We all tend to have a knee-jerk reaction when we see a field of ragwort. Most of us regard it as a squalid poisonous weed which spreads like wildfire and until recently it would be difficult to find anyone with a good word for it. But why is that and where does it come from? Continue reading We need to talk about ragwort
There is a cult of ignorance at work in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge”.
Does that strike any chords out there?
When Isaac Asimov wrote those words in 1980 – he was talking about the United States but it suits certain Govenment Departments much closer to home.
If the cap fits…
Nice work chaps!
Everytime you see a severed stump, or more commonly a row of severed stumps like this – imagine the lovely flowering trees that once stood there and ask yourself who could do such a thing and more importantly why. Continue reading Irish Hedgerow Destruction
You know that feeling – happily munching on the sourdough and marmite breakfast toast when suddenly there’s a stone clattering about in the mix. How can this be?
If you are young and your teeth are white and shiny – then there probably is a stone in the mix and as long as you don’t crunch it – all will be well.
However, if you are not so young and your teeth are rickety like mine – there’s probably a lump of dentistry in there. And you know what that means don’t you. Dentist is what it means. Usually.
However, for us beekeepers there is another possible, albeit temporary solution. Read on…
When left to their own devices and given a hollow tree, honey bees create a colony that is round in cross section and oval in long view – egg shaped in other words. But our hives are all square.
Are we trying to force a round peg into a square hole?
A straw sun hive, allows honey bees to be themselves and build a warmer egg-shaped home. Here’s how to make one.
Towards the end of the season you will probably have observed bright green pollen loads coming in – like this. Please excuse poor photo.
If you ask your local beekeeper, he or she is likely to tell you that it is meadowsweet. However, if you doggedly search the drifts of meadowsweet in your locale for a bee with full pollen baskets, you will see that the pollen they are carrying is actually a creamy yellow. See photo below:
Apart from the weather, the most important element to ensuring a crop of heather honey is the strength of the colony.
To maximise your chances of success – your heather stocks should have:
- A new queen;
- A huge army of workers;
- Ample stores.
It can be difficult to find colonies towards the end of the summer with all three attributes but there is a relatively simple all-in-one way to prepare in advance. Continue reading How to Prepare Bees for the Heather
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 – found on the island of Lewis, Scotland in 1831. They were made from walrus tusks and whale teeth in Norway or perhaps Iceland in the 12th century.
Their queen rearing is not going well. He thinks she’s to blame. She thinks she’s to blame. Meanwhile the bishop wonders if it could be something to do with his grafting tool. It does look a bit on the clonky side.
Click the timetable for a bigger picture. Continue reading Queen Rearing Timetable for Cloake Board & Jenter Kit