Yes, I did intend the caps, as I am referring to the acronym for a gubernatorial campaign run by Upton Sinclair in 1934, End Poverty in California. The emblem for the campaign was the bee, as pictured above, because, according to Sinclair, “she not only works hard but has means to defend herself.”
Sinclair is probably known less for his political aspirations (although he was quite active), and more for one of his novels, The Jungle, essentially an expose of the meatpacking industry in the early 1900s. The book provoked the enactment of legislation that reformed the industry. Although Sinclair lost the election, the EPIC platform, in much the same manner as The Jungle, was considered one of the inspirations for Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s New Deal, addressing the ravages of the Great Depression on the country as a whole.
Also not as well known today, perhaps, is The Brass Check, Sinclair’s treatment of yellow journalism of the time (1919). This book was part of a series in which Sinclair investigated other American institutions, such as higher, elementary, and high school education as well as literature. As with other of Sinclair’s initiatives, this one inspired a code of ethics for journalism. Maybe if we had Sinclair on journalism’s case here in the UK today we wouldn’t need government oversight? Just a thought….
Turn of weather
The bees in the main and garage hives are still in and out, gathering and watering. The garage bees are really gung ho, so much so that I am getting up an order for additional super frames. One does live in hope that there may be an excess of honey to be shared around. The main hive bees are getting used to the front entryway, but do not seem to have it together as much as the garage bees. This is a switch because we are usually worrying about the garage bees at the end of the winter.
The weather has been changeable, with some really warm weather at the end of March, together with frosts and fog. So, I wouldn’t say March 2014 has been as warm as the March (es) of years past. So perhaps the bees won’t be in overdrive come May as they have been some years.
Other Bee News
This notice received from my local beekeeping association:
During the past few months Defra has been working with a wide variety of organisations and interest groups in developing a proposed ‘national pollinator strategy’ for bees and other pollinators in England. The BBKA has been very involved in its development.
The Government has now launched a public consultation on the proposed strategy. The link page to the consultation is
And this news release (just sent by the association, but a little late it would seem):
NEWS RELEASE on Varroa control treatment: Vita starts registration process for green varroa control treatment 3 April 2013
Vita (Europe) Limited has begun the pan-European registration process for HopGuard®, a varroa control treatment that uses natural food-based compounds and is suited for year-round use. The registration process for Europe is expected to be complete in the second half of 2014 and beekeepers should then have a new, highly effective, versatile weapon against the varroa mite which has taken such a toll on honeybee colonies. HopGuard will be the first registered varroa control treatment in Europe that can be used at any time of year, even during a honey flow.
I wonder if Europe has read the Honey Bee Suite on HopGuard? The blog post is from 2012, so maybe things have changed?
And this warning from FERA on possible spring starvation:
With the continued mild weather persisting past winter, it is possible that some colonies may be getting low on food reserves. This will be particularly true in warmer areas of the UK where brood may have been reared throughout the winter. If you have not already done so, now is the time to go out and inspect your colonies. Below are a couple of pointers to consider.
• Information received from Regional Bee Inspectors suggests that in some areas, especially in the East of England; colonies in many apiaries are starting to become light.
• Stronger colonies have been rearing small amounts of brood throughout the mild winter, and currently many have at least 2-3 combs of sealed brood and one comb of open brood. With the current forecast suggesting a fairly settled period throughout the rest of the week, now would be a good time to get out to the apiary and see what levels of food your colonies have. Should the weather continue to stay mild and warm, a liquid sugar feed can be used in small quantities, not to overload them; a spring sugar solution of 1kg of sugar to 1300ml of warm water. However should the weather turn cold again, fondant should be switched when the bees stop taking the syrup down.
• Some colonies have had the opportunity to forage on ivy last autumn and so may be heavy, and the bees may be sitting on a lot of hard ivy honey. It is possible that with the milder weather they have been able to get out and gather water – but worth considering when thinking about how much food colonies have and whether they can access it.
• It is possible that over the winter, Varroa may have continued to breed, it is therefore important to monitor the natural drop of the mite. In extreme cases it may be necessary to think about a spring treatment to bring numbers down, particularly where no treatments have been used since late last summer.
But Let’s End on a Happy Note
You’ll probably know by now how much of a Two Fat Ladies fan I am. So, I was quite pleased to glimpse, when watching old episodes, the ladies indulging in a little beekeeping. You have to watch a bit before seeing them in their bee suits. But really how much of a hardship is that?