Colony Collapse Disorder In Honeybees

A Modern Beehive
A Skep

The first photo here is of a modern beehive. Well, ‘modern’ is a relative term, and in this case it means that it is a design that has been around since the 1850s when the Reverend L. L. Langstroth noticed that when the space between two walls of a hive are further apart than about the width of a finger, bees will not ‘bridge’ the gap and build honeycomb between the walls.

So with the discovery of the ‘bee space’ as it is called, beekeepers could build hives in slats that could be removed with the honeycomb intact.

This was a great advance on the older ‘skep’ that you can see in the other photo. The problem with the skep (which had been around for several centuries) was that it had to be pulled apart in order to get to the honey. And that is bad for the bees (not surprisingly).

Bees In The USA

Did you know that the honeybees in the USA are imports? They were imported from Europe as long ago as when the very first Europeans landed in the New World.

And many fruit trees in the USA are also European imports. That’s why bees are so very important to their pollination – because the trees, being foreigners, have no natural pollinators.

Colony Collapse Disorder In Honeybees

The subject is important and I have added a page to this site that links to the page on where I have been collecting (and continue to collect) articles about CCD.

Take a look at the page here on this site and follow the link, or go direct to to read the whole thing directly.

I get Google alerts that ‘trip’ whenever there is a mention of colony collapse disorder on the web. And today I followed the alert to a blog named Think Yourself Real – well worth a look for what some people are doing in Peru to make a save habitat for honeybees.

The Queen’s Paintings

These three paintings are from an exhibition of some of the Queen’s paintings that have been exhibited in the gallery adjoining Holyrood House here in Edinburgh.

The exhibition finished on November 4th, and the Queen in question is Queen Elizabeth II, and Holyrood House is her palace.

These three paintings were on the first wall of the exhibition. The one on the left is Portrait of a Man by Frans Hals (1630). The middle one is Thomas Kiligrew and William, Lord Crofts by Sir Anthony van Dyck (1638). The one on the right is Agatha Bas by Rembrant van Rijn (1641).

The story of the van Dyck painting is that Kiligrew has just lost his wife and is wearing her wedding ring on a black ribbon around his wrist. In his hand he has a sketch for his wife’s mausoleum. His secretary, Lord Crofts, is holding a piece of paper on which is written a draft of a eulogy.

Kiligrew has a terribly sad, almost reproachful look on his face , as though he is being asked to do something – to look at us – that he simply does not want to do.

The eye nearest the viewer is heavy, the eyelid drooping. He looks as though he is ready to cry.

It’s a wonderful example of van Dyk’s ability to make people in his paintings appear real and true.

I Came Back Here As Though Drawn By Gravity

After going around the exhibition, I came back here and stood back and looked at these three paintings. There is a crisp clarity to the Hals painting and there is a phenomenal sense of pure artistic capability in the Rembrandt.

I have never stood before three such great paintings by different artists arranged next to one another before.

It’s great that the Queen has put them on show, rather than them being seen only by her visitors.

Fantasy Planet

As soon as I saw these mushrooms in the supermarket, I thought they’d make great photographic subjects. I’m sure not everyone goes around the shops with photography in mind, but I loved the colours and symmetry – and photography is an excellent excuse to get in close and ‘see’ the subject.

It’s funny in an odd kind of way, the way that I (and probably lots of us) need a method, a way, of slowing down in order to see things.

I know we can’t go around permanently with a dreamy look on our faces, closely examining the veins on a leaf or the colours in a soap bubble. If we did, it would take us a week to do the washing up.

Still, it’s nice to slow down sometimes.

Nibble, Then Photograph

Normally, I get in first and photograph – and then we eat. But there were so many little unobtrusive bits in the mushrooms that we both got in and nibbled a bit when we got home.

We decided that the mushrooms looked prettier than they tasted.

But they are beautiful, don’t you think, with their neat little hats and clever jigsaw puzzle arrangement, and their delicate hues.

Here’s the collection as they were when we took them out of the soft fibre pot in which they came.

They remind me of a fantasy planet and a city – spinning in space.