Dear Members,

First, let me try to get up to date! I’ve been busy revising for the BBKA Pests and Diseases Module 3 in March and have let other responsibilities slide!

The February meeting was well attended and most enjoyable.

 Steve Wilson showed us how to make wax foundation using the FDBKA kit. Steve is the guardian of the equipment and uses it to demonstrate at Manor Farm. If you fancy having a go yourself, contact him to arrange the loan of the equipment.

Greg Young demonstrated the making of lip-balm from beeswax and gave out samples in tiny individual tins, which were much appreciated. The process is straightforward but the regulations that need to be followed if you want to sell products like these are not, so be warned!

Paula Little ( I) talked briefly about how mead making can use up every tiny smear of honey from your extractor and cappings tray, if only you have the energy to start a new project after a busy day extracting your honey crop. I have to admit that I also receive donations of heather honey with” too high a water content from Mike Holloway and Greg Young, which turn up in lovely little buckets and are no where near the trouble. Mead made with apple juice is called Cyser, mead spiced with herbs is Metheglin. Show or Traditional mead is made with water and no additives except the necessary to get a ferment. Tiny tasters were supplied of each type and seemed to go down well.

The HBA had it’s AGM. Janelle is retiring as secretary and we wish her well in her new life in Hertfordshire. She will be missed by Romsey BKA and HBA. I’ll give a full report to the committee and post it here after our next meeting when a few details have been confirmed. Thank you to Mike Smith, Chrissie Day and Alan Baxter for attending and representing us at there.

The March meeting was a talk by John Hoar. As many of us know, John is passionate about Neonics. He had prepared a really fascinating talk, looking at the history of it all and explaining how misrepresentations and unfounded claims have been used throughout to justify their use in the face of evidence. The sheer volume of information that John has analysed and distilled, and is able to explain in an interesting and lively manor is awe inspiring.

 The early part of the meeting had some important matters to share with members and so John was only able to give half of his talk. We are hoping to find a place in the autumn for that.

The matters were:

Jan Lethbridge gave an update on the mentoring scheme. E-mails have been sent to all involved. We seem to have matched up most of those requesting a mentor. Jan has been very careful to try and match people who live close to each other, to make it easier for those involved.. There are still one or two areas in our large catchment that are not well covered, so if you feel you could pass on a few words of wisdom to a new Beekeeper please let her know. A big thank-you to all involved so far.

The Asian Hornet in Portsmouth. John Geden our new regional Bee Inspector spoke at Portsmouth BKA on the Tuesday before our meeting. He got in touch as he would like to talk to FDBKA but his other commitments would not allow him to. He has therefore set up a Zoom meeting on 12 APRIL at 7:30. ( his invitation will be forwarded separately)  The Asian Hornet has been on the agenda for so long it seems it will never get here. Sadly, that situation is changing. The queen found this early in the year may indicate that a mated queen went into hibernation last autumn, and if that is the case we will be hearing a lot more about this very, very soon. I recommend the web page Andrew Durham of Cambridge BKA has on the subject. He covers what we can learn from the French bee keepers and is really useful. Beekeeping, almost time for the first spring  inspections. I have it on good authority there has already been a swarm!



Dear Members,

The January Talk over zoom was very successful. Those who attended said they would be happy to attend future events held in a similar way. This means that we will no longer be limited talks by people who can travel to us, which will enable us to provide a wider range of topics for our talks.

The events page of the website has been updated, confirming the dates of our talks in Stubbington up until March 2023.

 Our next event is on February 25th. There will be demonstrations showing how to pour your own foundation, make lip balm from wax and a display of mead making equipment that will provide us with an excuse for some mead sampling to take place! The students from this year’s course are being invited and refreshments will be provided whilst we get to know each other. We look forward to seeing you there.

The Committee are supporting HBA’s drive to encourage Associations to run their own queen rearing programme. The HBA are hosting a zoom talk on THURSDAY 10 February at 5:30pm. Epsom BKA has been running a successful group for several years and hopefully Phil Shepherd will share the secret of their success. An e-mail will follow with the log-in details. If you would like to be involved in this project, this will give us all an idea of what will be involved.

In fact, a number of e-mails will arrive in quick succession to tell you how to access a number of local and national events.

Portsmouth BKA spring convention      9 April

Meridian BKA talk on Asian Hornet      20th March

BBKA spring convention                         8-10 April

 Whilst we are on the subject of HBA, their Hon. Secretary Janelle Quitman, is giving up her position as she no longer lives in Hampshire. HBA are advertising for a new Secretary and there are two communications about that too. Paula is already a member of the HBA committee, and it would be wonderful if a FDBKA member could join her as Hon.Sec. Failing that, some company at the HBA AGM would be much appreciated. The AGM of HBA will be held at 7.00pm on Monday 14 March 2022 via zoom.

Looking forward to seeing you soon

Paula and the Committee.


Dear Members,

It was really lovely to see so many of you at our AGM, the minutes of course, will be circulated before the next year’s AGM and these notes are most definitely not them.

The Committee was re-elected and I am over joyed that Sally Furlong nominated and elected as a committee member. Steve Jarman and Alan Baxter offered their help. If you were not at the meeting but would like to offer your support, please get in touch.


 Mike Smith, was thanked for his very many years on the committee. First as Treasurer, then as Chair. The Committee nominated him and he was duly elected President of the Association. He was given a certificate to say as much! Suspecting that we might try and show our appreciation with a gift, Mike had specifically requested that we didn't but accepted a Certificate!


His first role as President was to hand out BBKA Module certificates.

Alan Baxter obtained his Basic and Module 1, Greg Young, Christian Fox and I ( Paula Little)  also got Module 1 and I got Module 2 as well. Despite being a lot of work, it has been really interesting studying for the modules. Module One covers all aspects of practical bee keeping and I thoroughly recommend studying for it, even if you don’t take the exam. If you think you might be interested, please get in touch and maybe we could help set up some more study groups.


 Mike Holloway was presented his certificate for Honey Bee Health. However, when he came up to collect it, the Committee had planned a surprise! Mike has run the New Bee Keepers course for many years and has supported generations of beekeepers. I started out in the New Forrest Association but when I joined FDBKA in 2008, still a fairly inexperienced bee keeper, of the 28 then members, Mike was the man I called. He has been generous with his time and energy to so many of us, in so many ways that the Committee awarded him Life Membership of FDBKA.

Two other members were “mentioned in dispatches,” for the way they supported other members during Covid Lockdown. Whenever anybody asked for help or advice through the group Facebook site Sam Summersgill and Greg Young seemed to be the knights in shining armour who came dashing to help. I personally have been helped by both of them this year, and I know a lot of you have too.

Before we get to the points raised by members, I must just mention the Auction. The tables were literally piled high with donations. Many people went home very pleased with their bargains and a healthy sum of £319 will go Bees for Development. Duncan Williams, who remains our Auditor despite giving up bee keeping. Duncan had donated his equipment to be sold for charity. Greg and I took these to the Meon Valley Auction in the Summer, raising £215, which accounts for our large donation shown in the Treasurer’s Report despite not having an AGM or Auction last year.


There were three really good points raised at “any other business”.

1.       Mike Barringer said, he took his entries that he had prepared and entered into our Honey Show to the National Honey Show. He explained, he did win a few prizes at our Show but not with all his entries. as the judge said the standard was high. The same entries won him a silver cup at the National Honey Show. He encouraged all members to have the confidence to enter the National Honey Show too.

2.       Do we have a “welcome pack” for new members?

Oooops. No. Usually we had meetings and talked to them. No blooming use during lock down at all. We do have a website though and it was suggested that a new members guide page would be a good idea. I shall be consulting with the member who raised the point to try and get this underway, ready for our new cohort of students coming through this winter. If you have ideas for what should be included please let us know.


3.       Other associations seem to organise group discounts on equipment better than us, could we improve?

This generated a really useful discussion. The Portsmouth Association runs a shop on Saturdays that we can use. They have premises and take it in turns to help staff it. ” Not everybody knows this” and the address and times or link to this information will be on our website soon. Various members have taken on buying glassware or fondant in bulk as a group, thus benefitting from reduced costs. They usually advertise their intention at a meeting or on Facebook page and collect orders then arrange when the stuff should be collected. The Facebook page is a good place for this. David Thomas reminded us that glassware in particular can be bulky and the organiser needs to have adequate storage. It was agreed, a few years ago, if a member was going to any bee equipment supplier, they would let other members know and arrange to collect any orders to save travel.

Again, if you have ideas to help with this, please let us know and we will try to share the information. It has identified an area that could be included in the welcome pages on the website, perhaps.

So.. quite long but on the upside a lot shorter than the real thing. On the down side no mince pies afterwards!! A gallon of gently warming mead sat in the kitchen but I’m afraid to say I forgot to give it out. My apologies.. I’ll bring it to our meeting in January!!


Wishing you all the best of the season. Looking forward to seeing you in January. 



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About Us


Hello Everyone,
My name is Paula Little. I am the Acting Chairperson at Fareham and District Beekeepers Association (FDBKA)
I considered I might want to keep bees when I was going out with my first boyfriend, way back in the day when flared trousers were a new thing. His dad kept bees. Everything about that glorious summer, first love, sunny days and happy memories blended into the idea of keeping bees.

Life has a sneaky way of getting in the way of dreams. It wasn't until 2005, when flares which are now called bootlegs, I actually began having fun with bees. Started out as a member of the New Forest Beekeepers Association before joining FDBKA in 2007/8.

My first set of equipment was gifted to me by my sister's sister in law, whom I had known since I was six years old. The thing I had never known was that she kept bees, until I told her that I was doing a beginner course, fifty years later!! She had spent a lifetime bee-keeping but was now giving up, so her veils, suit, honey buckets and extractor all came my way... Are all bee-keepers "good folks" or just the ones I've met?!
I love making things. The crafts associated with bee-keeping hold almost as much fascination as the bees themselves. I am an avid maker of mead. I enjoy being part of the Bees and Honey Weekend at Manor Farm where I provide a range of meads to allow the visitors to taste mead. I have run courses on mead making with my own Association, but I'm not sure I'll do it again! One of my students won first prize!!!! I make beeswax candles and flatter myself as it was part of the inspiration for my great nephew's to start up a candle business.. I'd love to say I make my my own skeps but have to admit my first attempt remains only half done over many years and it's hanging from the garage roof to keep it away from the mice... so I use a cardboard box to collect swarms.

Anyway, you can see over the years, I have derived a great deal of interest, pleasure and many good friends through bee-keeping. I accepted my nomination as Chair of FDBKA as I am grateful for the opportunity to support the hobby I love.


Fareham and District Beekeepers Association

We are a predominantly urban group of bee keepers numbering over 100 Registered, Partner and Country members and now in our 102nd year. We are affiliated to Hampshire Bee Keepers Association (HBA) and the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA).

In spring and summer we used to hold apiary meetings at different apiaries and held indoor meetings in autumn and winter in Stubbington, when we had special guest speakers on all different bee related topics. Since the Covit19 restrictions we temporarily stopped these meetings and we now organise monthly virtual talks on Zoom. The details of these can be found on our Events Page.

We also run a training and educational apiary at Manor Farm, Bursledon, where we have held Bees and Honey weekends for the last few years which has been a fantastic weekend for us and the general public.

We openly welcome and encourage 'newcomers' to join us. This year, we are launching a mentorship programme for those who would like the support of one of our experienced beekeepers. You can read all about it here

We are more than happy to invite members of the public along who may have a fear of bees or people who really would like to know a little more about bees and bee keeping to one of our Summer apiary meetings. We will loan you a bee suit and gloves (limited numbers depending on the meeting) if you wish to know more please email the secretary using the contact link, or look at the Membership page. Please visit the Education page if you are interested in taking up beekeeping.
Information if you are a member of the public seeking advice about wasps, bumblebees and other bees
The association often receives inquiries regarding bumblebees, wasps or bees nesting in buildings etc. We are a group of people who share a hobby, not a professional organisation, we have no "staff" as such. The only service we offer is that we have a team of volunteers who are willing to collect swarms of honey bees that were causing nuisance to members of the public if they can. 

Bumblebee nests only last the season - early spring to the first frosts of autumn- If they are not causing a nuisance they are best left alone. If you need further assistance please contact a bumblebee conservation group. Google lists a number of them.

Masonry bees, bees in buildings
The association is not able to assist with these issues. Again a google search may help you contact someone who can.
The association has recently acquired a new apiary site in Titchfield, Fareham.

Our Facebook page can be reached via this link:

Don't forget FDBKA members can borrow the following equipment via our equipment organiser Jamie Leeper. Ring Jamie on 07989745884.

1 x 4 Frame tangential manual honey extractor which is able to take up to 4 x 14x12/commercial brood frame or 8 super frames.

1 x 3 Frame tangential manual honey extractor which is able to take up to 3 x 14x12/commercial brood frames or 6 super frames.

1 x Heather press.

COLOSS Winter Loss Survey 2020 : Fareham area

Monitor Honey Bee Colony Losses spring 2021

Letter from COLOSS

Dear Beekeeper.


In the last decade, elevated losses of western honey bee colonies have been observed, mainly in Europe and North America, but the underlying causes still remain unclear. In 2008, European and USA honey bee experts formed a network "COLOSS" realising that efforts by individual countries to identify the drivers of losses were unlikely to succeed, given the current consensus that causes are complex and can be different between regions and between the years. Now more than 1000 scientists are working together in this network in specific working groups.

The epidemiological working group have developed a standardised questionnaire to identify the underlying causal factors of losses and provide beekeepers sustainable management strategies.

We now invite you to fill in the questionnaire for 2021 which you will find below.

This will enable us to compare your answers with other beekeepers. With your data we can estimate the relative risk of colony losses for beekeeper decisions such as Varroa treatment, migration of colonies and comb replacement. We also aim to identify differences in relative mortality risk between regions. This will enable follow up research projects in specific regions.

At your option your personal details may be recorded however we undertake not to disclose them to any third party to protect your privacy.

Finally your help is much appreciated. Please can I ask you to promote this survey and the questionnaire link through this open letter to as many English bee keepers as you are able to do so. Feel free to share the link by email, word of mouth, newsletters or social media and to your local bee keeping organisations. In doing so you will be making a contribution to tackling the problem of colony losses and ensuring that English data is represented as an equal partner in the COLOSS European community.


Thanking you

Dr Anthony Williams

COLOSS Survey Coordinator for England

De Montfort University

A Member of Leicester and Rutland Beekeepers Association 


Tel: 0116 207 8468

############## More Information ###########################

For further information about the COLOSS colony loss core project and past results please see the COLOSS website:


Results from previous surveys have been published in Journal Apicultural Research, the most recent article was published as an open access document and can be found at: