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Newbattle Beekeepers Association

  • 03 February 2024 15:07 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Read on blog or Reader

    The Apiarist

    Beekeeping backups


    February 2 

    Synopsis: Should beginners get one or two colonies? The standard advice is 'get two', but I think three colonies by the end of year two gives better security, more opportunities to experiment, and a faster route to gaining valuable experience. I have previously commented that the beekeeping year can seem like a series of catastrophes, […]

    Read more of this post

  • 02 February 2024 16:55 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

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    Apply Microscopy Exam

    Microscopy Exam

    Our Microscopy exam, module 9, is open for registration now. This exam will be held on Saturday 9th of March 2024 in Strathbrock Community Centre, Broxburn, EH52 5LH. To register please click here. Deadline for registration is Saturday the 10th of February.

    This examination lasts 3 hours and the candidate will need to provide suitable
    microscopes and equipment necessary to complete the examination. 

    The candidate’s knowledge and skill will be put to the test through a series of practical tasks along with an oral examination. Please study the Microscopy Syllabus (Issue April 2022) available here

    A pass in the Microscopy Certificate gives the candidate exemption from the Adult Bee Diseases section of the Scottish Apiarian Examination.

    Applicants must be members of the SBA and have passed their Basic Beekeeping or Junior Beekeeper exams. It is also advisable that you should have attended an SBA two-day microscopy workshop. We encourage as many as possible of those who attended the Microscopy workshop last year to apply for the exam. The exam fee is £55.

  • 29 January 2024 20:03 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The latest post from the Walrus, aka Steve Donohoe

    The walrus and the honey bee - imported-queens

  • 25 January 2024 10:56 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Rachel Stewart meets Gino and they discuss Honey Tasting in Edinburgh.

    Gino explains to Rachel that he believes Honey is a "taste of the landscape" 

    Well worth a listen

    Click Here to Listen to Gino

  • 18 January 2024 11:26 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    SBA Logo

    Dr Nicholas Naeger February Webinar Presenter

    February Webinar

    It’s all about fungi! At 7.30pm on Wednesday the 7th February. The SBA welcome Dr Nicholas Naeger.

    In this illuminating talk, Dr Naegerwill discuss the interaction between bees, fungi, and their pathogens. He will then discuss his research at Washington State University into bee immune health, the potential nutritional benefits of fungi, and possible therapeutic uses of fungi against bee pathogens.

    If you would like to find out more about this fascinating subject and book your free place, please click on the link below

    Click Here to BOOK YOUR PLACE

  • 16 January 2024 19:37 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Free-living bees and big old trees


    Jan 12

    Synopsis: Why are the copses, coppices and thickets of the UK (or for that matter Europe or much of North America) not filled with large numbers of free-living honey bee nests?

    Deja vu? …

    Don’t worry, you’re not losing your mind. That was exactly the same sentence that David started his post with 

    Read his post here 
  • 08 January 2024 12:36 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Adventuresinbeeland's Blog

    The Magic of drone congregation areas

    Emily Scott

    Jan 6 

    Notes from a talk by Dr Stephen Fleming - co-editor of Beecraft magazine and beekeeper to Andrew Lloyd Webber.

    Back in October Stephen spoke to a group of us gathered for the Cornwall Beekeepers’ Association and West Cornwall Beekeepers’ Association annual conference. I meant to write about it sooner but then life got in the way!

    It was a lovely talk, all about drone congregation areas (DCAs) - places high up in the sky where male bees (drones) gather to find queens. You can read Stephen’s perfectly named article ‘The Scilly game of drones’ on the Beecraft website, where he talks about whether drones will cross the choppy Cornish seas in search of a queen.

    Stephen told us that the first person to document DCAs was the famous naturalist Gilbert White, in his diary ‘A Natural History of Selborne - Observations’ - 28 June 1792. He picked the sound up a year before his death, even when his hearing was bad. White could hear a loud audible humming of bees as he walked, without being able to see them. 

    The sound is still there today. A recording made by Stephen on the same down that White walked was played on Paddy O’Connell’s show, BBC Radio 4 (25th June 2017) - on the 225 year anniversary of Gilbert White hearing it. If you have a listen from 41 minutes in you will hear the incredibly clear sound of the drones.

    Drone face

    A handsome drone

    It is believed RI Crowley in 1892 was the first person to realise that the phenomenon was a DCA.

    The talk included a number of gorgeous clips of the drones flying in congregation. One was from ‘More than Honey’ (2012) by Markus Imhoof, which looks like a lovely film. Stephen then went on to answer a series of questions he posed:

    How do they know where to go?

    How the drones choose a DCA is still a big mystery. There are a number of theories:

    • Magnetism?
    • Polarised light?
    • Light intensity?
    • Thermals - air rising up a slope?
    • Pheromone trails?

    Don’t forget, drones only live a few months on average, so older drones are not showing younger drones where to meet. There must be some instinctive behaviour that lures them to these locations in search of virgin queens. Stephen feels thermals are at least one of the factors involved. 

    How many drones in a DCA?

    Stephen mentioned that a formulae you can use to estimate the number of drones in a DCA will be in a Beecraft magazine issue soon. A couple of estimates he has made ranged between 1,782-2,045 in one area and 2,051-2,554 in another.

    He went on to tell us how to go hunting for DCAs ourselves…

    What you need

    • Synthetic 9-ODA, painted onto a queen cage (he said that unfortunately this is not easy to get, however you only need a tiny amount!)
      Or a spare caged queen
    • Extendable carbon fishing rod, 3-4 metres long
    • UAV drone (radio controlled drone)


    • OS map
    • Google Earth
    • Knowledge of local apiaries
    • Look for grasslands rather than woods, as it is easier to see the DCAs without tree canopies

    When to go

    Stephen has found 3-5pm is the peak in the DCAs he visits in southern England, with the drones arriving first before the queens. However, other beekeepers he knows in Northumberland have said their peak time is earlier - around lunchtime. He feels it’s possible people researching DCAs may tend to generalise too much based on their own experiences, whereas there may be a lot of regional variations based on local geography.

    In his experiences, the ideal summer’s day for DCA finding is 19C+ temperature, with a breeze. He will go out looking for them between 2-5.30pm. There are only a few of these ideal days each year. On days without a breeze he does not find DCAs; his theory is that drones prefer to fly into a breeze as it gives them better control over their flight.

    Have you ever come across a DCA? It must be a wonderful sound to hear on a beautiful summer’s day. 

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  • 06 January 2024 14:27 | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Are you looking to expand your honeybee and beekeeping knowledge? Then why not consider studying for one of the Scottish Beekeepers Association modules? The module exams will be available to sit this year on Saturday 23rd of March (in both online or written exam centre format), and you can book your place now by clicking here. This will take you to the new format 'jotform' where you can select your module and enter your details and payment. The closing date for registering to sit an exam is the 10th of February.

    For information on all the modules and details of their syllabuses please click here.

    There is a new module for 2024, Plants and Pollinators

    This new module is designed to enhance a beekeeper's knowledge of the interactions between plants and pollinating insects and covers a wide range of topics including; how a plant grows and develops, the pollination strategies employed by plants and the pollination activities including transportation of pollen and typical plants visited by solitary bees, bumblebees, and honey bees.

    More information on the full list of topics covered and the learning outcomes for this new module can be found by downloading the syllabus here.

    The Microscopy exam will also be held this year, on Saturday 9th of March, so if you have participated in Microscopy workshops and would like to sit this exam, please click here to register before the 10th of February.

    Just think of what you'll gain by embarking on this journey!

  • 31 December 2023 18:04 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Brace yourself, 2024 is almost here. Time to start preparing for the ‘unknown knowns’ and perhaps making plans to try something new. Happy New Year from David!

    Read the Apiarist Blog Post Here

  • 28 December 2023 14:08 | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    January Webinar

    The Scottish Beekeepers Association  January Webinar is scheduled for Wednesday 10th of January starting at 19.30, when US Air Force Security Forces Veteran and Iowa Bee Farmer - Master Sgt Katie Flinn will discuss overcoming Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and mental health problems through beekeeping. She will also introduce the charity ‘PTSD and Pollinators’ that she supports to help veterans overcome PTSD.

    If you would like to find out more about this fascinating subject and book your free place, please click on the link below



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