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.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Wakefield and Pontefract Beekeepers: September Meeting

The time of year has come again when my local association hold their Winter meetings. Although as I write this it is near to the October meeting, I am only just writing about Septembers! I seem to have less time to write lately and I'm putting this down to my daughter; she has an in built sensor that detects when I get the laptop out and then just wants to climb all over me thus making writing rather tricky!

This months meeting was a little bit different to any I have attended before in that rather than there being just 1 speaker, the room was set out with multiple tables, each with a microscope set up. The purpose of the meeting was to get a look at microscopy. The first table I sat down at was all about pollen and looking at how different plants produce different pollens. We also looked at a few different parts of the Bees anatomy such as the mandible mouth parts.

The next table was all about looking at the contents of the Bees guts to see if any diseases are present. The main disease we were looking for was nosema. The first thing that was needed to be done to check the Bees gut was to mash the Bees up using a pestle and mortar and then add a small amount of water. A sample of the liquid is then studied under the microscope; I believe they were 900x magnification. The presence of nosema can be identified as small rice grain shaped cells within the liquid. Each sample that we looked at had nosema present  but only in small amounts.

After we had spent about an hour looking through the microscopes we did the raffle. The last thing for me to do was to pick up something that I had ordered from one of the members, which was a 25kg sack of sugar. This is a huge amount of sugar however in Beekeeping and home brewing a lot of sugar is used and this was at a bargain price!