"British honeybees have survived the coldest winter in 31 years with losses of one in six hives - higher than the natural rate but a marked improvement over previous years."
British honeybees have survived the coldest winter in 31 years with losses of one in six hives - higher than the natural rate but a marked improvement over previous years. According to the Telegraph, 2008-09 saw one fifth of hives wiped out. The previous year did for 30 per cent of colonies. Regionally, the north of England …
Honey bees - aggressive freeloading buzzing bastards and not native to the UK. My garden seems to do perfectly well with our army of assorted bumble bees and other pollinating insects. Rather less food crops need insect pollination than the beekeepers would like you to believe anyway - grains are wind pollinated for example.
But what would summer be without the honey lobby whining ;)
There are two main spices of European Honey bee the, western or yellow honey bee and the black European bee.
Oh hang I see the problem; you probably object to the notion of a European bee, you'd prefer a British bee, preferably with red white and blue stripes and its own currency as well. I bet you read the daily mail a lot.
Beer icon 'cos you can make mead from honey....
So you see the continuing decline in honeybee numbers to be such a non-issue that El Reg shouldn't report on it, just because there's some crops that don't need them? Grow up and smell the coffee ... or actually since it's sometimes grown using Bees as pollinators* I guess you can't.
* According to http://gears.tucson.ars.ag.gov/book/chap7/coffee.html anyway4
While I know a few beekeepers who have lost colonies over the winter, the early blossom coming late and the late blossom coming early has led to colonies growing very fast, and lots of swarms, or keepers doing fake swarms to split their colonies. Most of the keepers I know around Hampshire have nearly doubled their hives in the last 2 months, for instance.
I had my first, empty hive stored down the side of my house. A swarm came out of nowhere and settled it, which is just *so* lucky it's untrue, and saved me spending £150 with a bee farmer to stock it.
So if that's true nationwide, this winter loss has more than been made up for already.
I have a friend who keeps bees and something he mentioned to me might be the reason for all these lost hives. Common belief has become that hives should be extremely well insulated, which he hadn't heard despite being a keeper for years. He tried it, and the bees all came flying out on a very cold day and promptly died. The other hives, the ones that he hadn't insulated to this degree, survived the whole winter without any problems.
Based on this tiny, tiny sample I suspect that fashionable nonsense has killed these bees. Such is life.
i understand the reg does many other topics and i actually read quite alot of bootnotes and enjoy them.
Just wondered why this was on the front page.
Not for me to say what the reg consists of, I just had / have the presumption that it is primarily a IT site. Ergo front page IT stuff (and / or high profile stories)
This one just seemed completely random to me. cant see it attracting much attention etc etc
@ Nick Stallman
:D made me giggle :D
I lost one of three but it was weak before the winter started and despite feeding it gave up in January.
I can vouch for the high swarm level this year - had one very strong colony and one marginal in February, by April the strong one had to be split which should have prevented swarming but the queenless side of the split has thrown four swarms in the last week, getting on for a record even for our local famously productive black bees (colloquially known as fen bastards as a nod towards their ill-temper). Looks as if they had made up their mind before the split ... luckily I was around to capture two of the four and hive them. Given the fab weather the virgin queens will presumably have little problems mating either.
Here's to a LOT of mead in the autumn - hence the glass!
'Winter losses' are usually actually 'Spring losses'. Cold weather keeps bees cuddled up and dormant so they eat little of their stored supplies. Warm early Spring can cause starvation as they become more active and eat up their stores before the nectar begins to flow. As Graham Dawson noted, the worst thing you can do in Winter is warm them up so they become active and consume their stores too quickly.