Beekeeping

The important bit!

The Beekeeping Group meets weekly via Zoom on Tuesdays at 11 am.  There may also be weekly Field Meetings – but with a flexible approach due to weather conditions, and can be arranged at Paul’s apiary or the participant’s own.   Please remember to check the Calendar in case of any late changes to schedule.  There are no costs or entrance fees.

Our group is led by Paul Vickery, and he may be contacted at 01643 709693, or by email at beekeeping@minehead-district-u3a.org.uk

About the group

Open to anybody who has an interest in keeping bees.  It’s advisable that you have an initial understanding of beekeeping. Maybe follow the same route as other participants by taking the introductory ‘Exmoor Beginners’ Course’  first.  See the Somerset Beekeepers Association for more information on this course.

This group is learning through Zoom meetings while the Coronavirus emergency is on.  If you’re interested in joining, please get in touch with Paul Vickery.

The group started in early 2019 with two members, who have gone from strength to strength this year, developing the skills and confidence to maintain a number of colonies at an apiary on the outskirts of town. Under DEFRA ruling, the honeybee is classified as livestock, so they have been able to attend to their hives whilst adhering to official guidelines.

We have used Zoom for question-and-answer sessions to provide guidance and support.  Everybody had fun getting to grips with the technology.  Members are also studying ‘Honeybee Management’ and will take the BBKA examination in November.    Paul Vickery, Convenor

Video

Beekeeping: an introduction – a short video by Paul Vickery

Latest group news

2021

Congratulations to Karen and Janet who have both passed the British Beekeepers Associations Module 1, in ‘Honeybee management’.  Well done! I know how much work and effort they’ve put into their studies over the recent months.

We met up for coffee a few days ago and they told me about the three colonies they have and the trials and tribulations of the winter / spring period.

You may have noticed over the last few months that there dosen’t seem to be many honeybees in the garden, lots of bumble bees though. Strange, this is the first year we’ve observed this. Probably down to the fact that April was so cold and May was so wet.

I now have two colonies in the apiary and the bees are flying well, bringing in lots of pollen and just starting to bring in nectar. We tend to meet at an apiary as and when both weather and timing permit.

We’ve held a number of Zoom meetings over the autumn and winter period, attended by a few people outside the membership listing who have shown an interest in this fascinating hobby.

If you’d like to join us then please drop me an email.

Paul Vickery

2020

December   I have a film of ‘Apiaries around the world’ that I will be showing during our next Zoom meeting on Tuesday 15 December.  See details below in November news.   A page on ‘Bees at Christmas‘ was contributed to the 2020 Advent Calendar.

November   Our head count was increased when Charles Birch joined us.  As a beekeeper in Wales some thirty years ago, Charles was interested to hear about our group’s activities.  While Janet and Karen are busy studying for their exam next year, I am spending the winter months preparing equipment for next season and perusing articles of bee-related interest.  I have a film of ‘Apiaries around the world’ that I will be showing during our next Zoom meeting on Tuesday 15 December.  It is about 25 minutes long and set to soothing music.  Why not make yourself a cup of coffee and sit back and enjoy?  If you’d like to join the meeting we start at 11 am, so do email me (beekeeping@minehead-district-u3a.org.uk) to ask for the link.  Everyone is welcome: you don’t have to be a beekeeper! Paul Vickery

October  The two members of the group, Janet and Karen, had a variety of questions which were discussed during the recent Zoom meeting.  Margaret also joined us as she has shown an interest in this fascinating hobby.  A variety of topics were discussed ranging from when to put on fondant (a winter feed), and having too many bees in a hive.  The beekeeping year in general has been problematic due to the poor weather conditions.  The ladies have fared better than the master this year, having a reasonable stock of about a dozen jars of honey and also increasing their bee colonies.  Well done.  Don’t forget, anybody who has an interest can join us on our monthly Zoom meetings, held on Tuesday morning at 10.30 am. Paul Vickery

 image of two members in bee suits The recently formed U3A Beekeeping group has two members, Janet and Karen, keen to develop their knowledge and skills as beekeepers.  They have already completed theory studies while attending lessons with the local Exmoor Beekeepers. 

 

Janet and Karen, eager trainee beekeepers, have now acquired their bee suits (see left) and continue to grow in confidence.

 

 

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