Apiary management

With the start of the active season fast approaching, we’ve been considering how we might better manage our bees.

Our aim is to make running Meridian’s apiaries fun for everyone and to provide an opportunity for members to acquire new skills. We also want to make sure our bees are well looked after.

Rather than selling the Association’s honey we thought it would be a nice idea to distribute it amongst those who get involved. Louise has come up with an ingenious point-based system to make that share-out as fair as possible.

We understand most people’s motivation for helping is not personal gain but we wanted to find a way of recognising the time commitment and travel costs involved in volunteering.

We know some members are not ready to have their own hives, others don’t wish to manage a colony at home and this scheme provides an opportunity for them to get some enjoyable hands-on experience. But this proposal is for everyone not just for members without bees.

Building on the tremendous response we had to the apiary tidy last autumn, it would be great to get as many members as possible involved.

Whether you’d like to help manage the bees or maintain equipment, process honey or wax, your contribution is greatly appreciated and you can help as little or as much as you like. To get involved click Count me in!

We also wish to develop the position of Apiary Manager. This voluntary role will be for one season at a time and doesn’t mean you’d be doing all the work! Supported by volunteer members, the committee will conduct hives inspections and manipulations as usual, but the Apiary Manager will provide a single point of contact for those working at the apiary.

The appointed person (one for Swanmore and one for West End) will know exactly what’s going on and can report previous activities and provide a briefing to the next team before they take their turn at the apiary.

The Apiary Manager is key to the smooth running of our apiaries going forward and any volunteers would be keenly appreciated. You don’t have to be an expert beekeeper just good at communication and organising. The apiary manager does not replace the need to maintain careful notes!

Here is the job description;

  • To act as a single point of contact for the apiary.
  • To ensure apiary records are maintained and disseminated.
  • To act as the reporting point after apiary inspections and manipulations.
  • To brief the next person or team.
  • Under guidance, take timely responsibility for reporting any incidence of noticeable disease, ensuring correct processes are followed.

Wildflower meadow at West End

A member suggested creating a wild flower meadow at our West End Apiary and we have chosen Saturday 24 April to undertake the work to realise this excellent idea. Click here for details of our apiary meetings.

The work involves preparing the ground and scattering seed and if you’d like to get involved, please volunteer here Count me in!

We will of course obtain all the appropriate equipment to make the tasks as easy as possible.

What do points make?

Here’s the points-based system for Meridian honey. It’ll probably evolve as time goes by but it’s an excellent place to start!

Members accumulating 10 points will share any honey from the association apiary up to a maximum of eight jars. If there is a surplus beyond that, honey can be purchased at £6 per 454g jar (or a percentage lower than the usual purchase price.

As a point of good practice, this scheme does not apply to Committee Members usual activity.

Cleaning frames and retrieving wax1
Washing wax1
Making frames1
Waxing frames1
Making/mending equipment2
Managing website4
Managing articles on website
Managing the shop4
Apiary Manager4
Preparing equipment for assessment2
Preparing colonies for assessment2
Organising/supporting students for assessment4
A day supporting further learning/refresher courses4
Maintaining a colony for a season6
Assisting with maintenance of apiary site3
Taking honey2
Spinning honey2
Extracting honey, filtering, putting in jars2

3 thoughts on “Apiary management

  1. I think committee members should not benefit from their responsibilities as committee mEmbers – I think they should be able to accumulate points for helping out over and above that just like other members x


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