A blog originally for keeping track of my hobby of being a Beekeeper which has evolved to include Home Brewing and even more recently to follow me and my families approach to "The Good Life". Eventually I hope to include baking recipes and stories of our flock of chickens also reporting on the success and failure at the allotments.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Wakefield and Pontefract Beekeepers: November Meeting

This months meeting was titled Queens and Things and was presented by a guy called Gerry Collins. As you can probably imagine by the title the subject was Queens and included other little bits.
We did have a presentation by him last year. Gerry mentioned that he used to be a biology teacher and some of this was shown in his presentation; he named a few of the pheromones that Bees produce along with the names of the glands that produce them, unfortunately I don't remember the names or I would have included them here. I may in the future need to learn them when taking advanced Beekeeping exams but at this stage I don't think I need to know them.

We were shown many slides throughout the presentation showing pictures of Queens illustrating the possible problems with locating her majesty. For example in one picture she could be clearly seen and then in a second shot taken seconds after the Queen had disappeared into a cluster of Bees. Other pictures included a Queen that was partly into a cell laying a egg making her hard to see and also virgin Queens that are only slightly larger than workers.

We were also advised about looking for the signs of having a laying Queen. One photo showed a group of cells with more than one egg in each cell. This normally would indicate the possibility that there are laying workers in there (which is bad because workers only lay drones). However in that slide what we were seeing was a young Queen that hadn't learned to just lay a single egg per cell; a clue to this is that although there were multiple eggs, they were mostly central right at the bottom of the cell, when you have laying workers the eggs are generally closer to the sides due to workers having much shorter abdomens.

There were plenty of other things covered but I either can't remember them enough to write up or I have previously written about the subject anyway so have chosen to leave them out. After the presentation there was, as always, a raffle with prizes including a bottle of wine, chocolates and honey storage buckets, along with other bits. I didn't win anything this month although I really would have liked to get some storage buckets, I only currently have 2 and one contains whats left of my honey and the other contains some honey my dad acquired for me over a year ago. The honey my dad got me has set solid in the bucket and it's this that I'm using to make my mead, when I have more mead making experience I will use honey from my own Bees, or what I like to call "The good stuff"