Unless you killed the queen yourself, or saw her die, you can’t be certain the bees are queenless unless you test them. Here is the simple queenlessness test. Continue reading How do I know if my hive is queenless?
It’s easy to get confused when setting up your queen rearing – I know, I’ve been there.
But don’t panic – this simple-to-use timetable/diagram below is for queen rearing using the Cloake board method with a Jenter kit. However, if you prefer to graft or the queen won’t play ball with the Jenter – all is not lost – just graft the smallest larvae you can find on day 8 and all should be well.
By the way, the header photo is of the Lewis chessmen – made of walrus tusks and whale teeth in Norway or perhaps Iceland in the 12th century.
Click the timetable for a bigger picture. Continue reading Queen Rearing Timetable for Cloake Board & Jenter Kit
Supersedure is a characteristic of the native Irish honey bee. It is where the bees replace an ageing or waning queen without swarming.
Perfect supersedure is where the old honey bee queen obligingly remains in-situ, laying to the best of her abilities, until the new queen is up and running – before gracefully fizzling out.
This is a sought-after trait for obvious reasons and if you find it in one of your colonies you should definitely factor it in to your bee improvement assessments. Click here for Bee Improvement and to download Assessment sheets.
Here are some fuzzy photo’s of a perfect supersedure in one of our hives yesterday (20.5.19)
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You know how we all go on about how there’s a law out there that says farmers should remove ragwort from their land or face the consequences?
Well beekeepers, read this and weep – the full list of ‘Noxious Weeds’ as specified by the Department of Agriculture is as follows: Continue reading Noxious Weeds!
February 1st is the Feast Day of St Brigid (AD450-525) female patron saint of Ireland.
For us Celts it is also the first day of Spring but you Saxon Dogs will have to wait till March 20th!
For the bees though – read on: Continue reading Bee Flowers – February
The picture above is by Vincent Van Gogh (obviously says you), it lives in the Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam and is called ‘Wheatfield with Crows’. It was painted in 1890 – possibly his last picture. Vincent didn’t know about climate change or intensive agriculture; if he had, he would probably have cut the other ear off and left the crows out. Continue reading Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020
So, why are honey bees such important pollinators?
From an ecological point of view there are at least 3 reasons:
- Honeybees have evolved in tandem with certain flowers and they have adapted to facilitate each other;
- One bee is able to rapidly communicate the location of a pollen/nectar source to the whole hive and an army sets out;
- The bees then concentrate faithfully on that flower species until the pollen runs out or the nectar dries up, at which point the job of pollination is accomplished.
These features obviously make the honey bee important from an agricultural/commercial point of view. In addition, hives of bees are mobile and can be moved from crop to crop – an arrangement which can suit bees, farmers and beekeepers so long as everyone has a bit of respect. Wouldn’t that be great?
But some detail: Continue reading Pollination and Honey Bees