What can colony collapse tell us about our civilisation?

(c) Katie Scott

(c) Katie Scott

A great article by biologist Mark Winston was recently published in the NY Times that draws parallels between colony collapse and human civilisation. He suggests that we should pay greater attention to the impact of the build-up of minute amounts of pesticides in beehives and think about not only what that means for bee populations, but also ourselves.

He also shares some quite surprising statistics:

“A variety of wild plants means a healthier, more diverse bee population, which will then move to the planted fields next door in larger and more active numbers. Indeed, farmers who planted their entire field would earn about $27,000 in profit per farm, whereas those who left a third unplanted for bees to nest and forage in would earn $65,000 on a farm of similar size.”

It’s quite a short opinion piece so won’t take too much time to read – go here to read it.

Pre-orders for 2014 LSE Honey now open!

We’re now taking prHoneye-orders for the 2014 batch of LSE Honey!

Given that we’re unsure of total production quantity, we’re limiting it to 35 jars at this stage so, email us (lsebees [at] gmail [dot] com) and let us know who you are and how many jars you want.  The jars will most likely stay at £6 each but that will be confirmed soon.

You can have a look at the 2013 honey production here and don’t forget that you can go down to the Bee Collective (where our honey is prepared) on the 22nd of July to find out more about them and what they do.

Seagull saga

Just as summer is a busy time for our bees, it’s also a busy time for other rooftop creatures, including the seagulls who we’ve long suspected had a nest on an adjacent roof. Today, we were in no doubt of their presence as, when we ventured out onto the Connaught House rooftop, we were attacked by dive-bombing seagulls! (About four or five, circling the roof and swooping down on us at speed).

Why? At first we thought they were trying to protect their two babies who were up on the roof and wandering around, looking quite disoriented.

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We didn’t want any of them to get too upset, so after a few minutes of checking what was going on, we headed back down. Elena, LSE Sustainability Officer extraordinaire, however decided to do some more investigating as she noticed that the babies were focusing in particular on the internal shaft down between Connaught House and the surrounding buildings.

And what did she find? Bobby the baby seagull who had somehow fallen down about seven stories and was trapped on the mezzanine roof between levels 1 and 2! Allan Blair, Director of Facilities Management, went completely above and beyond the call of duty and went out on the roof, getting little Bobby and putting him in a box to transport back up onto the roof.

Bobby 1

Bobby 2

Once on the roof, in Elena’s words, “after a few minutes of shock he started yelling for his mama and waddling about happy as ever” – what a happy ending! Massive thanks to both Elena and Allan for saving Bobby – now he just needs to avoid getting stung by our bees! (Unlikely to happen I imagine).

So, here’s hoping all three babies are big enough to fly (properly) by next week!

 

Open evening at the Bee Collective

Hey bee-lovers, what are you doing on Tuesday 22nd July?

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Come down to an open evening (6.30-8.30pm) at the Bee Collective, 25 Eccleston Place, Belgravia, SW1W 9NF, which is where our honey gets spun and put into jars. They’ve invited us to:

“Come and join us at our honey house for a glass of wine and a taste of honey, and find out more about what we do and why we do it.”

It’s a great community initiative and definitely worth visiting!

Summer visitors

We had some visitors from the Law Department and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment come to check out our hives today.  It was a lovely sunny day and the frames were heavy with all the honey our busy bees are producing!  We need some more frames for one of our hives (we’ve had to add an extra super, or layer, onto the top of one of the hives to accommodate all our bees) so hopefully we’ll get those sorted next week.

If you would like to come and visit the hives, just send a message to our Facebook page and we’ll organise to see you there!

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Full capacity

What a lovely day for a hive visit!  Our bees are so active we’ve had to put a whole new layer on one of our hives and our other hive is buzzing away as well and is dark with brood.

We also took off the blocks at the front of the hive entrances to make life easier for the bees to get in and out, and watered our plants as they were getting quite thirsty!  Definitely looking forward to some honey come autumn…

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Summer swarm

Today’s hive visit saw two extremely active hives – the bees were swooping and darting all over the rooftop, making us very glad that the hives were in the capable hands of Maddie, Luke’s assistant!

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Maybe the bees were excited to show off the wild comb that they had made:

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Wild comb basically means the comb that the bees make themselves, rather than the comb layered up over the frames we provide.  It was pretty cool to see and we’ll be interested to see what it looks like by next week.

And finally, here’s a short video of today’s visit (turns out the traffic/helicopters etc. were for a taxi strike – it’s all go in central London today!).

Stormy weather

While it’s supposed to be summer already, someone forgot to tell the weather gods, because look at these huge black clouds rolling in over London!

Stormy weather

Luckily we’d just closed both the Connaught House hives up – they’re both looking really healthy and we’ve got a good variety of honey and drone cells being made at the moment.

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We’re putting in a new colony of bees to our vacant Passfield Hall hive this weekend and will also hopefully have some more LSE honey to put into jars in the coming months.  We’re hoping for a long, hot summer so fingers crossed!

LSE Bees in the news

Beekeeping made it into LSE’s weekly newspaper, The Beaver, in 2013.  The article explained more about what we do as a society, and featured a great photo of our delicious honey!

As the winter was so mild, we may be lucky and get a spring harvest of honey – stay tuned!

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New times for hive visits

After a long winter hiatus where the bees enjoyed the mild weather and stayed happy and healthy, we’re back and ready for a new season of beekeeping.

Our new times for visits are:

  • Wednesdays 1.30pm at Passfield Hall
  • Wednesdays 2.30pm at Connaught House

Visits will start on Wednesday 9th April.  Look forward to seeing you there!

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