Amgueddfa Cymru

Hafan

Well last week we posted about the Beehives up on the roof at National Museum Cardiff and how they fared over the winter. Today we have another exert from our Beekeeper’s diary. Has the weaker colony survived? Let’s find out: The weather in late March and early April was fantastic and the strong colony went from strength to strength.

During the next weekly (9th April) inspection we decided to place our first super (a set of shallow frames from which the queen is excluded, used to collect honey) on the strong colony and moved another frame of brood across to the weaker colony. This moving of frames serves two purposes, it helps reinforce the struggling colony whilst limiting the size and growth of the strong colony and thus lessens the risk of having to deal with the colony growing to such an extent that the bees swarm. Every time a frame of brood is removed the frame is replaced with a fresh frame of new foundation (a sheet of patterned wax on which bees build their comb). The rate of productivity is currently so high in the strong colony that a new frame of foundation is being drawn out and prepared for laying within a week!

At the next inspection (16th April) another frame of brood was moved across and the contact feeder in the weaker colony was refilled with more honey. Whilst honey might not be the most cost effective feed the bees certainly like it!

We noticed that the weaker colony certainly had more activity with more bees flying in and out than has been seen recently, hopefully the translocation of brood is working and the colony is growing in strength and numbers.

Whist inspecting the strong colony, a large elongated brood cell called a queen cup was noted- it wasn’t sealed and contained a grub. We removed the cup and grub in order to minimise the chances of a new queen bee hatching and the colony swarming. We inspected the rest of the frames looking particularly closely at the abundance of dome shaped, capped drone (male) cells! There were quite a number of hatched drone bees too, which may be indicative of the colony getting ready to swarm? Hopefully our regular removal of brood should limit the expansion and development of the colony and reduce the risk of having to deal with swarming this year.

Beekeepers use the term drawn-out to describe the process where bees build their honeycomb structures on a base of fresh foundation wax. The bees build up hexagonal honeycomb until the honeycomb cells are 12-15mm deep. This process of building comb outwards from the flat foundation is called drawing-out. The super that we placed on the strong colony is gradually getting filled with honey too.

The bees are gradually filling the fully drawn-out comb in the centre of the super although all the frames have been drawn out to some extent. The super frames that have been partial filled have been moved one or two positions out towards the edge of the super and the more empty frames have been moved inwards to a more central position in order to encourage the bees to work evenly across all the frames within the super.

During this inspection we also installed a third hive on the roof. In this third hive we placed pheromone swarm lures. The idea being that a passing swarm of bees might find and settle in this hive if we’re lucky. The lure hive is essentially a normal hive loaded with foundation filled frames. We have used some of the old, drawn-out frames from our other hives in order to give it a lived in feel and scent (apparently swarms don’t typically settle in new unused hives). If we aren’t successful in catching a wild swarm the hive can be used to home a third colony of bees that we currently have on order with Natures Little Helpers.

29th April inspection – it was a lovely sunny warm day although perhaps in hindsight a little windy for bee keeping inspections. I took the opportunity to take Annette Townsend up onto the roof to see the bees. Not only was it tough to hold the frames of bees still in the breeze, but Annette’s hair and bee keeping suit was being buffeted around so much that she could hardly see a thing! The bees weren’t keen either, there were lots flying around and they were generally grumpy. Annette has blogged her experience, so you can see how she found beekeeping here. Anyway another lesson learned – too much wind makes life tricky – heavy frames of bees and a strong breeze aren’t compatible!  

Bee inspection 6th May, another sunny but slightly breezy day again but not as bad as the previous windy hive inspection. Again the weaker colony wasn’t inspected particularly intensively, we just quickly refilled the feeder with honey and once again transferred a frame of brood and juvenile bees into the hive from the stronger colony. Our efforts certainly seem to be paying off, once again there seemed to be significantly more bees flying in and out of the hive plus at least four of the frames now seemed to be covered in bees! The feeder obviously is still being used by the bees but they also seem to be flying out to find natural sources of food too.

The strong colony seems to have stepped up a gear too! Another two queen cups were removed and several suspect other dome shaped cells were removed just in case! A section of brace comb was cut at the edge of the hive in order to allow all the frames to be removed freely. Brace comb is extra honeycomb that is built between frames, it is perfectly normal for wild bee colonies but for managed hives, brace comb prevents frames being removed. The brood now extends almost to the outside frames and there is a considerable amount of capped honey surrounding the brood. The small honey collecting frames inside the super were moved around once again to ensure an even honey fill. None of the honey filled comb in the super is actually capped (the honey sealed in with a wax cover) yet but you get the impression that within a few weeks another super might need to be added!

 

Wythnos diwethaf, fel rhan o Ddiwrnod Budd a Roi 2014, daeth 50 o wirfoddolwyr o Lloyds Banking Group i Sain Ffagan i helpu gyda nifer o brosiectau. Wnaeth rai helpu’r Adran Garddio, wnaeth rai ymuno a’r Adran Adeiladau Hanesyddol tra gwnaeth rai gweithio ynghyd a’r Gymdeithas Alzheimer. Wnaeth 11 o’r gwirfoddolwyr gweithio gyda fi a Bernice i adeiladu gwrych newydd yn y goedwig wrth ymyl y guddfan adar.

Da ni di bod yn bwriadu adeiladu gwrych wrth ymyl y guddfan adar am sbel, am nifer o resymau. Yn gyntaf, bysai’r gwrych yn actio fel sgrin wrth nesai’r guddfan, gyda’r gobaith bysai’r adar ddim yn cael ei ofni gan ymwelwyr yn cerdded ar hyd y llwybr. Ma’ wrych hefyd yn gallu gweithio fel coridor wrth i fywyd gwyllt symud drwy’r goedwig. Hefyd, mae nifer o ymwelwyr wedi bod yn creu llwybr wrth dorri drwy’r goedwig, ac felly, wrth adeiladu gwrych, da ni’n gobeithio nawr bydd llai o ymwelwyr yn gwneud hyn.

Tasg cyna’r dydd oedd minio’r pyst. Mae’r pyst yn bwysig er mhoen neud yn siŵr bod y gwrych yn cael ei adeiladu ar sylfaen solet. Mae creu min yn neud e’n haws i yrru’r pyst mewn i’r ddaear. Ar ôl creu tyllau arwain, defnyddiwyd morthwyl  mawr i yrru’r pyst i lawr. Unwaith roedd y pyst yn ei le, roedd hi’n bosib i ni ddechrau adeiladu’r gwrych.

Ma’ na nifer o wahanol fathau o wrych, a phenderfynon ni ddefnyddio pren a choed wedi marw. Dros yr wythnosau diwethaf, dwi di fod yn gofyn i’r adrannau garddio ag amaethyddiaeth i gasglu unrhyw bren ac yn y blaen a’i anfon draw i’r guddfan adar. Am fod angen cymaint o bren, es i a rai o’r gwirfoddolwyr mewn i’r goedwig i gasglu hyd yn oed mwy.

Ar ôl cinio, fel grŵp, aethon ni i fyny i Fryn Eryr, safle’r ffarm Oes Haearn newydd sy’n cael ei adeiladu. Mae’r goedwig yma wedi cael ei chlirio yn ddiweddar, felly llanwyd trailer yn barod i’w cludo i’r guddfan. Erbyn diwedd y prynhawn, llwyddon ni i orffen y gwrychoedd. Gorffennwyd y gwrychoedd efo toriadau palalwyf er mwyn ychwanegu bach o je ne sais quois.

Fel mae’r lluniau yma’n dangos, mi oedd y diwrnod yn llwyddiant enfawr! Gallwn ni ddim di gofyn am dywydd gwell a dwi’n meddwl gwnaeth pawb mwynhau’r profiad. Gorffennwyd y 2 darn o wrych oeddem ni am adeiladu, a dwi eisoes wedi meddwl am brosiectau am y dyfodol! Cyflawnwyd llwyth o waith mewn un diwrnod, bysai’r gwaith di cymryd amser maeth i mi a Bernice i orffen heb help y gwirfoddolwyr. Diolch yn fawr iawn i bawb wnaeth helpu ni a’r prosiectau arall hefyd!

Penwythnos diwethaf, ymunodd miloedd o bobl mewn gyda’r arolwg adar mwya’r byd - Gwylio Adar yr Ardd gyda’r RSPB! Ar ddydd Sadwrn, wnes i ymuno gyda’r hwyl trwy wneud trîts bach i’r adar gydag ymwelwyr i’r amgueddfa. Wedi fy ysbrydoli, nes i dreulio ychydig amser yn y guddfan adar yma yn Sain Ffagan. Dyma gwpwl o lunie o be welais…

Wnaethoch chi gymryd rhan yn yr arolwg? Be welsoch yn eich gardd? Cofiwch i adrodd yn ôl i’r RSPB - Big Garden Bird Watch

Dilynwch bywyd gwyllt Sain Ffagan ar Twitter

On Wednesday 30th October, National Museum Cardiff came alive for a haunting day of Halloween fun. Curators (and witches!) from the Natural History department filled the main hall with spooky specimens from our collections to share with the public on a busy half term day.

The botanists made a real impression by opening up the Herbarium and creating a spooky graveyard of deadly plants. This was a real hit with the children who left repeating some of the delightfully ghoulish names to their parents such as “Stinking Hellebore!” and  “Bloody Cranesbill!”

The Fungus table had a case of wonderful wax models where you could match each fungus with its creepy name, such as the Trumpet of Death, Scaly Tooth and Witch Heart. Children, and adults, could make their own fungus with the colourful modelling clay provided, creating some amazing new species!

Two witches stirred their potion in a cauldron alongside an eerie ‘Herbs in Medicine and Magic’ display.  All Harry Potter fans would have immediately recognised the famous Mandrake, a plant often used in magic rituals due to its hallucinogenic properties, but there was no need for ear muffs as the real plant does not let out a fatal scream!

Marine and Mollusc curators put out an array of Halloween treats from ghost slugs and dead man’s fingers to blood cockles and pumpkin snails. Visitors enjoyed being able to touch sea urchins, spiny oysters and star fish. The pickled cuttlefish and squid were a real treat and produced a great mixed response, from awe to disgust, from children and adults alike.

The giant bloodsucking mosquito model dominated the Entomology stand whilst a witch displayed a table of British bats, from the largest Noctule to the smallest Pipistrelle.

Geologists enticed visitors with ‘fossils in folklore’, including echinoderms that were thought to be ‘fairy loaves’, and ‘dragon claws’ that come from dinosaurs. Those brave enough stayed to see the ‘Hell, Fire and Brimestone!’ stand which revealed specimens of larva, ash and volcanic rocks.

The Open Day was underpinned with an educational trail provided by the Education department. The trail took children around all of the displays, answering questions on blood stained petals and thunder stones, fungal fingers and tails of worms, to name a few. It was an excellent way to get families involved and encouraged children to interact with the curators. The trail proved to be extremely popular with 170 families taking part.

For those who wanted to know more, there was a scary ‘Dragons’ tour in the Evolution of Wales gallery and two behind the scenes tours of the Biology and Geology collections.

The day was a real success with 3127 members of the public coming through the museum doors. So, if you didn’t make it this time keep your eyes peeled on the ‘What’s On’ guide  for more upcoming Natural History Open Days throughout the year.

Blog by Harriet Wood

Helo! Fy yw'r Athro'r Ardd a hoffwn groesawu'r chwe mil a hanner o wyddonwyr ifanc ar draws y DU sy'n cymryd rhan yn y Bylbiau'r Gwanwyn i Ymchwiliad Ysgolion eleni!

Bydd deuddeg mil o fylbiau yn cael eu plannu a'u monitro fel rhan o'r ymchwiliad hinsawdd hwn sydd yn cael ei gyd-drefnu gan yr Amgueddfa Cymru. Os oedd record byd am nifer o bobl yn plannu bylbiau ar yr un pryd, (mewn sawl lleoliad) gallem ei hyrddio!

Mae pob un o'r bylbiau wedi cael eu cyfrif ac yn gyson yn cael eu dosbarthu i'r 150 o ysgolion ar draws y wlad. Hoffwn groesawu pob disgybl ac athro fydd yn gweithio ar y prosiect hwn!

  • Cymerwch olwg ar y map i weld ble mae'r bylbiau yn cael eu hanfon ar draws y DU
  • Os nad ydych wedi derbyn fy llythyr eto - dilynwch y ddolen hon.
  • Cyn i bob bwlb cael ei phlannu, rhaid i bob disgybl mabwysiadu eu bylbiau ac addewid i ofalu amdano. Os ydych chi eisiau gwybod mwy - dilynwch y ddolen hon.

Cyn i chi fabwysiadu eich bwlb efallai y byddwch hefyd yn dymuno gwybod mwy o ble mae'n dod. Mae fy ffrind Bwlb bychan yn mynd i esbonio:

Fi a fy holl ffrindiau bwlb dod o blanhigfa feithrin ym Maenorbŷr, ger Dinbych y Pysgod yng Nghymru, fe'i gelwir ' Springfields '. Roeddem wedi cael eu dewis ac yn llwytho ar fan yn barod i fynd i'n cartrefi newydd. Ar y dechrau roeddwn ychydig yn ofnus, ond pan wnes i gyfarfod Athro'r Ardd yn yr Amgueddfa roeddwn yn deall fy mod i yn ddiogel a bod gennyf waith pwysig i'w wneud. Rydym i gyd wedi cael eu dewis i helpu i ddeall sut gall y tywydd effeithio ar bryd fydd fi a fy ffrindiau yn gwneud blodau. Mae fy rhieni cyn i mi dyfodd yma hefyd, Springfields wedi bod yn tyfu'n ni 'Daffodils Tenby' am tua 25 mlynedd, rydym yn un o'r ddwy genhinen Pedr sydd yn frodorol i Ynysoedd Prydain.”

Dim ond ychydig o wythnosau tan blannu! Ni allaf aros!

Athro'r Ardd