The bee people at Bees Neez Apiary near Chidlow have said that the breeding program for the year is underway, and we should be able to get our baby hive by the end of October.
You see, Gallifrey has ticks. It’s unfortunate, but true. Last summer they were dreadful – by the end of summer the bloody things were dropping on us from the trees like rain or tiny, blood-sucking dropbears. We do have a management strategy, though. It’s a multi-part strategy, and with any luck in a couple’ve years it will have completely wiped out (or at least seriously diminished) the local tick population.
Phase two is soaking a couple’ve salt licks in the same stuff and leaving them out for the rabbits, wallabies, and kangaroos. They lick the tasty, mineral-rich salt licks and get a dose of permethrin at the same time. The animals then exude the permethrin through their pores, and thereby kill any ticks on them. Again, the tick life cycle is disrupted, and the animals bringing them onto the property stop doing that on account of being mostly tick-free. The great thing about permethrin is that it’s a powerful neurotoxin to arachnids, so the ticks die quickly and reliably, and don’t have a chance to develop immunity or resistance.
Thus we need some way of preventing the free-range guinea fowl from camping the beehives, once we have both beehives and guineas. The solution? Build a shrubbery! A nice one, sort of round, with lots of thorny, inpenetrable-to-poultry, deciduous to let the winter sun in to shine on the hive, flowering plants in it. About head height, to encourage the bees to fly above head height generally (thus having the added benefit of making the area more bee-safe for dogs and children, and people afraid of being stung). Inside this bee enclosure hedgerow will be a clear area with space for two hives, a bee keeper, and the various accoutrements of beekeeping.
Images sourced from Wikimedia Commons:
File:Teek.tif.jpg – Scanning electron microscope photo of a tick, by Kahoeben.
File: Helmeted guineafowl kruger00.jpg – by eboy
File: Pyrethrum_flower.jpg – by Amanda Slater