Settlement Farm Apiary’s blog has a swirl of activity bringing us up to date on doings in the home and satellite bee yards last summer. Of particular interest, you can catch a glimpse of what seem to be bees in the process of extruding wax to build honeycomb, and the threat of invading mites.
UVM Scientists are set to test a vaccine for the West Nile virus which has penetrated the state in the last decade. Here’s the news from WCAX News:
It won’t be long before the mosquitoes start biting again; it’s a given in Vermont. And just like the pests themselves, experts say the West Nile virus that some of them carry is here to stay. West Nile first came to the United States in 1999 and is now the country’s leading vector-borne cause of viral encephalitis. Doctors say more than 3 million have been infected so far.
“It can cause most commonly an encephalitis-type picture in people that do have neurological symptoms,” said Dr. Kristen Pierce of UVM-Fletcher Allen infectious disease.
And it can be fatal. To date, there is no treatment for West Nile virus and there’s no preventive medication either. But researchers at the University of Vermont’s Vaccine Testing Center are working to change that. They’re about to begin a new trial on the first ever West Nile virus vaccine developed by the National Institutes of Health.
Read the article and watch the segment here.
VPR has a cool article on some findings from UVM scientists:
When a group of scientists led by UVM’s Paul Bierman started studying a sample of ice taken from the very bottom of Greenland’s ice sheet, they expected to find a mix of ice and dirt or rock. But what they discovered surprised them. It revealed a landscape very unlike what everyone had envisioned, and changes our understanding of what’s been happening to Greenland’s ice over the last several million years.
Paul Bierman is a professor of geology at the University of Vermont. What his team discovered about the landscape of Greenland suggests that the ice sheet that covers that country has not melted and reformed and melted and reformed over millennia, but has most likely stayed frozen through multiple climate shifts.
In the most recent update from Settlement Farm, Brennan recounts being on hand to see the Red hive swarm:
I was just in time to see Red issue a swarm! Fortunately the swarm settled on an easy to reach branch and I was able to capture it. My process was to spritz the cluster with water (with a little Honey-B-Healthy for good measure). Then to scoop and brush the bees into a deep in which I had the few deep frames I had to spare and which had a queen excluder on its bottom.
Will Brennan’s swarm-capture technique succeed? Click through to find out. And check out the videos he posted of the swarming action.
May was abuzz with activity at Settlement Farm for Brennan. He reversed hive boxes to counteract the bees’ upward movement during the winter, further tweaked the arrangement, developed the annex bee yard and missed catching the bees as they swarmed at the end of the month: “Interestingly, my mother checked her notes and we had a swarm just a few days earlier the previous year. I need to keep this in mind next year.”
Brennan goes on to comment about swarming and how to prevent it, including his own process in adding supers to each of the hives:
Bees generally swarm when they feel crowded. They can feel crowded for various reasons, but one obvious one is that they have filled up too much of their brood next with honey and the queen doesn’t have enough space to lay. The solution for this is to get supers (boxes with frames intended predominantly or entirely for honey production or to swarm frames full of honey in the brood next with new empty frames (either empty drawn comb or undrawn foundation, the former I believe is preferred if you think they may decide to swarm before they can draw out foundation).
Settlement Farm Apiary has a pair of updates this week. The first week in May, Brennan took stock of the hives and reversed the stacking order of the hives “to counteract the fact that bees had likely worked their way to the top of the hives during the winter and might feel crowded up there even though they have plenty of room below.” Click through to check out more close-ups of open boxes and details on how the hives are doing.
The next week, Brennan tweaked the bottom slat board to give the bees more space and help keep the hive cooler in the summer. He also visited the bee yard annex, adding some improving touches to the fencing.
Bennington College is looking for a science lab technician for the fall semester:
Bennington College seeks a Science Lab Technician, beginning in
Fall 2013, to work closely with its science faculty and students.
Experience with electronic analytical equipment and software
including IR, IC, flourimetry, UV-Vis, NMR, fluorescence
microscopy, Tecan microplate reader is desirable. The technician is responsible for calibrating, maintaining, and troubleshooting malfunctions in a variety of electronic lab equipment.
[Tip via @proscriptus.]
Settlement Farm Apiary went mobile last month, taking nucs off-site to an organic farm. Brennan hopes “that the bees will flourish there, produce substantially more honey than at the beeyard at my parents (to warrant the extra effort of a second site), and that they will not be attacked by a bear.”
Bold, audacious goals for an apiarist. Click through to read how the transportation went.
Our friend Brennan isn’t just a painter of miniatures. No, his geekeries go deeper. Since 2010, he’s been blogging about keeping bees at his parents’ farm over at Settlement Farm Apiary. The archives document his journey as a apiarist, which often seems to be a puzzling one. Why does one hive thrive, while another doesn’t make it through the winter?
As a case in point, in the most recent post, logging notes from the end of this March, it seems that one hive’s occupants died off over the winter, despite frames of honey being available to them within the box.
Also, check out this video of the bees in cleansing flights that day in March:
Bennington College has a job listing for a technician to support equipment used in their digital arts curriculum. The toys one gets to play with include: “14 Macintosh Computers, Epson 7600 and 2400 printers, an adjunct physical computing workspace with a small equipment bank, laser cutter and 2 makerbot replicator 3D printers.”
Two makerbots? Yes, please. Check out the listing for full details.
[Tip via @proscriptus.]