The Wonder of Bees with Martha Kearney is currently showing on BBC4 at 1930hrs. It’s 4 episodes and dates from 2013.
Tonight’s episode (Tue 03 August), Episode 2, had quite a long piece with Dr. (as then) Geraldine Wright who was then investigating the effects of neonicotinoids on bees. Fascinating how they train the bees.
Overall the programmes are very good (so far) and with our President being on one of them they are worth watching.
We are running a queen raising course at Woodstock in July and would like to canvass interest from members who would like to find out more about this fascinating topic. The course will follow the process of queen raising from setting up a queen raising hive, selection of larvae, grafting, hive manipulations and setting up mating nucs. This process takes over two weeks and we will invite students to participate on three critical days: set-up, grafting and moving queen cells to mating nucs. The course will be run by member Andrew Brough who raises queens throughout the summer and gave a talk on this topic to members earlier in the year.
At the first session, Andrew will give a detailed explanation of the process and we will have a practice at grafting. The actual grafting day will be eight days later and for this Andrew will supply suitable larvae from his own stock. The final session will take place just over a week later when the larvae have been capped over and are a few days from emerging. The timing is, of course, dictated by the bees!
The dates are as follows:
Saturday 3 July – presentation on the process and hive setup – 2-3 hours in the afternoon
Sunday 11 July – grafting – 2-3 hours in the afternoon
Tuesday 20 July – setting up mating nucs and transfer of queen cells – 2 hours starting 1830hrs
The cost is £35 per person and we can have up to eight attendees. Each participant will graft their own larvae and if successful will be allowed to take away one mated or virgin queen in a returnable mating nuc. Because you will be expected to help with setting up the queen raising hive and the hive manipulations, you need to be confident handling very strong honey bee colonies and be able to recognise larvae by their age. You should also bring any visual aids (reading glasses, magnifying glass etc) you may require to see one day old larvae.
If you would like to participate, please complete the form that is in the Members Area
To make this simple, a tick box will be introduced to BeeBase, the voluntary register for beekeepers managed by the National Bee Unit. This will allow beekeepers and inspectors to report the presence or absence of Varroa. This will be the easiest way to report Varroa. We are currently working on an alternative mechanism for those who do not wish to register on the BeeBase system and aim to share this before 21st April.
No action will be required until after 21st April.
“When you look at honey and how it’s made, it starts with bees collecting pollen and nectar from the flowers and then converting that into the building blocks of honey, which are fructose and glucose,” he says.
“We are simulating that in the lab, using micro-organisms which do the work of building the initial blocks of honey.”
A forecast from the Rothamstead Research Group says virus yellows in the sugarbeet crop will be very low this year and neonic seed treatment will NOT be used with first flights of aphids likely to be six weeks later than last year.
The BBKA is pleased to hear this but will campaign against use of the neonics in years 2022 and 2023 which is allowed under the licence granted by Defra.
The British Beet Research Organisation (BBRO) says the weather was the reason. “With February temperatures fluctuating from very cold to unseasonably warm conditions, especially during the last three weeks of the month, this has meant the independent virus yellows forecast has been uncertain with regards to the 9% trigger threshold for the use of Cruiser SB on seed. The 1st of March forecast predicts that 8.37 % of the national sugar beet area will be affected by virus yellows by the end of August 2021.”
We are pleased to announce that we have been able to carry out some training for new beekeepers at our Training Apiary at Marlborough School.
In line with Covid-19 guidance we are limiting the number of people at the Training Apiary to 6 people – 4 students and 2 tutors. We also require students and tutors to wear facemasks when working closely around a hive.