Are you interested in bees and thinking you might like to take up beekeeping?
Wondering what Reigate Beekeepers is doing to save the bees?
Trying to decide which beekeeping club to join?
Well why not start with a look at what Reigate Beekeepers are doing…. we are always looking for new members, from complete beginners to advanced beekeepers, and also those wishing to return to the hobby.
Our primary teaching apiary is just south of Dorking.
We offer both hands on and class room based training and also some guidance and assistance if you are thinking of setting up your own apiary. We offer advice on selecting the best position for your hives, (often by a visit from an experienced beekeeper) or, assistance in finding out-apiaries, even microscopy of bees for annual health checks.
Reigate Beekeepers must be amongst the busiest of associations in Surrey.
It is a very pro-active club, with activities ranging from social events, winter lectures, to practical training.
Here’s a summary of the club recently.
- At 200+ members, we are the amongst the largest clubs in Surrey.
- Our membership ranges from the young, and those who are only beginners in beekeeping to those who are very experienced.
- Over a 100 events have been organised by Reigate Beekeepers members.
- These range from school visits and talks with an observation hive to a two day bee hives health tour by our Regional Bee Inspector.
- During the year we attend at least 23 shows ranging from small village fêtes to a two day major events at Polesden Lacey with around 5,000 visitors. Members give talks about beekeeping to many groups, including over 12 talks to W.I. groups prior to their decision to debate ways of supporting honey bees at their AGM in the Albert Hall.
- There have been seven media events at our training apiary from ITV news to local radio.
- Our courses during the year typically benefit some 120 people. These include:
- our winter beginners course
- a ‘Taster Day’ held during the summer
- we have also run special days for groups such as the Surrey Tree Wardens
- Our summer weekly practical evenings (April-August) at our training apiary regularly have more than 60 members present.
- During the winter (September-March) we hold monthly beekeeeping lectures.
- Our members achieve significant success in the British Beekeepers Association examinations.
- We have many hundreds of years of beekeeping experience amongst our members, with some very experienced and highly qualified members. Including:
- 5 General Husbandry qualifications. (We believe there is one person with this qualification among the other 7 Surrey clubs)
- 2 Master Beekeepers
- 2 General Husbandry Examiner
- Our honey extraction day is run as a teaching event with typically 20 people learning the ropes and extracting 190 pounds of honey at the same time.
- We sell club honey and other bee products at the Reigate Farmers Market.
- We run two bee health clinics each year typically testing over 100 colonies and training prospective microscopists at the same time.
- In service to the community our swarm team typically receives 190 calls, attends around a 120 incidents and collects over 80 swarms.
More information about Beginners Training Courses and Taster Day sessions can be found under the Learning Centre menu tab.
A brief history of Reigate Beekeepers
1917 Founded by Miss M. Whyte-Johnstone – an expert beekeeper and quite a character by all accounts!
1930’s Our President was Sir Jeremiah Colman – of mustard fame
1932 Reigate BKA’s first honey show
1935 Reigate Cup first presented – (It cost 7 guineas!)
1942 Membership had risen to 242. Many people took up beekeeping during the war to take advantage of the increased sugar ration.
1954 Miss Whyte-Johnstone celebrated 50 years of beekeeping and started our library with a gift of books – a tradition that continues today
1979 Regular Bee Disease Clinics started
1981 First divisional training apiary opened at Brockham
1980’s Divisional apiary moves to a number of sites
1987 (?) Eventually settles in the grounds of Box Hill School, Mickleham and fund raising begins for the purchase of a permanent apiary
2009 Purchase of site for new training apiary south of Dorking,
2010 Divisional training moved to the new apiary.
2011 Reigate BKA welcomes its 200th member and the new Training Apiary officially opened by Bill Turnbull
2013. Planning permission granted to build a teaching facility & fund raising initiated for the project under the banner of “Education Space” project.
to date Continued development of the new site