Spring Convention

Spring Convention and Annual General Meeting

Saturday 16th March 2024

9:30am to 4:30pm

at Forest Hills Hotel, Overton Hill, Frodsham, Cheshire WA6 6HH


09:30 Arrival and registration

9.50 Welcome from Cheshire BKA Chair Pete Sutcliffe

10.00 am

Andrew Durham  

Asian Hornet update

11.00 Break

11.30 am

AGM and presentation of Certificates

12.30: Lunch

13.30 pm

Jane Medwell

Comb changes for healthy bees

14.30 Break

15.00 pm

Rhona Toft

Treatment-free beekeeping

16.00 Questions, final prize draw, close.

also trade stands and books

Members not wishing to attend the Spring Convention are welcome to attend the AGM at 11:30 without charge

Booking for this event now CLOSED

Andrew Durham – Asian Hornet Update

Our speaker will be the Cambridgeshire Beekeeper, Andrew Durham, a speaker at BBKA Asian Hornet Conferences, a regular contributor to the BBKA News on the Asian Hornet, and who for over 9 years has been studying the Asian hornet situation in France with regard to its effect on beekeeping. Drawing on his own research and on a wide range of authoritative and regularly updated sources, from local beekeeping groups to national beekeeping organizations, and from local advice to national guidance on dealing with the hornet; Andrew is able to give a uniquely detailed insight into the Asian hornet situation in France.

If beekeepers are to deal with the Asian Hornet, it is absolutely essential that they understand the existing situation in mainland Europe. In this special briefing we look at the hornet situation as it has developed across the English Channel and why that presents an increasing threat to us here in the UK. We look at why there are hornet surge years and at the hornet’s lifecycle to see how the threat to our bees develops in the apiary. There are many aspects of the hornet’s predation that beekeepers must manage, and we swill consider the effectiveness of measures taken in France to control the hornet. Spring Trapping of Foundress Queens can significantly reduce hornet numbers in the apiary later in the year, so we will examine this, and other measures that the beekeeper can take to make the apiary work for the bee and not the hornet, including use of anti-hornet devices as well as annual management.

Jane Medwell – Comb changes for healthy bees

Jane Medwell learnt beekeeping from her mother in the 1970s, then learnt it all over again in the 1990s, when she set up her own apiaries. She is a Master Beekeeper, BBKA Examiner, trainer, Exam Secretary for Warwickshire and member of Warwick and Leamington Beekeepers. She is also a BBKA Trustee.

This session will examine the vexed issue of comb change in hives because this is a practice which has changed enormously in recent years. We will consider when
it is appropriate (and when not), what conditions bees need to replace comb, the advantages and disadvantages of changing combs and evaluate the various ways to effect full or partial change. We will discuss the use of foundation and drawn comb. The seminar will relate comb change to disease and pest control and the impact on bees at different times in the colony cycle.

Rhona Toft – Treatment free Beekeeping

Rhona Toft is a Master Beekeeper and holder of the Wax Chandlers’ Award, who has been keeping bees with her husband Richard for over 20 years. Since 2007, Rhona’s colonies have been managed without Varroacides. Instead, Rhona has concentrated on developing a population of Varroa-tolerant bees and now manages around 80 colonies as a small business in Worcestershire

Many beekeepers are attracted to the prospect of keeping bees without having to resort to chemical varroacides to ensure colony health. But on a practical level, this is hard to achieve, and the colony losses can be substantial. With six years experience of running treatment-free apiaries, Rhona will outline her practical expertise and recommendations, and most importantly, what to expect realistically for those keen to pursue this beekeeping option.

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