Moray Beekeeping Dinosaurs are an informal, virtual and diverse group of beekeepers. We have no committee, no governors, no assets and have but one common aim and that is to promote beekeeping and the welfare of the honey bee without an excess of red tape and other items being introduced into our Beekeeping Associations.
We meet regularly during the summer to exchange stories, information and ideas. We are base just to the east of Inverness - Scotland
When people ask me about bees, they usually don't know exactly what bees are. They often think of the Honey Bee because it gives us Honey. The Honey Bee is only one of many bee species and it is quite special because it is managed by beekeepers. But there are many more wild bees, some are big, some are small, some hairy or shiney, some have long antennae some have short antennae, some have red behinds some have yellow behinds. There are more than 20,000 different species of bees in the world, which includes about 260 species of bee in the UK. In context there are twice as many bees species as there are bird species.! Roughly 95% live solitary lives rather than living in colonies with a Queen.
The ironic thing is that bees are not out there pollinating our food - intentionally, they are out there because they need to eat. Bees get all of the protein for thier diet from pollen and all of the carbohydrates from nectar - they are flower feeders. As they move from flower to flower, basically on a shopping trip, they end up providing the valuable pollination service
Honey is one of the oldest foods known to man, but this natural treat is much more than just a sweetener, as honey also works as an effective cure for ailments and a natural shield against infection.
The holy books describe heaven as a place where rivers flow with honey. In fact, the Quran has a separate surah called "Nahl" (meaning "bee" in Arabic) on bees and honey.
In Nahl it says, "There are cures for humans in honey." Likewise, Prophet Muhammad would recommend honey for stomach aches and loved drinking honey melted in water, also known as honey sherbet.
What was thought to be simply old superstitions, is in fact, a very old tradition among beekeepers. The concept of "telling the bees" is widespread across cultures all over the world. There are countless other superstitions, myths and legends associated with the honeybee.
- Bees should never be bought or sold for money. Bees should be given without compensation, but if such compensation is essential, barter or trade is greatly preferable to cold cash.
- If a bee flies into your hall it is a sign of great good luck, or of the arrival of a stranger; however, the luck will only hold if the bee is allowed to either stay or go of it's own accord - leave the window open !.
- A bee landing on your hand means money, on the head means greatness.
- They will sting those who curse in front of them and those who are adulterers or unchaste – so if you want a good wife, have her walk through a swarm and if she is stung, she'll be no virgin.'
- Never ever quarrel in the presence of bees, nor should you use any foul language near the beehives. It is bad luck and the bees may leave the beehive. Anyone who uses bad language around bees is sure to be stung.
- You should always inform the bees about all important events such as weddings, births or if someone in the household has died. If they are not told the bees will get angry and start stinging all of you.
- Bees are known to have magical properties, and they feature extensively in folklore from many different cultures
- And more ... !
Sadly, bees are in trouble. Over the last 70 years, bees been dying off at an unprecedented rate—up to 30 percent per year, the number of hives in the USA has fallen from 4.5 million in 1947 to approximately 2 million today.
Around the world many types of bee are in decline and some species have gone extinct. These declines are driven by multiple factors including loss of wildflowers from the countryside - agricultural food deserts or monocultures. Outbreaks of disease, the Varroa mite and exposure to the many pesticides used in modern farming.
Rachel Carson so eloquently put it in a CBS documentary in 1964 .....
"As man proceeds toward his announced goal of conquest of nature, he has written a depressing record of destruction, directed not only against the earth he inhabits but against the life that shares it with him"
'A Fable for Tomorrow' from "Silent Spring" (Houghton Miffin, 1962)
Founded August 2010 in
Moray in the North of Scotland