Whitstable and Herne Bay Beekeepers

A swarm making their way into a new hive

The Whitstable & Herne Bay beekeepers form a branch of the Kent Association (https://www.kbka.org.uk/). The branch is one of the oldest in the county and has a current membership of around 60, with about two-thirds of these being active beekeepers, ie with their own hives, and the remainder made up of beginners, novices, or Friends of the branch. Our members are based from Teynham through to Reculver, including the north side of Canterbury.

We meet as a branch once every month throughout the year, usually on the afternoon of the final Saturday in each month. During the active beekeeping season (when it is warm enough to open the hives) these meetings take place at the teaching apiary on the Kent campus so that hive inspections and teaching beginner beekeepers take up most of the afternoon. During the winter months, when it it too cold to disturb the bees, we meet at Herne Mill and enjoy a series of talks on various themes connected to bees and beekeeping nationally. These meetings and events are organised and led by the branch’s committee members who are all active beekeepers and with a wide range of experience. We welcome enquiries from anyone wanting to know more about honey bees and beekeeping, whether it’s with a view to becoming a beekeeper themselves or simply an interest that they want to explore.

We are always keen to know of sites that can offer a home to one or more hives as we assist our newer members without suitable home space of their own to get started. We have regularly provided talks to different students groups and societies at the University, and also to schools in our area.

Members of the branch come from a very wide range of backgrounds and we are thus fortunate in having many different skills and professions to call upon when needed. Our income is derived primarily from sales of honey harvested from the branch hives, with grant income for specific planned projects from different funding bodies. We teach at least one and usually two beginner courses every year, the theory element of which is followed by several weeks’ mentoring of practical work with the branch hives. We are known for being friendly and welcoming and often have beginners referred to us.

Our website is at https://whitstable-hernebay-beekeepers.org.uk/ and contact details for us can be found there. We also have an active Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/359167444256663/