spring.  Armed with this document we felt that in the worst case we might be able to run the course on a one-to-one basis or in much smaller groups depending on prevailing lockdown criteria at the time. This would of course require a greater number of tutors who may well need the manual for reference. In the event the first 2 classroom-based sessions were held on Zoom and the initial ‘in-the-field’ events one to one with the very much increased number of tutors in their own apiaries. Our tutors did sterling work, and we are very appreciative of their efforts on behalf of the beginners. This all worked well and then in July we recommenced group events. The manual will stand us in good stead for the future and all new beekeepers on the course get a copy to keep so they get our association’s view and are not too confused by all the sometimes-conflicting advice they might get in books and on-line

We held the Taster Day this year in June at my apiary and had a most enjoyable day with 11 participants, including Peter Halford and Talha Dinc who came long to help.

Following on from a laudable initiative from Malcolm 2 years earlier to encourage people through their Basic Assessment, we finally managed to hold the assessment, again in my apiary to better facilitate necessary teas, coffees, brandies etc. 5 people, 4 from HWBKA and one who came up from Hastings and Rother took part. Mike Cullen, a Master Beekeeper from Hastings took us through quite gently. My guilt at not doing it earlier in my beekeeping career finally got the better of me and I too took the test of ‘beekeeping manhood’.

In terms of other events held throughout year they have been quite severely curtailed. Committee Meetings have been held on Zoom as Peter Leswell has had to maintain a strict isolation regime. There were no country fayres we could attend. BeeBanter was off the menu until it re-commenced in the latter half of the year. Attendance at BeeBanters has been somewhat down compared to the past, no doubt because of people’s legitimate concerns over either getting infected or spreading infection. Last month Talha managed to organise a very successful wax workshop which Helen Hadley led, and Sandy Infield hosted in her spacious studio. On the 8th December he has organised our annual Christmas Dinner at the Middle House in Mayfield. We hope you will be able to attend.

Our Association Apiaries are in mostly good fettle, although it has been a tricky year for many beekeepers as indicated in Keith & Steve’s report about Slab Castle. We heard in Jonathan Coote’s Apiarist article about the winter losses. We had a warm February causing the colonies to build quickly and early, followed by a colder dry spell and then a colder wet spell and some colonies never really got up to speed. My own honey crop as with the Associations was less than half the usual.   

Nonetheless Slab Castle is going into the winter with 10 colonies and much work has been done over the year maintaining it and the equipment.

Our lease from WDC for the Horsted Green Apiary was increased to 12 colonies in exchange for which they wanted our assistance with promotion, and you may have seen articles in Ashdown Living Sussex Country Living. I took over from Steve running the Apiary mid-way through the year as the combination of running Slab Castle and Horsted with all the travel that entailed was getting too much. Steve was very largely responsible for setting up the splendid facilities at Horsted for which we owe him a debt of gratitude. There was a very successful queen rearing activity held at Horsted and led by Helen Hadley and Malcolm. We used a particularly vigorous colony of nice gentle bees and produced some 30 or so queens which were given out to various members. We plan to hold something similar next year with more emphasis on teaching the craft. We will also be raising 10 nucs of bees with the very generous assistance of John Miller, to supply future new beekeepers on the course. A small part we can play in reducing the need to import bees from abroad along with whatever plague they might bring in with them.

As mentioned above, it is an awful lot of work running the association apiaries and we hope next year to be able to enlist some permanent or semi-permanent assisting teams to help share the burden and perhaps as a teaching experience too for those less experienced, to learn from the likes of Steve and Keith. There will be a form sent out and at the AGM for those who would like to express interest.

The Apiarist is going out quarterly ‘jam packed’ thanks to the sterling work of Paul with his expertise in DTP

AHAT - fortunately there has been very little activity on the Asian Hornet front, due in no small part to the continuing vigilance of beekeepers nationwide and of course FERA.

The website continues to support our activities and membership very well. The advent of booking forms for events and the eR2 system making life much easier for our Membership Secretary Peter …although it is still a great deal of work he does behind the scenes to keep our Association running smoothly.

SBKA has been quiet and similarly impacted by CV-19 and holding meetings on Zoom. There was no Bee Market this year but the Autumn Convention which was a hybrid live /Zoom meeting had some interesting talks particularly from the folks at Buckfast Abbey.

Having overstayed my statutory three term year as Chair by one year in extremis to get through the COVID crisis this has been my last year …honest!

It’s been fun, an honour and a privilege. I will still be around, however, looking after the little darlings at our Horsted Apiary.

Chair's Report 2019 - 2020

Another year, another AGM. 2019 has been my second and penultimate year as Chairman of the High Weald Beekeepers’ Association.

As ever, I’m indebted to our dedicated Committee and membership who selflessly give of their time and energy in support of bees, beekeeping, and your Association.

Most of you will have seen my Chairman’s report sent out before the AGM, but just to recap a little:

In summary the AGM and Honey Show went well again with a good attendance.

The association continues strongly with membership now over 200.

Finances are very strong with our current bank balance just shy of £20k. Dues remain unchanged for 2019/20, but it is proposed they be increased for 20/21 by £2.00, and we are still one of the lowest cost divisions in the area. This will help us improve facilities for the membership and to build a fighting fund to support future plans for a new apiary.

The training programmes have been very successful again, providing 19 new beekeepers. We held a Taster Day again which was a great success. In addition, we are about to commence a programme of training for the BBKA Basic Assessment.

Although the popularity of apiary visits has been waning for many years now, there has been a very full programme of other activities and themed visits including the usual shows such as the Honey Market at Heathfield School, the Crowborough Fair and Langton Green Fair etc. generating revenue for beekeepers and the Association, and more importantly generating interest in bees and beekeeping.

The association apiary at Slab Castle is in splendid fettle and now has much needed new equipment including new National Hives, a BeeHaus, new suits and a new 6 frame radial extractor for the use of the membership. Steve Davies is now gearing up to support our new apiary at Horsted Green Park.

The website continues to provide useful support for our activities and membership, and the addition of booking forms for events such as talks etc. greatly facilitates our organisation of events. Emails are now sent out via the BDI eR2 system rather than using BCC. This had previously resulted in some email getting blocked by email systems thinking they were spam.

The newly re-vamped Apiarist provides a valuable communication channel for those who aren’t cyber surfers. It is going out quarterly, with many interesting articles

We have an AHAT (Asian Hornet Action Team). Having now seen these beasties in action during our French liaison meeting in Normandy this year, it’s just as well too. There have been some very interesting talks this year about Asian Hornets, from Bob Hogg, a Jersey beekeeper, and most recently from Kay Wreford our RBI at the SBKA Autumn Convention. Suffice to say it behoves us all to be on our toes and contact Helen Searle our AHAT coordinator immediately should we see any suspicious sightings.

The HWBKA had dramatic success at the National Honey Show this year with numerous prizes.

You may recall reading in the last edition of the Apiarist, about our travails over our new apiary site at the Uckfield SANG (Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace) site, now known as Horsted Green Park. The good news is that things are proceeding, and we plan to put bees up there in the spring. The prospect of having our own building there is most probably still a long way off although we will have use of the WDC barn there.  Hence, we will continue the search for other more central locations where it is more likely we’ll be able to put up a building. The surprise event for me was that the committee had decided to present me with a present for my efforts in this enterprise, ‘The Book of Honey’ by Eva Crane ….and very good it is too .. thankyou!

All the above, and more, was reported on at the AGM using the usual PowerPoint presentation.

At the election that followed this part of the agenda several changes to the committee were made. Our constitution dictates that certain roles rotate every 3 years and some other long-standing committee members also finally decided they needed a break. So, it’s with regret, appreciation and deep gratitude we say  farewell but not goodbye to Brian Hopper as President, Rosie Riley as Events Secretary, Amanda Savage as committee member and Sam Bowles as Apiarist editor, and hello to Peter Leswell (President – see elsewhere for Peter’s hello statement for those who don’t know him that well),  Fiona Henniker our new Hon. Sec., Rob Gore our new Hon. Treasurer, Paul Lindstrom our new Apiarist editor and Talha Dinc as committee member. Steve remains on the committee and Peter Halford continues as Membership secretary – see below:-

Committee RolePreviouslyNow
President (3 years)Brian Hopper (X)Peter Leswell
Chairman (3 years)Peter CoxonPeter Coxon
Hon. Sec. (3 years)Peter Halford  (X)Fiona Henniker
Hon.Treas. (3 years)Steve Adams  (X)Rob Gore
Apiarist EditorSam Bowles (X)Paul Lindstrom
Apiary ManagerKeith ObbardKeith Obbard
Assistant A.M.Steve DaviesSteve Davies
Events Sec.Rosie Riley (X)Helen Searle
Membership Sec.Peter HalfordPeter Halford
Train. & Ed. MgrMalcolm WilkieMalcolm Wilkie
MembersAmanda Savage (X)Steve Adams
Helen SearleTalha Dinc

Rather unusually we also had an invited talk from a local MP Huw Merriman who gave us a very interesting insight into the All-Party Group on Bees & Pollinators. It was edifying to learn a little more about the power of lobbying and how it works in our parliamentary system.

Finally, we had the customary prize giving from the Honey Show

Peter Coxon –

Chair – HWBKA