1.  DARG Meeting Taunton Divisional Apiary Site - Saturday 17th May 2014

Present: Richard Ball, Glyn Davies and guest, Sarah Holdsworth, Chris Slade, Peter Auger, Chris Utting, Kay Thomas, Peter & Kathy West, Martin Hanns & David Corney-Walker

Apologies: Roger Lacey, Lea Bayley, Colin Sherwood, Bob Ogden, Ray King, Andrew Tizard-Varcoe, Gail Johnson & Dick Everett,

The Taunton Division secretary Barbara Drakeford and David Pearce welcomed us

It was the first official visit to the new facility, which was not quiet complete with some minor finishing touches to be completed before the official opening. The old hut was remembered which many of us had previously visited, in fact a DARG seminar event had shown a practical demonstration there in 2010

The club owned the site and had accrued funds over many years to make the development possible. No funding money was used as to be eligible the facility would have to be used by the community at large, which would have negated the support of the other Heatherton Park residents and stopped planning permission. The building had been erected in timber with damp proof membranes, insulation, plaster board and plaster skim. It comprised a meeting room, kitchen, convenience, equipment store and clean room for extracting and bottling honey, microscopy, etc.

The building was heated by electricity and the meeting room had a wood burner installed. The car park at the front had been gravelled over to give firm support for vehicles. Members had done much of the fitting out and the decorations, some giving loans and Somerset BKA had given a grant to enable completion.

Training activities:

Their previous beginners courses had been over subscribed with a high drop out rate so they were now operating a system of;

Taster days at £35.00.

Beginners courses at £95.00. Own beginners course rather than LANTRA. Charged up front to make sure that participants were genuine. There were 25 students and at least 24 attended each lecture so far. Six spring lectures had been held in the new meeting room in a warm environment starting in February. The first practical day was held on Saturday 10th May covering frame making and a first practical in the apiary having split the class into two groups and swapping over.

It had been advertised as a course for serious beekeepers and the profits were put into finishing the building.

During construction the bees were moved to a different site and had returned with some temperament issues. This was being addressed in a new queen-rearing programme. Students on the course were expected to buy colonies through the association and the previous rent a hive scheme had been dropped.

David gave us a tour of site. Some members braved the apiary and witnessed the behavioural issues!

We were entertained to good tea and David explained an adapted super he had developed for queen rearing.

A good day was had and our thanks were expressed to Taunton Division.

Next Meeting: Sunday 15th June 2014 at Buckfast Bee Unit hosted by Claire. You may wish to bring a bee suit.


Arrangements are in hand and it will be discussed at our next meeting.

Please respond to Seminar advert. DARG Members cost is £5.00 to cover lunch. Please feel free to pass advert on and gain support. The advert has been circulated to DBKA Associations via the Executive and will be appearing in ‘Beekeeping’ . You can ring on 01 395 567 356

Richard Ball


Meeting notes for:    Sunday 8th February 2015      Uplowman Village Hall


Chris Slade, David Corney-Walker, Colin Sherwood, Alan Nelson, Tricia Nelson, Lynne Ingram & Lea Bayly.


Ken Edwards, Peter Auger, Kay Thomas, Bob Ogden, Peter West, Sarah Holdsworth, Ray King, Roger Lacey, Glyn Davies, Chris Utting, Martin Hann & Clare Densely.

Early dates:

Kay Thomas gave an outline for collecting first dates for various natural occurrences. After a debate, including the fact that much of this data is available on various websites, it was decided that members who wished to collect their own data could discuss their findings and opinions at future meetings. They would be very welcome to do so.

Varroa Posters:

Ken Edwards pointed out that there are no posters or wall charts outlining basic facts about varroa available. Every other topic of bees and their management appears to have many! Ken outlined that he wished create three posters covering ‘Life Cycle of Varroa’, ‘Assessing Varroa’ & ‘Controls and Treatments’. It was agreed that he would create some text to be circulated for members comments.

Oxalic Acid:

The use of Oxalic Acid as a varroacide was raised and discussed. For maximum efficacy colonies should be brood-less but few beekeepers check brood status. Peter West raised the point that as colonies became brood-less nest temperature would drop and could be used to decide when to treat at an optimum time. He advised of the following web site in North Wales giving historic and live temperatures in a honeybee colony.


BeeMonitor.org also takes you to it.

Experiences of Predator Mites:

RB and CD gave a short presentation about their experiences using predator mites. A full report is available and is available on the web site dargbees.org.uk

Next Meetings:  

March  Sunday 8th  12.30.p.m. to 4.00.p.m.

Nosema, Surveys and Treatments.  GD, RB, et al

Memorial Hall

Meavy Lane

Yelverton PL20 6AL

Meavy Lane has a series of traffic-calming bumps along it. The turning for the hall is on the right-hand side if you are approaching it from the Yelverton roundabout side.


April Sunday 12th  Winter Review and Losses MH et al at Newton Abbot

September Meeting:

Please note that the meeting scheduled for Sunday 13th September will now take place on Sunday 27th September.


Web site: dargbees.org.uk

If anyone has an item, which they think should be shared with others, be it a photograph, linked article or original script they are welcome to share it through the site.   Bee science being the emphasis! If so please contact Glyn Davies at -


Richard Ball,

Chairman DARG.

DARG    www.dargbees.org.uk

June 2016 Meeting.

Sunday 12th June.

Quantock BKA Apiary, Nr. Bridgewater.  


Present: Ken Edwards, Glyn Davies, Kay Thomas, Peter Auger, Chris Slade,

Rob Fox, Peter West, Richard Ball, Sarah Holdsworth and Lynne Ingram.


Ray King and Bob Ogden.

Guests: Barry Hewlett and Elaine Falkingham of QBKA. Anne Walbeck.

Welcome address:

We were welcomed by the chair of QBKA Elaine Falkingham, followed by Ken Edwards who explained how Quantock BKA came about after the collapse and demise of the Bridgewater Branch of Somerset B.K.A. in 1998. The new Association was built on a regional community involvement, education and developed by various grants resulting to a first rate apiary facility. It is part of Somerset B.K.A.

Topic of the day:

Pollen Project:

KE had set up various displays including microscopes, digital recording demonstrations and suitable reference books in the indoor apiary teaching facility. Whilst outside there were two types of pollen traps fitted to colonies demonstrating pollen collection. These were a ‘Fairweather’ and a ‘floor’ type trap.

In the apiary there was a manuka bush and GD gave an effective demonstration of making up a reference slide, including the use of gelatine, dye, cover slip, sealing and labelling. See picture of Manuka pollen from a shrub in flower on the Quantock site.



DLQ update:

GD gave us an update on the current position of this project and then gave a demonstration of dissecting out the spermathecae.

A very enjoyable day and our thanks must go to Quantock BKA for making it so.

Next meeting:

Sunday 10th July

East Devon Apiary Facility.  Meet at 12.00. Midday. The Bee Gym.

To find the East Devon BKA Apiary Facility

From the West take the A35 towards Axminster, travel through Kilmington and fork left onto B3261. After about 200 meters turn left into Hunthays Lane and after about 100 meters fork left into Hunthays Farm. As you approach the Farm Buildings/ Commercial Units there is car parking in a centre V area. To go the Apiary Facility take the track down the hill leaving the railway van bodies on your left, bear to the right and the facility is on your right.

From the East take the A35 and turn right at the third Axminster turning onto the B3261 and follow the instructions above.

August – Holiday Bye.

Sunday 11th September Observation Hives, Sarah Holdsworth   Richard Ball   

Lakehayes Nursery, Chard.      Chairman DARG


         01 395 567 356