Bees are extraordinary creatures. Their behaviour is always fascinating – at times mystifying. So it is not surprising that many people are drawn to the absorbing hobby of beekeeping.

Ludlow & District Beekeepers’ Association (L&DBKA) was formed in 1942 to further the interests of bees and beekeeping in South Shropshire, North West Worcestershire and North Herefordshire. L&DBKA currently has over 160 members, keeping bees mainly in the area between Leominster, Tenbury Wells, Cleobury Mortimer, Church Stretton, Knighton and the adjacent Welsh border.

Like most beekeeping associations, L&DBKA provides training each year for people thinking of taking up beekeeping. The course includes some theory sessions as well as hands-on practical training. Further training is provided to support those interested in taking a basic qualification. Being a member of your local association also means there is somewhere to turn to when help or advice is needed.

The Association has its own Apiary near Ludlow, which is the main location for our Taster Sessions and hands-on Training. This facility is part-funded by sales of our own honey.

For the last few years, the Association has been been engaged in a bee-breeding programme which is attempting to establish a viable number of breeding colonies of the native British ‘Black Bee’ – or at least something genetically close to it.

We operate a Bee Swarm Collection service for the general public, so if you’ve found a swarm go to the Swarms Page.

Asian Hornet

Following confirmation that Asian Hornets have been found in Gloucestershire, Margaret Murdin, chair of the BBKA, has asked that the following notes be shared with beekeepers.
The hornet was found by a beekeeper and other beekeepers in the immediate area have found hornets hawking in front of their hives. There is a 20 Km incident zone around the hive and the National Bee Unit ( NBU) are currently looking for the colony. If they find it they will destroy it. Fortunately the NBU have been expecting it for some time and had a contingency plan ready to go.
They have caught several hornets and looked at their genetics and these hornets are related to those in France and Alderney. So they have not come in from China. This is important because they are obviously breeding from quite a small genetic pool and have been weakened from inbreeding.  And we have to ask ourselves if they flew directly from France to Gloucester. Unlikely I think. So maybe they are in other parts of the country. We don’t know.
So far every hornet found has been found by a beekeeper.
As you may know, if the hornets gain access to a colony they will bring the rest of their nest mates and the colony will be destroyed very quickly. Our European bees have no natural defences.
They are currently examining every hive in the incident zone. But the problem is they cannot be sure they know the whereabouts of every beekeeper and every hive.
So please, if you are not already registered on BeeBase, register now http://www.nationalbeeunit.com
If you are already registered update your entry to ensure all your apiaries are included.
Also please look through any wasp traps you have up to see if there are any hornets in there. And you might want to put some traps up, the same as for wasps.
The Asian hornet is a very serious pest of honey bees. Please look at the attached identification sheet and make sure everyone else (not just beekeepers) are aware of what it looks like….remember yellow legs.
If you see an Asian hornet please do not try and find the nest. Contact the non native species people at alertnonnative@ceh.ac.uk  giving details.