love it =)
Article by N’ann Harp:
“When early colonists first sailed to the New World in the 1620s, they brought along their cherished European honey bees, introducing Apis mellifera to the North American continent. Here, while sowing the seeds of statehood, our pioneer forebears continued to practice the customs of rural England, where honey bees had long been treated as family members. “Telling the bees” about births, marriages and deaths and including them in special occasions was part of the fabric of family life.
“Today, small-scale, organic beekeeping is making a timely comeback, with renewed interest in and respect for these lost arts from a simpler time…
Humans share with honey bees an ancient, intimate and symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit. Although the fossil records indicate that honey bees were thriving on the planet for an estimated 70 million years prior to the appearance of man, human beings and these highly-evolved social insects quickly developed an enduring affinity for each other.
Our interconnectedness goes back at least 10,000 years, when humans began to record their honey-hunting activities in charcoal and chalk pictographs on cave walls. Honey was a valuable food source for our ancestors and they collected it avidly.
As the hunter-gatherer societies settled into self-sustaining family groups, small garden plots became a familiar center of agriculture and social stability. Honey bees adapted to the increasingly organized agricultural system, attracted to the flowering fruit and vegetable crops that sustained their own hive and honey production needs. In return, the bees enhanced pollination and increased harvest yields for their human partners.
Over the intervening millennia, this interspecies friendship has evolved into the practices of modern beekeeping, generating dozens of crop-specific industries. Roughly 100 of the world’s favorite food crops are now directly reliant upon honeybee pollination, which translates to about 40 percent of the human diet.
Today, however, the very capacity for cross-species cooperation that gave rise to the human-honeybee relationship has also given rise to a host of unintended consequences, including a phenomenon dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder, in which resident honey bees simply vanish from hives.
Something is seriously wrong and scientists are stumped. Some observers call the situation the “perfect storm” of circumstances, which includes the proliferation of pesticide and chemical use in mono-crop production; poor queen breeding practices; loss of genetic diversity; immune system weaknesses; global trade expansion, introducing alien pests against which local bees haven’t had time to develop resistance; mystery viruses; and the usual pests, threats and challenges of sustaining healthy, resilient colonies that can produce strong queen bees.
Hope for saving the world’s hardest-working pollinator may lie in finding ways to dramatically increase honeybee research funding, which is being decreased in some states, due to budget cuts…
A powerfully positive alternative action, encouraged by under-funded researchers, is for private individuals to take up small-scale beekeeping.
“An army of amateur beekeepers could become part of an eventual solution by helping to collect field data in a wide array of microclimates and conditions,” suggests David Tarpy, Ph.D., the state apiculturist and an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University…”
White House Garden Yields a Ton of Produce, Literally!
“Back in 2009, Michelle Obama had a vision to create a garden at the White House. With the help of school children and Sam Kass, assistant White House chef and senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives, Mrs. Obama’s dream became a reality. The start-up cost for the garden that now graces the South Lawn was $200 and it has produced over 2,000 pounds of produce to date in a 1,500 square foot space.
The produce created at the White House includes a variety of vegetables (lettuce, spinach, tomatoes, etc.) and an abundance of fresh herbs (cilantro, rosemary, parsley, sage, thyme, etc.).
According to Sam Kass, the veggies are not certified organic, but no pesticides are used. Kass tells Better Homes and Gardens, “– we use natural controls. We have ladybugs and praying mantises — they do a pretty good job of keeping our garden pest-free.”
Veggies produced on the South Lawn garden go to more than just the dinner table at the White House. What doesn’t get stored, canned, or pickled goes to homeless shelters, the Navy mess that feeds the West Wing staff, and to the kitchen for State Dinners.
Michelle Obama has promoted, encouraged, and succeeded in showcasing a healthy food agenda with her White House garden. In addition to her garden, she has also added honeybees to the South Lawn which provide pollination for the garden and, of course, honey, a fabulous alternative to sugar.”
Backwards Beekeeper Roberta filmed some cute bees drinking some honey on one of her latest rescues
Water Meter Bees
Today Chelsea and I rescued a hive from a water meter in Chase Park in Marina Del Rey with fellow Backward Beekeeper Susan. Susan is a violinist in the Marina Del Rey Orchestra and noticed the bees coming out of the meter after a rehearsal. She contacted the park administration and asked them if we could rescue the bees. They didn’t know about Susan’s bees, but they had planned to call vector control to have another 3 hives in the park exterminated (“foamed”). They were happy to let us rescue the bees.
I thought it was going to be a fairly small hive because these water meters are checked every few months. Well, this one must have gone awhile because when I cracked the lid, I discovered at least a 6 month old hive.
We worked quickly to cut out the comb from the water meter, brush the bees into a nuc box and tie the comb into frames.
This was Susan’s first cut-out and she did a great job. Ken, our park supervisor, was intrigued with the whole process, paying careful attention to our every move. He even got his first ever bee sting and could have cared less.
None of us could believe how many bees came out of this little water meter. After we brushed the queen into one of the nucs, it was like a stampede to get in. The entrance hole soon clogged, forcing the bees to pack another four nucs to the gills. In the end, we rescued every single bee, saving these prolific little creatures from the foam.
Just made up a new case of RAW ORGANIC LOCAL HONEY from our honeybee rescues
to give to our HoneyLove sponsors!
“Bees figure prominently in mythology and have been used by political theorists as a model for human society. Journalist Bee Wilson states that the image of a community of honey bees “occurs from ancient to modern times, in Aristotle and Plato; in Virgil and Seneca; in Erasmus and Shakespeare; Tolstoy, as well as by social theorists Bernard Mandeville and Karl Marx.”
Despite the honey bee’s painful sting and the stereotype of insects as pests, bees are generally held in high regard. This is most likely due to their usefulness as pollinators and as producers of honey, their social nature, and their reputation for diligence. Bees are one of the few insects regularly used on advertisements, being used to illustrate honey and foods made with honey (such as Honey Nut Cheerios).
Although a bee sting can be deadly to those with allergies, virtually all bee species are non-aggressive if undisturbed and many cannot sting at all. Humans are often a greater danger to bees, as bees can be affected or even harmed by encounters with toxic chemicals in the environment (see also bees and toxic chemicals).”
WE JUST REACHED 700 ONLINE SIGNATURES!! Please help us to legalize beekeeping!!
(you do not need to live in Los Angeles to sign – please pass it on!!)
Un-BEE-lievable: NYC Fines Man $2,000 For Not Watering His Hive
“What’s killing the bees? —my question has shifted more towards, “Good lord, what doesn’t kill bees”
“…Colony Collapse Disorder is a problem. But it isn’t the problem. Instead, it’s just a great big insult piled on top of an already rising injury rate. Saving the honeybee isn’t just about figuring out CCD. Bees were already in trouble before that came along. “
Help us save the honey bees!!
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