Category Archives: Native Bee

Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020

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

Pollination and Honey Bees

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

Remote Bee Hive Monitoring

Remote hive monitoring by Arnia is space age technology for bees – all linked up to a central hub on the mother ship over the mobile phone network.
Of course there is no substitute for visiting the bees but a system like this could be very useful not only in preparing your next visit but also monitoring the results of your efforts from a safe distance.
A road test would be handy!

Continue reading Remote Bee Hive Monitoring

Honey Bees and Climate Change

Are you the sort of person that stares out at the sheeting rain and thinks ‘Global warming – ha!’

Well the globe is certainly heating up, but not here at the wet end of Europe so forget long sunny days and a grape vine in the garden; for us, climate change means the same old stuff – wind and rain – but more of it.

But how will climate change affect our bees? Continue reading Honey Bees and Climate Change

Skep Beekeeping

Skep beehives of increasing complexity were in common use all the way up until the beginning of the 20th century when wooden hives, designed around the bee-space discoveries of Rev. Langstroth in 1851 and with all the advantages of removable frames finally tipped the balance in favour of new technology.

Click here for more on Rev. Langstroth and the discovery of the beespace

However, the skep was reluctant to go and the records of the Cumberland and Westmorland Beekeepers’ Association for 1906 show that 25% of colonies were still housed in skep hives.

Wintering Skeps

Continue reading Skep Beekeeping