Christmas is one of the four quarter days which mark the changing of the seasons.
The four quarter days are:
- Lady day or the Feast of the Annunciation 25th March;
- Midsummer’s day around 25th June;
- Michaelmas 29th September;
- Christmas 25th December – lest we forget – fat chance.
They all approximately coincide with either an equinox or a solstice.
The sting of bees and other Hymenopteran insects is thought to be a modified ovipositor. An ovipositor is a pointed tube used to pierce a hole to lay an egg into. Honey bees have evolved beyond the need for an ovipositor – instead they have adapted it as a weapon and despite the fact that using their sting is accompanied by disembowelment – they are not afraid to use it. Continue reading Bee Stings
Here’s something to write home about: five virgin queens – all on the same frame! Below – click it for a close up Continue reading Fighting Queen Bees
Here are some flowers for the bees in May.
Irish natives are in green.
Click the table for a close up then let me know if I’ve missed any: Continue reading Bee Flowers – May
This question comes up quite often on our Beekeeping Course and it’s quite difficult to answer without making a list. There is much more choice of equipment available now with bargains to be had, but even then – it’s not cheap so be warned.
However something else to throw into the equation is that if you do take up beekeeping there should eventually be a payback in terms of honey which you can then either consume yourself or you can sell it. So an interesting way to consider the cost of starting up beekeeping is in jars of honey instead of euro.
The results of this exercise for 2009 and 2016 are shown in the table below where: Continue reading How much does it cost to start beekeeping?
The South Kildare Beekeepers Association – ‘Beekeeping for Beginners’ Course starts on Monday 22nd February 2016 at 7.30 in the Church of Ireland Hall, Athy, Co.Kildare.
Includes talks, hands-on practical sessions with live bees, honey extraction and SKBA membership.
Booking now – only €50 – including membership of South Kildare Beekeepers for 2016.
For further details:
Certain species of Poplar are a valuable source of propolis for honey bees. The spring catkins may be visited for pollen and the spores of a parasitic rust fungus may be an alternative protein source in times when pollen is in short supply.
Poplars are a complex, wind-pollinated, pioneer tree species and they interbreed like mad; as a result they can be difficult to identify. There are many species world wide and several native to Europe. In addition, fast growing hybrid cultivars have been bred and these are much planted for timber. There is also interest in the fast growing varieties for short rotation coppice as a biomass crop.
In Ireland only two Poplars are considered native – although other species have been introduced as ornamental trees or for timber, shelter-belt or screening. Continue reading Bee Trees – Poplar (Populus spp)
Introducing a new queen bee can be ticklish enough – especially if she has spent a few days in the post and has gone off lay as a result. Here’s the best way to introduce a queen that’s been in the post. Continue reading Queen Bee Introduction – Postal Cage
Lighting your smoker and keeping it lit is part common sense, part practice and part art. Puff puff
As with starting any fire you need a starter fuel which lights easily and can be deftly thrust down to the bottom of the smoker without it being so volatile it sets fire to your sleeves or spits sparks at your veil. Continue reading Beekeepers Smoker Fuel
August is a wicked month and the bees are at their very worst: the major summer flows have dried up and the ivy is weeks away. The bees will beg, borrow or steal to build themselves up for winter.
Of course neither begging nor borrowing is open to them but they know how to steal!
Once robbing has started it is very difficult to stop so the best thing to do is try and prevent it from starting.
Here’s how: Continue reading How to Stop Robbing Bees or Wasps