Oxleas Wood Apiary
Beekeeping & Apiary
Introduction to Beekeeping Course
|if you would like to review a book, paper or similar article, App etc., on bees, beekeeping and any associated topic, then send your Review to firstname.lastname@example.org for inclusion on this webpage.|
|Hanson Thor, Buzz - The Nature and Necessity of Bees, Icon Books, 2018 ||
Bees are like oxygen: ubiquitous, essential, and, for the most part, unseen. While we might overlook them, they lie at the heart of relationships that bind the human and natural worlds.
In Buzz Thor Hanson takes us on a journey that begins 125 million years ago, when a wasp first dared to feed pollen to its young. From honeybees and bumbles to lesser-known diggers, miners, leafcutters, and masons, bees have long been central to our harvests, our mythologies, and our very existence. They’ve given us sweetness and light, the beauty of flowers, and as much as a third of the foodstuffs we eat. And, alarmingly, they are at risk of disappearing.
As informative and enchanting as the waggle dance of a honeybee, Buzz Hanson shows us why all bees are wonders to celebrate and protect. Read this book and you’ll never overlook them again
|Ash E. Samuelson, Richard J. Gill, Mark J. F. Brown, Ellouise Leadbeater, Lower Bumblebee Colony Reproductive Success In Agricultural comparedto Urban Environments, Proceedings of the Royal Society B, June 2018
See also Jeremy Rosie's observation on Cuckoo Bees
This Royal Soicety paper attracts the attention of the Guardian article of 28 June 2018 - here’s a quick summary:-
30 June 2018
|Jonas Geldmann, Juan P. González-Varo, Conserving honey bees does not help wildlife, Science 26 Jan 2018:|
Vol. 359, Issue 6374, pp. 392-393
Rachel E. Mallinger, Hannah R. Gaines-Day and Claudio Gratton, Do managed bees have negative effects on wild bees?: A systematic review of the literature, December 2017
There is widespread concern about the global decline in pollinators and the associated loss of pollination services. This concern is understandable given the importance of pollinators for global food security; ∼75% of all globally important crops depend to some degree on pollination, and the additional yield due to pollination adds ∼9% to the global crop production (1). These services are delivered by a plethora of species, including more than 20,000 species of bees as well as butterflies, flies, and many species of vertebrates (1). Yet, concern has focused on one species above all: the western honey bee (Apis mellifera). This is unfortunate because research shows that managed honey bees can harm wild pollinator species, providing an urgent incentive to change honey bee management practices.
This paper relies heavily on surmise rather than demonstrated fact and refers much to the review of Mallinger, et al that, itself, does not arrive at any firm conclusion on the impact of domstic honeybees
|Budge GE, Hodgetts J, Jones EP, Ostojá-Starzewski JC, Hall J, ;Tomkies V, et al. (2017) The invasion, provenance and diversity of Vespa velutina Lepeletier (Hymenoptera: Vespidae) in Great Britain. PLoS ONE 12(9): e0185172.||
The yellow-legged or Asian hornet (Vespa velutina colour form nigrithorax) was introduced into France from China over a decade ago. Vespa velutina has since spread rapidly across Europe, facilitated by suitable climatic conditions and the ability of a single nest to disperse many mated queens over a large area. Yellow-legged hornets are a major concern because of the potential impact they have on populations of many beneficial pollinators, most notably the western honey bee (Apis mellifera), which shows no effective defensive behaviours against this exotic predator. This paper present the first report of this species in Great Britain.
Actively foraging hornets were detected at two locations, the first around a single nest in Gloucestershire, and the second a single hornet trapped 54 km away in Somerset. The foraging activity observed in Gloucestershire was largely restricted to within 700 m of a single nest, suggesting highly localised movements. Genetic analyses of individuals from the Gloucestershire nest and the single hornet from Somerset suggest that these incursions represent an expansion of the European population, rather than a second incursion from Asia. The founding queen of the Gloucestershire nest mated with a single male, suggesting that sexual reproduction may have occurred in an area of low nest density. Whilst the nest contained diploid adult males, haploid ‘true’ males were only present at the egg stage, indicating that the nest was detected and removed before the production of queens. Members of the public reported additional dead hornets associated with camping equipment recently returned from France and imported timber products, highlighting possible pathways of incursion. The utility of microsatellites to inform surveillance during an incursion and the challenge of achieving eradication of this damaging pest are discussed.
|Bumblebees, Oliver E Prys-Jones, Sarah Corbet, Naturalist's Handbooks 5, Pelagic Publishing (2011)||
An indispensable guide to identification, ecology and study of bumblebees. This new edition embraces the wealth of information published on bumblebee life history, ecology, foraging, parasites and conservation in recent years. It includes a new chapter on the very real threats to bumblebees; their crucial role as pollinators of our native flora and crops; ways to promote their survival; advantages and problems posed by their commercial use; as well as updated colour plates, keys and distribution maps of all British species including the Tree Bee (B. hypnorum) that has rapidlt spread throughout the UK since its introduction in 2001 or therabouts.
Honeybee Democracy, Thomas D. Seeley (Princeton University Press 2010)
This book addresses an intriguing question. We know that once a swarm has decided then off they go making a bee-line to their new site. They know where to go and they all go. A decision for all on a unique site has been reached. How does an insect manage such a group decision?
Thomas Seeley more than answers this question.
In the course of the book we not only discover the process but how it is discovered plus the evident respect and passion for bees that comes out, along with real knowledge of bees in all aspects. It also includes a number of very useful and interesting illustrations. Definitely worth a read? I think so. Worth a browse? Yes also.
|To mow or to mow less: Lawn mowing frequency affects bee abundance and diversity in suburban yards, Lerman S B, et al, Biological Conservation, V 221, May 2018, Pages 160–174||
Green spaces embedded within the urban matrix could mitigate negative aspects of urban development and provide pollinator habitat. Lawns represent a dominant green space, and their management consists of frequent mowing to inhibit the growth of ostensibly “weedy” species (e.g., dandelions and clover). Since widespread population declines of bees and other pollinators from habitat loss are a growing concern, these spontaneous flowers could provide pollen and nectar sources throughout the growing season.
In this research different lawn mowing frequencies (1, 2 or 3 weeks) were found toinfluence bee abundance and diversity in 16 suburban western Massachusetts yards (back gardens) by increasing lawn floral resources. Lawns mowed every three weeks had as much as 2.5 times more lawn flowers than the other frequencies. Interestingly, lawns mowed every two weeks supported the highest bee abundance yet the lowest bee richness and evenness. The suggestion is that these patterns were driven by a combination of more abundant floral resources (compared with 1-week mowing), easier access to lawn flowers due to shorter grass and a more drastic impact on grass biomass and floral resources (compared with 3-week mowing), and the dominance of a few generalist bees overwhelming our samples, thus driving richness and evenness. The science-based results highlight a “lazy lawnmower” approach to providing bee habitat. Mowing less frequently is practical, economical, and a timesaving alternative to lawn replacement or even planting pollinator gardens.
|HiveKeepers for Beekeepers - App Store||
This smart phone App (free download from the App Store) aims to provide an on-the-spot record keeping facility on your phone but the busy beekeeper may find it too cumbersome to be of use when working in the Apiary - operating the camera on a smart phone is difficult enough with beekeeping gloves, so image entering each colony's records and data when on the move through the Apiary.
Best stick with the tried and tested method of writing it all down on the hive roof with a permanent marker!
|Ratnieks F, Alron K, To Bee or not to Bee, Biologisy, V60 No 4, August-September 2013 - http://kesacademy.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2015/12/biologist-archive-12.pdf||
Urban beekeeping has never been more popular. But instead of providing a helpful solution to the reduced population of honey bees, these academic biologists argue that more city hives could be doing more harm than good. Many causes for the decline in bee numbers have been suggested, including factors that are likely – and unlikely, such as mobile phones. Most bee scientists, however, would probably rank agricultural intensification (large areas of high intensity farming) as the main cause but now the City apiaries possibly feature in the threat to our bees.
Or could it be the mutterings of an uncurable academic urge - cacoethes scribendi!
|Field Guide to the Bees of Great Britain and Ireland, Steven Falk (2015)||
Most people are amazed to learn that we have over 270 species of bees in Britain and Ireland and that bumble and honey bees only account for about one-tenth of all of the different species of social and solitary bees.
This field guide is exactly what it says on the tin, enabling the in-field study and identification of these essential pollinating insects. It is beautifully illustrated with photographs, drawings and colour charts and an absolute must for rambling beekeepers whose interest roams beyond the Apiary and A. mellifera.
|Biology and Control of Varroa destructor, Peter Rosenkranz, et al, Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 103 (2010) S96–S119 - http://www.ask-force.org/web/Bees/Rosenkranz-Biology-Control-Varroa-2010.pdf||
The ectoparasitic honey bee mite Varroa destructor was originally confined to the Eastern honey bee Apis cerana. After a shift to the new host Apis mellifera during the first half of the last century, the parasite dispersed worldwide and is currently considered the major threat for apiculture. The damage caused by Varroosis is thought to be a crucial driver for the periodical colony losses in Europe and the USA and regular Varroa treatments are essential in these countries.
This review provides a survey of knowledge in the main fields of Varroa research including the biology of the mite, damage to the host, host tolerance, tolerance breeding and Varroa treatment, including an extensive listing and critical evaluation of chemical and biological methods of Varroa treatments. This compilation of present-day knowledge on Varroa honey bee interactions emphasizes that we are still far from a solution for Varroa infestation and that, therefore, further research on mite biology, tolerance breeding, and Varroa treatment is urgently needed.
|Blooms for Bees - a citizen science project to promote and improve gardening for bumblebees - App Store||
Blooms for Bees is a useful and easy to use bumble bee identifier for the Iphone and Ipad and a free AppStoe download.
Not as comprehensive as Steven Falk's Bumble Bee Guide but very useful to have handy when you just happen to spot a hitherto undiscovered bumble bee.
|Asian Hornet Watch - App Store||Asian Hornet Watch is an app designed to record and help the early detection of Asian Hornet in the UK following the first confirmed record in September 2016. Asian Hornet is a non-native species within the UK and could have a serious impact on our insects including honeybees so early detection is important. There are a number of native insects in the UK that look very similar to the Asian Hornet, and are common and widespread. Asian Hornet Watch provides an identification guide to help check which species you have seen and an opportunity to record your sightings. Insect identification can be difficult so the App provides for a photograph upload to confirm the identity of the species seen.|
|The Anatomy of the Honey Bee, Snodgrass R, November 2009 (1910)||An absolute classic packed with superb hand-drawn illustrations although the reprint quality is a disappointment|
|Queen Rearing, Snelgrove L E, 4th Ed 1991 (1946)||Very comprehensive if not a somewhat outdated style of presentation.
|The Beehive, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beehive||A comprehensive introduction to the bee hive, including skeps, ekes through to the framed Langstroth,|
|The Insects - Structure and Function, Chapman R F, 5th Ed,1982 (1910)||The Insects has been the standard textbook in the field since the first edition published over forty years ago - for the serious entomological student.|
|The Bee: A Natural History, Noah Wilson Richm et al, August 24, 2014||Bees pollinate fruit, vegetable, and seed crops that we rely on to survive. Bees are crucial to the reproduction and diversity of flowering plants, yet bees are dying at an alarming rate, threatening food supplies and ecosystems around the world. This well illustrated work delves into the causes and potential outcome of planet wide the threat to bees
| I. W. Forster (1971) Effect of clipping queen honey bees' wings, New Zealand Journal of Agricultural Research, 14:2, 535-537, DOI: 10.1080/00288233.|
|Beekeepers sometimes clip the wings of queen bees to prevent their leaving with swarms. Clipping also identifies the queen, so allowing the keeping of reliable records that may be particularly important in experimental work. Clipping for swarm control is recommended by a number of established authorities inlcuding Manley (1948). Root (1959), and Eckert and Shaw (1960); Winter (1948) is noncommittal about the practice; Grout (1963) states that clipping. at best, only defers swarming; Butler (1946) and Wed more (1946) consider it worthless as a means of preventing swarming. Whatever the opinion of these authorities on the efficacy of clipping as a means of swarm control, none regards it as harmful to the queen. or likely to have an undesirable effect on the hive. Some beekeepers consider that clipping impairs a queen's egg-laying ability, and that she becomes more prone to injury through being unable to balance herself properly or to use her wings to break a fall. Supersedure is thought to occur more readily among clipped queens.
Honeybee colonies headed by clipped and unclipped queens are compared during three seasons for the equivalent of 124 colony years.
Clipping did not increase queen supersedure or affect honey production.
|A Sting in the Tale: My Adventures with Bumblebees, Goulson D, April 2014||A very readable work on the bumblebee.
|The Biology of the Honey Bee, Winston M L,1991||In a bright and engaging style, this very readable text probes the dynamics of the honey bee’s social organization, recreating the complex infrastructure of the nest, the highly specialized behaviour of workers, queens, and drones, and examines in detail the remarkable ability of the honey bee colony to regulate its functions according to events within and outside the nest.
|Understanding Bee Anatomy: A Full Colour Guide, Snell I, 2012||A very comprehensively illustrated anatomy of the honeybee.
|Pollen Chart, Wikipedia, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pollen_source||Although based on United States flora, this is a very comprehensive guide to the range of pollens available through the seasons of the year.|
|Diagnosis of Honey Bee Diseases, Hachiro Shimanuki and David A. Knox, United States Department of Agriculture, Agriculture Handbook No. AH– 690, 61 pp, 2000||
Apiary inspectors and beekeepers must be able to recognize bee diseases and parasites and to differentiate the serious diseases from the less important ones. This handbook describes laboratory techniques used to diagnose diseases and other abnormalities of the honey bee and to identify parasites and pests. Emphasis is placed on the techniques used by the U.S. Department of Agriculture Bee Research Laboratory. Included are directions for submitting, through APHIS-PPQ or state regulators, samples of suspected Africanized honey bees for identification of subspecies.
|Sammy Ramsey on Varroa destructor - UTube||Sammy Ramsey's 3 Minute PhD Thesis on the feeding habits of V. destructor gives an interesting insight into this parasitic pest.|
|Swarming in honey bees (Apis mellifera) and Varroa destructor population development in Sweden, Fries I et al, Apidologie 34 (2003) 389–397 © INRA/DIB-AGIB/ EDP Sciences, 2003 DOI: 10.1051/apido:200303 - https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00891792/document||This scholarly paper relates the influence of V. destructor on colony swarming for northern climate honeybees over two successive seasons. The results demonstrated a reduced mite population as a result of swarming only for the first swarm season studied. In the second swarm season, there were much higher mite levels (based on debris counts of mites) and fewer colonies swarmed, but there was no significant difference in infestation levels of adult bees in the fall between swarming and non-swarming colonies. No horizontal mite transfer through robbing was observed. The results suggest that, horizontal mite transfer may not be as important in a Nordic climate where many bee colonies die over winter along with their mites, as it is in warmer climates.|
|The mating behavior of Varroa destructor is triggered by a female sex pheromone, Bettina Ziegelmann, Anne Lindenmayer, Johannes Steidle, Peter Rosenkranz Apidologie, Springer Verlag, 2013, 44 (3), pp.314-323. <10.1007/s13592-012-0182-5>. -https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01201300/document||For the reproductive success of the honeybee mite Varroa destructor, an effective coordination of host finding, oogenesis, and mating is crucial. In order to analyze the mites’ mating behavior and the involved cues, a new bioassay was designed and the male behavior towards different female stages compared. This bioassay represents a simple tool for behavioral observations of V. destructor in the laboratory, showing that males almost exclusively mated with freshly molted females and that older females were rather unattractive for them. Furthermore, we could show that the highest attractiveness of female mites is limited to a short time period of about 24 h immediately after the adult molt. Our results confirm a selective pressure on effective timing and sequence of the mating behavior, and might provide possibilities for biological Varroa control.|