07 September 2010
No, I do not sell my honey. My incompetent beekeeping is dwarfed by my incompetent extraction and bottling, resulting in honey laced with wax and bees' legs. It may be crunchy, but boy it tastes good.
Image from http://www.fishdeco.com/.
06 September 2010
This article "UK study finds city bees healthier than country bees" http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/green/detail?entry_id=70548 is made immeasurably more interesting by a collection of beautifully idiotic comments, such as:
"It's not only their diet but there is a much more diverse culture in city life. It makes you a more rounded bee and your tolerance level to change is much higher. I can imagine a lot of bees would love city life"
"And then there is global warming. Cities are warmer due to the urban heat island effect. One can only conclude that global warming causes bees."
25 August 2010
Treated both hives for varroa using Apiguard. The first trays went in two weeks ago, and I felt all smug to have started the treatment while the weather remained warm. Of course, the temperature promply sunk (it's around 16C and pouring with rain as I write).
Pic from http://www.vita-europe.com/
18 August 2010
16 August 2010
06 July 2010
There but for the guilt of schadenfreude....
30 June 2010
22 June 2010
*both eyes closed - what do you expect, competence?
20 June 2010
18 June 2010
16 June 2010
"The British British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) said there are now more than 80,000 hives registered in Britain, compared to 40,000 in 2007.
"The organisation said there has been an increase in the number of honey bees in Britain over the last two years from 23 billion to 48 billion."
14 June 2010
Seen in the visible spectrum, all bees may look the same. In the infra-red spectrum, it is clear that some bees are warmer than others. Some glow bright orange like hot coals, radiating heat to their surroundings. Others are dark and cool.
11 June 2010
09 June 2010
08 June 2010
Page url: http://www.telegraphindia.com/1100527/jsp/frontpage/story_12492728.jsp
© The Telegraph.
PS I promise I did not make this up!
04 June 2010
01 June 2010
29 May 2010
Replacing the current brood box with the deeper version adds about four inches (about 0.1016m, which shows you how useless SI units are for the real world) to the stack height. This being a WBC hive, to allow for the increase, I need one more lift.
Guess who forgot to bring the extra lift? See blog title for a clue.
Ground floor: perfumery
stationery and leather goods
wigs and haberdashery
kitchenware and food. Going up!
First floor: telephones
gents ready-made suits
shirts, socks, ties, hats
underwear and shoes. Going up!
Second floor: carpets
travel goods and bedding
material, soft furnishings,
restaurant and teas. Going down!
I put the swarm into a hive with a deep brood box and two supers. Naturally, after the event I discovered that you should not add supers until the brood box is fully drawn and filled with brood, honey and pollen. This ensures that the bees actually keep the stores below the excluder, where they will need them for winter.
See blog title for further information.
28 May 2010
22 May 2010
These new bees are *very* busy, and *very* aggressive. The slightest shake or knock, and a great swirl of bees pours up at me! Right now, they are building up the comb in the brood box, and already storing honey and pollen in half-built cells.
The first brood will be due to emerge in 24 days. I will check again on or around 12 June, which allows a few extra days for the comb to be completed.
By the look of them, these are Carnolian rather than black bees.
20 May 2010
Phil kindly gave me a *huge* swarm he captured last night. At a rough guess, at least 1kg, which means around 10,000 bees.
The swarm is now in a WBC hive with deep brood box, and one super (drawn) above the queen excluder. I fed them with one litre of 1:1 syrup.
19 May 2010
14 May 2010
"[We] have a birdbath, large water-filled patio tubs and small saucer of water on our patio. Last year, and now this, we have found lots of bees trying to drink from these places, but have found a significant number drowning. We try to keep the water levels high, and have tried floating things in the water to help them get out if they fall in, but are concerned about the numbers drowning. We have lots of bees drinking on warm days and it can be a bit hard to get into the garden – and we don’t want to disturb them.
What can we do to help more bees survive?"
"The best thing to stop bees drowning is to provide what I might best describe as a shallow ramp down into the water, like a very gentle beach. The bees will then walk forwards and drink from the damp edge, without drowning. Floaty things generally don't work.
If they are honey bees in your garden, they should not really bother you, but if there is a large colony (wild or kept) near-by, I can understand how it might be a bit of a pain. To stop the bees arriving, I suggest that from time to time you leave the bird bath dry for a while; the bees will soon (give it three days) learn to go elsewhere. You can then refill the birdbath, and repeat the trick if the bees rediscover it."
11 May 2010
The gene that expresses stripeyness in tigers is the same gene that expresses spottiness in leopards. All big cats carry very similar gene pools, and the individual genes are expressed differently in each species. (In the case of stripeyness in the big cats, it is governed by the genes controlling the size of the animal.)
If the same applies to hymenoptera, then hornets, wasps, bees, hoverflies etc will all (?) carry the stripeyness gene, expressed differently in each species. For example, apis and bombis express very different degrees of stripeyness.
Honeybees are mildly stripey because there is some mild survival value to carrying and mildly expressing the gene. Hornets are very stripey because there is big survival value to strongly expressing the gene. That's why bees are stripey - a bit obvious, really.
Is that right?
How and why did the gene arise, and what did it originally code?
05 May 2010
Thirty-six pages are adorned with excellent photographs show every aspect of a hive. The text is in English, French and Spanish.
PS The Spanish for "drones" is "los zánganos."
23 April 2010
14 April 2010
12 April 2010
08 April 2010
06 April 2010
As I thought, one hive failed to make it through the winter - except, of course, it was not the hive I was expecting...
Judging from the remains of the cluster, the colony that died was not large enough to keep warm. There were stores near-by, the comb etc looked healthy. The surviving colony already has many, many more bees.
23 March 2010
Took the anti-woodpecker chicken wire off the hives, and took a peek in each. The hive nearest the gate looks pretty much dead. A mouse had somehow managed to lever the mouseguards open (you can see the nibble marks!) and ended up trapped above the crown board. The hive furthest from the gate looks busy, but I think it's robbery, not activity, as I could see no bees in the hive itself.
Prognosis: not good. One definitely dead, the other probably dead.
16 March 2010
Instead, today was a Jericho inspection. Of the two hives, one seems to be busy in a suspicious kind of way, with lots of bees buzzing around, but not at the entrance (is it being robbed?), and the other seems fine, with a few bees milling around at the entrance.
The anti-woodpecker mesh seems to have done its job this year, at least.