Blog – bees, beekeeping & other sticky subjects
May Thursday free bee seminars
Vita Bee Health is a sponsor of three free webinars coming up at 8pm (BST) on three Thursdays in May:
5 May European foulbrood Chris Palgrave
13 May Biosecurity and apiculture Nicolas Vida Naquet
20 May The genetics of the Irish honey bee Jack Hassett
Full details and how to register (free and essential) for these webinars orgamnised by the British Bee Veterinary Association (BBVA) here: full details and free registration details
A tale of two colonies – spot the difference
Two colonies, four metres apart at 2.30pm on 30 March 2021 in Hampshire UK. Can you deduce what is happening inside? Answer below.
The first colony is queenright. It has ten sides of brood and is progressing well gathering lots of pollen — vital for the young larvae within.
The second colony is queenless. It has no brood, is gathering hardly any pollen and even has a drone — possibly left over from last year. It is doomed and may well know it.
Changing of the guard
Graphs representing the changing population size of honey bee colonies often indicate a low point about now for bees living in these latitudes of Britain. The graphs are invariably very smooth — but is that really the case? Is the population change really so gradual?
The colony that has overwintered in the observation hive numbered about 2,500-3,000 bees until recently. The death rate, as indicated by the work of the undertaker bees, seemed very low. Very few dead bees were to be seen at the foot of the frame awaiting their exit.
Last week the weather was so cold that no bees could venture out but yesterday temperatures reached 10C. Flying time!
Lots took advantage of the better weather but this morning the population is noticeably smaller. Many — perhaps a few hundred — must have died on the wing. The left and right sides of the brood frame, which were quite well covered yesterday, are rather more sparse this morning.
Low and right of centre, the much tighter cluster (that has been there since the beginning of the month) shows where the queen began her season’s laying. She had been off-lay since last autumn but is now preparing her colony for the season ahead.
Looking for a Zoom speaker?
Vita Bee Health is working as much as ever during the lockdown despite the pandemic travel restrictions. And you can still have a Vita speaker present to your group – via Zoom of course, and free of charge.
Sebastian Owen of Vita has been giving very well-received talks recently – even in the Caribbean, virtually of course.