Branch Apiary


Update 28th September ’23
At the Apiary the wasps are almost gone, Hurray, they were really bad this year. I have a fake wasp nest I hang in the tree, it’s supposed to stop wasps nesting nearby. So far Alex hasn’t come across any nests as he’s been strimming and grass cutting, but they certainly visited.
We have had a prolonged feeding session with the bees, they were really empty of stores and pollen in early August and had to be fed. Robbing was occurring almost as soon as we opened any hive so we had to reduce any bee checks.
Then we had to treat them, this year we used MAQs on our large hives, it’s a new formula, laying will stop usually but it is only a week. The smaller ones and recent Queens were treated with Apiguard, usually feeding is not recommended but they were getting so light we had to put feeders back in the second week, there was evidence of robbing, even though entrances were reduced for several weeks, and we had to open entrances for some treatments which didn’t help. The vapours of Apiguard can stop them entering the feeders, or can overwhelm them, but this didn’t seem to happen. We then continued with fondant on smaller nucs and hives, but big feeders for the other hives. The large 4L feeders plastic feeders are plastic and don’t last many years as plastic becomes brittle, so a member donated some wooden Ashforth feeders that fit the entire hive, we tested them and a couple are leaking and need repainting or sealant, but the others are fine. I have become a big fan, no bee squashing when putting plastic feeder on, if the hive is at an angle you can place the feeder so the bees can get the last drops of syrup. Thornes sell them for £70+. Thanks for donation Zoe.
Anyway many gallons of syrup later they have finally got to a good weight and can backfill with Ivy honey if they want, One of the reasons we also wanted to feed is we were worried the bees would fill up with Ivy honey only which goes hard over winter.

ZEST HIVE BLOG – experiences to date
Chip Walters has written a Blog on his experiences and learning points using a Zest Hive for his bees. Read his interesting and informative article here.

The second chapter of Chip’s Zest Hive Blog has now been added here Inspection 6.

Exeter Beekeepers welcomed 27 visitors for first hand experience of Beekeeping on Sunday 13th August 2023. Cathy Mudge welcomed them all with tea and honey cake, David Packham, BBKA Assessor, provided the expertise to answer the more complex questions, and Alex made sure that the infrastructure worked perfectly! A lovely group of visitors participated fully by donning beesuits and then got hands on experience of typical beehive inspections whilst being guided by members of Exeter Beekeepers. Hopefully our visitors will have enjoyed the experience enough to want to follow up their initial enthusiasms by opting to take the winter training course!

May 2023 – Video Clips

Cathy, our Secretary, has collated a series of short video clips of different bee-keeping activities ranging from hive inspections, through swarm collection to honey processing – please use YouTube link below. Cathy intends to add more  clips of different tasks through the beekeeping season.

Varroa Eating Beetle!
This beetle ran across the varroa board, grabbed one, and then ran off to eat the varroa – what a great beetle! Should we be encouraging them to move in beneath our mesh floors? Picture taken by Cathy as she was doing a varroa inspection at the Apiary.

Detail information below from Graham Kingham – many thanks.

Rove Beetles
The largest British family. Rove beetles can be found in almost all habitats, and are among the most frequently encountered beetles. This huge group is now generally acknowledged to be the largest family within the coleoptera as well as in the whole Animal kingdom; around 63000 species (estimates vary) have been described. This one appears to be a Paederusti parios.

1pm Saturday 14th May 2022

The priority for this week’s meeting will be putting clearer boards beneath the Supers full of Oil Seed Rape honey – see how to assess the honey’s readiness and then install clearer boards. Martin Myhill will be looking at the progress on the Queen Cells being bred.
We have already had hives swarming and they have been split, one was a walk away split so we need to see where the Q is on Saturday, the others have Q cells waiting to hatch soon. The Topic will be swarm control of course and comb management.
The site is looking lovely thanks to all the helpers, Sylvia, Karen, Alec, Chip and Jill, also new Beekeepers with their new hives on site, helping out when they can. We even have new steps into the Bee shed. We will try and take some photos, Chris Lloyd is coming with his camera to try and get a good picture for the Website. Basil has asked for any photos so I have cc him in if you have anything interesting for him.
Queen Rearing will be starting this Wednesday at 1030 for anyone interested, unfortunately the timing means we cannot aim for just weekends, if you really want to get involved but cannot make the week, let me know and we will see how to help you. Martin Myhil has selected several good Queens, one beat us to it. She was very swarmy anyway, so he split her into 2 nucs, Q cells were taken down from the Queenless nuc and a frame of eggs given from another calm, lovely Q, these were the only eggs they had to work with and we had about 7 Q cells. These Q cells have been distributed into several new nucs. Martin plans to use the Horsley board. We also have a Taranov board for spliting a swarming hive which we can show you.

Looking forward to a bit of sun too when you come, Regards Cathy.

1pm Saturday 16th April – First Apiary Meeting of 2022 –

Yipeeee, sunny days are here again?

Saturday 28th August ’21.

We will be opening the Apiary for members on Saturday 28th August

At the Apiary we need to check each Q, her laying pattern, any disease, their stores and if they will need autumn feeding. Some hives may need uniting or a new Q for the winter. No 2 is now going into her 3rd year, there has been signs of chalk brood that seem to be getting worse, so we could cull her and unite the bees with her daughter in hive 2A, but Zoe an experienced Beekeeper, thinks she looks a bit small and thin, so a new Q may be best. So if you can come and help, that would be great, if you are a Beginner and want to see how a hive should be at this time of year, we look forward to seeing you. If anyone fancies baking a cake too that would be lovely.

We have to keep to 30 Members on each day and will work in small groups. Please can you let Cathy know if you would like to attend so that she can schedule visitors accordingly. If you haven’t visited before, Cathy will send you a map – her mobile is 07939 278081.

We will supply disposable latex gloves and have Beesuits available.
The usual Covid restrictions will apply, please see the ‘Code of Conduct’ and ‘Risk Assessment’ documents below.
We really look forward to seeing Members again at the Teaching Apiary.

Our branch apiary is located near the village of Woodbury Salterton, Devon

Branch meetings are held on alternate Sunday mornings at 1030 during the summer and are open for any of our members to visit – details of the location are contained by contacting the Branch Secretary ( for directions.

Whether you are new to beekeeping or have enjoyed this wonderful hobby for many years, the branch apiary meetings provide an opportunity for beekeepers to learn more with hands-on experience as well as gaining further knowledge from others who are on hand to share their wisdom and offer tips and advice.

COVID 19 infections still pose a serious threat. Caroline has provided two documents governing behaviours to minimise the transmission of infections whilst visiting the Apiary – the ‘Code of Conduct‘ which provides an overview of requirements and a detailed ‘Covid Risk Assessment‘. Please read the attachments before attending the Apiary.

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