Thursday, May 30, 2013

Vandal Hits Church of the Pilgrims' Hives

One of our intern's Kallisa went out to tend these hives this past weekend and was greeted with all the boxes upended and on the ground.  She put them all back together, and we assumed it was an isolated incident.

It wasn't.  I received a call from the church's caretaker on Tuesday saying that he had seen a homeless man screwing with the hives again the night before, swatting away bees.  He must have come back after the caretaker went to bed, because the hives were in bad shape Wednesday.  We came out to witness the carnage.

The bees were in good shape, huddled in the deep supers.  We did not look for a queen, but rather just put the hive bodies back in place and hoped for the best.

We are going to ratchet strap these hives down to deter another event, although a determined vandal can get through those.  We will see.

Monday, May 20, 2013

More Bees Coming

We are getting more package bees in from Don the FatBeeMan on May 30.  Please visit our store to order them.

I know it seems late in the season to install a package, but with regular feeding through the summer the bees should get a satisfactory start before heading into winter.  We are building up our own apiary with these friendly bees.

Note that these bees have been raised on small cell foundation (4.9mm), and these small cell bees are reputed to be more resistant to varroa mites then standard cell size (5.4mm) bees.  So consider raising these on small cell foundation, although standard will also work.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

NPR Story On Recent Bee Losses

The bees we helped colonize on NPR's new green roof are featured in the audio.

Queen Rearing Essentials, Dr. Larry Connor, Day One -VIDEO

This weekend we had the pleasure of spending three days in the mountains of Virginia, in a town called Syria, to take a queen-rearing class with the noteworthy Dr. Larry Connor.

What a pleasure is was to spend a weekend with such a wise beekeeping rock stare.  And to drive him around in the convertible was a blast.  Dr. Connor has been a prolific author of books about beekeeping.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

European Commission Plans for Neonicotinoid Moratorium

A two-year moratorium on the systemic insecticides known as neonicotinoids is slated to kick in no later than Dec. 1 throughout the European Union. The decision was left up to the European Commission after member states failed to come to a qualified majority -- again -- on whether to initiate the two-year ban.

The measure would apply to the application of imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin on corn, oil seed rape (canola), apples, carrots, strawberries and other flowering crops. 

The UK, along with seven other member states, voted against the ban. Before the vote, the UK's Chief Scientific Adviser Sir Mark Walport publicly opposed the proposal in a Financial Times editorial, painting an apocalyptic outcome of "a resurgence of crop diseases, reduced crop yeilds and economic damage to struggling European economies." As a science adviser, Walport made a few of his own questionable hypotheses that probably wouldn't hold up to a seventh-grade scientific method run-through. On the one hand he stressed the need for "rich ecosystems," but then also noted the need to target our "foe" insects with pesticides, while making sure to spare our "friends." Last I checked, an ecosystem was an equal opportunity employer, running on a vast interconnected network of friends and foes -- sort of like an earthy round of Kumbaya 'round the fire...right?