A quick report on two bee meetings I've been to this week:
Firstly, on Tuesday 2nd October at the invite of Marise Taylor who had attended our first meeting, I went along to the Leicestershire & Rutland Beekeeping Association meeting. The guest speaker was Clive DeBruyn who gave a very entertaining talk on commercial beekeeping and possible cross-overs between professional and amateur beekeeping. He seemed to have a fairly broadminded attitude to all types of hive and beekeeping in general; he even as part of a discussion about Queen rearing talked about top bar hives. I felt a bit like a Celtic support in a Rangers pub and didn't make it well know that I was of a 'different persuasion' but I'm sure it wouldn't have caused that much of an outcry. If I go again maybe I'll be brave enough to stand-up and say "Hi! My names Boyd and I keep bees in a top bar hive!".
Secondly, being the first Wednesday of October, tonight was the monthly DaDBeeP meeting. After a few apologies I was expecting not many to turn up and certainly not the thirty odd that attended the Leicester meeting. I was pleasantly surprised that eight hardy soles made it out into the blustery evening and we had a good chin-wag; sometimes even talking about bees. There again seemed to be a lot of discussion about winter feeding and what to be looking for in terms of colony expansion/contraction. As a good number of our colonies are first year swarms, collected late, during a poor summer it was thought generally to be a good thing to feed. Obviously this will depend upon the individuals perception of what natural beekeeping is and their local conditions; Mike and Monique's hive in Weston-on-Trent seems to have unlimited access to Himalayan balsam and correspondingly has grown very rapidly to fill twenty bars (it will be interesting to compare with Alison B's hive that is in a similar location). Whatever you decide to do sadly there will be some loses and all we can try to do is do the best we can for our charges.
There was a discussion as to whether monthly meeting during the Winter were valuable and the consensus seemed to be yes. So for the time being will continue to meet the first Wednesday of the month.
There was also proposal, again widely accepted, that we should have a Christmas meal on Wednesday 5th December at the Tandoori Nights restaurant opposite the Shakespeare pub. I will contact the restaurant and make a provisional reservation; I'll confirm numbers nearer the time.