OKEHAMPTON Beekeepers' last meeting of the year was attended by well over 30 members who had gathered to hear a talk given by the new seasonal bee inspector, Clare Densley, on the wide ranging subject heading, Why do we keep bees?

The meeting was held at Shelley Methodist Hall in South Zeal on Tuesday, December 8.

The talk touched on how Clare Densley came to beekeeping 20 years ago and her beekeeping experiences from beginning with a single colony bought from Exeter Bee Supplies, through to beekeeping on an industrial scale at Buckfast and her current job as Seasonal Bee inspector which started this summer.

The talk included some good practical advice and photographs showing different bee diseases.

Members were invited to identify photo frames showing evidence of European Foul Brood, which have recently found in the area, and American Foul Brood, which have not occurred within the Okehampton branch.

A presentation followed with questions from members, which ranged from enquiries on the capital cost of the Buckfast fully automated honey extractor, to a concern that rigourous removal of queen cells might risk colonies becoming queenless.

The meeting ended on a seasonal note with mulled wine, mince pies and home made biscuits served to all.

The next branch meeting will be held on Tuesday, January 12 at Shelley Methodist Hall from 7:30 pm, where national bee inspector Richard Ball will be give a talk on swarm control.