Episodes 6-10

Episode 6

Apitherapy is a practice that uses the healing powers of honeybees.  Gerry keeps bees and first came across apitherapy by accident when she became very ill with Lyme disease – a debilitating condition caused by tick bites.  Treatment for this disease, in Gerry’s case, involved a lengthy course of bee stings!  Her ongoing research has led to further interest in other apitherapy practices such as the use of propolis, pollen and royal jelly.  Gerry also writes childrens’ stories and she treated us to a wonderful excerpt from her new book “The Secrets of Hope, the Honey Bee

Gerry's website: http://www.queenbeetalks.buzz 

The Secrets of Hope the Honey Bee (Amazon): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Hope-Honey-Bee/dp/1916055303

The Secrets of Hope the Honey Bee (Barnes and Noble): https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-secrets-of-hope-the-honey-bee-dr-gerry-brierley/1133949288

The Secrets of Hope the Honey Bee Colouring Book (Amazon): https://www.amazon.co.uk/Secrets-Hope-Honey-Colouring-Book/dp/1916055311/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=The+secrets+of+hope+the+honey+bee+colouring+book&qid=1595429975&s=books&sr=1-1

Episode 7

David Charles has been keeping bees since 1962.  Before bee suits David and his fellow beekeepers tended to their bees armed only with some net curtains and a pair of bicycle clips.  And what characters there were in those days!   What are the best plants for bees?  Did beekeepers really use sulphur to kill their bees to get the honey?  What happens when you are stung on the hand by a mass of bees?  A fascinating potted history of beekeeping.  Some bee-tech but all explained in our show notes and a lovely listen! 

– David’s is author of “Somerset Beekeepers and Beekeeping Associations: A History 1875-2005”: https://www.northernbeebooks.co.uk/authors/david-charles/
– BBKA (British Beekeeping Association): http://www.bbka.org.uk

Bee-Tech Talk

Skeps: a container for bees made from straw or similar product. These were used by most beekeepers before the moveable-frame hive became fashionable.

WBC: a beehive invented by William Broughton Carr in 1890. A double-walled hive, it is the ‘classic’ hive as represented in pictures and paintings.

Driving bees: a method of moving bees from one skep into another so that honey can be harvested, thus saving the colony. Before this practice, beekeepers used to sulphur the bees to kill the colony first.

Varroa mite: a parasite that hosts on honey bees. Varroa mite breeds within hives and can expand to high numbers. Because the mite acts as a vector for bee viruses that would otherwise be less virulent, infestations can reach catastrophic proportions ending in the death of the colony. The arrival of varroa has complicated beekeeping and threatened the stability of bee populations. Recent evidence suggests that the bees may be developing some resistance, however.

Episode 8

We follow in the footsteps of the renowned Gilbert White – naturalist, ecologist and ornithologist – on our first location recording in Gilbert’s hometown of Selborne, almost exactly 300 years after his birth.  On a glorious summer’s day in July, our guide, Stephen Fleming (AKA. Drone Whisperer and co-editor of Bee Craft magazine – www.bee-craft.com) takes us to the exact spot where Gilbert heard a strange humming sound. 

We learn more about the mysterious DCA – no, not a 70’s rock cover band nor a complex unit of electricity, but a Drone Congregation Area.  Our adventure leaves more questions unanswered than answered and more mysteries to ponder.  Eg. how do drones know where to go in their final, fateful or fruitless flight to mate with a queen; how does the queen find them; what links these magical places to ancient settlements and peoples of old; is there, perhaps, a DCA somewhere near you?

– Bee Craft Magazine: www.bee-craft.com
– Vita Bee Health DCA videos: https://www.vita-europe.com/beehealth/blog/dca2016/
– Selborne Common: https://www.nationaltrust.org.uk/selborne-common

Bee-Tech Talk

DCA: Drone Congregation Area. Where drones go to find queen honeybees
9ODA – 9-oxo-2-decenoic acid. Queen pheromone known to attract drones from a distance.

Episode 9

Gentle Giants. Living Beeing talks to Nikki Gammans of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust about her work protecting bumblebees.
We talk to Nikki Gammans, “Project Manager of the Short-Haired Bumblebee Project” for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) during Bees’ Needs Week in July.  Nikki developed a passion for insects from a young age.  She now helps to protect the humble bumblebee species which are under continued stress and strain from climate change and loss of habitat.  She tells us about all the things we can do to support these charismatic and emblematic gentle giants. 

We hear about: bees that are incredible foragers and pollinators; bees that are under threat of extinction; bees that spend the night out, rough sleeping; and bees that sting Chris when he disturbs their nest!  Please do check out the BCT website which has lots of information and ideas for helping and supporting bumblebees: www.bumblebeeconservation.org

Bumblebee Conservation Trust: www.bumblebeeconservation.org

Episode 10

It’s Asian Hornet Week (https://www.bbka.org.uk/Event/asian-hornet-week-2020) and Sam Day is back from a busy visit to Jersey.  The island is already experiencing the spread of this insect from the French mainland.  Able to hibernate in imported plants and foods and with a potentially voracious appetite for bees and other insects, it has the potential to have a significant effect on our indigenous fauna and home agriculture.  Along with a team of 30+ experts and volunteers, Sam has been helping to research and test possible solutions for tracking and pinpointing these nests more easily.  And she’s captured and brought back some wonderful audio interviews, samples and stories.

BBKA page:

Bob’s Asian hornet channel, well worth a visit to see how his captive tank progresses:

Cabi fact sheet:

Image library from Somerset Beekeepers:

Ahat site:
(highly recommend the test on here which anybody can take)