So this week Elsa and I went to the UK National Honey Show in Weybridge, Surrey. It runs over three days and consists of a series of workshops and lectures given by real experts in their field from all over the world. There was a lot to take in, but for me the stand out talk this year was an update by Dr Alan Bowman from the University of Aberdeen on his teams work on Transient Gene Knockdown as a means of dealing with Varroa mites. It seems they are actively working on a couple of methods that seem to provide real promise of dealing with this huge problem by killing mites whilst they are developing inside the honey bee cells and are preparing for field trials as early as next Spring – I will write about this exciting news in more detail separately.
As ever, there were lots of exhibitors selling all kind of beekeeping products and supplies, but we really did not need anything new, so I resisted spending any money. One thing I did notice was the proliferation of new books on beekeeping, so I’m going to be busy reading quite a few of the ones aimed at new beekeepers before the start of the next Fleet BKA “Beekeeping for Beeginners” course next February.
I did try to persuade Elsa to buy a new bee suit (she had outgrown her existing one after 3 years) and despite persuading her to try on various suits from Sheriff and others, she decided to settle on the next size up of her current Swienty bee suit from Modern Beekeeping. I have to agree they are excellent quality – mine still looks good after several years hard use and at half the price of similar suits, I guess she knows better than me!
This year, for the first time we entered our honey in various classes having won several 1st’s at the Hampshire County show . The standards at the national level are incredibly high – bordering on the obsessive, so not it’s not surprising really that we did not win anything this time, given that I had not really spent any time preparing for it – Still there’s always next year!