Sunday, 15 November 2015

A talk from the only beekeeper training centre in the country >>> Sidmouth Library: Tuesday 17th November

There are many projects out there to help bees, just looking at the latest:

Homeowners' bid to save Britain's dwindling bee population - Telegraph
NFU urges Government to recognise farmers’ role in bee protection - News - FG Insight

New pollinator projects announced - Hort News
Thousands sign up for bee protection schemes - BT

Bees’ Needs: food and a home | The Wildlife Trusts
Bees' needs: public urged to support pollinators - Press releases - GOV.UK

Next Tuesday sees the owner of the only beekeeper training centre in the country come to Sidmouth to talk about his work:

Buzz is building for Ken’s insight into beekeeping

14 November 2015 Clarissa Place

Ken Basterfield at work on his honey farm.

The Friends of Sidmouth Library is inviting residents to enjoy a talk from the owner of the only beekeeper training centre in the country.

Ken Basterfield, of Blackbury Honey Farm, near Colyton, has never looked back after swapping some of his amateur radio equipment for a hive of bees in 1974.

He will share how his passion grew over four decades to become a family business, which he runs with his wife Maureen and son Dan. The family currently has between 120 and 150 hives, housing up to 70,000 bees each in the summer.

Ken said: “We were heading for retirement, but our son came back from a career in banking and computing and said he wanted to take over the bees. I was a born-again beekeeper and any lifting I cannot do, Daniel can.”

The former electrical engineer says he places an emphasis on education and has built a state-of-the-art facility including a laboratory, training apiary and honey extraction room for those attending courses at the farm.

Ken said: “We have had 500 students over the past five years, its nice know people are going to help the bees in their beekeeping, there are a lot of people who want to raise bees.”

The beekeeper will be sharing his knowledge at Sidmouth Library at 2.30pm on Tuesday, November 17. Tickets can be bought in advance from the library or on the door. Guests will be able to enjoy a cream tea with honey and a cup of organic tea and coffee. Proceeds from the talk will be used to help the library buy necessary items and equipment.

Buzz is building for Ken’s insight into beekeeping - News - Sidmouth Herald

See also:
K. Basterfield & Son - Beekeepers - K. Basterfield & Son - Beekeepers

The Telegraph has just put together a nice little guide on how to look after our bees:

How to attract bees to your garden


Jean Vernon 10 NOVEMBER 2015 • 11:41AM

1. Bee safe

Reduce - or preferably stop - using pesticides altogether. Garden chemicals containing the neonicotinoids thiacloprid and acetamiprid, which are still approved for home garden use, are available today at most garden centres and DIY stores. Read the label.

Neonicotinoids are thought to damage the bee's integral 'sat nav' CREDIT: REUTERS/REUTERS

2. Offer a home

Add an insect house to your garden to provide nesting sites for solitarybees and insects. Make your own but ensure it has a waterproof roof, or invest in a bespoke bee hotel such as the Big Insect Biome, £59.99 (wildlifeworld.co.uk). 

Bee hotels are the ideal alternative to keeping hives CREDIT: MARIANNE MAJERUS GARDEN IMAGES

3. Act local

Lobby your MP and council to reduce or stop pesticide use in your area, it will save taxpayer's money and benefit wildlife and the environment. Ask your council not to cut the road verges and to leave wildflowers for wildlife. Encourage local groups to plant native wildflowers.

Wildflowers on verges of roads provide ideal pollen and nectar supplies CREDIT: ALAMY

4. Re-wild your lawn

Rethink your take on lawn weeds. Dandelions are excellent bee plants, providing vital pollen early in the season. White clover is a honeybee magnet, while the longer tongued bumblebees prefer red clover. Let the grass grow longer and allow the lawn to flower.

Red clover is perfect for bees CREDIT: ALAMY

Or replace the lawn altogether with a wildflower meadow. MeadowMat, £12.60 per sqm, is a great way to support and attract wildlife. It's laid like turf and is packed full of pesticidefree wildflowers. There's a special Birds & Bees version, with 42 species ofperennial and biennial grasses and pollen, nectar and seed-rich plants for wildlife (meadowmat.com)

5. Buy organic

Seek out and buy organic plants, seeds and bulbs that are pesticide-freeand grow them without using insecticides. Organic ornamental plants are hard to find, but becoming more widely available; the thinking seems to be that because we don't eat them it doesn't matter. The Soil Association lists organic nurseries and plant suppliers (soilassociation.org).

6. Check your shed

It is illegal to buy, sell or use any pesticides containing the three neonics (imidacloprid, clothianidin and thiamethoxam), withdrawn by the EU for gardeners. If you find an old bottle in your shed, it must be disposed of responsibly. It cannot be thrown in the rubbish or tipped down the drain.

Contact your local council for details of which household waste sites accept chemicals and take them for disposal. Visit the Crop Protection Association (CPA) Common Sense Gardening site at gardenchemicaldisposal.co.uk

7. Plant trees for bees

For effective foraging, bees need masses of flowers in one place. Large shrubs or small trees are a vital food source. Five established trees would provide a similar amount of pollen and nectar as an acre of meadow. Choose winter and early spring flowering trees such as wild cherries, willow and hazel. Walcot Nursery (walcotnursery.co.uk) and Harrod Horticultural (harrodhorticultural.co.uk) sell organic fruit trees. 

Wild cherry trees are perfect for bees CREDIT: ALAMY

8. Put out water

Bees need to drink and evaporate water to cool their hives. They collect water droplets, such as the morning dew on leaves, but they drown in water bowls, so fill the bowl with glass sea beans, pebbles or even marbles to provide a surface for them to drink from.

Bee drinking water droplets off glass marbles CREDIT: MARTIN MULCHINOCK

9. Grow forage plants

The RHS has a comprehensive list of plants for pollinators (rhs.org.uk). Choose plants with single, open flowers for easy access to the pollen and nectar. Jekka's Herb Farm sells organic herbs, which include some great bee and pollinator plants such as sage, thyme, nepeta and lavender (jekkasherbfarm.co.uk).

Bee pollinating lavender pant CREDIT: ALAMY

10. Grow from seed

Choose organic seed or ask about neonics and chemical treatments. For example, Suttons and Dobies say that their seed ranges are free from neonics. The BeeMat, £9.99 is a ready seeded (free from neonicotinoids) biodegradable mat (200cm x 50cm) with mixed wildflower seeds chosen for bees (beemat.com). Simple Sowing has a range of neonic-free, wildflower seed mixes in 45.7cm x100cm seed carpets. The Perennial Wildflower Bee Carpet, £7.99 is a ready to lay seed carpet with beefriendly wildflowers (simplesowing.co.uk).

11. Choose organic flower bulbs

Especially those that flower in early spring when bee food is scarce, such as daffodils, crocus and early tulips. The Organic Gardening Catalogue sells a range of bulbs for autumn delivery (organiccatalogue.com).

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