It’s not too early to start preparing for winter. About this time of year, I set about cleaning out the gutters, changing the furnace filter, inspecting the chimneys, reversing the ceiling fan…and all the other items on my honey-do list.
With federal employees on furlough and vital government programs and services on hold, the impact of Washington gridlock is spreading across America. I believe that “honey bee politics” might be able to provide our Congressional leaders with some profound insights about governing. As revealed by the prominent animal behaviorist, Thomas Seeley in his fascinating book, Honeybee Democracy these amazing insects have much to teach humans when it comes to collective wisdom and effective decision-making.
Albert Einstein was rumored to have said, “If the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would only have four years left to live." While it is a strikingly dramatic and dire statement, there is no compelling evidence that Albert Einstein ever made such a claim. In fact, if you attempt to trace the history of the quote via Google, it looks like it surfaced in the early 1990s.
Want more sweetness in your life? Try baking with honey. Honey will enhance your baked goods and make them irresistible to family and friends. By substituting honey in your recipe for sugar or other sweeteners, your baked goods will have a beautiful golden crust, enhanced flavor and superior moistness. There are a variety of honey flavors to choose from when deciding how best to compliment your recipe. A honey’s particular flavor is based upon the type(s) of flowers the bees gathered nectar from in preparation for producing the honey.
Beekeepers often develop personal attachments to their hives and can lose themselves in the Zen of beekeeping. While some beekeepers have naturally calm personalities, others—like myself—have acquired a sense of serenity when dealing with the buzz of 80,000 thousands insects out of necessity. Honey bees respond positively to a peaceful atmosphere—if I am relaxed and not stressed, so are they. So, it’s often easy to forget that it is the very nature of the honey bee that makes it so valuable. Throughout history humans have benefited from their ability to manage these social insects.
Here at Bee America we naturally think mostly about the honey bee. However, we have such a bountiful profusion of flowers in our apiary at this time of year that our attention is drawn to the other pollinators that often visit, particularly butterflies and bumble bees. I’m often charmed by the sight of a bumble bee gently and slowly ambling from one pollen-laden flower to another. A distant cousin to honeybees, its body shape is more rounded than elliptical.
I must confess that I love maps and map-based technology. On my smartphone, I have multiple direction-finding apps including Google Earth, iGPS and Google Maps. I also have two GPS navigation devices that I use in the car and when they don’t agree on a specific route—I enlist my smartphone’s map-reading apps to be the tiebreaker.
Honey hunters collect honey from wild bee colonies and this ancient custom is still practiced by aboriginal societies in Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In some ancient cultures, hunting for honey was considered a competitive sport like hunting animals and fishing. Not only was honey hunting an enjoyable pastime in these cultures, but it was also a profitable endeavor as well. Sweet honey and comb could be traded or sold to other tribes at an advantageous price.
Florida is synonymous with the citrus industry—especially oranges. It’s almost inconceivable to think that this would ever change…but it might. In fact, it probably will if scientists are unable to come up with a cure or preventative strategy to deal with a bacterial disease that has infected all 32 of the state’s citrus-growing counties. The disease is called citrus greening or Huanglongbing and is caused by the bacteria, Candidatus Liberibacter asiaticus.
In a far-reaching and proactive measure, the European Commission has enacted a two-year ban on three common pesticides: clothianidin, imidacloprid and thiametoxam. These pesticides, collectively known as neonicotinoid insecticides, are used on agricultural crops that are pollinated by honeybees. Affected crops include corn, apples, strawberries, sunflower and rapeseed (which is the source of canola oil). The ban, which will go into effect on December 1, 2013, is considered controversial in Europe—only 15 nations supported it.