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Heather 

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For the last lecture in the St Mary's Heritage Biodiversity series this
year, ‘Hive of activity - new studies of honey bees',
We are delighted to welcome Professor Francis Ratneiks from the
University of Sussex as the speaker.
Appearing recently on BBC One's ‘Country File’, he explained his
ground-breaking research into our dwindling bee population
including cracking codes of bee behaviour, especially the
mysterious "waggle dance".
Do join us at 7.30pm on Wednesday 15th September at St Mary
de Haura church in the centre of Shoreham to find out more.....


Think I may go to that...BBKA gave cash to this Prof for research.... so why waggle dance when queens not lasting a year :svengo: - much more important to bee keeping, surely.
I will be polite, promise. Anyone in the area fancy joining me there??
 

drstitson 

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I'll certainly try to pop down - not too far for me to travel and should be worth a listen. have a few "productive" questions to put to him - such as why they are seemingly wasting time manually recording individual bees dancing rather than using an automatic system such as is used for assessing sperm motility in samples.
 

RoofTops 

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...have a few "productive" questions to put to him - such as why they are seemingly wasting time manually recording individual bees dancing rather than using an automatic system such as is used for assessing sperm motility in samples.
That'll be followed by a deathly silence in the Church Hall I suspect.
 

Poly Hive 

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Please ask why they are wasting public money on the Waggle Dance when the Nobel has already been won.....

PH
 

Brosville 

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A cynic may assume that his appointment was a lot to do with the fact he's on record as believing that pesticides couldn't possibly be responsible for bee problems...........
[ame="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz8RjPAD2Jk"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Oz8RjPAD2Jk[/ame]
 

jezd 

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Please ask why they are wasting public money on the Waggle Dance when the Nobel has already been won.....

PH
ditto x 100

waste of public money, they operate a job creation scheme to Ratnieks and others, shame on them!
 

Heather 

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So there should be quite a few there then- wont be heckling on my own:banghead:
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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How will we recognise other forum members - wear a red carnation :xmas-smiley-013: carry a copy of todays Times?

Or just recognise them by the foam around their mouths!:drool5:

Are we allowed to bring rotten fruit to throw? If nothing else it will attract all the wasps in the area!
:biggrinjester:
 

Heather 

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Bros- have you details about this Prof and his comments on pesticide 'safety' ?

I have searched but you seem to be in the know- would like to go 'armed' with such info.

Anyone else going- I will be wearing yellow baseball cap (only for i.d.- not my usual style :blush5:) as I would like to meet up with fellow forumers anyway.
 

victor meldrew 

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We are delighted to welcome Professor Francis Ratneiks from the
University of Sussex as the speaker.
Appearing recently on BBC One's ‘Country File’, he explained his
ground-breaking research into our dwindling bee population
including cracking codes of bee behaviour, especially the
mysterious "waggle dance".
important to bee keeping, surely.


Where was Karl Von Frisch when Francis was reinventing the wheel?

John Wilkinson
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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http://www.theecologist.org/News/news_round_up/393835/loss_of_forage_biggest_longterm_threat_to_bees.html

"Ratnieks Pesticide" into Google brings several..........

Sadly, can't make it myself- have a heckle for me!
Read the article and now I am definitely going. As an ecologist and land scientist, I would say that he is talking rubbish. The high point of mono culture agriculture in the UK was during the 1980s and that since then a large amount of farm land has been taken out of production. The urban space has increased but then so have the numbers of gardens which do have good quality (ie high variety) forage. The only thing to have increased since the 1970s is the amount of chemicals used in agriculture. Did we see bee decline during the 1980s from starvation? No. :cuss:
 

Der Alte Fritz 

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The best guide to statistics for UK land use is http://www.defra.gov.uk/evidence/statistics/foodfarm/general/auk/documents/asiyp08.pdf which is not Greenpeace or "Hippy want to save the planet" but from DEFRA.

They show that 70% of UK agricultural land is grass or fallow and only 23% is arable land (this has only changed by about 3% in the last 10 years).

Fertiliser use has declined since 1976, arable and meat production are pretty stable the only thing to have risen in the last few years is use of pesticides which has gone up by around 7% since 2004 and reached it peak between 2000 and 2004 with greater use than in 1980 and a 376% increase since 1976.

The 18.7 million hectares of land in agricultural production has lost about 8% to housing since 2000.

So rather than seeing great swathes of land being turned over to mono culture of wheat and bees starving, what we actually see is large areas of grassland, the amount of arable land growing by a small amount but being used more intensively, the actual tonnage of chemicals on the land declining, urban sprawl continuing (but with gardens adding forage) but more pesticides being used bee numbers and hives decline.

Not exactly rocket science is it:conehead:
 

Poly Hive 

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I cannot agree that hives and bee numbers are in decline, certainly over the last two years the about turn has been remarkable.

PH
 

victor meldrew 

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Gotta agree PH.
In my area the hive numbers have increased.
Yes there was a severe decline with the advent of Varroa, more than a few beekeepers (used to piling on the supers and minimal swarm control) threw the towel in . The ones who bit the bullet, stayed with it , learned control techniques and encouraged newbies, have become pro-active to the betterment of their own apiaries as well as seeing increases in the area!

This last 'colder' than norm Winter,followed by the 2 month dry spell would have seen far more colonies lost pre 1992 !

John Wilkinson
 

Heather 

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Yes, beekeeping is on the increase-that is evident by our own local numbers. And the new people are keen to learn and care for their livestock.

But the queen turnover is getting out of hand. We feel really thrilled if a queen goes a whole year!! WHY ?? Bugger the waggle dance- put your money into investigating that, Professor. :toetap05: Is it poor drone sperm -WHY?? Are queens better in urban area with less pesticides?? With hive disruption due to queen turnover- brood production is down, ergo less pollinators.

You bee keepers with 20+ years of experience -can you tell we newer keepers how long you reckoned your queen to live and be fertile. Maybe I am wearing rose tinted specs when looking back in time....
 

Hivemaker. 

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I believe that regarding queens and drone fertility the research needs to be more about what the beekeepers are putting into the hives....and the stupid practice of culling drones as a means of varroa control.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Remind me why it is stupid????

Perhaps later.....meanwhile think about it,and the percentage of drones which actually reach sexual maturity,and are also fertile.
 

Heather 

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I agree, Hivemaker.
But I usually put a shallow into the brood box of every hive to push for a max drone brood- and that is successful. Only check about 10 for a varroa picture. Still get high queen turnover. And don't tell me I am killing them all on inspection!!!
 

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