Queen Celebrations and Honeybees
Our hosts at the Beambridge would have been very surprised to find that we had left small piles of dead honeybees behind after our meeting, but they had been brought along by Ken Bush, our speaker from the Quantock Beekeepers, who assured us they had all died naturally!
Ken’s talk gave us a lot of fascinating information about these important insects, including the astounding fact that there are around 12.5 billion bees being looked after by beekeepers in the UK. This is despite the severe impact that the varroa mite has had on bee colonies, but Ken was able to reassure us that beekeepers have developed techniques to deal with this pest and other threats, and that as a consequence honey yields are higher than before the mite was detected.
We learned that bees are responsible for different tasks at different ages, that the various dance moves they make when they return to the hive indicate the direction and amount of nectar they have found, and that a special wiggle dance indicates that the dancer has a heavy consignment of nectar to be removed by the hive workers.
Bees are the third most valuable domestic animal in Europe, behind cattle and pigs, and as Ken’s final slide showed, no plants would lead to there being no bees, and no bees would mean there would be no plants, and therefore no food for any of us.
As the meeting took place on the Queen’s birthday, members had been encouraged to come dressed in red, white and blue garments, and to make a crown. We were a colourful group, with one or two regal pieces of headwear, and at members’ time our knowledge of Her Majesty’s life was tested by a royal quiz.
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