Archive for August, 2010

Put yourself in the shoes of a commercial beekeeper

Imagine that you are a commercial beekeeper. The rule of thumb is that you need 500 or more hives to justify keeping bees as a full time job. That is a lot of money tied up in equipment.
You have a bank note that you pay on annually for said equipment with proceeds from the honey crop. Uh oh. You see mites. You follow the advice of the experts that monitor the bee problems. They recommend you take action with some chemical or other intervention. Whew! You make your order and while you are waiting for it to arrive…
…You go to your monthly local bee club meeting. And the new guy is talking about natural beekeeping. He has found that you can stop placing chemicals and high fructose corn syrup in your hives.
“Geez”, you say, “but the HFCS is so much cheaper than honey. How can I compete with the commercially produced and imported honey that is sold at the local grocery store? You want me to let my bees eat honey all winter? How will I make my payments to the bank? You say I need to stop medicating? What if I lose all my bees? I have my whole life tied up in this operation. I can’t take that risk. If the government will compensate me for my losses, why should I take that risk?” Read the rest of this entry →


24

08 2010

Honeybees Need You to Eat Organics

Honeybees are crucial pollinators responsible for every third bite on our dinner plate. A recent survey revealed that our humble honeybees are sicker than ever.

Honeybee deaths this year were much higher than last year.

And last year marked record-low honey production. Honey production dropped 12 percent, to 144 million pounds.

More than 50 billion honeybees have perished within the last year in the United States. Scientists call it Colony Collapse Disorder. When honeybees get sick, they will not return to the colony. Nature designed these social creatures not to infect one another when they get ill. The queen bee is the only insect left in the hive; helpless, she, too, dies quickly. Read the rest of this entry →


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It’s Natl Honeybee Day! Share this video to raise awareness: http://bit.ly/beetalk

Since 2006, more than three million honeybees in the U.S. and billions worldwide have mysteriously died, which affects one in three mouthfuls of food we eat.

Help raise awareness – share this new public service announcement.

Link to share: http://bit.ly/beetalk


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21

08 2010

Bye-Bye Bees? Tomorrow is Natl Honeybee Day-spread the buzz! http://bit.ly/workerbees

Tomorrow is National Honeybee Day.  Let’s share these videos to raise awareness and inspire people to act as stewards for bees and their natural environment.

Link to share: http://bit.ly/workerbees


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20

08 2010

Delightful Doublefile Viburnum ‘Shasta’-A Beloved Bee Plant.

Viburnum plicatum (c) Michaela, The Gardener’s Eden

Graceful, elegant and generous are but a few of the words that spring to mind when describing Doublefile Viburnum, (V. plicatum var. tomentosum); one of the most delightful species in my absolute favorite genus of woody plants. Although this shrub wears no perfume in springtime, she more than makes up for her lack of fragrance with four-season beauty and an easy-to-please manner Read the rest of this entry →


16

08 2010

It is a Strange and Beautiful World

Rosslyn Chapel -- Photo by Jeremy Atherton, 2002

“It is a strange and beautiful world.” — Roberto, the Italian tourist in Jim Jarmusch’s quirky 1986 movie, Down by Law

Rosslyn Chapel is a medieval church in Scotland originally made famous because of the beauty of its architecture and storied history.  It began experiencing a bit of a renaissance as a tourist attraction recently though when Dan Brown included it as one of the stops in solving the mystery of the Holy Grail and the Knights Templar in The Da Vinci Code.

Perhaps it’s the unprecedented number of visitors that now stream to the chapel that enabled conservators to begin some important and necessary conservation work.  So, it was only recently that a stunning and remarkable discovery was made.  Hidden in a part of the roof system called the “pinnacles,” which had been dismantled by the stone masons for the first time in hundreds of years while restoring the chapel, there were cavities ideally suited to, and in fact created for (wait for it) … beehives. Read the rest of this entry →


10

08 2010

Bees join the workforce: anti-terrorism

Honeybees may soon be used for more than pollination.  Who knew that these insects could play a role in national security?  Scientists working with federal organizations, such as the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, have been training honeybees to augment dogs used for bomb detection.  Honeybees have a very sensitive olfactory sense, “just as good as dogs,” says Timothy Harmaan of Los Alamos National Laboratory.  Honeybees use their sensitive olfaction to sense pollen carried in the wind, using the pollen to track specific flower species that produce nectar for the hive.  Harmaan’s team of scientists have used positive conditioning techniques to train bees to pick up scents and flick their proboscises when exposed to very low concentrations of TNT, howitzer propellant and liquid-explosives ingredients in the air. Read the rest of this entry →


03

08 2010