Happy New Year!
Into a new year and my beekeeping heart begins to quicken with the prospect of a new beekeeping year!
It is lovely to see the hazel catkins lengthening. It is for me, one of the early signs of spring!
Soon the willow will be out and the odd crocus. Both of these will provide a welcome supply of pollen for the bees.
Yesterday (Dec 29th), I was watching my bees collecting pollen from a yellow shrub outside our library.
Prompted by this, I went to check my hives. They were all active, and seemed in good form despite the extremely low temperatures we experienced over the last month. There were lots bees on the wing taking full advantage of the mild day and a burst of warm sunshine.
At this time of the year it is important to keep an eye on food supplies. With some experience, one can gradually tell just by hefting the back of a hive, that they have adequate food stocks.
I was interested to read the following in a recent edition of an Irish Business Magazine.
Urgent all to save Europe’s bees…..
“EU funding for beekeeping needs to be stepped up to halt the unprecedented collapse in bee colonies across Europe MEPs have said.
Members of the European Parliament voted by a majority to increase funding for apiculture in a bid to save the EU bee population.
The beekeeping sector has been under huge pressure in recent years due to a combination of dangers including pesticides, harsh winters. The plummeting bee population in turn threatens the entire food chain, which depends on bees for the pollination of plants.
Fine Gael MEP, Sean Kelly said the problem is more serious then commonly realised. “Einstein said that if the bee population dies out, the human race would die out four years afterwards.
A report approved by the European Parliament called for EU for a coordinated approach in dealing with the Varroa mite and an increase to the current EU annual spending of €32million for apiculture. The document also called for clearer marking of the origin of honey whereby only products that contain at least 50% of sugar content can have the word ‘honey’ in the name. Fine Gael MEP Jim Higgins welcomed the move towards greater transparency for consumers.” This rule will mean consumers cannot be misled when buying alleged honey products which contain only a small unit of honey,” he said.
Lovely if we could get a piece of the €32 million. I wonder where it all goes!?
Happy New Year and I’ll have the name of that shrub by next month!