Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Earth tremor in Victoria tonight

I was watching television tonight.  Just be 9:00pm the house shook for about 10 seconds. We have a solid suspended slab and it was moving!  No damage done though in Surrey Hills.  My wine cellar survived.

Reports came in immediately on social media (Twitter and Facebook) from friends across the state.

The handy Earthquake app (Android) showed the epicentre just south of Moe, Victoria. Here are the screenshots from the app.

The Australian Geoscience website apparently crashed when everyone attempted to visit it.  Just as well it was not a bigger one with more damage!

The size is reported as 5.2 (by the app)

No reports yet of major damage, but lots of houses shaken.


Monday, June 04, 2012

Natural beekeeping to help save the world's bees

I did a fascinating course last weekend on natural beekeeping presented by a friend, Tony Hodgson.

Honey bees entering hive.  Author:   Bj√∂rn Appel 

I learnt that the world's honey bee population is now at great risk due to a combination of factors - including Varroa mites, commercial "over production" and problems with pesticides and herbicides.

The Varroa mite was spread from Asian Honey bees (which are resistant to it) to European and North Amercan bees in recent times.  This has resulted in deaths of 70% or more bee hives (colonies), and the use of chemical to try and "manage" the mite.  Bee colonies now only last 3 years in countries afflicted by the mite.

Australia is the last major honey producing country to be free of the mite - but it may eventually arrive here too.

70 percent of the world's food results from bee pollination of plants, so huge reductions in bee numbers puts the world's food supplies at great risk!

The good news is that natural bee keeping can result in bee hives (colonies) that are not subjected to the same stress that commercial bees are.  Less honey is harvested, the hives are not moved around to follow flowering periods and a more bee-friendly hive design such as a Kenyan or Warre hives.  These hives can be made out of timber for a reasonable cost.

You can also get equipment required for beekeeping - such as a bee suit and hive tool - for a reasonable cost.

Some I am getting ready to have a go at starting beekeeping this spring!