As per the last annual report we started 2014 with 4 colonies, all of which survived the winter. At our first meeting in April we found that one of the hives had already swarmed. As well as allowing one of the queen cells to produce a new queen the opportunity was taken to take 2 nuclei based on 2 of the other queen cells. In due course these developed into full colonies increasing the number of hives to 6.
In the middle of the season we were asked at short notice to look after 3 more colonies after one of our members developed an adverse reaction to stings. In the subsequent 2 weeks circumstances conspired to make this a deal more troublesome than expected. Firstly the subsequent meeting was cancelled and then a hive was diagnosed with EFB very close to where the 3 hives had come from. As a precaution it was decided to Shook Swarm the 3 hives. In the process of doing this it was found that all three hives had recently swarmed! Subsequently one of the hives developed drone laying workers, the other two went into winter smaller than ideal.
We thus end the year with 8 colonies.
As you may know we have for many years benefited from the generosity of the Peters who have allowed us to store equipment at Wenham Manor Farmhouse. The Peters moved during the year and we have therefore lost this resource. The increase in colonies has stretched our equipment resources to the limit.
After a good start with the new beekeepers of 2014, attendances at the apiary meetings once again disappointingly tailed off, despite the fantastic cakes and teas provided primarily by Liz Hawes. As well as hosting the BBKA Basic Beekeeping Assessment for 4 of our members (all successful) they were this year joined by candidates from Meon Valley Beekeeping Association.
For the first time in a number of years the Apiary offered a harvest. 80lbs of honey was jarred at a Honey Processing workshop hosted by Hazel & Richard Williams.
Looking forward to 2015. We continue to be on the lookout for an additional apiary site to mitigate any reoccurrence of EFB. An equipment store close to the apiary would also be of benefit. The trustees are always willing to consider ways of utilising the apiary for the benefit of members all ideas are welcome. Two of the trustees enter the final year of their 3-year term in 2015 so please consider taking up the role in 2016 and if interested talk to the trustees.