Kent Beekeepers Association Orpington Branch

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Branch Newsletter August 2001

Published 25 September, 2008


Orpington Branch Newsletter August 2001

It's almost time to be putting Apistan or Bayvarol in your hives and I will try to find a source that isn't too expensive. Let me know as soon as possible how much you need so that I know how much to order.

This year Marjorie Trenear was unable to put an entry into the Kent Show - the first time this has happened since I joined, which makes me feel very sad. This left me as the only entrant from our branch and as I had run out of mead, I could only enter some honey which fortunately secured a third.

I hope some of you are getting ready to put something into our honey show, which is on September 8th - not so far away now. Resulting from a suggestion by one of our members, the title of one class is to be changed to "Naturally Crystallised or Soft Set or Creamed Honey", so those of you who produce creamed honey can join in.

Ashford Branch has sent me details of their show on September 1st, so if you feel like a trial run before ours, I can let you have an entry form.

An article in the Guardian earlier on this year and passed on to me by Tony Trinick reported that scientists had established that honeybees can think. They had trained bees to recognise particular colours and patterns using a Y-shaped maze and discovered that the bees quickly learned the colours that would lead them to the sucrose reward. I have seen references in books which refer to patterns and colours being used at the entrances of hives in order to ensure that the bees return to their own hive, so maybe the scientists have not discovered something that is new.

There are many old sayings that use the behaviour of animals as a guide to future weather and an article in the Telegraph dealt with bees. "The ancient Greeks believed that bees stayed close to home when a storm was imminent, while North Africans thought that the tone and pitch of the buzzing varied with weather. Old English weather lore mirrors what the Greeks thought:

When bees to distance wing their flight

Days are warm and skies are bright

But when their light ends near their home

Stormy weather is sure to come.

Dr. Colin Butler at Rothamsted found no link between the activity of honeybees and weather conditions but A.C.S.Deans at the North of Scotland College of Agriculture near Aberdeen thought that bees far from home would be likely to head for home when the sky was clouding over. His argument was that bees need some clear sky to help their orientation on long journeys and that any working more than 500 yards from the hive stand little chance of returning safely under overcast conditions."

Do you think that your bees can forecast the weather?


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