Previous Events

Asian Hornet alert event in Princesshay in Exeter. Maggie, Shirley and Tracy from Tiverton (as the Hornet!)

We had an interesting speaker for February 6th 2024, Derek Mitchell, he has 2 new papers which he believes are going to contain controversial views on hive insulation – facts and fiction.

Since Derek Mitchell’s talk there have been parallel articles on heat retention within beehives during winter months. Jill Blackett has found these articles and links attached below:


Visit by 16th Exeter Scouts – Friday 23rd June
An enthusiastic group from 16th Exeter Scouts visited the Apiary on Friday 23rd June to get hands on experience of honey bees as well as seeing the different types of hive used in our teaching apiary. The scouts were soon dressed in loaned beesuits then visited the hives under the guidance of our volunteers including Alex, Cathy, Jill, Karen and Zoe.
First look inside a National Hive………………………………………………Then hands on experience.
Looking at a Warre hive   ………………………………………………………Then looking in a WBC hive – “I could have sworn the bees were in here yesterday!!”

On 7th May we had Bridget Strawbridge:

“I speak about: the importance of bees; the differences between Honeybees, Bumblebees and Solitary bees; the problems they all face (focusing on habitat loss, climate change & pesticides) and what we can do to help them. 
I especially enjoy talking about the behaviour and life cycles of our native bumblebees and solitary bees, their roles as pollinators and their fascinating relationships with flowering plants.
I also speak about wildlife/bee Gardening, and the importance of biodiversity.
My aim is to make the talks informative, interesting and inspiring – and I always finish on a positive note. “
Monday 7th November
We will be having a Hands on Wax Workshop to show you the many uses of Wax on Monday evening. We will have different stations around the room where you can learn the basics of using Beeswax for yourself or as gifts to give or sell.

Wax Candle-making with Sylvia and Francesca
We have different types of moulds and you will be shown the best way to use them. Tips on wicks to use, problem solving for issues like bigger candles not burning correctly. How to get the best results and dyeing wax.
Wax Food Wraps with Karen and a Hot Iron
We will show you an easy way to make food wraps to reduce plastic waste and have a natural product around the food you eat.
Amazing Wax Art with Zoe
Zoe will be showing how you can make sculptures using just wax and water.
Wax Flowers with Cathy
Learn to make a simple Rose or Hydrangea as a stand alone flower or a candle. We have all the wax equipment needed including Aprons for you, we have some simple tins you can buy on the night for Tealights, or if you managed to collect a small spice bottle, (Tesco is the best) or glass yoghurt pots, the more open the top the better. We will have wax blocks and extra cloth squares for sale for a few pounds on the night. If you buy these in gift shops they are £18 for a pair, so worth making your own.

The Wax has been donated from the Apiary Bees and Robert Paskell for our use on the night – again we will sell off blocks at the end, if spare, for £1 a block.


Monday 3rd October – Wax Processing, Liz Westcott
Our speaker, Liz Westcott, runs a successful business making cosmetic products from wax, propolis and honey, selling them at markets and shows. Liz is a very enthusiastic speaker and will talk you through easy ways to prepare the wax etc. using implements you can find at home. Liz will be talking more about wax, how to process the different types. Taking wax from frame to finish, from pale, white, cappings to normal hive wax and how to process this for shows, cosmetics and candles. Liz will also be explaining how to use wax to make flowers, she makes roses, and other items, wax flowers were always used on brides veils and communion veils years ago. See how you can use this skill and maybe make something for next year’s Honey shows.

Wednesday 16th February 2022 @ 7pm – Professor Tom Seeley on ‘Bee Hunting’

What a privilege to have Professor Tom Seeley talking to us again – this time about Swarms.

In this talk, we look at bee hunting—locating wild colonies of honey bees—which is one of the most fascinating games in the world.  We will review the equipment involved and the process of establishing and following beelines, which are lines of bees flying back to their secret homes.  This outdoor activity is one of infinite variety, of suspense, disappointment, perseverance, and triumph.   You go out into the fields.  Before you rises a hillside with ten thousand trees.  One of those trees is a bee tree.  With simple equipment, and special skills, you can find it!

Our return to Winter Evening presentations started on Monday 18th October with a fascinating talk by Mary Montaut on the vital inter-dependence between bees and plants for mutual success and expansion. This event was shared with the Topsham Allotment and Gardeners. Mary talked to us via Zoom from Southern Ireland describing the techniques developed by plants to attract bees and maximise pollination effectiveness. She described the availability of nectar and pollen throughout the calendar year from a wide variety of plants and sent a list of suggested plants as shown Oct EBKA meeting Mary Montaut flower list. The recording of her presentation will be added soon.


A new BBC Radio 4 Series called ‘The History of the World in 100 Animals’ had an article on the importance of Honeybees on Monday 17th September. The item on Honeybees starts 7 minutes 22 seconds in on this link – preceded by one on gorillas – which is also very interesting

EBKA presentations from earlier in the winter ‘20/’21 were recorded and loaded onto YouTube by Cathy. Links to the presentations are shown at the bottom of this page:

We held our ‘Taster Day’ on Saturday 14th August 2021 when people who fancy the idea of beekeeping visit the apiary and see the wonder that is beekeeping first hand. 14 people visited, heard a brief talk about bees, then got suited up and looked into some hives with some of our experienced beekeepers. It was a lovely sunny afternoon so they were able to see the bees busily getting on with their day to day activities despite the intrusion by beekeepers!

Making sure there are no gaps before visiting the hives!

A first look into the hives with experienced beekeepers

‘The Bees know what they are doing, but does the Beekeeper?‘ by Wally Shaw on March ’21
Wally has produced a number of free beekeeping  booklets via the Welsh Beekeepers Association – link here
He has recently published ‘Swarming Biology and Control‘ available from Beecraft

‘Varroa resistant honeybees’ by Professor Stephen Martin of Salford University, in February ‘21

‘Darwinian Beekeeping’ by Professor Tom Seeley of Cornell University – recognised as a world authority on bees and their lifestyles. January ’21<

Oil Seed Rape, Blessing or Curse’ by Pam Hunter, Master Beekeeper, on December ’20.

‘For the Joys of Swarms’ by David Packham, Seasonal Bee Inspector in November ‘20

‘The Wax Chandlers’ by Andrew Gibb, Worshipful Company of Wax Chandlers, in October ’20.

There are more excellent articles on honeybees on the BBC website here:

East Devon BKA has copies of presentations from their winter evening talks with some excellent articles here.


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