British Beekeepers Association


British Beekeepers Association
12th September 2017

Newsletter for BBKA members

The latest newsletter from BBKA Vice Chairman Margaret Wilson is full of interesting stuff about new exams and how well the current entrants did. It also explains how events at the next Spring Convention will be colour coded so you can work out which session suits your level of beekeeping experience.

September 2017 

Dear Members, 

In the last month, we have discussed several items at the Trustees meeting and we would like to bring you up to date with these suggestions or progress on existing projects. 
Last year there were 590 Beekeepers who applied to take the basic assessment training and of those 518 actually to the assessment and the pass rate was 97%, of those 502 beekeepers there were 348 who passed with credits. General Husbandry was another one, 43 applied to take the assessment 10 withdrew so 33 took the test, 21 of those passed which is 64% and is an improvement on the past few years. 
Advanced Husbandry had 36 candidates applied with 32 taking the test, 18 passed which is 56% and is also better than previously. Defra have sponsored the Husbandry again this year, so watch for the sessions in your area and take advantage of the sponsorship, it is well worth while. 
The Trustees have also reinstated the Technical and Environment committee, it will be joined with Research and will be called Research Technical and Environmental Committee. It will be headed by Pam Hunter and already three scientists have been recruited to advise where we would be best placed to make a real impact on Bee Research. More information in the months to come. 
We are installing two new exams and they are being trailed now, one is on Bee Health and sits between the Basic and the General Husbandry, the other is on Bee Breeding, not to be confused with Queen rearing. This is to improve the quality of Bees in our own apiaries. We would like to eventually have Bee Breeders situated around the country to help maintain good bees, if you are interested in the trials please contact Val Francis or Pam Hunter. 
Now to the Spring Convention, this will be different as the Committee headed by Joyce Nesbit is looking to get behind what you want and to provide that in 2018. We are going to try to colour code the events, new beekeepers, those with a few years’ experience and those who are very experienced. We want to encourage new beekeepers to attend lectures and workshops aimed at their level of beekeeping, to help them to improve their skills, they can of course attend any workshop and lecture but we are trying to encourage new beekeepers to come along and enjoy the experience of the Spring Convention. We also want to stretch those who have experience so we are looking to get the mix just right, if you have any suggestions please contact Joyce Nesbit yourself, she will be pleased to hear from you. 
After another successful show (Countryfile Live) the Shows Committee met to discuss the possibilities for helping the Area Associations to promote beekeeping at Major regional shows. Suggestions are invited as to how the Shows Committee could help you. It was agreed that the Shows Committee work again with the local associations to promote beekeeping and pollinators in general at RHS Chatsworth and Countryfile in 2018 
The IMYB project was a huge success and those volunteers who were there over the weekend gave the contestants something to remember, it was voted one of the best of its kind so many thanks to Ruth and Ian Homer for organising this great event. 
Countryfile on the TV also included interviews with the English contingent and an overview of the whole event, let’s hope that this brings some interest from youngsters who up to now have never considered bees or beekeeping. 
You may know that National Bee Supplies stopped trading earlier this year, the company has been taken over and the new owners ‘Suttons Seeds’ are keen to work with us to promote beekeeping, we are in the initial stages but George Brown thinks it looks promising. 
There is another book now in print, it is about feeding and is available from the BBKA Shop, or if you have invited a Trustee to give you a talk, they will probably be able to bring you some without the postage charges. It will be also be available at the National Honey Show, there will also be one written by Celia Davis on Plants, we are hoping that will be ready at the same time. These have proved very popular, the General Husbandry certainly helped me to get through my assessment successfully. 
We have obtained quotations for next year’s insurance and have managed to get a further reduction of £2,500.00 not a lot, but after last year I did not think I would get any reduction at all. The All Risks Insurance, is work in progress, we had an original quotation for £75K which would have meant £3.00 each if everyone took the insurance out. This was not practical or affordable to those members who may have wanted to take this insurance up, So we had to search elsewhere. We have managed to get a proposal to supply this insurance, but it is in its infancy and the finer details are being worked out. The Insurers seem willing to allow three years for take up, this is what controls the price I have to thank those negotiating this as that is such a good concession. As soon as we have more information we will let you know. 
By the time you receive this letter you will probably have received the budgets for next year and we seem to be on track to have a small surplus this year, (fingers crossed) The Swarm Video. All the shooting necessary to provide the video material is now "in the can" as they say. Launch date ADM this was one of the 3 videos originally sponsored by Rowse. 
Bees in the Curriculum 
Almost complete, style and content agreed and a launch date set for the National Honey Show. This is the teachers' pack to enable them to incorporate honey bee and other pollinator education in primary schools across the country.
School Visitors Pack. 
This has been developed by Sue Webster and is currently being trialled. Launch date Spring Convention. This package is for the lay school visitor, a beekeeper, to deliver talks and activities in primary schools. Hopefully, this introduction will also inspire the teachers to take up and use the Bees in the Curriculum pack. Training will be available for beekeepers who want to participate. Training will be made available from May onwards. 
Healthy Hive Guide. 
The update of this booklet is still on schedule for delivery at the spring convention. General & Advanced Husbandry. Subsidy money has been provided by Defra and training will proceed again this coming year under the watchful eye of Marin Anastasov. 
More candidates are sought for trustees with an interest in education & training to serve on the E&H committee. Get your nominations in to the BBKA office please. Our finances are looking good again, we have watched everything to get best value for money and we will end the year with a surplus again, some of this is due to the fact that Research has not used their budget this year, Pam Hunter who is the lead has had surgery which has immobilised her for a while, but she is back in harness now and is pursuing new ventures in research. 
The Web page design is now approved, we just have to get the script correct, it looks very good, but we want it to do so much more than previously, it also has to be user friendly, so there is a way to go yet. 
The new Data Base system is looking to be on target for January next year that will be such an improvement for the associations and for the office staff as well. The Kitchen at Stoneleigh has been fitted, some tweaks are needed but the basics are there. We can also open windows in the conference room without fear of them dropping out on the head of a pedestrian walking by. 
Work on the main offices starts at the end of this month and will be very disruptive for the staff, walls have to be built and some dismantled, the noise and the dust will not be pleasant however it will be worth it all when it is finished. We are hoping it will take eight weeks so should be finished by the end of November, but we are talking about builders so we will have to wait and see. Because all the office and the stock has to be moved and then the stock all moved back again, we are looking at the opportunity of installing a stock control system, we hold stock for Adopt a beehive as with doing this in house it saves a considerable amount of money and the previous ‘packers’ made quite a lot of mistakes, Clare says she would rather do it herself and get it right. 
We also have all the new booklets, they are sold through the shop and also taken to shows by Trustees and the Shows committee, we want to be in a situation where we have a base stock level for reordering so that if anything needs updating we have the time to do this. We also need to know that the stock issued is accounted for, this year it has made a difference to the costing for the BBKA News as it comes under that umbrella. Sharon Blake who is the editor of the BBKA News has worked wonders this year, producing four books up to now with more in the making, she has also managed to reduce the print costs by £5,000.00 for the BBKA News. Sally Carter gets in the advertising for the magazine and despite the books being ‘extras’ she has managed to get our regular advertisers to dip their hands in their pockets and support each book, a fantastic job by anyone’s standards, this keeps the price down for our members. We have recruited a new member of staff to Help George with his fundraising, Clare Hartry has joined the team and has fitted in quite nicely. She is a young Mum and has a Master’s Degree in Journalism and has worked with the Association of Applied Biologists on their Journal Food and Energy Security, Clare has all the right attributes to help George in his quest for funds. We will have six vacancies for Trustees in January, If you want to see how the BBKA is managed and would want to help influence its future, please apply to be a Trustee by asking your branch to sponsor you with another branch to second you. You need a passion for bees and to be a team player. It can be a challenging role but it has a lot of job satisfaction which goes with it. We work with likeminded people, after all we all look after bees. The skills are used within sub branches , Education, HR, IT, Finance, Shows, Fund Raising, Research and Governance, then we combine all those at the EC meeting discussing the best way forward for each section and ultimately for our members. If you have experience in any of these area’s please consider joining us to make things better. 
Margaret Wilson, BBKA Vice Chairman