Image courtesy of Sarah Rapley
We are a friendly club with over 140 members. We have quite a few new members who have joined over recent years, some though, are long standing members and our former President Peter Hutton and our Vice Chairman John Hendrie have been keeping bees for over 50 years.
So we have a wide range of experiences and if you are thinking of taking up beekeeping there is a vast pool of knowledge to draw on.
However, remember if you ask two beekeepers you are likely to get several opinions and the reason is bees are wild animals and if you have several hives they will all behave slightly differently depending on the temperament of the queen.
So there’s no single way of doing it right, but there are many ways of doing it wrong!!
Our Branch was started in 1917, so in May 2017 we celebrated our centenary with a visit to Chartwell’s apiary, that two of our members help to run.
These are four pictures of our visit + more pictures on the PDF below:
Yvonne Budgen’s garden tour. Peter Hutton made the Hive Inspections
Whilst there a swarm arrived for Peter to demonstrate his collecting skills.
Winston Churchill set up some hives at Chartwell and during the last war he was instrumental in pestering Neville Chamberlain, the then Prime Minister, to allow beekeepers an extra sugar supply even though it was rationed!!
We have regular meetings at our two apiary sites between March and September and still have an excellent lecture programme during the winter months.
Our two Club Apiaries are Barrwood [off the Hildenborough/Shipbourne Road, 1 mile south of Ightham Mote] and Hilbert Road Apiary in Tunbridge Wells TN2.
As the National Hive is the most popular we have standardised on this hive at both Apiaries. However the hive most people associate with beekeeping are these WBC ‘Picture Postcard’ hives shown below. Image courtesy Sarah Rapley:
So why are they not the most popular? If you click on this PDF Types of Beehive you will see how our our members critically rated the various type of hives.
For other articles of practical information go to our ‘INFORMATION‘ page. Here we have tried to provide basic information, which we would have liked to have had available at our finger tips when we started beekeeping.
There are several articles suitable for beginners. Click on ‘ARTICLES’ to view them.
Also there is a huge amount of bee related information available on the internet and we have attempted to refine this down to what we consider the most useful.
Go to ‘INFORMATION’ page or click here: ‘WEB WATCH’.
However, it is only basic information and for more complete detail we suggest you read some of the more recent additions to our library, again under ‘INFORMATION’ click on LIBRARY.
The library is looked after by Sarah Rapley and to borrow a book;
CLUB MEMBER’S SERVICES.
Through lack of demand John Hendrie no longer sells Thornes Beekeeping Equipment at a discount. So for dealing direct click on: Thornes 2023 Catalogue
For other local suppliers of beekeeping equipment click on:
- Paynes Bee Farm.
- Park Beekeeping Greewich
- Morris Beekeeping Yalding
- Freeman & Harding – Honey Jars
- Beekeeping Supplies are offering members 10% discount on BB Wear
Click on: B J Sherriff for details of their annual discount scheme for those taking beginners beekeeping courses, that run in 2019.
Extractor Hire: We have 2 x 9 frame manual extractors. They are available for hire at £15.00 for 3 days to members. If you wish to hire them, contact Sarah Rapley on firstname.lastname@example.org if you live in the Sevenoaks area or Elizabeth Birchenough on email@example.com if you live in the Tonbridge/T.Wells area.
INTRODUCTION TO BEEKEEPING COURSE
This course will be a very basic introduction to beekeeping aimed at those with no previous
experience. The purpose is to introduce interested beginners to the responsibilities of beekeeping,
the basic lifecycle and behaviour of honey bees, and the logistics and commitment needed to keep
honey bees in a domestic environment, This is a classroom event. Visits to the branch apiary for
hands-on experience will be arranged separately.
Date and Time: Sunday 21st January 2024 OR Sunday 18th February 2024 10am to 4pm
Venue: Weald Memorial Hall, Long Barn Rd, Sevenoaks Weald TN14 6PT. Free parking available at
BOOKING FORM: Click below to open.