I have several artificial nest boxes around our firewood shelter along with a Warré hive and bees. The nests have been occupied by various birds and bats but this year I had the pleasure of watching hornets at close range. Having not seen any after 17 October, curiosity won on 27 October and I took it down to look inside.
The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed.
The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees.
It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.
Exeter and Tiverton branches were once again asked to bring a stand to the annual National Trust Apple and Cider Fair at Killerton House in October. This year's topic was to be based around the myths, legends and folklore of apples and bees. An interesting subject, and many members immediately suggested the old custom of telling the bees about births, marriages and death, which seemed a good place to start. In fact there are so many traditions and beliefs about bees going back thousands of years, it was really hard to know where to begin.
An interesting article published in the Science journal in October reveals that three-quarters of the honey sampled in this study from around the world showed traces of neonicotinoid chemicals. In one-third of the honey, the amount of neonicotinoids found was enough to be harmful to bees.
Devon beekeeper, Liz Westcott, has been invited along to Phonic FM, a locally-based community radio station, to talk about her bees and how people can get started if they are interested in taking up beekeeping themselves.
If you would like to listen live, tune into Phonic FM on Wednesday 6 September between 11 am and 12 noon.
Do you know anyone interested in becoming a beekeeper?
The yellow-legged or Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is native to South-East Asia, and is a voracious predator of pollinating insects including honey bees. Since its accidental introduction into South-Western France in 2004, V. velutina has spread to much of western Europe. The presence of V. velutina in Great Britain was first confirmed in September 2016. The likely dynamics following an initial incursion are uncertain, especially the risk of continued spread, and the likely success of control measures.