Coordinated Varroa control

Synopsis : Our recent study on landscape-scale coordinated Varroa control suggest there are benefits for colony health. I know it makes sense, but how many actually do it? Introduction In the magnum opus last week I discussed how bees discriminate nestmates from non-nestmates at the hive entrance. Inevitably I had to discuss the processes of […]

You are what you eat

Synopsis : The science of identity … how guard bees recognise nestmates, why drifting bees are accepted into other hives and why robbers are only sometimes rejected.   Introduction Honey bees are eusocial insects. The ’eu’ before social is derived from the Greek for ‘good’; these insects – not just honey bees – exhibit the highest […]

New Year’s Resolutions

Synopsis : Often made, less often kept. How to improve your health, wealth and generosity … good habits for the season ahead, plus wildfires, bananas and XXXL beesuits. New Year’s Resolutions for beekeepers. Introduction Historically, the Babylonians used the start of their New Year as an opportunity to clear old debts, return a kindness or […]

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 […]