Isolation Starvation

Starved Bees
Starved Bees

The saddest sight a beekeeper can see is a huddle of dead bees, heads thrust deep inside empty wax cells, with the queen dead in the middle. And the wretched thing is that they had starved just an inch away from a broad, golden arc of honey. This phenomenon is called “Isolation Starvation“. 

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Scorching

Blow-Torch
Blow-Torch

With the temperature relentlessly around zero, the word “scorching” is clearly unrelated to today’s weather forecast.

Well, it is and it isn’t. This frosty time of year is ideal for a belt and braces cleansing of empty beehives. This can be accomplished by immersing the hive parts in a lye (sodium hydroxide) solution, or for smaller scale beekeepers, by using a blow-torch to singe the interior crevices and wide surfaces of brood and super boxes. That’s where the scorching comes in. Here I am, spring-cleaning a hive which I have just started to manage.

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Why Don’t Bees Store Water?

Bee Drinking - Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright
Bee Drinking – Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright

Along with Earth, Air and Fire, Water is one of the elements common to ancient Greek, Buddhist and Hindu philosophies. And even when modern scientists scan for signs of extra-terrestrial existence, water is the first thing they look for. Water is vital to life. So why don’t bees store water?

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Bubble Wrap

Bubble Wrap
Bubble Wrap

The competition for bubble-wrap becomes intense in our household at this time of year. And it’s not just Sarah’s extraordinarily gregarious Christmas present list which drives the local demand for that commodity.

I have a beekeeping confession to make. It is strange, but true. I wrap my Bermondsey rooftop hives with bubble-wrap in December and January each year. There, I’ve said it.

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10 Reasons We Love Green Roofs

NYC Beehives
NYC Beehives

We crossed the Atlantic to visit Artie Rollins at his New York City Parks Department’s 30,000 square foot rooftop on Randall’s Island.

An unusual assignment. And an unglamorous location. Even the taxi driver we flagged down in Harlem after the M35 bus we were on broke down had no idea where it was. Or did, but didn’t like the idea of going there. But we were on a mission.

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French Bees

Miellerie de Puycelci Label
Miellerie de Puycelci Label

At the Moulin d’Olivery, the Brenez-Candille family have built up an impressive honey business over 30 years. Patrick and Isabelle Candille currently run 1200 hives, producing between 25,000-30,000 tonnes of honey annually, most of which is sold to bulk buyers. But that still leaves some 30,000 jars to be hand-labelled every year for sale to retail customers. Brava Isabelle!

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