To further Barkston Ash Beekeepers new
venture to raise queens for our members, 7 of us attended the Yorkshire
Beekeepers’ Bee ~ Breeding Workshop at the Normandy Pavilion, Harrogate
on Saturday 16th March.
What a wonderful day it turned out to be.
On arrival at 9:30 we were greeted with
hot drinks and biscuits and collected our workshop pack with notes and
an intriguing looking Beekeepers Rule.
We then had a pleasant 30 minutes to get
ourselves organised and chat with friends old and new, many of who we
only see at these events. As usual lots of bee related chat, gossip and
stories were swapped. As there were over 30 beekeepers in attendance
there were at least 50 opinions aired to anyone who would listen!
The speakers for the day were Alan Brown; Tony Jefferson; Brian Lightfoot; Wendy Maslin & Jim Pearson.
The morning looked at debunking some of
the myths around bee breeding and raising queens, the reasons to breed
our own bees, essential preparation work, how to select suitable stock
and some of the theory we need to understand to enable us to be
successful in our endeavors. This session was led by Tony Jefferson and
Wendy Maslin. 5 minutes later, or so it seemed, we were told it was time
for lunch! Had 2 hours really passed? At this point we should give a
big thank you to the team of volunteers who worked in the kitchen and
kept us supplied with drinks and helped organise the excellent buffet
For the afternoon we split into two groups for a series of practical
demonstrations run by Alan Brown; Tony Jefferson; Brian Lightfoot &
In workshops we covered the Jenter
method, miller frame and other methods and ways to raise queen cells,
breeder hives as developed By Tony Jefferson and his father plus a
demonstration on the Snellgrove board. It is safe to say that by the end
of the workshops we were all “Buzzing” with new ideas. Over coffee,
between the workshops, ideas were developed with conversation flying
around like a virgin queen on a sunny windless day.
Finally there was a roundup of the day
stressing the need to work together as associations and as local
beekeepers. Then it was time to drive home. Was the day a success? Well
judging by the conversation in our car on the way home it most certainly
was and I would strongly recommend it to all if it is run again.