Why Don’t Bees Store Water?

Bee Drinking - Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright
Bee Drinking – Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright

Along with Earth, Air and Fire, Water is one of the elements common to ancient Greek, Buddhist and Hindu philosophies. And even when modern scientists scan for signs of extra-terrestrial existence, water is the first thing they look for. Water is vital to life. So why don’t bees store water?

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Honey Processing

The Honey Processing Room
The Honey Processing Room

We’re lucky that we are neighbours to a Jamie Oliver Teaching Kitchen in Orford Primary School. During late August, with the summer holidays coming to an end, we move our extraction and filtering equipment, together with honeybuckets and jars, into this pristine food-quality environment, we spin out and then cold-filter the honey harvest, prior to ripening the honey and then pouring it into jars.

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Rhubarb, Rhubarb

Varroa - Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright
Varroa Mites On A Bee – Courtesy Of The Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) Crown Copyright

Beekeepers are getting hot under the collar about an academic study which compares the different methods of applying oxalic acid (derived from rhubarb leaves) to a hive to combat the pernicious varroa mite. Oh yes. Continue reading “Rhubarb, Rhubarb”

Two Talks

Beekeeping Talks
Beekeeping Talks

In the last week of November, with the bees all safely tucked up for winter, I had two speaking engagements. One was in rural Suffolk and the other in gritty Hackney. Each addressed a very different topic. The first was to an audience of fellow beekeepers, the second to a bevy of young food and drink entrepreneurs. The theme of the initial talk was a genteel one: “Preparing Honey For Show”, while the next was the fire-branding: “Bees Can’t Eat Kind Words”.

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Bubble Wrap

Bubble Wrap
Bubble Wrap

The competition for bubble-wrap becomes intense in our household at this time of year. And it’s not just Sarah’s extraordinarily gregarious Christmas present list which drives the local demand for that commodity.

I have a beekeeping confession to make. It is strange, but true. I wrap my Bermondsey rooftop hives with bubble-wrap in December and January each year. There, I’ve said it.

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