Bee Smart Crosswords #7: The Honey Puzzle

Hello fellow melliphiles, you might have noticed that last week, the week of Thanksgiving, we didn’t have a puzzle for you, that is to bee expected as we are always trying to meet the demands of bees, family and business.

Have no fear though!  We have a fun and tasty new puzzle for you all about honey.  In tune with this week’s theme of  honey here on the Bee Smart beekeeping project website AND the podcast featuring C. Marina Marchese co-author of “Honey Connoisseur” (with Kim Flottum).

Of course, you can print out this Crossword, as always using the link to the PF below and yes, it has a word list to help you folks who aren’t into the beekeeping lingo yet.


Is Domestic Honey Going The Way of Craft Brewing

Domestic or local honey is entering an new era of “craft” production and presentation. The degree of effort and ingenuity that many beekeepers are putting into their honey products is nothing short of amazing.

Most honey sold in the U.S. now is imported.  The majority of the honey you find on store shelves and baked into the foods that use honey comes from South America and Asia.  Yes, a lot of that “banned” Chinese honey still finds it’s way into the country via “honey launderers” in Europe and U.S. honey packers that really don’t care what is in the honey they import, as long as it’s cheap.  They are going to blend it all anyway.

Where does that leave domestic honey?   Some of it, mostly produced by commercial pollinator bee businesses, does find it’s way into the big honey packers.  It too gets blended into the job lots of imported honeys to add to the flavor and allows the packers to say that the honey they offer is also domestic.

What of the rest?  More and more, we’re beginning to see a rise of artisan honey.  Local producers working to time their harvests to get small but unique bouquets of nectar based honey that become sought out and bought by locals and new “Honey Connoisseurs” that live to experiment with honey the way other people collect and sample fine wines, scotch and spices.

C. Marina Marchese and Kim Flottum, both established beekeepers and authors, co-wrote a book titled “Honey Connoisseur” that has swept the imagination and taste-buds of beekeepers and non-beekeepers alike by introducing readers not only to the nectar sources that produce exquisite honeys but delightful ways those honey can be identified, matched with other foods and drinks and used in cooking as more than just a sweetener.

Other honey craftsmen are getting into the infused honey market and are delicately blending other, unique, flavors into their locally collected honey.  I know a beekeeper in New York State with a burgeoning side business that infuses some of the hottest peppers into his honey and is picking up like gangbusters.  It’s an awesome thing to experience according to those who rave and beg for more even when his supply is sold out for the year.

The mead makers are still out there making their finest honey wine and beer.  This is now even further accentuated with the explosion of craft brewing.  The possibilities now for honey based brews is staggering.  Alcoholic honey beverages aren’t alone.  There’s a slowly building community of honey based soda and non-alcoholic drink makers making an entry into the craft honey beverage realm as well.  Here in my own back yard  down in Bellevue, NE we have a fellow who makes a spectacular mead AND a honey root beer that is simply awesome.  His business has built quite a reputation for creative honey beverages.

As domestic apiculture moves further into the twenty-first century, we will see, I believe, an explosion of “craft” honey offerings.  Honey producing beekeepers, hobbyists and professional apiarists alike, have their work cut out for them to find ever creative and unique ways to expose new customers to not just local honey, but custom, crafted honey products and uses.

Quite a delicious problem to take on.

New Beeginnings for the Bee Joyful Apiary

We literally break ground this coming weekend to start setting hive stands at the new teaching apiary at Scatter Joy Acres up in Florence.

We are starting off with 2 new interns, 1 full apprentice and 2 volunteer assistants.

We are still encouraging people to donate materials and resources directly to Scatter Joy Acres and if you would like to support the Bee Smart beekeeping project effort to manage the apiary, train new Apiarists, and provide positive interaction opportunities for visitors, please consider supporting us over at my Patreon page for the Bee Smart beekeeping project. Our Patreon supporters will have exclusive access to video updates on the progress of the apiary throughout the year.

Part of the work I do is live bee removals around the Omaha metro area.  As I rescue these bees before they might be killed, I will start them in a process to hopefully end up at the Bee Joyful Teaching Apiary.  Again these live removal efforts are greatly helped by our Patreon supporters whose patronage helps to reduce costs of work for low income people.  Costs can get very high trying to open up and repair an opening where a bee nest is removed.

My goal is to help people bee better beekeepers and keep bee alive and thriving.  My apprentices want to to be that kind of beekeeper as well.  With projects like this that allow us to offer fun, informative and creative content to share with the world, everyone comes out a winner.  Your patronage at the Patreon page help create winners.

Bringing Back Hive Talkin, in a way

Back at the beeginning, I had an idea for a different podcast which was unfortunately sidelined to make way for the Bee Smart podcast featuring the Beehooligans. However, this was an awesome chat and I think you’ll really like this fella.

“Hive Talkin” was an early podcast effort made hoping to meet new beekeepers out there and find out what gets them all abuzz .

It didn’t get far as the Bee Smart Podcast featuring the Beehooligans began to take off.  However, much of what I had wanted to do with Hive Talkin” is now done within the Bee Smart podcast, which is great.

I thought though that I’d let you listen to this episode of Hive Talkin featuring Author, Teacher, beekeeper, and spicey honey enthusiast, Patrick Frievald.

Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto Rico

How cool is it when science and nature complement each other.

Love it when science happens.  Honey bee genetics, biology, physiology.  Especially when science shows us that natural adaptation happens.

Take a look at this journal article about the “Gentle” africanized bees that have been selected for in a specific and limited geographic area.

Source: Genomic study explores evolution of gentle ‘killer bees’ in Puerto Rico

Notorious Beekeepers: Warwick Kerr

You may not know Warwick Kerr by name, but he is the much maligned researcher whose work unfortunately brought us the media scare-fest, the “Killer” Honey bee.

First of all, Warwick Kerr is a Brazilian Entomologist and Geneticist whose work in studying honey bee genetics, particularly genetic sex selection goes back to the early 1950’s.

In fact, in the mid 1950’s he was contracted to try to help Brazilian farmer’s improve pollination seeing as western honey bees weren’t showing the same degree of successful adaptation to the tropical/sub-tropical environment in South America.  What did they opt to do?   Why they brought in a known successful sub-tropical adapted honey bee from Africa to inter-breed with the historically well managed western European honey bees.

Things were actually going well in the research until a day in 1957 when some of the African honey bee Queens being worked with escaped the confinement area and began to occupy and breed with European bees out in the un-managed open areas of Brazil.

African bees, due to their nature and adaptation to a tropical environment, breed rapidly and aggressively to take over other established colonies in a region.  This led to a new mix breed of honey bee we now know as the Africanized Honey bee.

I refer to Dr. Kerr as “notorious” because he has been treated rather poorly in the media and through history being in charge of the experiment gone awry.  The man has since continued to contribute a great amount of research and study to the study of bees and is somewhat a victim of the politicization of science.  He has published well over 600 various research articles on various related topics over the years since then.

Warwick Kerr, due to his bee genetics research and his historic blunder, if you will, of the introduction of the Africanized Honey Bee, is undoubtedly one of the most significant beekeepers of the 20th century.

Bee Smart Crossword #7-Notable Beekeeper Researchers

Here we again.  We have a short list of some notable people involved over the years in honey bee research.

You can work the puzzle online here or you can print out the PDF below which also includes a wordlist for those unfamiliar with apicultural terms.

Bee Smart Crossword #7_ Notable Beekeeping Researchers

As always, you can get the answer sheet for the puzzle over at the Bee Smart Patreon page.  We would love to have your support to keep our efforts moving forward.

Notable Apiarist, Roger Morse

When  first got serious about apiculture, Roger Morse became one of my first beekeeping “Notables”.  Mr Morse’s work has been truly influential in modern beekeeping.

Image courtesy of Wikipedia.

He was one of the first researchers to delve in-depth into the Varroa mites. Not only that, he had a good look at Small Hive Beetles as well.  Closely connected to Cornell University,  he has authored numerous research articles on any number of topics relating to beekeeping and was a contributor to that time of apicultural information, “ABC’s and XYZ’s of Beekeeping”, and the monthly beekeeping magazine, “Bee Culture”, among others.

He was influential to several of those we currently count on for new and important research.  People like Tom Seeley, author of “Honeybee Democracy”  for example.

The writing and presentation style of Roger Morse was persuasive to say the least.  At least to me.  I find his writing in particular to be familiar, friendly even.

One of his books in particular number among my favorites, “The New Complete Guide to Beekeeping”.

Cornell University press euligized Roger Morse and provided us with a far too brief but well done last look at his work.

Notable and Notorious Beekeepers

The topic for the Bee Smart beekeeping project website this week is learning a bit more about the notable and notorious beekeepers that have moved the world of beekeeping over the years.

Some have given us great innovations in methods and equipment.  Others have increased our understanding immensely.  Still others have given us experience in what not to do rather than do what they actually did.

Let’s chat about some if the great minds and personalities that have helped modern apiculture become what it is today, shall we?