Tuesday 17 March 2015

Chain Letter

I have got involved in the weirdest and slowest chain letter that I've ever heard of.

Domestic cats are either very generous or very stupid. A nursing mother will feed and clean any kittens that she finds in her nest, it doesn't matter if they are her's or not. Honey bees are just as compliant, if you can pick up a whole swarm, including the queen, and stuff it into a skep or hive, then as long as the front door is about the right size, then the colony happily decides that that is its new address.

Red mason bees are even easier to transplant. They emerge from cocoons in spring, and they decide, understandably, that wherever they emerged is where they should live. As such you can buy them by mail order and set up a colony wherever you like. Better yet, they look for holes to lay eggs in, and they are easily convinced that rolled up paper tubes are exactly the right place.

A friend of mine multiplied her initial stock of bees about tenfold in two years, and has sent me some of this year's cocoons. If they do well, then in a year or two I will be looking for friends to take a load of bee-seeds off my hands.

Richard "exponential growth" B

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