Bees have been in residence here at Prospect Cottage for almost 2 years now. Andy did a beekeeping course in Summer 2009 and the bees arrived here that September. Since then we have had the 2 hardest Winters in recent times, thankfully our bees are well and healthy. Andy prefers to keep bees in as natural a way as possible, with minimum interference. Verroa mite can be treated naturally, with oxalic acid, but there is no need to treat unless it is present. Most beekeepers treat routinely with chemical strips.
At a beekeeping meeting on Monday Andy was appalled to hear that clipping the Queen’s wings is common practice to stop swarming. We had 6 swarms last year and still got lots of honey. Swarming occurs when there are 2 Queens and there is overcrowding. To prevent swarming the Queen larvae are killed, which we don’t do, or taken out with a handful of bees and reared to make a new colony.
There is much concern in the UK at the moment about “neonicotinoid” pesticides, these are absorbed into the plant and are present in the pollen and nectar. Made by German company Bayer, they are banned in Germany! They are also banned or restricted in France, Italy and Slovenia. These chemicals work by poisoning the central nervous system of insects including bees who partake of the nectar and pollen.
We are fortunate here in Arigna that we are surrounded on all sides by an organic farm where, of course, no poisons are used. We ourselves do not use any poisons on our land or produce. I don’t understand why one would use something on your land that has a skull and crossbones warning on it! It does’nt make sense!
I feel that Man has ruled this world as a stumbling demented child king long enough,
And as his Empire crumbles our precious Apis mellifera shall rise as his most fitting successor.
These words I speak are true. We’re all humanary stew, if we don’t pledge allegiance to BEES.
( Adapted from Alice Cooper song, The Black Widow.)