The Sounds of the Bees (putting a microphone inside the hive)

Once the swarms had begun to establish themselves, I became increasingly curious about the hidden world inside the beehive. I knew it was not sensible to disturb the colony without good reason, so resisted the urge to open-up and prod-about. Instead, I watched at the entrance – learning to spot the difference between worker and drone, and, as spring turned to summer, to identify the colours of the pollen carried back from the allotments. But I still couldn’t shake the feeling that I should be ‘doing’ something – something more than the occasional inspection. My hands were restless. Continue reading

Posted in Experimentation, TBH, Technology | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Warre hive modification

Following on from the July visit to Gareth’s apiary, has anyone modified their hives?

There are 3 stages:

  • add some legs
  • move the entrance up above the lower box
  • add some extra insulation

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Posted in Apiary visits, Meetings, Members, Warré, Workshops | 3 Comments

Beekeepers under the microscope

Lab equipment included a centrifuge, hotplate and... flowers, for pollen samples!

Lab equipment included a centrifuge, hotplate and… flowers, for pollen samples!

In late September, I went on an introductory course on microscopy led by master beekeeper Marin Anastasov. He led a dozen of us through the basics of using microscopes and their applications in beekeeping. Subjects covered included disease diagnosis (nosema, amoeba, acarine mites); wing morphology, an indicator of a bee’s race; and pollen identification, used in determining a honey’s provenance.

To me, the most intriguing part was using wing vein patterns and measurements (cubital index) to identify the race of a bee. I intend trying to identify the racial mix of the swarms I’ve collected and hence the genetic variation in my apiary – more on this I hope in a future post once I’ve had a chance to do some analysis. Continue reading

Posted in Honey, Pests, pollen, Research | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Natural Bee Husbandry – a new journal for our community

natural-bee-husbandry-journalNatural Bee HusbandryThe International Journal for Bee-Centred Husbandry is a new quarterly journal focused entirely on low intervention, sustainable, bee-centred beekeeping.

It is being launched next month by Northern Bee Books  at £20 a year for print (UK), £15 for online only, and £25 for both.

With four issues a year (five the first year), purely around natural beekeeping there will be no need to wade through irrelevant conventional beekeeping articles.

Subscribe via the Natural Beekeping Trust website  here and, if you use FB, you can see snippets of the articles here.

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Asian Hornet found in UK [Update]

The National Bee Unit have confirmed today 20th September 2016 that the Asian hornet has been spotted in Tetbury area of Gloucestershire. A control zone is being set up within a radius of three miles of the sighting and a search for nests made. Bee inspectors have been put on alert.

Update 5th October 2016: the Tetbury area nest has now been identified and destroyed. However, a further sighting has been confirmed in Somerset and this nest is currently being hunted. Beekeepers should remain vigilant, setting and monitoring wasp/hornet traps around their hives- report any sightings as specified below.

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ONBG meeting and apiary visit, 10th Sept 2016

Over the course of an occasionally rainy afternoon 18 people dropped by Paul’s house and apiary in the village of Steeple Aston to discuss Autumn tasks, winter stores assessment, feeding, harvesting, and observe various Warré and Top Bar hives and feral colonies.


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Posted in Apiary visits, Hives, Honey, Meetings, ONBG, Products, TBH, Warré | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

BeeConnected – crop spraying alerts for UK beekeepers

In the UK, September heralds the start of a new crop spraying season and while the moratorium on neonicotinoids is still in place, other insecticides are still in use.

The code for best agricultural practice calls for farmers to notify local beekeepers in advance when insecticides are to be applied, so that hives may be moved or closed up. However, this communication is not always done, no doubt beset for some with logistical and awareness issues. But on 12th September a new tool was launched to help all parties communicate more easily – BeeConnected is an online crop spraying registration and alert system for farmers and beekeepers alike. Continue reading

Posted in Pesticides | Tagged , | 1 Comment