If you are a beekeeper in the UK, you will probably have heard about The Beekeeping Show in Telford, Shropshire on 25th February 2023. It’s a new trade show that has been set up by three bee farmers; Paul Beardmore, Alex Ellis and Rob Nickless. I don’t know Rob, but I do know the other two; Alex runs Border Honey and sells excellent queens, Paul runs Modern Beekeeping/Happy Valley Honey.
The great thing about this event is that so many beekeeping suppliers are coming, including plenty from over the Channel, as well as many of the people involved in beekeeping across the country. It will be lovely to meet old associates and maybe make new connections. There are a few people I’m hoping to bump into, but for lots of the day I’m ‘hosting’ the seminars with my co-author friend, Paul Horton. The final session is a Q&A panel with YouTubers Laurence Edwards, Gruffydd Rees & Richard Noel. Looking at that, I can see that the challenge will be to keep answers down to less than 10 minutes; those guys can talk!
Now is the time, before actual beekeeping gets underway, to stock up on supplies for the season ahead. I intend to make a big investment – the time has come for me to get an Api Melter so that I don’t waste loads of honey in wax cappings, as well as render wax more easily. I wondered whether to buy an uncapping machine but have decided that the Api Melter is the way to go. We still uncap manually, which is a pain, but from what I’ve seen, a lot of the uncapping machines have their flaws. Here are the suppliers that I have had dealings with in the past, who will be there:
I have a 30 frame electric radial extractor from these guys, and it’s a wondrous thing. I’m not a massive fan of their hives, but plenty of other beekeepers love them. I do have some of their 3 frame nucs. To me, the polystyrene is a bit hard and brittle, but, as I said, plenty of people love them.
I bought a load of Thymovar off Dylan at a discount and used them last season in the Autumn. I’m keen to see what other goodies they sell and discuss the pros and cons of each.
BB Wear and BJ Sherriff
I have bee suits from both suppliers and no complaint. I really like the honey rustler jacket from Sherriff for when it’s hot, or I’m just doing something quick and don’t want to climb into a full suit.
Alex Ellis has really expanded his queen production and uses top quality breeder queens, so I’m confident that I’ll be trying some of those at some point.
BS Honey Bees
I love their ventilated correx nucleus boxes. Furthermore, the nucs that split into two with a divider board are nifty things.
My cedar Langstroth boxes mostly come from these guys – excellent quality
It will be nice to see Murray and Jolanta, who I haven’t seen since I visited Coupar Angus back in Nov 2017. Jolanta makes good queens and has just returned from a trip to meet Sue Coby to learn about instrumental insemination. Murray knows a little bit about beekeeping!
I have used it, and it’s good. Nowadays, I just put thymol crystals into alcohol, then add some to syrup. If I only had a few hives, I’d still be using Hive Alive. Maybe their seaweed extract adds something extra, but I think the main benefit is the thymol, which prevents syrup fermenting and possibly helps keep nosema down.
National Honey Show
I know Bob Maurer, the chairman, from my brief time working at BeeCraft. He’s a lovely chap. Plus, some lectures at the NHS are fantastic. I’m not really into honey shows per se, but respect those that are – it’s a whole other set of skills to win a prize for honey. The trade show is great too, of course.
I used to buy Swienty Langstroth boxes but with Brexit, and one thing or another, I swapped over to Honey Paw hives sold by Paul at MB. Very good they are, too. I have loads of their plastic super frames, which are also good. I have also used Apimix syrup and Apipasta fondant. Paul is based only a few miles from me and is always helpful.
Northern Bee Books
So many books on beekeeping are either published by NBB or sold by them. Jerry and Jonathan are friendly, knowledgable and run one of the best bee book stores anywhere. Oh, they sell my book too, by the way 🙂
I have many of their poly nucs. Plenty of people modify them by removing the internal feeder, but I think they are fine as they are.
I really like this company, based in Denmark. I have loads of their stuff, and cannot recommend highly enough their ‘Breeze’ bee suits. Their wired Langstroth frames are great too.
Who hasn’t bought something from Thornes. Reliable supplier, loads of stock.
Vita Bee Health
I have seen a few talks by Seb, and last year he let me have some Vitafeed Nutri to try out because I suggested that I thought it might be one of those products that bees don’t really need. I shook some powder on the tops of frames in weaker colonies. It wasn’t a scientific trial, but the bees seemed to gobble it up and did well.
I haven’t met David, and hope to do so at the show. We have exchanged emails a few times, and I’m interested in the way that he does beekeeping, which is quite different to many.
I’ve bought plenty of Invert Bee off them, and it’s perfect syrup for bees.
Hopefully, I’ll get the chance to check out some other traders at the show. It’s an opportunity to see the stuff and handle it, which you can’t do by staring at a computer screen. Moreover, consider the massive savings on delivery costs if you buy something from one of the suppliers from France, Germany, Denmark, Poland etc.
There is one small negative to this show. As I’m working there, I have to get up early so that I can report for duty on time. Early starts do not suit this walrus, but I’m prepared to take that step because it’s worth it. I’ll be staying at the Holiday Inn the night before, and will hopefully bump into a few kindred spirits from the beekeeping world. I won’t be having any other spirits, as I approach 17 years of sobriety. It’s astonishing how much more you can get done, when you’re not drunk all the time!