2013-08-10 Spring is in the air

This is one of those days where you feel that spring is around the corner, 18 degrees, sunny, I took the chance to look in on the girls, they've been left alone all winter, playing canasta and doing a bit of filing.
I was a little apprehensive about what I might find, but all was well, a little mould in the top of them, but all healthy.

Alphington Wetlands:

 Metropolis and Other, I had to do a bit of clearing the weeds around.
These were re-queened in January, the bees were docile now, and a very light yellow, beautiful.
Massive condensation at the top box, some of the frames might need replacing.
 Mmmmm green....
This should all come good as the weather warms up, no major damage.
I recall this happened previous winters too, maybe not so full-on.

Top box was empty, middle had a little nectar, bottom had loads of brood and was fairly dry and healthy.
Didn't see the queen. Saw a couple of roaches up top.
I should have taken it down to 2 boxes over winter, I guess, but then you have to put in new foundation, as the ones you take out will get moth-eaten. Might keep it dryer, though.

THis one also had massive condensation, also for some reason there was loads of capped honey in the top box, middle box was empty, loads of good brrod in the bottom.

Much like Metropolis. Condensation, some honey, all healthy

R.I.P Feliksas Sodaitis

I found out yesterday that Feliksas had died a few days ago, he was a pillar of the Lithuanian community in Melbourne, a beekeeper, and an inspiration. I didnt know him very well, but we occasionally chatted about his bees, he had kept bees all his life, into his 80's. He always reminded me that the bees need attention and care, you need to spend time with them. I hope his bees are OK.

He will be missed.


News just in from "the Australian":


EU to slap two-year ban on bee-harming pesticides   

THE European Commission said it would impose the world's first continent-wide ban on three pesticides which environmentalists say are killing the bees that pollinate Europe's crops.
The decision was a blow to the two chemical companies -- Bayer of Germany and Switzerland's Syngenta -- which turn profits from the products they say are not to blame for the sharp decline in the bee population.
A vote in Brussels saw 15 European governments backing a two-year suspension on use of the three pesticides but did not reach the required majority under EU rules, thus handing the final decision to the commission, the bloc's executive arm.
"I pledge to do my utmost to ensure that our bees, which are so vital to our ecosystem and contribute over 22 billion euros annually to European agriculture, are protected," said EU health commissioner Tonio Borg after the ballot.
The pesticides will from December 1 be banned from use on some crops and during seasons crucial for the survival of bees.
The insecticides -- imidacloprid and clothianidin produced by Bayer, and thiamethoxam by Syngenta -- are used to treat seeds, and are applied to the soil or sprayed on bee-attractive plants and cereals.
Bees account for 80 per cent of plant pollination by insects, which is vital to global food production. Without them, many crops would be unable to bear fruit or would have to be pollinated by hand.
"Today's vote makes it crystal clear that there is overwhelming scientific, political and public support for a ban," said Marco Contiero of the Greenpeace environmental activist group.
Countries opposed to the ban, including Britain and Hungary, failed to muster enough support to block the commission's proposed moratorium.
Germany, which in a previous vote had abstained and was under heavy pressure from pharmaceutical firms and farmers to fight the proposal, also voted in favour.
Both Bayer and Sygenta, the top player in the global agrichemical market, reject as flawed the findings of studies saying their products are to blame for falling bee numbers.
Bayer CropScience's Richard Breum said in a statement that it remained convinced the insecticides were "safe for bees if the products are applied according to instructions" and warned that the EU ban would be "a setback for technology, innovation and sustainability."
Syngenta chief operating officer John Atkin said the proposed ban "is based on poor science and ignores a wealth of evidence from the field that these pesticides do not damage the health of bees.
"Instead of banning these products, the commission should now take the opportunity to address the real reasons for bee health decline: disease, viruses and loss of habitat and nutrition."
Copa Cogeca, which represents European farmers and European agri-cooperatives, last week said even a temporary ban would cause 2.8 billion euros of losses to farmers and another 2 billion euros to the EU economy due to a fall in seed production and rising feed costs due to a need to increase imports.
In the countdown to yesterday's decision, battle-lines sharpened between environmentalists and farmers and pharmaceutical firms opposed to the ban on pesticides from the so-called "neonicotonoid" family.
Internet-based global campaigner Avaaz, which has gathered 2.5 million signatures to save the insect, floated a giant plastic honey bee over EU headquarters to hammer home its message.
The commission demanded their ban for use on four major crops -- maize (corn), rape seed, sunflowers and cotton -- after the European Food Safety Authority said they posed "disturbing" risks to bees and other pollinating insects vital for human food production.
The 15 nations that voted in favour of the ban were -- Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, The Netherlands, Poland, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden.
Eight nations voted against -- Austria, Britain, Czech Republic, Hungary, Lithuania, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia -- and four abstained -- Ireland, Greece, Lithuania, Finland.

Tips for young Players

Two summers ago, my friend Viktoras had a swarm land on his roof, he called me over to check it out, which I did...
He recently gave me a copy of some photos he took....
I didn't get stung that day, but it's not like they would have had much trouble...
I tuck my jacket into my pants these days.

The bees few away shortly after.

2013 - 04 - 07 Alphington - last check before winter.

Simon gave me a hand today checking the bees, he took all the photos, except for this first.
He wore button fly jeans, so was understandably a bit concerned...

First down to the billabong, the morning was beautiful and warm, but now it had started to drizzle on and off, in a very humid way, we had to do this quick....
OTHER was doing well, we even scraped some honey out for Simon to sample, but METROPOLIS was going slow, in terms of collecting nectar for winter. Should be OK though, probably a couple of frames total in there, and sundry nectar all over the place. Strong-ish hives, both. Good number of bees and brood, just a few drones here and there, didn't spot the queens at all, but we only checked about every second frame. No disease, a little mould in one corner of a frame. Increased ventilation a little, some sticks under the lid to lift it up a little. Winter coming, so this might the last check for a while.

 Over at dads at the other end of Alphington, all was well with BAGHDAD. Top box was filling up, quite heavy, but nothing worth harvesting, no full frames. Good for winter.

No stings.

In Other News....

Recently, (last weekend) I went up and checked Albina's hive in St. Hellier as well, we scraped a few litres out to give her something to put on her toast over winter, and the bees seem to be doing well, filling up the 3 boxes, drone numbers have thinned out, no sign of disease. Did'nt see the queen, but all good for grubs and brood. No photos.

Sting Tally:This season: 38 so far (Jonas 16, Edis 6, Rima 5, Jazmina 6, Dave 5)

2011/2012 season: 48 (Jonas 30 Adrian 1 Edis 6 Jazmina 10 Rima 1)
2010 / 2011 season: Heaps
Honey Tally:This season: 52 litres so far.
2011/2012 season: 49 Litres
2010 / 2011 season: 34  Litres
That's about 1 sting per Litre.


There are some crazy people out there....
here are a few other very relevant items lifted out of the UK Sun newspaper:

BRAVE Sara Mapelli sways her arms in a meditation “dance” as 12,000 honey bees cover her chest, shoulders and neck.

The healer — dubbed the Bee Queen — allows the stingers to stay on her for up to two hours.
And she even sits down with them for a cup of tea.
Sara, from Oregon, US, said: “It is a deep meditation and I feel the hive mind surround me, hold me, and expand my body on a cellular level.”
But British bees might not do so well.
A report yesterday warned MPs the insects’ brains are being scrambled by pesticides, making it hard for them to find nectar and survive.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4875630/Brave-woman-Bee-Queen-covers-her-naked-chest-with-12000-honey-bees.html#ixzz2Ph4U4Bgw

KEEPER very still, this may sting a little.

Bee daredevil She Ping is covered in an astonishing 330,000 bees, but escapes with only a few stings.
The Chinese bee-keeping enthusiast prides himself on being one of the leading bee stuntmen in the world.
Ping has a queen bee placed on his body by an assistant and then stands in a basin while other bees are poured into the basin. They gradually climb up his body until he is nearly completely covered.
He even has cotton wool placed up his nose to stop bees creeping up there.
The whole process takes nearly an hour and, amazingly, 32-year old Ping receives only a few stings by keeping completely still.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4264568/Buzz-off-man-is-covered-in-330000-bees.html#ixzz2Ph4xrp7l

2013 - 03 - 03 Bee check with Adrian up in Taggery

Taggerty is up the Maroondah Highway, about 20 minutes past Adrians place in Buxton.
We dont get up there as often as we'd like, and the bees are having a bit of a tough time up there, I think.

In the photo below, going right to left, you have Mt. cathedral, then the lump is Little Cathedral, and to the left of that, obscured by the cypress tree in the foreground, is roughly where these bees are. Roughly.

Smokin em down

 Adrian does not muck around with safety, when it comes to bees.

 brood and grubs

multi-coloured pollen stores for the kids.

 The back of the ute.
We replaced one of the boxes, as it was completely knackered from sitting straight on the ground, pretty much. Got it up on an old pallet this time.

 Trouble keeps an eye on the road on the way home. He stayed in the car.

BEE VENOM may be able to help fight against HIV / AIDS?

This item totally lifted from the website:


BEE stings could prevent the spread of HIV, doctors have sensationally claimed.

A chemical in the insects' venom can destroy the killer virus while leaving surrounding cells unharmed, research found.
The discovery has been hailed as an important step towards developing a gel that could stem the spread of HIV, which causes AIDS.
The bee toxin is loaded onto nanoparticles before attacking the virus
HIV ... the bee toxin is loaded onto nanoparticles before attacking the virus
A potent toxin in bee stings called melittin kills HIV cells by punching holes through their protective outer layer.
Scientists loaded the toxin into tiny nanoparticles, which are attached with "bumpers" to make them bounce off normal cells.
But when smaller HIV cells come into contact with the larger nanoparticles, they slip between the bumpers and are attacked by the lethal bee toxin within.
Melittin (green) fuse with HIV
Attack ... melittin (green) fuse with HIV
Dr Joshua L. Hood, who took part in the study at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, US, said the bee toxin could be used in vaginal gel to prevent to prevent HIV from spreading.
He said: “Our hope is that in places where HIV is running rampant, people could use this gel as a preventive measure to stop the initial infection.”
Describing how bee venom attacks HIV, Dr Hood added: “Melittin on the nanoparticles fuses with the viral envelope.
“The melittin forms little pore-like attack complexes and ruptures the envelope, stripping it off the virus.”
Whereas most anti-HIV drugs inhibit the virus’s ability to replicate, bee toxin actually attacks the virus’s structure and prevents infection.
Dr Hood added: “We are attacking an inherent physical property of HIV.
“Theoretically, there isn’t any way for the virus to adapt to that.”
Doctors also said melittin-loaded nanoparticles could be an effective way to kill tumour cells.

Read more: http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/4831508/Bee-stings-could-prevent-the-spread-of-HIV-doctors-claim.html#ixzz2Pgus3BfK

2013 - 03 - 02 Alphington checkup

Rima gave me a hand, going through all the Alphington bees, at dad's and down at the wetlands
All good, but we did get clobbered by bees in the end. 
... and we spotted the queens in the wetlands hives.