It was time for Tuesday’s next lecture: Eamon Magee on Swarming Prevention and Control and Using the Swarming Instinct to Your Advantage. “Most healthy colonies will attempt to swarm once a year.” Tom Seeley
Why do bees swarm? To increase their population of this planet and to found new sources of drones.
Reproduction cycle: play cups and eggs. Sealed queen cell at 9 days and then the queen goes with the swarm. She is replaced by the virgin queen when it emerges and mates.
The beekeeper should do a 12/14 day inspection, looking for eggs in queen cups. If any are found, the queen should be re-housed in a nucleus with sealed brood, stores and bees, feeding if necessary.
In the discussion afterwards there was a show of hands indicating that one member of the audience uses an incubator for raising queen cells.
I’m sure that there was much more to the lecture than that but I was distracted by a spelling mistake on one of the earlier slides: Tom Seeley in persuit of…!
After the evening meal we crowded into the lecture theatre to see Dara Kilmartin taking his senior lectureship exam on bee stings. I didn’t take detailed notes except that it was an excellent talk, the best so far! It was informative and he kept our attention by keeping on the move, but not as much as Simon Rees does!
After the main talk, Dara had to choose one of three sealed envelopes containing the subject of his second lecture which he had to deliver after 10 minutes preparation. Logically, he chose the second envelope, labelled ‘B’.
The subject was ‘What Really is the Difference between Our Eyes and the Bees’ Eyes?’ This was an ideal choice as Dara is an occulist by profession!
He told us that bees’ eyes have 5,000 – 8,000 units whereas we have only 1 per eye. Flicker fusion frequency means that bees are 10 times better at detecting movement than we are. They can also detect and make use of ultra-violet and of polarised light.