What to consider when painting a beehive

We’re really excited about the fact that one of our beehives is going to be painted as part of LSE’s Green Week in February 2015. Looking at some of these beautiful hives has provided some great inspiration!

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Beehives at the University of Connecticut

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Beehive at the University of California, Davis

But what kind of things do you need to consider when painting a beehive? Having just lost one of our hives to colony collapse disorder, we’re already particularly sensitive to the type of paint we’re going to put on the hive, but what about colour choices, and which parts of the hive should we not paint?

So, heading to the trusty interweb, we found all sorts of information. Firstly, that when considering what colour to paint the hive, you must remember that dark colours will keep the hive warm, whereas light colours will keep the hive cool. So, it’s probably not a good idea to paint the entire thing black as it might get a bit too much like a sauna in there over summer!

You can also only paint the outside of the hive – remembering that a beehive is basically a food container that makes sense! Here’s a useful diagram showing which parts to paint and which parts not to paint:

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c/o Essex County Beekeepers

Satin paint (so it doesn’t attract as much dirt as a rougher paint) and low-chemical paint (i.e. with the lowest levels of volatile organic compounds possible) are also recommended.

So, we’ve got a bit of planning to do in terms of which paints we use and what designs might be best. Watch this space!

We’ve lost a hive to colony collapse disorder

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We’re all really gutted – we’ve lost one of our hives on Connaught House to colony collapse disorder… When we opened it up today for a final check before the Christmas break it was empty – no bees, no honey, no nothing.

We don’t know where the bees are or what caused it. We don’t use pesticides in our hive (for example we treat our varroa mites with an organic treatment). You can read more about colony collapse disorder all over the web, but here’s a good introduction.

But, we’re going to bounce back and will split the bees from the other hive next year and introduce a new queen, so hopefully it will thrive. We’re also going to give the now empty hive a good clean and will launch a competition to #paintthehive for LSE’s Green Week 2015 – more details on that in the new year.

LSE Bees has made it to TV!

Current Treasurer of the LSE SU Beekeeping Society, Amelia Sharman, as well as our Connaught House hives have been featured in a new TV investigation into the disappearance of bees, part of HispanTV’s ‘Gran Historia’ series.

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It’s in Spanish, but if you listen closely you can make out the English underneath the dubbing. Our hives are featured as part of the intro and four times subsequently: at 1:45, 3:27, 16:35 and 22:30. They include our brilliant view out over the London skyline from the Connaught House rooftop.

Click here to watch and let us know what you think!

Final hive visit for 2014

Our final hive visit for 2014 will be at 2pm (note the earlier time) this Wednesday the 3rd of December. Just take the stairs or the lift up to the 8th floor of Connaught House then it’s one more flight of stairs to the roof. It won’t be a long visit as we don’t want to open the hives up to the cold air longer than is necessary, so make sure you’re on time!

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Bee-ing Human Festival at the University of London

On Friday 21st November the University of London is hosting a fascinating-looking FREE ‘Bee-ing Human Festival’ where you can visit hives, taste honey, learn how to make candles, hear about the future of bees and maybe even try some honey mead!

The programme is here (it runs from 11am-5.30pm at the Institute of Advanced Legal Studies) and it looks brilliant. You can register to go on the waitlist for tickets – these things generally have one or two tickets spare closer to the time so register online now!

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Podcast: The Buzz About Bees

Are neonicotinoids (a type of pesticide) responsible for collapsing bee population?

Click here to listen to this interesting podcast from the US Center for Environmental Health where Harvard scientist Chensheng (Alex) Lu joined two beekeepers to discuss the impact of these pesticides on bee health. The first, Center for Food Safety’s Peter Jenkins explains us why his group is suing EPA over their approval of neonicotinoids, and beekeeper Steve Ellis explains why he joined the CFS lawsuit.

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