Monthly Archives: December 2010
My parents live in Florida, and sent me this article of a man who tried to smoke out a colony of bees that took residence in his home. Unfortunately, he ended up setting his house on fire and the bees are still there.
The BBC is reporting that scientists have developed a technique to “switch off” genes in the Varroa mite which is a major pest of honeybees. They hope this technique will eventually be used to force the mites to “self-destruct”.
I’ve sung Bee Weaver’s praises before, but they stopped treating for Varroa mites over 15 years ago. They lost a lot of their hives initially, but over time, natural selection created the right combination of behaviors to cope with this pest. To me, this is a better method (along with good Integrated Pest Managment (IPM) techniques) for coping with Varroa mites then trying to genetically engineer your way to a solution.
I’m a huge fan of cornbread covered in honey. I really like this recipe because it uses a lot of honey as an ingredient in the cornbread for extra honey flavor.
There has been a lot of discussion on what would happen to our food supply if the pollinator population (both native bees and imported honey bees) were to decline dramatically or disappear altogether. The overall consensus is that it is not a good outcome for us humans.
What I didn’t realize is that some areas of the world are already dealing with a lack of adequate pollinators for their crops. In the Maoxian county of Sichuan, China, workers now have to pollinate pear and apple trees by hand because the pollinator population has, for all intents and purposes, been destroyed.
You can read the entire Guardian article here, but is a sobering look of what could happen if fundamental changes to America’s and the world’s agricultural practices are not made in the near future.
I often find or I’m sent articles about beekeeping so I thought it would be a good idea to start posting them on my blog so I can find them again.
The average high in December is usually right around 60, but it was almost hot this past Saturday in Austin as the temps hit just over 75 with not a cloud in the sky. I decided to take advantage of the warm weather to do one last deep inspection before the colder weather comes back.
My goals were to remove the feeder, check the number of honey frames, and to verify Large Marge was still laying well. The top two supers were all honey which is exactly what I wanted to see. In the South where our winters are not as long and cold, you should have at least 40 pounds of honey in the hive.
I also decided to take off the mouse guard at least for a few more weeks. It looks like Austin will be having a warmer winter than usual with the 10 day forecast being sunny and in the mid-60’s. There were still plenty of frames full of capped brood, and I was a little worried the girls would have trouble clearing the hive of dead bees with the mouse guard still on.
At this point, I think the hive has plenty of honey for the winter, and I don’t think I need to continue to feed them anymore. I’ll just need to add the mouse guard again later in the month when it truly gets colder and then settle in for the winter and wait for spring.
This is a really nice video about New York City beekeepers that I found courtesy of Bee Brooklyn.
I’m a big fan of MythBusters, and this week they had a special dedicated to bug related myths one of which happened to be about bees. Specifically, bees lifting a laptop. Here is the video in question. For those of you viewing this at work or with small children, there are a few bad words at the very end of the video.
Now if you couldn’t tell this video was super fake by the awesome acting, the kind folks over at MythBusters tested the myth and completely busted it. However, the episode had some good information, and they even tested how much weight one bee can lift on its own (at least 81% of its body weight).
I don’t think you can watch full episodes online at Discovery.com, but you can watch part of the episode here.