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
There really isn’t much about for the bees in November but when the weather permits they really do love the Mahonia for that little bit of fresh nectar.
It hardly seems worthwhile putting this little table in here but let’s do it anyway: Continue reading Bee Flowers – November
Not much for the bees this month!
The gorse is in flower – again. The main flowering time for Ulex europaeus is March to June but it will also flower sporadically in winter.
Another species of gorse present in Ireland is U.gallii or Dwarf Furze which flowers from July to September. Between the two of them they manage to give the impression that the gorse is always in flower.
Click the table below for a better view. Continue reading Bee Flowers – October
Sourdough is bread that uses wild, local yeasts as the raising agents. A portion of the dough is kept back when each loaf is baked and is used to raise the next one. A lovely self-contained and sustainable process – but how do you collect those wild local yeasts in the first place?
Look no further than local honey! Continue reading Honey Powered Sourdough Recipe
So – the banana thing. Here’s what was left after a month, a black and shrivelled thing with a strong smell of propolis. But what are the conclusions if any? Continue reading Chalkbrood Banana Results
White eyed drones are victims of a their genes. As we know, drones come from unfertilised eggs and as such they have only one set of chromosomes so all their genetic defects or mutations are expressed and some of them are out there for all to see – like white eyes. Continue reading White Eyed Worker Bee
If, like me, you went to the recent BIBBA conference on the Isle of Man you must also have noticed the horse drawn trams but did you know they too are threatened with extinction?
Manx Horse Power
Personally I was charmed and delighted by these lovely Clydesdales trotting along the promenade on hairy great feet with their ears all pricked and eager. In fact I was so charmed and delighted by them I looked them up on the Blithering Internet when I got home and was incredulous to discover that the Powers-That-Be in Douglas are planning to scrap them!
Click the photo above for a close up and ask yourself how on earth can that be? Continue reading Isle of Man Horse Power
Here are some flowers for the bees in September
Irish Natives are in green.
Click the table below for a close up then let me know if I’ve missed any: Continue reading Bee Flowers – September
Have you heard the Banana Thing – the one about the banana in the beehive?
While there is ‘anecdotal evidence’ for bananas as a cure for chalkbrood – it is not scientifically proven.
However, it isn’t scientifically disproven either and there’s no smoke without fire. Read on… Continue reading Chalkbrood and the Banana Thing