Picking winners, part 1

Synopsis : Queenless colonies prefer to rear new queens from heavy eggs. How was this determined and what are the implications for our queen rearing? Introduction Arguably the most important decision a colony will ever make is the selection of the eggs or larvae from which a new queen is raised. Other decisions are obviously […]

Wild, feral or escapees?

Synopsis : How far do swarms move? Can estimates of environmental apiary and hive densities help determine whether “isolated, lost or ancient” bees are anything of the sort? Introduction A little more on feral colonies this week. It’s an interesting topic to think about as the temperature drops, the wind picks up and the trees […]

Feral facts and fallacies

Synopsis : Are feral colonies recently lost swarms or a self-sustaining ‘wild’ honey bee population? The latter must reproduce faster than they perish. Measuring rates of colony loss and nest occupancy provides a good indicator of the likely origin and independence of feral populations. Introduction Most colonies try to swarm every year. Most – not […]

Biological control with Varroa

Synopsis : Honey bees were eradicated on Santa Cruz Island following the introduction of Varroa. This provides some useful lessons for beekeepers on the importance of controlling Varroa. Introduction Honey bees are not native to North America. They were first introduced in March 1622 at Jamestown, Virginia. The bees did well and spread west, following […]

Making a beeline

Synopsis : Honey bees use a range of navigation skills including path integration – to shorten return flights – combined with map-like spatial memories to relocate the hive. Introduction Regular readers will be aware that I’m interested in the origins of words. The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is a fantastic source of information and produces […]