Seems like yesterday. I’ve updated WordPress and migrated all the old data. Thanks for bearing with me while you read some php warnings… There are more bee removals to be done, so we’ll see some more pics soon. Stay tuned.
Archive for the Category » My Journal «
Our “anarchy apiary” in New York appeared to lose about half of the hives wintered there. Some died recently of starvation, others had more squatter field mice who scampered out of the hive suckling babies stuck to their bellies. Eviction. No mysteries behind the losses. Several hives survived as well, from bees bred from local queens.
This is an UN-identified insect that I’d like comment on from an expert. What is it? Dragonfly nymph? (see comments for answer!)
Read a great New York Times column by Leon Kreitzman about the circadian rhythms of honeybees and Carl Linnaeus’ floral clock idea. -DNR
I checked my hive in New York and discovered some furry squatters, to my deep dismay. Check out the galleries to see the story. The bees were installed in mid-June and may have run out of food stores throughout winter. Comment if you’d like. Now I’m swarm hunting soon … (The other top bar hives that Anarchy Apiaries has nearby are looking lively, though it’s been chilly.)
With bad news, there’s always good news… despite my loss, I’ve gained hope from the White House’s Organic Garden and news of their choice of using varroa-resistant Russians in their beehive!
I love it when other people express for me what I want to share, especially on video. I wish my blog was more of a daily-life-of-a-beekeeper story, but it’s not. Mr. “Kirkobeeo” in Los Angeles, CA, however, is doing just that with a well-tooled web log of his natural, “organic” beekeeping practices. Unbashfully declaring that “we’re going to change the world,” his blog includes fantastic, well-edited videos of his adventures catching swarms in L.A. of all places, promoting urban beekeeping. He even posts these beautiful short audio reports, it’s like listening to messages from him on your telephone voicemail. You’ll learn a lot quick by reading http://beehuman.blogspot.com. Kirk is a beautful soul, who deserves well-paid tenure at Earth University. May he be rewarded for his tireless efforts! It is written. -DNR
My recent visions include creating a Live Hive ™. A Live Hive ™ is a high-tech monitored beehive complete with internal, infra-red micro video cameras, chip-tagged bees, microphones to monitor hive audio, external camera to monitor comings and goings, temperature sensors, solar panel – all data fed live to schools around the world via the Internet – LIVE 24hrs. It’s a Real World Beehive Show. We need our young to observe bees, for the sake of their own survival. We can now computer-record thousands of hours of high quality audio without a problem, enabling us to observe the change in frequencies within the hive, which I believe is key to understanding honeybee health and intention. (UPDATE: oops… This cool hive webcam seems to have had my idea already!) Here’s a cool example technology below (not German).
Furthermore, undergraduate UNC student, Andrew Pierce, et al found that the queen doesn’t decide hive actions herself, but rather “older workers gave signals to the queen and to the rest of the colony that it was time to swarm and leave the hive. Later, they were able to observe inside the swarm itself and see workers give the queen a signal, known as ‘piping’ that tells her to fly.” (read: University of North Carolina at Charlotte) How did they do this?
Today I discovered a gem of an article published four years ago in Der Spiegel magazine from Germany (below) that lifts my hopes that my Live Hive ™ concept will become reality sooner.
“In an experiment that’s the first of its kind worldwide, they are creating precise movement profiles for their winged subjects. To this end, tiny transponders have been attached to the backs of thousands of bees. Each radio chip costs one euro and is attached to the bee with a dab of shellac. The chip weighs only 2.4 milligrams, about one-thirtieth of the maximum load a bee can carry, and therefore doesn’t present much of a impediment to the insect.”
The gear exists on the consumer market, we just need to buy the parts off the shelf and deploy the Live Hive ™ in concert with thousands of observing students of all ages to give researchers feedback and notes to accelerate our open knowledge. Google’s computer array should be suitable drive space. Wikipedia that! Pollinatethis!
Finally, Richard C. Hoagland unearthed an interesting nugget about hive sounds in a beekeeper’s recording of a hive noise he heard twice, last back in 2006 – Hoagland played the sound on Art Bell’s radio show (part 9) during a show about Colony Collapse Disorder (along with a bunch more about torsion field energy, and theories that bees build “small cell” comb for the sake of frequency resonance improvement at smaller, natural sizes than with larger, human-prompted foundation size cells… He mentions nothing about mite survival rates in large vs small cell… I appreciated Bell’s critical interviewing.) Sort of funny to hear this guy Hoagland reading from BWrangler’s website on Art Bell’s radio show. Need to learn more about torsion field physics and hexagons. Dr. Adrian Wenner’s work on bee communication is noteworthy for this project, too… Has someone already created the Live Hive? Who wants to fund it for me?
Big Brother in the Beehive
By Hilmar Schmundt
Bees become increasingly intelligent as they age. They suffer from occupational diseases and travel astronomical distances to produce a jar of honey. Using state-of-the-art monitoring technology, researchers from the German city of Würzburg are revolutionizing our image of mankind’s third most-important working animal.
A snowstorm is raging outside the beehive. Inside, number 6085 is making herself comfortable at a cozy 25° Celsius (77° Fahrenheit) and with an extra serving of sweet nectar.
6085 is a sprightly senior who spends her summers working outside. But for now she is a homebody, spending her time in a world almost entirely of her own making. Her fellow bees expend almost half of their energy making sure their hive is cozy and warm in the winter and pleasantly cool in the summer. The community strictly monitors family planning and carefully controls the intelligence of its offspring. 6085 lives largely sheltered from natural calamities that plague other creatures. Hunger and infirmity are a problem that haven’t plagued bees for over a million years.
“These living conditions sound like something out of a science fiction novel,” says neurobiologist Jürgen Tautz. The white-haired, 55-year-old sits in his office on the second floor of a converted house on the edge of an orchard within sight of the University of Würzburg campus. To convince his skeptical audience that number 6085 truly exists, he proposes an expedition into the exotic world of the bees. Tautz walks down a flight of stairs into his laboratory, where three experimental Plexiglas beehives have been constructed. The beehives even have names, written on paper labels — “Maja,” “Willi” and “Flip.” About a thousand honey bees are crowded into each beehive, including the worker bee identified as number 6085. The Plexiglas window to the hive is warm to the touch, especially near its center, where the royal household crowds around the queen with her long abdomen, making sure she is kept warm, well-fed and clean.
“Bees have achieved many of the things that remain the stuff of dreams for humans,” says Tautz, bright-eyed and speaking with a hint of a local dialect. “We can learn a great deal from them.”
Old bees are the smart ones
CAPTION: A tiny microchip enables scientists to track the habits of bees.
The members of his 20-member research team routinely astonish the professional world with their articles in such highly-regarded professional journals as Science, Nature and Zoology. Peter Fluri, the director of the Swiss Center for Bee Research in Bern, is impressed by Tautz’s work. “The results coming out of Würzburg are remarkable,” he says, “and their significance extends well beyond the world of bee biology.”The “Beegroup” laboratory routinely dismantles theories previously regarded as scientific certainty. Until recently, for example, zoologists believed that during the famous tail dance, only those bees directly surrounding the ceremony are quickly informed about a source of nectar. However, the Würzburg researchers discovered that the dance is in fact a refined form of more…
- With the exception of fixings, roof coverings and wire meshing, hives must be built entirely of natural materials such as wood, straw or clay. The inside of the hive may only be treated with beeswax and propolis. Only natural, ecologically safe and non-synthetic wood preservatives may be applied to the hive exterior.
- Swarming is the natural way to increase the number of bee colonies and is the only permitted means for increasing colony numbers.
- The system of management cannot rely on the continual introduction of colonies, swarms and queens from elsewhere. Clipping the wings of queens is prohibited. Multiple and routine uniting of colonies as well as systematic queen replacement is not permitted.
- A locally adapted breed of bee suited to the landscape should be chosen.
- The comb is integral to the beehive. Therefore all combs should be constructed as natural combs. Natural combs are those constructed by the bees without the help of waxed midribs. Natural combs can be constructed on fixed or movable frames. Strips of beeswax foundation to guide comb building is permitted.
- The brood area naturally enough forms a self-contained unity. Both comb and brood area must be able to grow as the bee colony develops through building more natural comb. The brood chamber and frame size must be so chosen that the brood area can expand organically with the combs and without being obstructed by wood from the frames. Separation barriers are not allowed as integral elements of the management system.
Honey and blossom pollen are the natural foods for bees. The aim should be to winter them on honey. Where this is not possible supplementary winter feed must contain at least 10% honey by weight. Chamomile tea and salt should also be added to the feed. All feed supplements must be of organic if not Biodynamic origin. All pollen substitutes are forbidden.
A bee colony should be able to correct any occurring imbalances out of its own resources. Measures taken by the Demeter beekeeper should aim to reinforce and maintain its vitality and capacity for self regeneration. The occasional loss of colonies particularly susceptible to certain pests and diseases should be accepted as a necessary part of natural selection.
It’s been a while since I blogged. I’ll be uploading many photo galleries from the summer and more video…. bee footage I shot in Brazil! Stay tuned…
Back in San Francisco, I sprinkled powdered sugar on my bees for the first time to see how many mites would fall through the screened bottom board, on Oct 25th. The week before, I noticed some shriveled bee wings on some newborns that were booted from the hive and were getting plucked up by little yellowjackets on a chilly, overcast day. It was alarming, but also rather normal and natural. I was hoping not to get into any heavy management of this hive, but I’m attached now. I love what is happening in there now, and powdered sugar is hardly one of the poisons or nasty (boric) acids that other beekeepers recommend to control mites. So, I opted to see what happens. I found one mite after sprinkling some sugar on the top super (see photo). I’ll do more sugaring another time.
I benefited today from reading about “proper supering” on mainebee.com http://www.mainebee.com/articles/March.php
One photo in my gallery from 10/25/08 is a view of my recently harvested super, in which I returned 5 frames with comb onto one side of the super about 2 weeks ago (10/10). There was honey residue on there, and I tried to preserve their comb while spinning the frames. I didn’t really clean it off with water. I’m back 2 weeks later and it’s all filled out again, but with evidence of burr comb and bridge comb. I decided not to examine the frames and just powder sugar to see what happens. I’ll take the advice from mainebee.com. Thanks!
TRT: 7:11 – To see video full screen, click the little square to the left of the volume control on the video controlbar. These bees are in Dutchess County, NY. This hive box came from Dadant in New York state.
TRT: 9:31, shot June 12, 2008, 4:30pm EST, Canon Powershot SD1000, using macro feature
These are my bees in Dutchess county, New York. They came to me as a 5 frame nuc from a friend, who raised them in Dutchess county.
I had the extreme pleasure to receive distinguished visitors straight outta the Big Apple to inspect my beekeeping operation and make sure the girls were not manhandled too badly…. That is to say, we learned a whole bunch together, and I made some great new friends! I only wish we could have played together more and they could have seen the actual day of freeing the bees into their new multi-level highrise condo.