09 December 2008
It might be fair to say that I came last. "Incipient Granulation" were the killer words - especially the capitalisation.
Never mind. I forecast an entry into the "Set Honey" category next year...
02 December 2008
21 November 2008
"As you may have read, bees, and in particular the honey bee, are under serious threat from pests and diseases, and are dying out at a frightening rate.
Without the honey bee, our crops won’t be pollinated and thus our food supply reduced radically. As a farm, we owe an enormous amount to this tiny busy insect, and are completely reliant on it.
With this in mind, I am giving all the profits from every Riverford calendar I sell to the British Bee Keepers’ Association which are funding research into saving the bee. The calendars make a great and colourful gift so buy more than one and rest assured that you are helping the bee!
Please pass the word around. If you are a regular customer, just add the calendar(s) to your order and I will arrange the rest. If you aren’t a customer or don’t wish to buy anything else, simply send a cheque for £6.35 made payable to Riverford Home Delivery, including your own name and address, and I will post out the calendar(s)."
10 November 2008
27 October 2008
20 October 2008
26 September 2008
25 September 2008
16 September 2008
11 September 2008
Much as I admire L. Fejes Tóth, bees do not build hexagonal cells. They build tubular cells of circular cross-section, and follow closest hexagonal packing (with some clever rhomboid-stuff at the base).
09 September 2008
05 September 2008
03 September 2008
Stuart Bailey, chairman of Rowse honey, which supplies several major supermarket chains, said the company has been able to source just 125 tons of English honey this year forcing it to rely more heavily on foreign suppliers despite rocketing prices.
"We will be out by Christmas there is no doubt about that," he said.
29 August 2008
Sadly, her own story makes the point that this is probably not true. I might also criticise the subs for a dreadful headline.
I wanted to check the shed for bee disasters, and the only opportunity was after dark. With no torch handy, the best I could do was the peppermill.
At around 22:30, I crept around the shed looking for angry or dying bees, making whirring noises and leaving a trail of freshly ground pepper.
28 August 2008
Collected seventeen frames of honey - all from one hive. Sweet.
All went well - I simply brushed the bees off the frames - until I parked the loaded frames in the shed, back home. It was a hot day, and other bees caught a whiff and started to pile into the shed.
Unfortunately, the shed is being used by half-a-dozen Polish builders during our house renovations. The Polish for 'bee' is 'pszczoły,' though that's certainly not the word the builders were using.
26 August 2008
21 August 2008
20 August 2008
The recent outbreak of hive theft is not new, it seems. This clip from The Independent online is from 2002 (good to know I'm right up there and current, eh?).
"Angry as the buzzing hives they carried in protest, dozens of Israeli beekeepers lined a road with burning tyres today to demonstrate against the thefts of thousands of their beehives.
Wearing protective work suits and net masks, the beekeepers demanded that Israel and the Palestinian Authority stop what they said was the theft of their beehives by Palestinians in the West Bank.
The demonstrators at Jalameh Checkpoint near the West Bank town of Jenin had planned to release the bees they brought with him as a protest, but police stopped them.
The beekeepers suspect Palestinians are entering Israel by night from the West Bank and making off with the hives, since most of the thefts have taken place in areas near the border between Israel and the West Bank.
"I have nothing against the Palestinians," beekeeper Roni Feldman said. "But Israeli agricultural workers are paying the highest price for peace."
According to Feldman, 2,600 hives were stolen in 1999. A single hive with its bees and full combs of honey can easily be worth a thousand dollars."
16 August 2008
11 August 2008
03 August 2008
Eighteen months ago about two-thirds of the 40 hives that Chapple keeps across the capital died off, including all 12 in his own back yard. London's beekeepers collectively lost half of their colonies in the past two years. During last winter alone, almost a third of hives across the U.K. lost their bees."
30 July 2008
This was published on 15 January this year. Always nice to be up with the news, eh?
25 July 2008
23 July 2008
Commercially kept bees are to some degree insulated from disease. The selective pressure imposed by beekeepers is directed towards honey-making. Productive, unstingy and unswarmy bees will tend to be selected.
Diseases borne by feral bees will, from time to time, transfer to the commercial population. The disease variants will tend to be vigorous (they have contended in an arms race with the much hardier feral bees), and, on some occasions, entirely new to the commercial population.
The result is CCD.
We are not brought down except by ourselves.
21 July 2008
16 July 2008
Clearly, better eyesight would help, alongside a dose of patience.
As Peter put it, "Despite doing almost everything wrong, both hives are thriving, full of bees, brood and honey. You're a jammy devil."
Pic from http://www.coil.co.uk/
14 July 2008
The hive split was on 21 June. If things went well, there should now be new queens (21 June + 16 days = 7 July). Assuming they are mated and laying, the new queens would have started to produce brood cells by now.
On inspection on 12 July, there was no visible brood.
12 July 2008
Well ... it seems to have worked. I now have two thriving colonies. And yet bizarrely, I could find absolutely no trace of brood in either hive.
After a full hive inspection - right down to the bottom board and looking at every frame - I saw no larvae. No drone cells. No queen cells. Yet the bees are very busy, and I even took four frames of honey out of each hive.
What on earth is going on? Now I am *utterly* baffled.
25 June 2008
23 June 2008
“Incompetence - When you earnestly believe you can compensate for a lack of skill by doubling your efforts, there's no end to what you can't do.”
16 June 2008
10 June 2008
Einstein is alleged to have said that if the honeybee becomes extinct, then so will mankind.
In the UK, there are some 270,000 hives managed by 44,000 beekeepers (an average of about six hives each), 90 per cent of whom are amateurs. Defra thinks beekeeping contributes about £165 million a year through pollination services (£3,750 per beekeeper). Defra says 5,000 tonnes of British honey are sold yearly, worth £12 million (I make that £2,40 per kilo, or around £1.10 per lb).
In the US, around 80 per cent of the world's almonds come from the orchards of Central Valley, California - pollinated by bees. Trucks loaded with 500 hives tour the region, and the US$1.9 billion industry is almost entirely dependent on bees.
From the weekend magazine of The Guardian newspaper, 31 May 2008: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/31/animalwelfare.environment
07 June 2008
The place is groaning with sealed brood and seething with bees. I found a few small queen cell cups, but did not have time to check every frame. Although there is plenty of room in both brood and supers, I have a bad feeling about swarming.
With the hive in bits all around me, I lifted each brood frame out in turn... could I find the queen? Could I buggery. She's in there somewhere, the minx.
04 June 2008
02 June 2008
28 May 2008
25 May 2008
The good news is that Yes, there are definitely new larvae below the queen excluder, in the frames of the super that I am using as a half-brood.
Unfortunately, this super now being used in the brood area is the one I moved down at the previous visit. Put another way, there may be larvae in the brood area because I put them there. For all I know, the queen is still upstairs.
In the true spirit of Incompetence, the logic only dawned on me at the instant I had finished closing up the hive.
On the other hand, the bees are filling up the supers with honey - I had to add another layer to their cake, and now have a total of four supers.
12 May 2008
As usual, I could not find the queen, despite plenty of looking (and four stings). On the basis that the queen is where the brood cells are, I moved the super with the brood below the QE.
(Being a WBC hive, I have been advised that a single brood box is probably not big enough, and it is better to have both a brood box and a super below the QE. This arrangement is known as a "brood and a half," a phrase I trot out to encourage the belief that I know what I am doing.)
In conclusion, I noticed that here were *lots* of bees, so added another super to the top. The hive now has a brood & super below the QE, plus three supers on top.
Now I come to write this up, I realise that there appear to be lots of bees because they are all in the supers and not in the brood box.
Just when you thought Incompetence was dwindling, it rears its confused head!
04 May 2008
While I was on holiday, Phil captured the (enormous) swarm and popped them into the hive! Great work. I must go away more often.
I visited this evening, and found the bees in fine form. Curiously, the girls have set up home all crammed down one side of the hive (see pic), leaving the central frames and opposite frames untouched.
Looking through the brood frames, I could see no larvae or capped cells. It could be that the queen is above the excluder, or that she has not had enough time to lay. Will revisit.
26 April 2008
In 2008, with no bees to my name (they all died over the winter), the danger had somewhat passed. In a nutshell, I needed bees, and capturing a swarm would be just perfect.
In May, as we drove off for a short holiday on a hot, humid day, I remarked with the casual swagger of the experienced 'keeper, "This is just the kind of weather for bees to swarm." Sure enough, not two minutes later Phil telephoned to say that he had just been called about a swarm, and would I like to come to collect it?
"Billions of blue blistering barnacles," I said, being a famously restrained type of person.
12 March 2008
- We are a group of Turkish Beekeepers. Blog of Anatolian Beekeepers Society provides knowledge and discussion atmosphere about beekeeping for members and our guests. We also try to protect our native bee races diversity. Turk’s land (Anatolia) has Apis mellifera anatolica, Apis mellifera caucasica, Apis mellifera carnica, Apis mellifera meda, Apis mellifera syriaca. If you are not from Turkey and interesting about our beekeeping techniques and our honey bee races. Don’t hesitate to connect with us. Our Language is Turkish. But we can communicate with you English.
- "Es freut mich sehr das dir meine seiten gefallen habenwir haben dauernd neue videosund wissenswertes über imkerei. Oush bedeutet türkisch Auaa!"
PS TUNCAY ERDEM wrote "I was there when that video was recording. That guy is not beekeeper. He is a friend of mine. But it was realy funny fortunately any think happened .. "
Are they still friends, I wonder?
10 March 2008
The images of beekeeping and bees on http://ben-gittim.blogspot.com/ are really outstanding. Unfortunately, my Turkish is even more limited than my beekeeping skill. The photo here needs no explanation, and there's a fine video on ben-gittim.blogspot.com of the deed being done!
06 March 2008
PS NMbeek's a fine-looking feller. Nice hat.
03 March 2008
25 February 2008
18 February 2008
08 January 2008
They had taken all the syrup, so the bees were definitely in good health at the end of the year. My suspicion is still damp. Next year, I'll use a crown board with two holes. As soon as I can, I'll be taking it apart, cleaning it (bicarbonate of soda, apparently) and starting all over again.