Oil Seed Rape

Having been out on my walk today – and yes I was totally legal. The scariest part of the walk was when I met a lady who waved her stick at me and warned me not to come any closer because her stick was 1.8 metres long.

Anyway on my walk I saw a lot of oil seed rape. Let us face it oil seed rape is not a shy little flower. Anyway that has caused me to do some research into oil seed rape and bees. It is a crop that can cause bee keepers quite a headache so I thought I would explain why here.

We are also into May and I have added the tasks for this month. It is the month for swarming but who knows what this month will bring. On my walk today the temperature was about 20C which was very pleasant. By Monday the daytime temperature could be as low as 10C – too cold to inspect the hive – and it is May. What a strange year this is!

At the moment the Dorchester Show is still scheduled as usual. In connection with this we have had a request for some bee equipment details of which are on the Wanted page. Do not forget that we also have a For Sale page and if you have used the lockdown to sort out and tidy your kit you may have something that can go on that page.

Why do we need bees?

These difficult times are also times of change, time when we consider why do we need bees – or any insects.

We have an opportunity to review where we are as a society and where we are going. Many of us who have managed to get out will have been amazed at the intense blue of the sky and the enhanced bird song. Perhaps now is a time to consider our work life balance – our work and the life of the planet

Those of us who are beekeepers know how important bees are. But not all the people who look at this site are beekeepers – as I found when I received an email from Sarah’s father.

Bee on yellow flower
Bee on yellow flower by sebastian rosset.

Sarah, like many students, is studying from home and she came across this particular site on the importance of bees as pollinators and she asked that I place a link to it on the links page and this I am happy to do.

That got me thinking and I have found more suitable links which I am also going to add to the links pages.

Friends of the Earth have a useful page on bees of all sorts and their importance as pollinators.

The BBC has a section on the importance of the bees as pollinators. It includes a video with Chris Packham who is always worth listening to.

One of my favourite sites at the moment is ted.com which has lectures on all sorts of subjects from politics to maths and all stops in between. They have a whole section on why we need bees and I am watching one of those talks as I type up this blog.

Woodland Trust also have a very good page on the importance of bees and they also describe the threats to the bees including the Asian Hornet which is such a worry to us as beekeepers.

There are plenty more suitable sites out there but hopefully this sample will get you started. I hope that some of you who are not beekeepers will have a look at some of the links and learn a bit more about why insects, and especially bees, are so important.

My thanks to Sarah for drawing my attention to something more we can be doing for the planet.

Asian Hornet Exercise

The Asian Hornet threat has not gone away – it is still a threat and we are all hoping that it is not building nests in the forests we are not visiting during the lockdown. BBKA now have an AHAT volunteer exercise.

As part of the process of educating as many people as possible the BBKA has several pages of information. One of those, the map page of Asian Hornet Action Team (AHAT) vounteers, has a link to an exercise for the AHAT volunteers. If you want to test your knowledge of the Asian Hornet there is a link there as well. It is not a difficult test but will see if you know what an AHAT volunteer needs to know. If you want more background information on the Asian Hornet then ahat.org.uk is a good source of information.

We also have a lot of information on our own site – both true information and examples of false information.

To do the exercise you will need your BBKA membership number. If you have forgotten what it is then dig out your receipt for you BBKA membership of your local association and the number should be on there. I did search the BBKA web site but was unable to find my number even after I had logged in – just telling you so you do not waste time looking.

All gone!

Not much to report today – except that the extractor which I put up for sale 3 days ago has been sold. Yes even in these difficult times when few of us are even thinking about extracting honey – the extractor was sold.

So bear that in mind. Look through your equipment. Do you have anything you wish to sell? Now is the time to clean it up, take a few photos and send me the details by emailing me.