The insect that loves having sex

Which is the most promiscuous female insect of all? BBC Earth reveals in ‘The insect that loves having sex‘ that the female honeybee queen mates with the most males, neatly knocking the female cobalt milkweed beetle off the throne:

“The European honey bee was found to mate up to 20 times and the Asiatic honey bee up to 30 times. However Cabrera-Mireles determined that the Apis dorsata, the giant honey bee of South and Southeast Asia, was the most polyandrous of all, with one DNA fingerprinting studying determining that females had up to 53 mates.

The female cobalt milkweed beetle has been recorded mating up to 60 times, but was disqualified by Cabrera-Mireles because this figure included multiple matings with the same male.”

For incredible footage on the honeybee queen watch this clip from More than honey.

Read more on BBC Earth ‘The insect that loves having sex‘. Story sent by Andy Pedley.

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Winter moves into spring

feb-beekeeper-notes-est

Spring is fast approaching with snowdrops in flower and crocuses opening. What have Ealing beekeepers been blogging about this winter?

Beekeeping afloat by Thomas Bickerdike started the year with an interesting article on ‘Insulation‘. Thomas expounds the virtues of keeping your home and hive well insulated in winter, with a particularly ingenious solution to fitting fondant and insulation under the roof of a nuc.

Emily Scott of Adventuresinbeeland’s Blog has posted about Flow Hive – perhaps you’ve heard of it? If you’re a beekeeper then you’re unlikely not to! What are your thoughts on the new hive set to revolutionise honey extraction? Take the poll on ‘Will the honey flow for you?

Miss Apis Mellifera by Emma Sarah Tennant has written about ‘Lessons under the hive‘, an impromptu beginner class on what you can find out about the colony in winter under the hive. If you’re thinking about hive records for the year ahead – will you use paper or electronic in ‘A beekeeper’s notes for February’?

We also congratulate Hen Corner by Sara Ward who is named first in 10 of the Best Courses in London. Read her post ‘London Calling‘.

Finally, if you’re looking for winter sunshine, don’t forget to chase the sunsets from California to Mexico in Postcards from San Francisco by Ealing-beekeeper-on-the-road Matwinder Randhawa.

Are you an Ealing beekeeper blogger not yet listed on this page? Do get in touch so that we can add you to the community.

Bee inspector advice on usage of oxalic acid and MAQs

Ealing member Brian Mitchison recently received advice from National Bee Unit Regional Bee Inspector Julian Parker on the use of OXALIC ACID if you’ve used MAQs strips. 

“It is unwise for beekeepers to use oxalic acid treatments if they have already treated the same (winter) bees with formic acid (MAQS – Mite Away Quick Strips) as this would effectively be a double dose of organic acid. It matters little that one is formic and the other oxalic – the method of action is the same and a second application of either applied to the same winter bees risks high adult bee mortality through a double dose of organic acid burning the bees. The bees can only tolerate so much acid treatment before it burns them lethally, much like the mites. Queen loss would also be a concern.

Any treatments applied to a colony should be recorded on a veterinary medicines record card as bees are considered to be food-producing livestock.”

Julian Parker
Regional Bee Inspector, South Eastern England, National Bee Unit

The Veterinary Medicines Directorate (VMD) regularly review their position regarding bee medicines and treatments. While this is currently the correct interpretation of their guidance, it may change as other products come to the market. Please keep updated on current usage and guidance on the VMD website.

Story sent by Brian Mitchison.

The Queen’s Beekeeper on Christmas Day

Ealing beekeeper John Chapple, the Queen’s beekeeper, appears on ITV’s The Queen’s Garden on Christmas Day at 3.10pm. Both Andy Pedley and John took part in filming, and we’re looking forward to watching John with his hives at Buckingham Palace. Tune in after the Queen’s speech.

The Queen’s Garden
Thursday 25th December at 3:10pm on ITV
Queen’s Garden, Episode 1: The first of two programmes in which Alan Titchmarsh gets exclusive access to the royal gardens at Buckingham Palace for a whole year. He watches the garden change over the four seasons and reveals its hidden treasures that have evolved over five centuries. In the first part, he arrives along with 8,000 others to attend the Queen’s summer garden party, but unlike the other guests, he has a different itinerary. He begins by venturing into the garden’s wilder spaces where nature has been left to rule. He meets the Queen’s bee keeper John Chapple, delves into the history of the garden and finds its oldest tree. Late summer is the ideal time to visit the rose garden with its 18th-century summer house. Later, as Christmas arrives, Alan helps royal florist Sharon Gaddes-Croasdale bring in plants to decorate the palace.

bee on thumb of queen beekeeper

Caption: A bee rests on the thumb of the Queen’s beekeeper John Chapple.

Stocking fillers for beekeepers

A great idea for stocking fillers as Christmas fast approaches is making candles, polish, beer, soap, lip balm and more. Bee Craft Magazine is hosting a #BeeCraftLive on Hive Products on Wednesday 17 December.

Pop Bee Craft Magazine a question ahead of #BeeCraftLive here: http://bit.ly/1yQ7zZD

Want to try to make a lip balm ahead of the chat? A simple recipe for honey and lavender lip balm:

Ingredients:

  • 40 ml olive oil
  • 10 g beeswax
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 10 drops lavender essential oil

Method:

  1. Heat the oil gently in a saucepan over a low heat.
  2. Add the beeswax, stirring till completely melted.
  3. Mix in the honey then pour into a warmed bowl.
  4. Add the lavender essential oil and stir quickly before the balm starts to set.
  5. Pour the warm balm into small pots and leave to set, then lid and label your honey and lavender lip balm.

Enjoy! Emma

What can we learn from insect societies?

A great topic talked about at this week’s Commonwealth Science Conference: ‘How can we use insect societies as a mirror to reflect on our own?’. The talk by Professor Raghavendra Gadakar, President of the Indian National Science Academy, asked what we can learn from insect societies and started by looking at bees. Read more notes on the talk at the Commonwealth Science Conference blogStory sourced by Emma Sarah Tennant.

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All about the bees, ’bout the bees

Ealing beekeeper Sara gets her bees tucked up for winter, read more on her blog this week.

Hen Corner

Welcome back to Hen Corner!

As featured in Country Living Magazine

With Christmas just around the corner, we’ve steamed our puddings, baked our cakes and will be winding our wreaths ready for Advent to begin. As we enter this season of preparation, let’s get our hearts and minds, as well as our homes and kitchens, ready for Christmas. Readers who follow us on Twitter and Facebook will have seen some of the other things we’ve been up to recently…

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Bee StreetTucked up but still centre stage

Whilst each colony of bees is almost at their lowest head count, with all the boys kicked out and the girls focused on protecting the queen through the coldest months, they are still attracting loads of attention as the general public are becoming more aware of their…

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