We held our AGM on Tuesday, 6 June 2017 which was well attended.  The officers were duly elected and are noted below. After several years as chairman and a long standing member of the Association Tom Tew retired and Robert Wylie, equally as long in tooth was elected as Chairman. Many thanks, Tom, for your hard work and support. Colin reviewed the events of a busy year which saw attendance grow, 23 at the last meeting at the apiary. Alex MacLaren, our apiary manager, has looked after our bees throughout the season and has brought four hives through the winter. Heather, our science officer, has given us some interesting insight to our bees and continues the work on the types of pollen. She will continue to oversee our Facebook page which has acquired a healthy following from all over the world. Tom continues to give us his master classes during the summer examining our hives.  Our shed, equipment and contents are tidy and in good repair. We have the use of five good sets of protective clothing for guests.  Taken as a whole, 2016 was a very successful season.

The apiary will host our meetings throughout the summer (every second Saturday 2pm) and we are looking forward to learning more under the careful tutelage of Alex and Tom. We are also expecting some more insights into our bees and the pollen they collect from Heather.

The diary of the summers' activities will continue to be reported in the posts to our Facebook pages.  Keep on checking:  https://www.facebook.com/pages/Easter-Ross-Beekeepers-Association/209664155911488 .  As always if you have any ideas, suggestions, questions or proposals please drop us a line.


Membership: Approx 27 beekeepers with from 1-10 hives

Subscriptions from 1 April 2017 £10.00 per annum


Work was started early this year at the Scotsburn apiary by our keen working party:

Followed by our spring meeting:

and the examination of the Association's hives:


The apiary continues to be managed by Alex MacLaren.  The Association's summer meetings, every second Saturday, are held there to enable members to contribute to the upkeep of the apiary and for beginners to gain hands-on experience from senior beekeepers. Members may also tend their own hives there with the permission of the Secretary. Donations of bee equipment are always welcome and we recycle old foundation.

The Association does not accept any responsibility or liability for any loss, damage or injury to members or visitors arising from their presence at the Apiary. Members and visitors are responsible for their own safety and they should ensure that they are suitably attired and are reminded that beekeeping has attendant risks of which they should be aware.

The Apiary is near Tain on the west side of the bypass and is 500 yards along the Scotsburn Road on the left hand side at the Scottish Water Rosehill Reservoir.  Its locality is unmarked.


DINGWALL VARROA LECTURE - Graeme Sharpe Scottish Agricultural College

These notes are based on Graeme Sharpe’s lecture of 30 March 2015 arranged by the Dingwall Beekeepers’ Association. For detailed information please go to the National Bee Unit “BeeBase” www.nationalbeeunit.com  Have you registered?

We are all familiar with Varroa and there are some excellent photos on our website.  Graeme’s presentation brought home how essential it is to control this mite.  If you don’t treat you’ll loose your colony (and your neighbour’s!).

The mite (or mites) invades the open brood cell shortly before capping and lays its own eggs.  It prefers drone brood (see later). The hatched mite will then attach itself and tap into the grub when it hatches. When the young bee emerges it will have its parasite passenger feeding on it.  This attachment is a source for many diseases/viruses which are responsible for the collapse of the hive if varroa remains untreated.

Varroa mites double in quantity every four weeks and once your hive hosts more than 1000 mites you will loose your colony. A close look for the visible presence of mites attached to the bees AND for the visible signs of shrunken and deformed wings disease (DWV) will show the problem. Once the infestation gets a hold healthy bees will jump ship and the colony will fail. See the Varroa calculator on BeeBase and monitor the mite drop over several weeks in the spring/summer using and open mesh floor and sticky paper board.

There are several treatments available which should be part of an integrated pest management (IPM) programme. The key points here are:

·         Open floors

·         Pre winter treatment

·         Monitor varroa drop regularly

·         Drone sacrifice early in season

·         Treat in season if necessary but beware of residues

·         Remove honey in August

·         Treat at end of season

There are several different treatments and methods available:

·         Thymol based – APIguard etc,

.          Oxalic acid

·         Polymer based – Apistan etc,

·         Formic acid based - MAQs etc,

Please check the web before buying and using these.  Size of brood, timing, temperature and residues are important. MAQ strips particularly need to be used extremely carefully.


It is recommended that members should register on "Bee Base".

Please visit DEFRA's Bee Base web site.  Please type in: https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase.

Then go to "signing up to BeeBase here".

This year why not surf the web for the latest news on beekeeping best practice, varroa, CCD, etc.  For National information on bees, beekeeping, etc. please visit the www.nationalbeeunit.com and of course the Scottish Beekeepers Association website.


If you are thinking of expanding or replacing your bee equipment don't forget that the Association holds a good stock of second hand equipment for sale.

Good practice tips for 2017 (c/o Clive de Bruyn)



Varroa  is now endemic in our area and members and should take all necessary procedures to check and control the mite.

If you fail to detect varroa when it is present then you will almost certainly lose your colonies. The Association has been giving varroa advice at the Apiary and there is good reference material on the SBA web site, the Moray Bee Dinosaurs' web site and the bee unit of the CSL, see the links below.


Photos courtesy of John Whitelaw -Lensonscotland


Locally, you can always contact Highland Bee Supplies at Farr on 01808 521311 www.highlandbeesupplies.co.uk. or Fairfield Apiaries at Muir of Ord on 01997 433377 from Arthur Hill.  Catalogues and price lists can be obtained from Thornes of Scotland by phoning them on 01337 842596 or on www.thorne.co.uk Beekeeper clothing is also available from www.thebeeshop.co.uk at very reasonable prices.


New members are always asking for second hand equipment so if you have some spare which you want to get rid of please let us know so we can pass it on. 


Members who sell their own honey must consult and practise the regulations in Honey Regulations of 2003 and 2015.  Please refer to the details published on the National Bee unit website www.nationalbeeunit.com  Guidance is also available on the Scottish Beekeepers' Association website. Failure to observe them may open you to prosecution or legal action from a consumer or from the Council Trading Standards officers. The guidance covers the Food Safety Regulations, rules of hygiene, labelling, composition, weights and measures, hazards analysis etc. Follow this link to the British Beekeepers' Association's web site for information:  www.britishbeekeepers.com


 The Association offers a service to the public to collect swarms of honey bees from the local area particularly during the months of June and July. Any member of the public who is troubled by a swarm should contact Robert Wylie on 01862 821325 who may be able to make arrangements to remove the swarm safely. Because of the risks, skills and equipment required we normally make a charge of £20 per hour plus the cost of any consumables.  This is considerably less than the charges from pest control firms and also ensures the survival of the colony of bees. The charges are negotiable and will take into consideration ability to pay.

The Association is also pleased to manage or relocate abandoned feral hives and is particularly interested in the native Scottish black bees. Please note that the Association will not accept any liability for loss, damage or injury which might arise from the handling and management of any third party bees by any member of this Association.


Should you detect an EFB outbreak in your hives you should notify the SBA Northern Representative (see below) and Senior Agricultural Officer, Highland Area Office, Longman House, 28 Longman Road, Inverness IV1 1SF (Tel: 01463 234141).  This ensures that the latest scientific and statistical information is held nationally.

Further advice can be obtained from SASA and hive samples for testing can be sent to:

S.A.S.A. 1 Rodinglaw Road, Edinburgh, EH12 9FJ tel:0131 244 8890 www.sasa.gov.uk (packages marked "Bee diseases") Note the service is free.

For guidance to treat varroa we recommend the following web source which is extremely comprehensive:




The spray liaison officer to whom all queries should be addressed regarding proposed spraying or spray damage to bee colonies is Colin Ridley (Tel: 01862 842410).



The ERBA is affiliated to the SBA

See the SBA Website on: www.scottishbeekeepers.org.uk

SBA Subscriptions from 1 January 2016 are £25 including magazine and insurance.

Our Northern Area representative is:

Ann Chilcott, Sonas, Piperhill, Nairn, IV12 5SD Tel: 01667 404606  email: ann@chilcott.myzen.co.uk or northrep@scottishbeekeepers.org.uk



To our local communities and local associations:





To local suppliers of honey:

www.struanapiaries.co.uk Contact Hamish Robertson


Brora Bees - contact John McMorran


Last revised: June 7, 2017

Webmaster Robert Wylie, email: riwylie@gmail.com