Archive for the ‘Bee Law’ Category

Rythmic Forms

The very inception of life is rhythm.

Life is rhythm and Rhythm is life.

The rising of the SUN is rhythm.

The shimmering of the RAYS is rhythm.

The BLOOMMING of a BUD is rhythm.

The Feel of the BREEZE is rhythm.

The ROAR of the WAVES is rhythm.

The Chirping of the BIRDS is rhythm.

The BUZZING of the BEES is rhythm.

The Voice in a SONG is rhythm.

The TINKLE on the FEET is rhythm.

The BREATH we take is rhythm.

The Heart that BEATS is rhythm.

From: http://www.kathakindia.org/?page=rythems

Image from: http://www.thenewyorkoptimist.com/sitebuilder/images/bs01_Rythmic_Forms_textile_detail_2005-600×450.jpg

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Flowers of a given species all produce nectar at about the same time each day, as this increases the chances of cross-pollination. The trick works because pollinators, which in most cases means the honeybee, concentrate foraging on a particular species into a narrow time-window. In effect the honeybee has a daily diary that can include as many as nine appointments — say, 10:00 a.m., lilac; 11:30 a.m., peonies; and so on. The bees’ time-keeping is accurate to about 20 minutes.

Honey bee nectaring on button willow

Honey bee nectaring on button willow (from NY Times article cited below)

The bee can do this because, like the plants and just about every living creature, it has a circadian clock that is reset daily to run in time with the solar cycle. The bee can effectively consult this clock and “check” off the given time and associate this with a particular event.

Honeybees really are nature’s little treasures. They are a centimeter or so long, their brains are tiny, and a small set of simple rules can explain the sophisticated social behavior that produces the coordinated activity of a hive. They live by sets of instructions that are familiar to computer programmers as subroutines – do this until the stop code, then into the next subroutine, and so on.

These humble little bees have an innate ability to work out the location of a food source from its position in relation to the sun. They do this even on cloudy days by reading the pattern of the polarization of the light, and pass this information to other bees. In the dark of the hive, they transpose the location of a food source in the horizontal plane through the famous “waggle” dance into communication in the vertical plane of the hive.

Honeybees can tell their sisters how far away the food is up to a distance of about 15 kilometers. For good measure, they can also allow for the fact that the sun moves relative to the hive by about 15 degrees an hour and correct for this when they pass on the information. In other words, they have their own built-in global positioning system and a language that enables them to refer to objects and events that are distant in space or time.

German scientists in the early part of the last century called this ability of bees to learn the time of day when flowers start secreting nectar and visit the flowers at appropriate times Zeitgedächtnis, or time-sense. But the species of flowers in bloom, say, this week, is likely to be replaced by a different species at a different location next week or the week after. The bee needs a flexible, dynamic appointments system that it continually updates, and it has evolved an impressive ability to learn colors, odors, shapes and routes, within a time frame, quickly and accurately.

More at: http://judson.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/04/28/guest-column-lets-hear-it-for-the-bees/?ref=opinion

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Two years ago last month this blog started.  I continue to be amazed at how many people visit the site.  This year has also been quite extraordinary – having caught about 8 swarms of bees.  We now have a total of nine colonies.  Quite an increase from single old Faith at the start of 2008!

The local government bee inspector rang me last week and asked to inspect my hives (for the second time this year) so he could take samples of bees from five of my hives.  Unfortunately I had to go to town that day, so I did not accompany him on the inspection.  But all was well.  Only Joy is Queenless.  The remaining eight hives are doing well – though there was not as much honey as I was hoping for as July was quite wet.

A little over a year ago I stopped working at the corporate grindstone and the last year has been interesting – with my attention being turned to smaller companies and more local initiatives with my new company, Objective Designers.  More at: www.objectivedesigners.com

Last year I was wondering why Tears of Ra, the Sun God (https://beelore.com/2007/08/24/tears-of-ra-the-sun-god) is the most popular page by far.  Someone told me that there is an American TV series called Stargate Atlantis where RA is one of the main characters.  Perhaps that is one of the reasons for the page’s popularity. Interested to know if anyone else has other theories.

My most favourite story was the one I posted in July (https://beelore.com/2009/07/21/a-gift-from-the-bees/).  I would love to have more stories like this to post.  Please do send me any stories from your past or ones you have heard of so they can be posted!

So what plans for beelore in the coming year?

I have finally started to write more on the Bylaugh story (https://beelore.com/category/bylaugh/)…..which is beginning to turning into a book about the practical and spiritual side of beekeeping as well as research the connection between the health of bees and the state of the planet.  I want this to be multi-media – perhaps eventually making a film or a series of videos.  I also want to use some of the material to create a course for beginners in beekeeping.  I think that there is so much about bees that can be taught alongside the basics side of practical beekeeping.  And this site will continue to collect that type of material.  So all contributions are welcome!

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The Beehive….is an emblem of industry, and recommends the practice of that virtue to all created beings, from the highest seraph in heaven to the lowest reptile of the dust.  It teaches us that, as we come into the world rational and intelligent beings, so we should ever be industrious ones; never sitting down contented while our fellow-creatures around us are in want, when it is in our power to relieve them without inconvenience to ourselves.

Masonic Beehive

When we take a survey of nature, we view man, in his infancy, more helpless and indigent than the brute creation; he lies languishing for days, months, and years, totally incapable of providing sustenance for himself, of guarding against the attack of the wild beasts of the forest, or sheltering himself from the in-clemencies of the weather.

It might have pleased the great Creator of heaven and earth to have made man independent of all other beings; but, as dependence is one of the strongest bonds of society, mankind were made dependent on each other for protection and security, as they thereby enjoy better opportunities of fulfilling the duties of reciprocal love and friendship.

Thus was man formed for social and active life, the noblest part of the work of God; and he that will so demean himself as not to be endeavouring to add to the common stock of knowledge and understanding, may be deemed a Drone In the Hive of Nature, a useless member of society, and unworthy of our protection as Masons.

More at:  www.philbrick2255.org.uk/books/broached_thurnell.pdf

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On Sunday, I got a very unexpected email and phone call!  It was from the man who told me about the last swarm that I caught (see the blog entry about catching a swarm in 15 minutes).  He had another smaller swarm (which turned out to be a cast).  And it was in EXACTLY THE SAME PLACE!

I went round on early Monday morning and scooped the cast into a box.  It was raining and the bees clung to each other like treacle.  Because I had done it before – and the bees were so accessible, I think this time it took even less than 15 minutes!  Probably more like 10!

Anyway, Monday was a rainy day and that evening we returned to pick up the nucleus box.

This morning, I met up with an old friend and gave her the cast as her (only) hive had gone queenless.  When she put the cast into her hive (she has a Dartington Long Hive with two sides to it) – she found that the colony was no longer queenless but that the queen has started laying.  Oh well!

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The other night I was rung by a local who had a swarm of bees just outside his house in a newly planted Hawthorne Tree.  Trouble was that I was going up to London half an hour later!  So I only had about 15 minutes to catch the swarm.  But I gave it a go.

When I arrived, the swarm was beautiful – quite large and very settled!  Here is a picture of it:

Swarm at Court Lodge 28 May 2009

It was about 17.00 when I started this.  If it had been 20.00 it might not have been as effective.

I put a large sheet on the ground under the tree and then held a nucleus box made from plywood with four frames of foundation under the bottom of the swarm.  I sprayed the bees with water and with my right hand I gently swept the hanging bees into the box.  About half fell in – including, I suspect, the Queen.  There were a few bees on the ground which I gently put into the box.  The lid then went on the box.

I asked the owner for a chair and put the box on the chair with the sheet between the box and chair so that the bees could climb up the sheet into the box.

I finally shook the tree about twice to get the final bees off the tree and into the air.

Whole process took 15 minutes.  When I rang the owner of the tree at 18.00 and most of the swarm was in the box.

At 08.00 the next morning, I picked up the box and took it back to the apiary.  Very successful!  Five swarms in May with still a few more days of sun that might produce another one or two!

I find the most useful equipment for catching a swarm is:

a)  a plywood nucleus box with about 4 frames (not six) so there is a bit more space if you are going to knock the bees into the box

b)  a sheet from a double bed that can go on the ground so you can see where the bees have dropped – as well as giving the bees something to climb up into the box if they are too weak to fly.

c)  a chair or stool to put the swarm on (if you can’t put the box back on top of where the bees where originally)

d)  a water sprayer (optional) – I used water this time and liked it as the bees get less stressed with water than if you use smoke.

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A great video on YouTube that gives the Lifecycle of the Honeybee:


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The flowers were blooming on the peach trees the first time I went out to photograph bees.

After being told what I would need to do and where I would need to stand I was told to change into something white.

But why? I asked.

“Because you’re wearing black jeans and a dark sweater. To the bees you look like a polecat, a bear – something come to steal the honey,” was his reply.

How odd, I thought – that bees would practice profiling.


Thanks for leaving this story, Becky!

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For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life

And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love

And to both, bee and flower,

the giving and the receiving is a need and an ecstasy.

~ Kahlil Gibran

See: bountifulhealing.wordpress.com/2007/08/04/

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Bee’s Eyes

The bee’s eyes, like those of other insects, differ greatly from human eyes. They consist of a pair of compound eyes made up of numerous six-sided facets. They also have three simple eyes.  Despite this, their vision is believed to be sharp for a distance of only about 1 m (3 ft.).  The picture below highlights the three simple eyes as “Compound Eye” which is a mistake, I believe – but otherwise it is a good picture.  The two, large, compound eyes are titled “Lens”.


Bees are capable of seeing ultraviolet light, which is invisible to humans. The bee is capable of navigating by ultraviolet light, which even penetrates cloud cover.

From: http://nature.ca/notebooks/english/bees.htm

Picture from: http://www.islamicmiraclestoday.com/honey-bee3/the-bees-eye.html

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