Worker bees have a lifespan of just 6 weeks during summertime; they come and go, but the life of the hive continues.
On that philosophical note, it is time to announce that the tenure of our previous Executive Committee ended with last week’s annual general meeting, but happily, the life of the Society carries on under the guidance of the new Exec Committee, not to mention a clutch of enthusiastic new members.
The new Exec Committee consists of Louise Kessler (President), Sroyon Mukherjee and George Pickering (Secretaries), Jay Kapuria and Regina Weigl (Treasurers) and Sofia Mavronicola (Communications Officer).
Unlike bees which huddle and shiver inside the hive as winter approaches, the Society has been buzzing with activity. An august delegation from LSE Bees will attend the London Honey Festival this Sunday, and we will also have honey sale and tasting sessions later this month, where members can taste and purchase this year’s honey harvest. Watch this space for more details!
Look at this fantastic photo of the LSE campus taken by Nigel Stead, LSE’s head of photography:
© 2015 LSE/Commission Air Ltd, all rights reserved
It’s a great representation of what LSE must look like for our bees! But can you spot our hives? It’s easy if you know where to look but if not, here’s an edited version:
© 2015 LSE/Commission Air Ltd, all rights reserved
You can see that our three main campus beehives occupy a pretty prime piece of London real estate on top of Connaught House! If you haven’t come up to say hello, make sure you join the LSE SU Beekeeping Society as we’d love to have you become a member. We’re also gearing up to sell the 2015 release of honey so it’s a great way to make sure you’re kept up to date with the news and don’t miss out!
Our beekeeper extraordinaire, Luke Dixon, is releasing a book early next month and you’re invited to the launch!
The launch will be held in The Library, Conway Hall, Red Lion Square, London WC1 on Wednesday 7th October from 6.00 – 7.30. To RSVP, email luke [at] urbanbeekeeping.co.uk.
Above the vast expanses of the African veld, a brother and a sister are at work. One is gathering honey, the other painting images, preparing to celebrate the coming of the rains:
“The wall of the shallow cave under the overhang of rock was covered in paintings. Paintings of animals and paintings of men, paintings of things that could not be seen except in paintings. She looked closely….Slowly the images came to life as they were touched with the mid-morning sun. Tonight they would move in the flickering light of the fire and their stories would be told.”
This remarkable novella is a vivid evocation of a lost age, the world of the hunter gatherers of southern Africa. Published by the small independent UK publisher Northern Bee Books, this follows the successful publication of the same author’s ‘Bees & Honey, myth, folklore and traditions’.
I love it! It is beautifully written with lots of vivid descriptions; I could easily visualise the climb to the bee hive, the cutting of the honey and the weight as it dropped into the bag; the journey to the rock shelter, the contours of the rock and the mixing of the pigments; the gathering of people round the fire for the feast and the trance dance. As a work of fiction, you have captured what we know of San daily life and belief systems and translated it into an intense little snapshot, that is an easy and delightful (and accurate) read. Dr Helen Anderson, African Rock Art Image Project, The British Museum
Copies will be on sale at the launch for pre-publication price of £7. Hopefully see you there!
Vyvyan Evans, LSE Sustainability Assistant extraordinarire, has been a wonderful friend to LSE Bees (seen here introducing a group of enthusiastic apiarists-in-training to our Connaught House hives) and we’re both sad and happy to see her head off for a fully-funded Masters degree at the University of East Anglia. She’s been a great source of knowledge (having her own hive at home) and we will definitely miss her bubbly and fun personality.
Vyvyan giving the bee lowdown to visitors in summer 2015
All the very best of luck Vyvyan – don’t be a stranger when you pop back down to London!
Can you believe it – the highest temperature ever recorded in the UK in July happened yesterday, a sweltering 36.7 degrees celsius. Phew!! We were certainly baking in the heat as we inspected our Connaught House hives, joined by a group of visitors from LSE’s Library and from the Information Management & Technology team.
Once all suited up, the visitors probably found it as hot as the bees. It was really interesting to see them fanning their wings on the hive landing boards:
Bees cooling down on the cedar hive landing board
Once it hits 35 degrees inside the hive bees tend to get too hot and try to cool themselves down by hanging out outside the hive. Luke explained that this is what’s called ‘bearding’. It means the colony is strong as the population is at maximum and honey production is in full swing. By being outside, the bees are basically helping to reduce the heat on the inside of the hive by allowing more air to circulate, and also to keep the honey at the correct temperature. What was also happening with our hives were some bees fanning their wings which helps to push cooler air back into the hive itself. Lots more info on bearding on this blog if you’re interested.
Our visitors getting the low-down on the basics of beekeeping
Three very happy hives!
So we’re now pretty confident we should have at least a bit of honey at the end of the season. Looking forward to it!
Applications for the LSE SU Beekeeping Society President for 2015/16 are NOW OPEN.
Send your your name and manifesto to lsesu.beekeepingsociety [at] gmail.com by Friday the 12th of June. The manifestos don’t have to be long (250 words max), and they should outline what you would hope to accomplish over the coming year as President, and why you might be suited to the role. On the 15th of June we will send out a Doodle poll with the names of the candidates and their manifestos where society members can vote. Voting will close on the 19th of June at 6pm. We will announce the President via email on the 19th!
As President, you will be in charge of the whole society. Some of your responsibilities include organising hive visits; liaising with the members of the LSE Sustainability Team and Luke Dixon (our professional beekeeper); and you will also be responsible for selling our inventory of honey at the end of the summer. Ideally you would also be able to guide the society over the summer vacation, and you will also hold elections for Treasurer and Secretary in the Michaelmas term.
If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us! When the voting comes around we also strongly encourage everyone to vote!
2015/16 Treasurer, Amelia Sharman, and President, Stan Shillington, in the LSE Director’s Office
As regular readers of this blog will know, our friends at the Bee Collective (where we process our honey) have some great volunteering opportunities available where you can learn all about honey, how it’s processed, and even get to try some different varieties at the end of the night.
Here are some photos from the last time LSE Bees went to the Bee Collective:
Watching the honey being spun out of the comb
Our golden honey!
Scraping the caps off the comb ready for processing
They’ve now made it even easier to get involved as ou can book a place at their Tuesday night volunteering sessions (6.30-8pm) online at the Team London website. It’s a lot of fun, you can go as a group of friends, or even as a creative and unusual date!
Spaces are limited to six people per session so make sure you register your interest early. At the moment you can try your hand at winter bee crafts, so things like building hives, cleaning beeswax or making seed bombs – sounds brilliant!
So get down there and get involved!