The bees must be taking inspiration from the London 2012 Olympics, as they’re putting in the hard yards and making honey at a prodigious pace. All the sugar water from last week had gone today, so it was great to see their progress. The lift up to the 8th floor was also out of order, so everybody was working hard today!
Checking on the bees we could see that they’re expanding out into the frames on either side of the hive, and we even managed to spot the queen. There was still some evidence of varroa mite, so Luke treated that with an organic liquid treatment, hopefully meaning the hive won’t be affected for too much longer.
All in all, the hive is looking really good and if the warm weather continues into September we may even get some honey this season – fingers crossed!
The LSE sports ground in New Malden, Surrey, is made up of 11 hectares of playing fields. But what you might not know is that there are also some beautiful wild flowers in the grounds, with these pictures being taken just last week.
Doesn’t it look like some bees would be happy there? We hope there are some neighbouring hives in the area which are making good use of all these flowers, and perhaps one day LSE Bees will have a hive in Surrey.
As the summer has finally arrived – well, all the summer that we expect to get – the bees are active and busy making honey. During our visit to the hive on Connaught House on the 30th of July we saw that they had completely emptied the sugar water, so it needed a top up.
Bees are often fed sugar water (at a ratio of 1kg of sugar to 2L of water) when there isn’t much available for them to eat naturally. In the case of the UK, those periods are in the early spring before the spring flowers have bloomed, and (normally) in the June period, in the gap between the spring and summer flower yields. You can read more about feeding bees here. However, because our summer hasn’t been the best, it seems likely that the bees are drawing on the sugar water more than they would during an abundant summer.
Opening the hive today we could see that the sugar water container was filthy, so after giving it a quick clean we refilled it with the new solution. We also added a ‘trail’ of sugar water so the bees knew that it had been refilled.
One of the bees got caught up in one of the suits – luckily it was found before it was folded up and put away! It was safely rescued and put back onto the new lavender bush up on the roof. No-one has been stung yet – and we’re trying to keep it that way!
After a solid few months of rain, the sun has finally arrived in London and the bees are definitely a lot happier for it. Check out that blue sky!
Responsibility for the maintenance of the hive on the top of Connaught House is being transferred over to the LSE team after some excellent training from our apiarist Luke – today the whole operation was supervised by the team from Estates led by Danny.
Opening up the hive:
Giving the bees some more food:
Smoking the hive before checking on the bees:
A pretty healthy looking hive:
Putting everything back in place:
Making sure there aren’t too many more varroa mites after last week’s treatment:
Hopefully this week of warm weather will encourage the bees to multiply, as well as providing them with a lot more food out and about in the city.
Here is another snippet from the PBS documentary.
An entomologist and a beekeeper discuss honeybees’ crucial role as pollinators and the possibly devastating effects of the mysterious Colony Collapse Disorder, with vibrant close-up shots of bees in action.
Bees are under threat worldwide from disease, pesticide and habitat loss- this is a serious problem for biodiversity and food security in the medium term.
For a comprehensive overview, look at the UNEP report: Global Bee Colony Disorders and Other Threats to Insect Pollinators.
It highlights for example that of the 100 crop species providing 90 per cent of the world’s food, bees pollinate more than 70 per cent.
What would we do without them??
In economic terms, pollinator services contribute around US$200 billion a year to the global economy.