On 30 April, Roger Patterson, vice Chairman of the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) and the Isle of Man’s BBKA Link Trustee arrives, once again, on the Isle of Man as a guest of the IOM Beekeepers Federation to throw his considerable experience behind the efforts of the Manx Bee Improvement Group (MBIG), a subcommittee of the Federation, to progress the initiative to improve the quality of Manx bees for the benefit of all Manx beekeepers.

The programme for Roger’s visit will be

  • Friday 1 May & Saturday 2 May,
    • 9am to 6pm approx. Colony assessment and handling at Shenharra and surrounding apiaries. At Shenharra there will be demonstrations of making nuclei, setting up colonies for raising queen cells and simple methods of raising queens.

All Fed members are welcome (and if you have joined one of the local associations, but not the Fed, you are welcome, too!)

  •  Sunday 3 May
    • Colony visits – North and East of the island.
    • We hope to come back to Shenharra after the day’s colony visits to see the progress of Q/Cs that were started earlier and give those who couldn’t attend the previous days a chance to see a repeat of the demonstrations and try some yourself.
    • Supper, Hawthorne Bistro & Pub, All Fed / local association members are welcome (Details below)
  • Monday 4 May
    • Colony visits – Central and South of the island.
    • We hope to come back to Shenharra after the day’s colony visits to see the progress of Q/Cs that were started earlier and give those who couldn’t attend the previous days a chance to see a repeat of the demonstrations and try some yourself.
    • Roger departs.

The purpose of the apiary visits will be to assess colonies to find those from which to establish breeding stock and to give beekeepers an idea of how to assess their own colonies during inspections. It is always worth seeing how other beekeepers handle their bees anyway, as there is always something to learn.

The apiary visiting programme is being co-ordinated by Breeshey Brew. Beekeepers who wish to offer to have their colonies assessed by Roger, please complete this form to let Breeshey know that your bees will be available for inspection. It must be stressed there will be no criticism of beekeepers, their bees or their methods, so the hives don’t have to be in tip top condition. You may have some really good stock we can take a few larvae from to help improve everyone’s bees.

Roger has specifically asked that we encourage those who wish to observe the colony inspections to feel free to join in. We will endeavour to update the Events page on the website on a daily basis over the weekend with the rendezvous to make it easier for those who wish to join the colony visits. (To simplify Breeshey’s job, it would help if you let her know via the apiary visit form, that you would like to participate/observe the colony assessments.)

Roger aims to inspect as many colonies as possible, but understandably there is a limit to his time as he travels around the island, so please don’t be disappointed if you offer your hives for inspection but Breeshey has to exercise some executive discretion. (Just bear in mind that if this programme achieves its objectives, it is hoped that all our bees will – over time – benefit from the Manx Bee Improvement programme, whether your colonies are assessed this time, or not!)

If you would like to join Roger and others for supper at the Hawthorn on Sunday night, 3 May, please let us know by completing the supper form. Supper will be from 7pm, will be a choice of 3 starters followed by 3 main courses plus tea or coffee, and will cost £16 per head. Cheques made out to Hawthorn Inns Limited to the Scribe, address on the form, or please pay me on the night.

Please complete the form, indicating your your meal choices to assist the Hawthorn with catering!

 

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