I had just arrived home the other evening when I received a frantic phone call from one of my neighbours. There was a swarm of bees round a small tree in his front garden.
I told him not to worry and I would be over shortly to have a look. I had half expected to find a wasp nest when I arrived. It is funny how many people can’t tell the difference between wasps, bumble bees and honey bees. I have been called out for a swarm of bees a few times but when I arrive I find mostly wasps and bumble bees.
To my surprise (and delight as I had just completed constructing a third hive) it actually was a swarm of honey bees!
One of the neighbors had a video camera, so this is me (The Fat Bloke) up a tree!
I read recently that the plug has finally been pulled on Stargate Universe. So the Stargate franchise will shortly go the same way as Star Trek, to become endless repeats on obscure satellite channels.
I am not aware of any new main stream Science Fiction series on the horizon are you? And before any one says what about Dr Who on the BBC? The viewing figures for that are declining as well so it is only a matter of time.
As for books, new authors are in the main being ignored. You only have to browse the Sci Fi forums to see which ones are being read and recommended. Unless your name is Asimov, Clarke or Heinlein et al. forget it! You will be completely ignored.
There are of course the odd exceptions such as the film Avatar, which had record viewing figures and should have put Sci Fi firmly on the map. But what has happened since? The decline continues.
Are Sci Fi fans in the main conservatives afraid of new things, change or experimentation? Happy to watch constant re-runs of Star Trek, Stargate, Babylon 5 and re-read the same old books written by long dead authors?
If that is the case then the outlook for Sci Fi as genre is bleak. What do you think?
Today, beekeepers are losing 30 to 40 percent of their colonies each year to mites. News articles and scientific research warn the world of the imminent nutritional danger humans face since honey bees are dying at alarming rates. In the US, almost 50% of managed honey bees have been annihilated by a pest known as the Varroa Mite. Since the late 1980′s, the varroa mites have become a major problem to the health of bee populations and many beekeepers have experienced significant loss of production as well as increased costs.
Conventional beekeeping methods of using chemical treatments have only resulted in producing chemical resistant mites without causing an significant reduction in their numbers.
Natural beekeeping methods tackle the problem from a different angle. The first is letting the bees build their own comb rather than using foundation. The Varroa prefers larger cell sizes such as drone cells and the larger cell size forced on the bees by comb foundation.
When left to their own devices the bees will construct comb with smaller cell sizes (regression) which naturally restricts the Varroa.
Second, use natural substances to upset the Verroa and encourage the bees to groom one another knocking of the mites and killing them.
Personally I use Beevital Hive Clean which works naturally and does not affect honey or the wax.
After its application the tiny drops of the liquid deposited on the bees’ hair are then transferred onto other bees through contact and the bees’ natural urge to cleanse. Hive Clean cleanses bees from parasites and honeycomb cells from dead larvae which then drop to the bottom of the hive.
It is non-toxic and does not kill Varroa instantly. The Varroa immediately sense a change in the environment after applying Hive Clean. This irritates them and they fall off the bee or are bitten off by other bees. Eventually they die on the open mesh floor tray.
Both my bee colonies survived the very harsh winter and are building strongly
It is now time to undertake the first Spring Verroa treatment. The knife is my TBHive tool. I use it to prise apart the bars and clear any excess propolis (A conventional hive tool is not very useful when working on top bar hives).
Dribbling hive clean between the hive bars in the brood area.
Depending on the mite drop I will undertake two more treatments spaced over the next ten to 15 days.
At the same time as undertaking the Varroa treatment I added five empty bars to each hive so the bees have plenty of room for expansion. If the weather continues like it is at the moment there may well be some surplus honey fingers crossed!