Chairman's Chat

The BeeHolder, January 2012

At our last meeting (Bees in the time of the Pharaohs) Treasurer Roy Norris remarked how few of our members attended the various bee conventions held in Wales and England. The excuse for not attending the big annual BBKA jamboree could have been that Stoneleigh (Warwickshire) was too far away. But in 2012 the BBKA Spring Convention will be held at Harper Adams University College Campus, Newport, Shropshire – Yes SHROPSHIRE – on Friday 20, Saturday 21, Sunday 22 April 2012

And surely the Royal Showground at Builth Wells, where the Welsh Bee Convention is held, is in everyone’s reach? Saturday March 12th 2012

What excuse could there be not to attend at least one of these conventions? Well it may be that few know of the benefits. Amazing bargains in Bee equipment from the trade stalls. Some liken the rush as a veritable feeding frenzy akin to reef sharks attacking a bucket of bait thrown into the water. Then the lectures, so good that each year the seating has to be increased to cope with the crowds. Then the conversations over lunches or teas; so much knowledge may be imparted. Then the workshops for the specialists. Those who ask for our association, our small Montgomeryshire BKA, to get more “advanced” should just take a small day trip to our neighbouring counties to get the very knowledge and training they desire.

My particular favourite is the National Honey Show in Weybridge at the end of October. I’ve been taken for the last three years as a birthday treat. “How naff is that?...a Honey Show for xxxx sake!” I can hear some say. Well those 3 good people who have taken me have been non-beekeepers and each have come away mesmerized by the experience. Every year, a few days after the show, I have sat amused listening to my benefactors explain to other non-beekeepers the joys of the visit to The Honey Show. The conversation is always the same “....I must say I got lost half way through some lectures and Tony had to explain to me afterwards ....but even he didn’t know what some of the equipment on sale actually did ...but what was amusing was to listen to beekeepers explaining to each other how bits of equipment worked. .... I can see how one can get hooked on beekeeping...”

To make a beekeeper friend at a convention or show all one needs to do is stand by a Trade Stall gazing intently at a small piece of equipment held at arms length. Within minutes one will be in a conversation. More minutes with the arm up and a group discussion is taking place. Why do Roy and I see so few of our members at these conventions?

Statistics show that the more training and knowledge one has about bees, the fewer are the losses. We can give some training in the Montgomeryshire BKA. This coming year we have an oxalic acid Training demonstration in January and other themed demonstrations throughout the year at Gregynog; we have our usual beginners course in February run by Brian Goodwin and we also have a two-day advanced course in February/March again run by Brian. But our catchment area is too small for us to provide some of the more specialist or esoteric stuff. The more advanced stuff must be left to bigger organisations than ours.

Please don’t criticise us for not providing a course on artificial Queen insemination or Royal Jelly collecting: just get in your car and go the 30 to 50 miles to a workshop at one of the National Bee conventions.

See you at one or more next year I hope.

Tony Shaw
Chairman MBKA