New research into the varroa mite has revealed the fiendish cunning of these deadly bee parasites - they employ chemical camouflage to move, undetected, from the bee, on which they feed, into the brood cells, where they reproduce.
With the bees flying from my experimental polystyrene hive with the thermometer at just 4C (note that 10C is generally viewed as the lowest safe temperature for bees to fly), the Optimist and the Pessimist have different interpretations.
You may be one of the few fortunate souls on god’s green earth who has not been button-holed recently by a beekeeper complaining about how depressingly poor the last couple of years have been for bees. But in any case, you are probably aware of the severe pressure on bee-populations, of the trials and tribulations of the craft of beekeeping. But please take away from this monograph that, however tough it has seemed, there are still rewarding moments to be extracted, jewels of appreciation to be mined with a hive-tool - including the simple waggle of a single bee !
Whenever a telephone marketer calls me, I decline to engage in conversation and ask them instead to send me the details of their offering by post. That generally does the trick, but even if they comply with my request, I can then assess their proposal at leisure in my own good time.
Similarly, as a matter of principle, I ignore any “e-petition” sent to me, including the many I have received from all sides on neonicotinoids.
When two strident voices are contradicting each other, as in the neonics debate, it can be refreshing to hear a “still, small voice of calm” from a genuinely interested party at the very centre of the debate. So I was delighted to receive via John Symes (a committee member of my beekeeping Association, the LDBKA) this well-balanced update on events as seen through the optic of fruit growers – take a bow “Eurofruit” – founded in 1973 as “the international marketing magazine for fresh produce buyers in Europe”. So this is what the remarkably sane world of fruit cultivation had to say about neonicotinoid developments to date:
I was also transfixed and vaguely alarmed to discover from the same august publication that: “The European Commission’s decision to lower the MRL of DPA could lower topfruit exports, according to experts”. But I will leave the e-petitions on the merits or otherwise of the lowering the MRL of DPA and the impact on our topfruits to somebody else…and I will await with fortitude my next telesales cold-call.
In life, as in beekeeping, “Don’t allow yourself to be put under pressure” is a decent maxim.