HuffPo Calls Honey Vomit, Wrong As Usual

Loathe as I am to ever willingly refer reasonable people to a source that is so low that they don’t pay the contributing writers for their work except in “exposure”  (while they rake in millions from advertising) when it comes to spreading misinformation about bees, I am compelled to correct it.

A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts nectar from an Aster flower using its proboscis.

In this recent article, the author tries to make an educated seeming run at referring to honey legitimately as “bee vomit”.   Their argument is founded on the generality of definition of the word “vomit”.    If you use a “real” dictionary she says, then vomit is merely ejecting contents of the stomach through the mouth.  If you use any other definition, you must be relying on Wikipedia and are subject to scorn and ridicule.

However, even though she goes to lengths to describe that bees have two stomachs and that honey transported by bees is carried in the non digestive “crop” or proventriculus of the honey bee, but still counts as “vomit” to her.

The “crop” (proventriculus) is the first organic in the abdomen (colored green) before going to the “midgut” (ventriculus)

While she focuses on the definition of vomit as her ace-in-the-hole, she completely overlooks, or perhaps ignores, that in her own description she has already shown that she is incorrect.

Vomit is material ejected from “the” stomach.  In a mammal having one stomach in which digestion occurs.  In an insect such as the honey bee and having two stomachs (as fellow Beehooligan Dean Stiglitz points out, the proventriculus or “crop” is actually a gland and not a true stomach, further making the point that it is not vomit), the proventriculus NOT engaging in digestion, it would be more accurate to refer to it as a process of regurgitation.

A nationally viewed media source (not being worthy of the more credible term “news” since news sources actually pay their sources)  to toss around words blithely is disappointing.  Words have not just meaning my friends, but specific meaning.  In casual discussions, words are often loosely bandied about.  In a technical discussion, such as one actually involving science, medical, and other fields where specificity is necessary, words meanings take on greater importance.

So, technically speaking (as it seemed the article author was hoping people would see her point), honey is regurgitated nectar from “a” stomach called the “crop” not used for digestive functions by an insect.

It is not vomit from “the” stomach of a creature having only one in which to conduct primarily digestive functions.

Maybe if HuffPo would actually pay their sources, they could be taken more credibly on important topics like bees.



Smells Tell

Honey bees communicate in a variety of ways.  One way I find particularly useful is the use of pheromones to communicate with other bees, especially as a way to communicate to groups of bees if not the entire colony.

Comprised of a mixture of various biological chemicals excreted by different glands in bees, pheromonal communication is an extremely important method of communication on a large scale.

Look over the image below we found on the world wide web to learn more about some of the curious chemicals bees use to get a message across to each other with.

Good Stuff From The Hive

Apiarists are like farmers in that we take colonies of honey bees and knowing what they can produce in excess of their own needs under the right conditions, we try to arrange things to get the bees to do exactly that.  Make a lot of good stuff, more than they need, so that we can harvest it and make use of it.

What kinds of things can we get from honey bee hive’s and what are they good for?  This simple yet informative image found on the www below can show you the awesomeness that is brought to us by honey bees.

What’s In Your Honey

The World Wide Web is chock full of cool information about all things bees.  Sometimes it’s a trick to find it.  Instead of re-inventing the wheel, we like to bring you the awesome things that don’t need to be redone.

For example, the image below gives you some basic information on the chemical makeup of honey.  How cool is that?

Making Bee Smart The Best It Can Bee

How much do we charge people to listen to the podcasts, access the website, watch the videos and chat with us at the Bee Smart beekeeping project?  0.  Nada, Nothing.

I have to tell you, this project is an experiment in more than just getting adventurous rascal type beekeepers to do a podcast.  It is an experiment in “alternative” fundraising.

I am pretty libertarian in my personal philosophy.  All that means here is that I want to provide a quality information/entertainment community and experience without charging people for it upfront so that everyone, regardless of income can benefit and gain something from it, even if it’s what not to do.

So if I don’t implement a “Pay To Play” setup like the vast majority of content providers do, how then do I make this happen?  I thought, “let’s try to get people to voluntarily “buy in” to help everyone get something useful.  In other words, if you really like what I and the Beehooligans are doing here and you beelieve it’s worth pushing onward, you’ll support the project.

There are a great number of costs that go into the project.    On the website, there is hosting as the primary cost and the more traffic that comes in, the more it costs for hosting.  We want to reach literally thousands, tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands, of people.

For the podcasting there is recording equipment, computers, software, and yes, more hosting with podcast audio hosts like iTunes, Spreaker and others for which there is a cost for those services but gives us a better product for our listeners.

Ditto the videos.  Equipment alone is costly.  At least we don’t have the ongoing cost of tape anymore.

Perhaps the greatest cost of all in this endeavor though is time.  Someone has to spend the time to do it and do it right.  There are tens of hours each week that go into maintaining web sites, recording, editing, coordinating, keeping up with social media, etc…

All of that time is time away from running businesses and going to jbs to get bills paid otherwise.  I’m taking the risk and putting in the hours of work without pay, obtaining equipment as I am able to, learning and mproving skills that I had of some and am having to learn of others.

Will my risk pay off?  Will it bee worth it to put out what I intend to be an informative, useful and entertaining cross-media beekeeping community that will facilitate success for the people who listen, read, watch and interact with us?  I certainly hope so, but it will only work if YOU beelieve that it is good enough.

I don’t want every patron to pay a lot of money to help this project bee successful.  I want to get literally thousands of Patrons, you, your friends, your associates, t come in and put in maybe 1 or 2 dollars a month.  With enough people putting in a buck or two each month, that will go a long way to helping this project improve and bee it’s best.

How can you help?  You can become a Patron.  The next most important thing you can do to help is to encourage everyone you know to come in and bee a Patron also.  Not a lot, just 1 or 2 dollars a month.

How many people have you heard say they wish they could help bees if they could without becoming a beekeeper?  This is a sure way to help bees by helping us to educate, inform and motivate beekeepers to help our bees survive and thrive.

How else can you help here?  Bee a participant.  Ask questions here.  Make suggestions, tell me what you think works and isn’t working.  Go to the Bee Smart forum page, register and participate in the discussion there.  Don’t just loiter in the background, Bee involved.

Beehooligans JPtheBeeman and Yappy Went To Get Some Bees

JPtheBeeman not only can do this all day, he does do it all day.  It’s his job.  On occasion he takes a helper along to get things done and you already know a couple of them.

This time it was Yappy’s turn to be helpful.  Here’s what happened…

The Beehooligans podcast is on iTunes now

Yes folks, it’s true, the rascals we know called the Bee Smart Beehooligans finally had the weekly podcast accepted by iTunes.

You can find it there with the following link…

Keep listening as we add new episodes and those bee wrangling rascals, the Beehooligans, keep sharing their insights, experiences and adventures with the world.

Nosema ceranae: Kiss of Death or Much Ado about Nothing? @ Scientific Beekeeping

Here at the Bee Smart beekeeping project, it is one of our goals to help facilitate a successful beekeeping experience.  Being that here in the U.S. are coming into our Spring season, if not already then very soon, it’s time to start looking at the things which can cause bee colonies to die at this point after having made it so far through the Winter.

Note that there are two most widely known types of Nosema, Nosema apis which has been here for a very long time, and Nosema ceranae which is the newer kid on the block of the two but every bit the troublemaker.

The linked article below by Randy Oliver at makes a terrific presentation of the situation which rather than trying to re-invent the wheel, we’d rather just point you in the direction of the wheel.

Randy mentions a chemical treatment in the article for situations calling for treatments in IPM plans that include such types of treatments.  However, Organic/treatment-free beekeepers want to pay very close attention to the things that can be done to help prevent Nosema from taking hold in the colony.

If you’d like to find out where the Beehooligans stand on dealing with Nosema after reading this article, head on over to our Forums on this website and sign up then browse through the sections and see where the discussion is.

This is more than a mere academic debate, as beekeepers worldwide are forced to make expensive management decisions, including very expensive antibiotic treatment and the sterilization of contaminated combs.

Source: Nosema ceranae: Kiss of Death or Much Ado about Nothing? @ Scientific Beekeeping

Scientific Beekeeping Is Metric

Science Measures The Same Around The World

One of the interesting things about beeing a scientific beekeeper is using the metric system.  Even though the U.S. still largely uses the Imperial measurement system (cue Darth Vader music) science has pretty much settled on using the Metric system.

When we read the articles by Clarence Collison and Randy Oliver, Tom Seeley and countless other researchers in the magazines, books and websites out  there, they will use metric measurements in their research and discussion.  We being largely still being not used to it, there are times American beekeepers might get a bit beefuddled.

Yet and still we want to promote scientific beekeeping and advocating for beekeepers to be involved in more scientific pursuits or at least more educated on the scientific research.  Research that is rapidly being released almost daily it seems at times.  So then it beehooves us to help people wrap our minds around metric measurements.

Personally, I get a kick from the idea of a bunch of beekeeper citizen scientists, or as I like to call them, “Mad Beekists”.

It doesn’t have to be a total memorization issue either.  There are compromises to be had.  For example, in many measuring products available to us now, they come with both imperial and metric units of measurement on the same item.  Measuring cups, shot-glasses used for measuring, spoon sets, tools like wrenches and bits come in metric sizes.  There are tape measures that are very reasonably priced that have both systems printed on them as well.

A Synopsis On Units

Weight/Mass is measured in grams

Length/Distance is measured in meters

Volume/Space/Liquid is measured in liters

Temperature is measured in degrees of Celcius

Breaking down The Numbers

In Metric system, everything is done in tens.

10 millimeters (1 thousandth of a meter) equal 1 centimeter

10 centimeters (1 hundredth of a meter) equal 1 decimeter

10 decimeters (1 tenth of a meter) equal 1 meter.

10 meters equal 1 decameter

10 decameters (100 meters) equals 1 hectometer

10 hectometers (1000 meters) equals 1 kilometer.

This can be applied pretty much across the board to other areas of measurement such as liters and grams.


Temperature is a bit different.  It is measured using Celsius instead of Fahrenheit.

To start with, in Fahrenheit measurements fresh water freezes at 32°F.  That same fresh water freezes at 0°C in Celsius measurement. (I specify “fresh” water because researchers have noted that depending on the type of water and aspects of it’s makeup, it can freeze at different temperatures.)

Converting from one to the other is also a bit tricky. To convert from Celsius to Fahrenheit you could use the following method…

 Multiply by 9, divide that result by 5, then add 32. For example; 

To convert 10 degrees Celsius to Fahrenheit

  • 10×9=90
  • 90/5=18
  • 18+32=50

Thus 10 degrees Celsius = 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Going the other way, converting from Fahrenheit to Celsius is actually using the reverse order.  so

Subtract 32, then multiply by 5 and then divide that result by 9

To convert 90 degrees Fahrenheit to Celsius

  • 90-32=58
  • 58×5=290
  • 290/9=32.2

So 90 Degrees Fahrenheit is 32.2 degrees Celsius.

Sum It Up

So, at home, it really doesn’t matter what system of measurement we use for ourselves.  When it comes to scientific documentation and experimentation though, it really, really helps for everyone to bee on the same page.

By all of us “Citizen Scientists” (I still prefer “Mad Beekists”) sticking to the same system of measurement, it makes it that much easier to have peer reviewed work available and reproducible experimentation to help others either support our findings or come up with different results using the same numbers.  It happens.