East Lothian Beekeepers' Association

(Founded 1887 – Scotland's Oldest Local Association)



Newsletter 157                                                         February 2011


Looking forward to spring!

I hope that your bees have come through the harsh weather unscathed. I'm glad that my hive went into winter with plenty of stores and have my fingers crossed that it's enough to see them through February and March when the queen should start laying. I'll be hefting the hive regularly this month and next to check there's still a good weight of stores in there.


The AGM in January was well attended and we have three more meetings in the winter programme, so please take the opportunity to come along to hear the speakers and meet your fellow beekeepers.


I've also included the 2011 membership form, which I'd be grateful if you could fill in and return to the Treasurer with your subscription. This year all members will receive a pollen chart on receipt of their subscription, to help identify the plants that your bees are visiting.


Winter Meetings – Haddington Town House, 7.30pm

Wednesday 16 February – In a change to the previously advertised speaker, Stephen Sunderland, Lead Bee Inspector, will talk about 'Notifiable Diseases and the Role of the Bee Inspector'.


Wednesday 9 March – Willie Robson, beekeeper for almost 50 years, from Chainbridge Honey Farm, Berwick-upon-Tweed brings his 'Notes on bees from a bee farmer'.


Wednesday 20 April – Beekeepers' Question Time. A panel of experienced beekeepers field any and every question you can think of about the beekeeping year ahead.

Picking up supplies from Thorne's

If any members are planning a trip to Thorne's and would be willing to pick up supplies for other members too then please let me know when you'll be going and I'll send out an email to the membership. It is possible to phone ahead to order and pay for goods and tell Thorne's  who will be picking them up, which is one way to avoid mistakes and difficulties with payment.


New Novice Section at Gifford Flower Show

In a bid to encourage novice exhibitors at August's Gifford Flower Show, this year will see the introduction of the George Hood Memorial Trophy. This section will only be open to those who have never won a trophy in the Open section, so will be a great opportunity for the less experienced to show the products of their hives. The entrant with the most points from the following sections will be awarded the trophy:

1 x 1lb jar of clear light blossom honey
1 x 1lb jar of naturally granulated honey
1 x 1lb jar of soft set honey
1 shallow frame blossom honey
Three wax candles
One piece of beeswax 8 to 12 ozs
Honey cake (recipe given)
Honey Tablet (recipe given)


There will be more details about the show closer to the time.


Minutes of the AGM on 19th January 2011 by George Barton

1. Apologies from Jo Dodds, Donald Smith, John De Pree, Willa McWhannel, Colin Russell, Nick Cowan and Bill Fife.


2. Minutes of the AGM on 20th January 2010 were read and approved.


3. The Treasurer presented the accounts for the year to 31st December 2010 (Details available to members from the Treasurer)

Income from subscriptions had increased from the previous year and the paid up membership of the Association is now 78. Other income came mostly from the Association Apiary and included honey sales, bee and equipment sales, offset by purchases of equipment. Hospitality costs had increased and reflected the larger number of outside speakers compared to the previous year. Pollen charts had been purchased and these are to be given to members on payment of their subscription for 2011. The meeting voted to keep the membership fee unchanged at £5 per annum.


4. The President reported on the year’s events starting with last year's Winter meetings, all of which were well attended. In January local bee inspectors Angus McGaskill and Jim Anderson talked about tackling the 2009 Scottish Foul Brood outbreaks. Ian Craig, the immediate past President of the SBA, spoke in February about “Selecting, Rearing and Introducing Queens using Honey Producing Colonies” by expanding and contracting the brood area of his hives throughout the year. In March Eurig Scandrett and Sandy Murray spoke about bees in India and Zimbabwe respectively. Sandy may have started a new trend in Scotland of burning dried cow dung in our smokers! In April we were treated to a master class in “Practical Beekeeping” from George Hood. The summer meetings were open days at our own Lennoxlove apiary on alternate Saturdays from May to July. Mike Bain ran his popular winter theory course, tutoring 15 potential new beekeepers. Twelve new beekeepers were supplied with stocks of bees from our apiary and from members’ stocks. Our stand won first prize and a magnificent cup for best small stand in the Haddington Show in July. Unfortunately November's open meeting was poorly attended and December's annual dinner had to be cancelled because of snow. The President thanked all those who had helped in a most successful year.


5. The Honorary Secretary, Jo Dodds, and the Honorary Treasurer, Rosemary Carthy, were unanimously re-elected to their respective posts. The President intimated that it was time he retired since the constitution now states that office bearers should not normally serve for more than three years before relinquishing the position to another member. No nominations for President were made so George Barton was invited to remain in post for a further year. Additional Committee members elected were Colin Mackay, Deborah Mackay and Marcus Wilberforce.


6. It was announced that George Hood who, sadly, died in September 2010, would be commemorated by instituting a new trophy in his name at the annual honey show at the Gifford Flower Show in August. George was a keen competitor and encouraged others to show their honey, so this trophy will be targeted specifically at novice beekeepers.


7. A suggestion from Nick Cowan to organise joint trips to Thorne's in Fife was met with approval. Details to be developed by the Committee, but it was proposed that this could be organised by Secretary Jo Dodds.


Jo Dodds – Secretary            

01875 852916            joannawhittingham@googlemail.com