Beekeeping Podcast #8: The Late Night Jive

We sat down later in the evening to record the show than we normally do. This late-night jive has a more relaxed (if that is possible) feel to it – and more interruptions: lights going off, doorbells ringing, echoey sound and general tomfoolery.

Why not read our #BeekeepingBookClub book – The Honeybee Democracy

We’re going to the National Honey Show so let us know if you are too

 

 

05:00 – 10:00 : Introducing a new addition to Tracey’s family member.

10:00 – 15:00 : European Foulbrood found in Wimbledon. Visit this link to find out how to spot it here – http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/public/beekeepingFaqs/europeanFoulbroodEfb.cfm

15:00 – 21:00 : What’s Tracey been up to in her apiary.

21:00 – 23:00 : Do we baby our bees?

23:00 – 3200 : Winter treatments

32:00 – 37:00 : Tracey hearts hefting and Paul hates mice

37:00 – 43:00 : Strapping hives

43:00 – 45:00 : Winter cleaning begins

45:00 – 51:00 : The National Honey Show

51:00 – 54:00 : Why you should attend you’re winter beekeeping meetings

54:00 – 59:00 : British Beekeeper Associations exams

Spoon playing https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POvLaziUsTo

59:00 – 1:06:00 : Stuff to do over winter

1:06:00 – 1:10:00 : #BeekeepingBookClub : The Honey Bee Democracy by Thomas Seeley

Visit our beekeeping blog at thebeehivejive.com

Follow us on twitter @thebeehivejive

 

Episode 7 Pushing up daisies

In this episode of the Beehive Jive Tracey and Paul wrap up our queen rearing year by discussing our learnings acquired trying to establish a queen rearing program in our apiaries.

We also talk about what is happening in our apiaries and beekeepers’ educational programs.

00:00 – 02:00: What’s up with Paul’s bees

02:00 – 00:00: Using Bee-Quick to clear supers – http://www.bee-quick.com/

06:00 – 07:00: Getting nucs ready for winter

07:00 – 12:00:  BBKA education program – https://www.bbka.org.uk/learn/

12:00 – 16:00: What’s happening in Tracey’s honey mines

16:00 – 21:00: Treatments

21:00 – 25:00: The Ivy flow is coming

What did we learn about queen rearing this year.

25:00 – 31:00: Queen selection and grafting

33:00 – 40:00: Mating nucs learnings

40:00 – 43:00: Does rearing queens change your approach to colony management

43:00 – 49:00:  Culling queens & queen selection

49:00 – 51:00: Disappearing queens

51:00 – 52:00: Cell building plans for next year.

53:00 – 1:16:00: Queen rearing isn’t a linear process.

1:16:00 – 1:24:00: Rating our beekeeping year.

Links:

Visit our occasional beekeeping blog – http://www.thebeehivejive.com

Excellent queen rearing course – http://www.tigerhallbees.co.uk/

Millar method – http://www.dave-cushman.net/bee/millermethod.html

Episode 6 – mite bombs and queen explosions

 

Welcome to episode six of the Beehive Jive podcast.

In this show we discuss:

00:01 – 00:08: Tracey’s apiary update

00:08 – 00:17: Paul’s apiary update

00:17 – 00:37: Mite bombs

00:37 – 01:00: Queen rearing update – the trouble with mating nucs

 

Links to items in the show:

Mite bombs:

http://thebeehivejive.com/2017/06/25/science-mite-bomb/

http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v423/n6935/abs/423032a.html

Tom Jones:

The science of the mite-bomb

In the backwaters of beekeeping, a bitter debate is raging between the proponents of the so-called ‘mite-bomb’ theory and its opponents who claim it is stuff and nonsense. It isn’t the friendly sort of discussion beeks may have over tea and cake; discussing if you need matchsticks under the crown board when overwintering bees, goodness no, it is a debate with firmly entrenched opinions which each think the other side is either flat earthers or in the pocket of chemical companies.

In short, critics of those beekeepers who choose not to manage mite populations and allow them to die to say those actions kill other beekeepers’ hives. They claim varroa mites travel from the collapsing hives to nearby apiaries and overwhelm healthy hives leading to their demise as well.

This article in Bee Culture provides a more detailed narrative.

I’m not in the business of telling beekeepers how to manage their bees. So, I don’t intend to provide commentary on differing opinions on bee husbandry.

However, I do find the process of how varroa mites move from one hive to another fascinating and if you do too, read on.

The role of cuticular hydrocarbons in hives

Cuticular what now?

Insects’ cuticles, the outer layer, are coated with a layer of hydrocarbons – hence the name cuticular hydrocarbon. Its primary role is to stop the insect drying out. However, it also plays another important role in insects as a means of communication.

There is extensive research demonstrating that the chemicals signatures of these hydrocarbons play and important role in social insects’ communication mechanisms.

For example, in 2003 a study published in Nature described how researchers observed that ants could identify not only the tasks its nestmate was undertaking but also use that information to decide what task it needed to complete.

The context of honey bees you won’t be surprised to find out that forager bees have a different chemical signature that nurse bees.

How does varroa select the bees they hitch a ride on?  

To understand how varroa move from a collapsing colony to a new one is it important to understand if varroa has a way to distinguish between different types of bees.

Work done by Dr Cervo and the team determined that given a choice varroa mites had a preference to attach themselves to nurse bees. From the mite’s perspective, a nurse bee will inevitably lead to new brood cell and a juicy fresh larva to raise more varroa on.

As a colony starts to collapse the population decreases to the point that the bees hydrocarbon signature becomes less distinct; resulting in phoretic varroa choosing both nurse and forager bees.

The other consequence of the declining colony population is an increased insistence of robbing.

Varroa will also readily attach themselves to these robbing bees and therefore make their way into other hives.

There is no question that mites have a mechanism that allows them to move from hive to hive, especially, if they have exploited their hosts to the point of colony collapse.

Intervention free beekeeping?

From my perspective, the real mite-bomb debate isn’t treatment or treatment free beekeeping but rather interventionless or interventionist beekeeping.

Being treatment free doesn’t mean you can’t make interventions in the colony to reduce the impact of varroa on your hives. There are plenty of bio-technical measures that can be deployed to manage mite levels within the colony which do not require chemical treatments that mimic how feral colonies are coping with varroa in the wild.

If you aren’t intervening in your colonies, even just to monitor health, you probably aren’t beekeeping.

Save

The Beehive Jive Podcast 005 – Drama free swarm control.

Welcome to episode five of the Beehive Jive podcast. A beekeeping podcast from London, England.

In this episode we discuss the tricky issue of swarming: why do bees swarm, can you spot the early signs and what to do if they do swarm.

 

 

 

Running order:

00:00: What is Paul up to in his bees.

00:08: Tracey’s apiary update

00:14: Stress-free swarm control

00:20 Artifical swarm

00:30 How to spot signs of swarm preparation

00:35 Using swarm control for queen rearing

00:38 How many queen cell to leave in the hive

00:44 Top two tips for swarm control

00:47: Don’t panic and knock down all the cells!!

00:49: Clipping queens

00:55: Collecting swarms

01:00 Wrap up

 

Links:

Guide to swarm control http://www.nationalbeeunit.com/downloadDocument.cfm?id=1077