I looked back at some garden photos from when we first moved into our house in 2017, and was quite taken aback at the change in the patio area! There is a lot more green.
I know that some people would look at the before photo as ‘neat’ and the after photo as ‘messy’. And that’s ok with me – I like messy! Messy is life, messy means homes for insects and birds.
We have two resident crab spiders at the moment – the apple tree spider is particularly successful, catching one to two bees a day on a sunny day. Many different species of bees have been caught, from honey bees to bumbles to solitary bees, he or she pounces on them all with a paralysing bite. At least their death seems fast, for they are always perfectly still when I come across the spider feeding.
I completed a winter hive loss survey for COLOSS (Prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes) today. The email from Dr Anthony Williams, COLOSS Survey Coordinator for England, contained some interesting information on colony losses during 2017:
“Last year beekeepers in your region participated in the COLOSS survey for Winter Losses in 2017. Thanks to your support for the first time in a number of years we were able to submit a return to the pan European COLOSS Monitoring initiative. I can report that overall Winter losses were on average 28% for England. Losses in Europe were on average 16%. Losses varied from region to region from 9% in Cornwall to 33% in Warwickshire and 41% in Leicestershire, my home regions which were above the national average. A more detailed note of Winter losses will shortly be presented in the Journal of Apicultural Research… Last year we received approx 500 valid responses which represents about 1.7% of all beekeepers in England, this year I hope we can improve on this and get a more accurate picture of Winter losses at a Local, National and European level.”
A fair number of the beekeepers whose blogs I follow lost bees overwinter, so it’s good to know that winter losses are not as high on average as we might think.
If you want to help COLOSS by completing the survey, the link is: https://www.bee-survey.com/index.php/368949. It’s scheduled to close on the 5th June. Let’s improve on the 1.7% reply rate!