KBKA Newsletter November 2012

County Newsletter No. 64 November 2012

Gravesend Branch’s new Out Apiary at Cobham Hall School
Gravesend Beekeeping Branch was started by Miss Margaret Calder in 1961 when she worked at Swanscombe School and commenced beekeeping with the pupils. You may recall the name from the Pavilion at Detling which was renamed when Margaret left a legacy to KBKA in her will, specifically to build a toilet facility onto the building which has been a most welcome addition over the years. Membership appears to have been about 20 in number at this time increasing to around 50 or so in 1981 when postage was 12½ per letter, no e-mails in those days! Meetings were held at member’s houses/apiaries who were able to accommodate the numbers and St Mary’s Church room and Southfleet village hall on occasions. Interest in the club fluctuated over the years, as with many of the branches, responding to the arrival of the varroa mite, older age group of the membership, lack of branch out apiary and I think the area that the branch covers. This runs from Medway through Gravesend to Dartford, Longfield, Hartley, New Ash Green, Shoreham, Wrotham, Vigo, Meopham, Sole Street and Cobham and we even have a couple of members farther afield and overlap four other Kent Branches.

Like many of the other Kent Branches, we have in the last few years seen renewed interest in beekeeping and have responded by running some taster courses with the idea of putting people off, or getting them to commit to beekeeping! This has resulted in the Branch growing to around 55 members and precipitated the need to find a site for an out apiary, as we have outgrown many of our regular venues for holding meetings and demonstrations, and to provide a dedicated site for education purposes and where members can improve their skills and confidence in a mutually supportive environment.

The opportunity arose to set up an out apiary at Cobham Hall School where the International Baccalaureate is taught, the science element requiring the study of different social structures in the environment, hence the approach by the Head of Science who is now a Branch member.

Negotiations commenced in July 2011 with the Bursar et al, the Branch started fund raising and held its AGM and programme of winter meetings at Cobham. Various sites for the apiary were considered and resolved when the Estates Manager suggested an ideal underused area, protected on all sides and room for loads of colonies if necessary, on the far corner of the site which is organic and run by a charitable trust.

The membership had highlighted the need for an equipment storage shed, which led to design considerations, self-build or purchase, insurance requirements etc. This has been quite a commitment for a small branch and somewhat nerve racking. However, once we had embarked we had to keep going and have been very fortunate in the support received from all sorts of directions. Cobham is adjacent to the high-speed rail link and a member who also had an apiary site alongside the track had mentioned they might be willing to sponsor us, and a subsequent visit resulted in them buying us a considerable amount of equipment to start us off, which was great even though it has been stored in my garage for six months or so! The branch ran raffles, sales tables and were also fortunate to be given a substantial donation from a branch member.

Just like Topsy the project kept growing and with invaluable help from County, Bromley and Dartford branches and the Estates Department at Cobham we were on our way.

Excess scrubby trees were removed from the site by Cobham estates and then this was followed by two working parties to clear the site and two more to build the shed; fortunately only the last one took place in torrential rain! The response to these days from the membership and beekeeping friends from other branches has been fantastic, we have had new members, old members, able bodied, infirm, husbands, wives, partners, sons and even the odd dog, we have sweated buckets, ached, laughed, got sunburnt and soaking wet but all enjoyed ourselves with great camaraderie. Our beautiful shed is built, well we think it’s beautiful, insured and even contains a work bench, cupboard and new equipment – my garage is a bit clearer – the site had bee colonies installed 3 months later than planned due to the dreadful weather this season but they are there.

Further funding to go towards the cost of the shed materials has been obtained from KCC’s community fund, each County Councillor from your district council has £10,000 per year to allocate to causes they think are deserving, a lot of form filling in but a welcome few hundred was forthcoming and if the membership covers more than one district each County Councillor may be tried. Another member contacted Waitrose and after waiting some time Gravesend Branch was one of the recipients of the June green button collection, another useful and welcome sum. Wickes have donated a water butt and we are now seeing if we can obtain a donation of paint from one of the building material companies. I know the Co-op have an environmental fund, details on the web but their funds had run out for 2012 so perhaps this is one for us  to try in 2013.

The project has been quite a challenge, very time consuming and full on at times but a very worthwhile end result which has provided an excellent facility to use for current and future bee-keepers in the area and we look forward to a full and productive 2013. Lesley Fancote (Secretary Gravesend Branch KBKA).

Branch Events

Bromley BKA

Tuesday 13th November 2012 @ 7:30pm. Free public lecture by Dr Sara Robb @ The Kent House Road Leisure Gardens (opposite Woodbastwick Road), 91a Kent House Road, Sydenham, Kent SE26 5LJ. Demonstration of how to make Honey Bee Soap and other Honey Potions, including: lip balm base, beeswax body butter and a beeswax and honey moisture cream. Register for free tickets here: http://www.eventbrite.com/event/4165410856.

County and Other Events

Saturday, 12th January 2013 – ADM at Stoneleigh – Brian Palmer is the Kent’s delegate.

Friday, 12th to Sunday, 14th April 2013 – BBKA Spring Convention, Harper Adams University College, Newport, Shropshire.

Friday, 12th to Sunday, 14th July 2013 – Kent County Show, Detling.
KBKA is currently looking into the possibility of a block insurance policy to cover branches’ equipment, sheds and the like. The County Treasurer sent out a questionnaire to branches in June to ascertain the level of interest in such cover; only four branches responded. You may find the extract on insurance from the BBKA 2012 Year Book of interest:

Over the years a number of queries have arisen about the insurance cover BBKA has arranged for its Members. The following information is designed to help Members understand the cover they have. As with all insurance, these FAQs should be taken as indicative answers only – the final wording is that contained in the policy and the interpretation rests with the insurance company. Any questions not answered here should be addressed to the NBC office bbka@britishbeekeepers.com.

1. What are the various insurance schemes which relate to my BBKA Membership and what benefits do they carry?

Third Party Public Liability and Product Liability insurance from BBKA
The Third Party Public Liability and Product Liability insurance policy covers all registered, partner, UK resident Individual Members (referred to collectively as “Members”) against any financial loss caused by a successful claim against them by a third party for injury, or other loss, deemed to have been caused by the Member, or their bees, whilst undertaking beekeeping activities or through the normal use of their hive products. The limit of this cover is presently £10million with each new claim carrying an excess of £250 for third party property damage that is payable by the Member.  All other claims have nil excesses.

All Risks Insurance for Associations from BBKA
The All Risks Insurance policy is available on request for use by Associations to cover the loss or damage to Associations’ property or equipment. The terms of the policy are kept flexible and can be tailored to cover individual Associations’ needs by direct negotiation with Towergate

Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI) from Bee Diseases Insurance Limited
Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI) offers financial compensation for the replacement cost of hive parts destroyed on the instructions of an authorised FERA Bee Inspector should he decide, on the discovery of a notifiable disease, that this is the appropriate course of action (see BDI Q&A).

2. Are all Membership categories covered for insurance automatically?
All categories of Members registered with BBKA, apart from County Members and non-UK resident Individual Members, are covered by the policy. If you are in any doubt as to whether you personally are registered with BBKA, you should consult with your association’s membership secretary.

3. Is it the bees or the beekeeper that is covered?
It is the beekeeper who is covered. For example, if a Member – beekeeper (A) – looks after his fellow beekeeper’s (B) bees whilst they are on holiday and an incident arises, the claim would fall onto beekeeper (A) irrespective of whether beekeeper (B) was a Member or not.

4. I am called by a member of the public to collect bees that have swarmed – am I covered?  What happens if I charge for my services?
You are covered provided it is part of your normal beekeeping activities. If you charge reasonable expenses, then this will not affect your cover. If, however, you make a business out of swarm collection, this would be viewed differently. You would need normal Commercial Insurances for this business activity which is not covered by BBKA policy.
Please note there is a height restriction of 3m.  If you are working above this to collect a swarm, you will need to contact Towergate beforehand.

5. I sell honey and wax products at farmers markets and local shows and they need proof of Third Party Public Liability and Product Insurance
The verification of cover, available for download and printing from BBKA website, is sufficient to satisfy this requirement. It can be found at http://www.bbka.org.uk/members/insurance

6. I make a range of skin care products that I sell at markets and via retail outlets;  am I covered for Product Liability if anyone makes a claim against me?
The insurance company cover all products that are from the hive and not contaminated by another element, so it has to be a pure product, for example: honey which has no other added ingredients, lip balm made from honey and beeswax, candles with no added perfumes etc. The reason for this is that should a product proved to be faulty and there be an added ingredient, is it the hive product or the additive that caused the fault/problem? If cakes etc. were to be covered, the insurance company would require lists of all products made, ingredients used by all members, every product would then need to comply with certain standards such as food hygiene and production. Premiums would be on an individual basis and therefore prohibitively high.
When making candles, if the sheets are bought in from an external supplier, then the insurance claim would then fall back to the sheet supplier rather than the individual.
For those that are baking cakes and making confectionary, it would be advisable to acquire a basic food hygiene certificate as this can provide a level of self protection and courses can be done on line.

7. The number of my hives has grown over the years and I now supplement my income from beekeeping – am I covered?
The policy is intended for Members of BBKA, not bee farmers.  In general, the rule is that with 40 colonies or more you would be eligible for membership of the Bee Farmers’ Association (BFA) and, whilst the number of colonies is not defined, this number should be taken as prima facie evidence of making a partial living from beekeeping and BBKA policy would not be applicable.

8. I pay a small extra premium with my subscription to my local branch each year for insurance. What is this for?
This is a separate premium for Bee Diseases Insurance (BDI). In the event of your bees and equipment having to be destroyed due to foul brood, then this policy will pay out a fixed amount to help you replace your equipment. This is administered totally separately by BDI. The costs of this policy are part of your main subscription to you local association, or to BBKA if you are a direct Individual Member.

9. I joined my local association in January but did not get my welcome pack from BBKA until February. When did my cover start?
As a registered or partner Member, your cover started the day you paid your local association subscription and received a receipt, provided your association registered your Membership with BBKA within that financial year. However, if a claim arose between the time of your payment and your registration with BKA by your association, we would need definitive proof that the payment had been made before the incident arose for a claim to be accepted.

10. I am a new direct UK Individual Member of BBKA; when does my insurance cover begin?
The insurance cover for a new Individual Member of BBKA begins six week after he/she is accepted for Membership. When you renew you membership, cover will start from the date you pay your renewal subscription to BBKA.

11. As Membership Secretary, each March and July I receive a copy of the BBKA Members’ Register for my association which I have to compare to my local register, agree/update the Membership and send the resultant capitation payment to BBKA. If some of the names on the list have lapsed or have not paid me at the time, are they still covered?
Technically they are in default and would not be covered.  However, if a claim arose, each case would be investigated and resolved on an individual basis. In order to avoid this potential exposure, it is imperative that all associations ensure that their Members understand this exposure and are encouraged to pay all dues promptly.

12. I  am a Treasurer at my local branch.  Am I covered for any claims against me as a branch official as opposed to in my beekeeping activities?
BBKA policy includes what is commonly referred to as ‘Trustees Liability’ cover for all officials of BBKA, associations and branches affiliated to BBKA. It does not matter whether your organisation is a charity or not for this cover. The amount covered is £2million, with the first £500 of any clam being paid by the officer.

13. Does this policy cover my equipment against all risks including theft?
No. BBKA has however negotiated special rates for beekeepers to cover their equipment. Please contact the NBC office for further details or e-mail Towergate: BBKA@towergate.co.uk

14. Who are BBKA advisers?
With effect from November 2010, BBKA appointed Towergate Risk Solutions as their Insurance Brokers. They provide the personal service and benefits of a local insurance broker with the strength and buying power of a large corporate organisation. You may visit their website for more information: www.towergatesevenoaks.co.uk


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