Author Archive

We depend on pollinators for over 1/3 of the food we eat

A stunning video from TED.  As described:

Pollination: it’s vital to life on Earth, but largely unseen by the human eye. Filmmaker Louie Schwartzberg shows us the intricate world of pollen and pollinators with gorgeous high-speed images from his film “Wings of Life,” inspired by the vanishing of one of nature’s primary pollinators, the honeybee.

An abridged version showing only the footage of the pollinators is shown below. In it, you’ll see a variety of bees as well as bats, butterflies, humming birds and other pollinators.

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The full TED talk about pollination and pollinators can be viewed here:

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09 2013

Why bees are disappearing: A TED talk by Marla Spivak

Have you seen the new TED Talk by Marla Spivak, University of Minnesota professor of entomology and 2010 MacArthur Fellow? She talks about the decline in honey bee populations, monoculture, pesticides (including neonicitoids) and how important it is to plant bee-friendly flowers.

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09 2013

An interview with Markus Imhoff, the man behind MORE THAN HONEY

We met with Oscar-nominated director Markus Imhoof to discuss his new documentary, MORE THAN HONEY

What inspired you to create this documentary?
My family for more than a hundred years has been involved with beekeeping. The kick was learning about all of the bees dying around the whole world. Creating this film seemed to me more important than the fiction film on which I was working.

What do you hope this film has, or will, accomplish?
I hope that the people will be aware how everything is connected, plant – insects – men – global trade – every consumer and member of a democracy. No one can think that they are a lonely star. Like the bees in the hive, we need the colony and are member of a colony. We cannot survive alone.
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How dire is the situation for bees?
We urgently have to take action. We have to change the way industrial agriculture is done
The consumer can help. After all, “we are what we eat”. If we are eating industrial junk only, what does that mean…?

What were some of the technical challenges of filming bees for your film?
It’s much more difficult to film a bee than a beekeeper. The mating queen was the biggest challenge: we spent days on a scaffolding tower attracting drones with queen pheromones. Her wedding flight, which was 36 seconds, took more than ten days – and we only actually saw it one and a half times.

We also used mini-helicopters for some the flights. We filmed the bees in flight at 300 pictures per second. The result was a huge amount of footage. We spent two years shooting, which resulted in about 205 hours of footage. It took us one year to edit that film down.
Do you think hobbyist beekeepers can make a difference?
Hobbyist beekeepers are key. Small-scale beekeepers are important to helping the bees.  It is better to have 5000 beekeepers with 3 hives each than one beekeeper with 15,000 hives. The hobbyist beekeepers really can take close, personal care for their bees.

Is there a part of the film that you cherish the most?
The bees being bigger than us!

Visit the MORE THAN HONEY website for more information including showtimes in your area.


06 2013

Remembering EB White

Life With Wings. 1 of 4 Panels. Copyright Mika Holtzinger 2008. Click to view more.

As you may know, EB White was the author of the much-beloved books “Charlotte’s Web,” “Stuart Little” and “The Elements of Style.” But did you also know he was a dedicated beekeeper?   With a dash of humor, E.B. White addressed queen rearing in this poem, which was published in The New Yorker December 15, 1945:

Song of the Queen Bee

The breeding of the bee,” says a United States Department of Agriculture bulletin on artificial insemination, “has always been handicapped by the fact that the queen mates in the air with whatever drone she encounters.”

When the air is wine and the wind is free
and the morning sits on the lovely leaf,
and sunlight ripples on every tree
Then love-in-air is the thing for me
I’m a bee,
I’m a ravishing, rollicking, young queen bee,
That’s me.
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07 2011

Remembering “The Life of the Bee,” Life Magazine 1952

LIFE Magazine Aug 11, 1952. The cover, a black-and-white closeup of Joan Rice, announced her as “Robin Hood’s New Girlfriend”.  Also on the cover, a headline  announcing, “Farewell to Eva Peron.”  But what is not alluded to on the cover is the edit piece that you and I probably would have gotten the most delight out of reading: an arresting full-color photo essay titled, The Life of the Bee. Paintings By Microscope Reveal the Busy World Inside The Hive.  Let’s have a look…

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03 2011

Remembering Dr. Charles Henry Turner

Charles Henry Turner

Charles Henry Turner

Born on February 3, 1867 to former slaves, Dr. Charles Turner rose to become one of the preeminent entomologists in the United States. Dr. Turner earned his B.S. and M.S. from the University of Cincinnati and later became the first African-American to receive a Ph.D in zoology from the University of Chicago.

Dr. Turner published nearly 50 scholarly papers and is the source of a number of groundbreaking breakthroughts including the discovery that insects can hear and that ants use light and smell to travel to and from their nests.  He also discovered that honey bees have color vision and are able to recognize patterns and shapes. His seminal work pre-dated that of Nobel prize winner Karl von Frisch.

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02 2011

5 Honey Hacks

As you know, September is National Honey Month.  Here are five “honey hacks” to help you make the most of your honey.

  1. Has your honey crystallized? Crystallized honey can be liquefied by slowly heating it for up to a minute.
  2. Out of sugar? Use honey!  Since honey is up to twice as sweet as table sugar, use half the amount in honey.
  3. Cooking with honey? To help honey slide off your measuring spoon, simply coat it with vegetable spray first.
  4. Have a minor skin burn? Research shows that honey is an effective treatment for minor burns. It’s antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties may promote healing. So if consider reaching for some honey in lieu of burn creme.
  5. Out of moisturizer? It’s said that Cleopatra maintained her beauty with honey and milk baths.  Honey is a humectant, which means that it attracts water and, as a result, is an ideal skin moisturizer.  Apply honey to your face and let it sit for about 15 minutes.


09 2010

Thank you Häagen Daz for the Honeybee Haven!

Thank you Häagen-Dazs for the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven at UC Davis, which is scheduled to open on September 11th.  The Haven will not only serve as a research and pollinating facility but as a tool to raise awareness about the plight of honey bees.  As the Sacramento Bee has reported, “America is losing its honey bees at an alarming rate for unknown reasons. Last winter, an estimated 33.8 percent of commercial hives died out.”

A map of the Haven.

In addition to honey bees, other bee species are benefiting.  It’s been reported that over 55 types of bees are already calling the Haven home including fuzzy bumble bees, metallic sweat bees, wood-dwelling carpenter bees and solitary mason bees. Read the rest of this entry →

5 Reasons To Get A Taste For Local Honey

Photo by jfschmit

September is National Honey Month. It’s an ideal time to celebrate honey and indulge in your craving for this sweet and viscous food known as “liquid gold.”  While indulging, why not focus on local honey, or honey made as close as possible to your home?  Here are five potent reasons to step away from the generic honey bear at your local supermarket and instead reach for a jar (or more!) of local honey. Read the rest of this entry →


09 2010

It’s Natl Honeybee Day! Share this video to raise awareness:

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:

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08 2010