Major Research Development to Help Honey Bees

As the pest, disease and pesticide issues facing bees continues to frustrate beekeepers across the country, more projects are coming together to try to help make some positive headway in keeping honey bees healthy and alive.

A new honey bee testing service announced this week will allow beekeepers to more effectively identify and address diseases plaguing bee colonies, according to the National Agricultural Genotyping Center (NAGC). NAGC conducted the research and developed the testing panel with the support of the National Corn Growers Association and the North Dakota Department of Agriculture. […]

Source: Major Research Development to Help Honey Bees

That Time Schawee Caught Three Queens in ONE Swarm

Beekeepers say that swarm captures are almost always great fun and a terrific way to build your apiary.  “Everyone” knows that a swarm only leaves with one queen right?  Well, apparently, no one bothered to tell that to THIS swarm.

What are bees doing? Making Honey

Honey, the golden flow.  The nectar of the Gods (or is that Mead?)  For us bees, it is the stuff of life.  Whatever you might think of honey, it’s not nearly as what it is to honey bees.

First of all, what is honey?  Honey is nectar, a sugary sap-like substance produced by flowers that is mostly water with varying amounts of sugars in it.  Actually honey is nectar that has been changed and dehydrated by the mixing of special enzymes found in every worker bees “Crop” also known as the honey gut.  We’ll gut more into that later.

First of all, flowers aren’t as nice as you think they are.  Oh sure, they want you look at them and say how pretty they are and how great they smell.  You don’t understand though, it’s all a plot.  Plants are conniving things that are manipulating us bees into helping them to multiply and take over the world.

It’s true.  See, for millions of years now, plants have been adding this addictive and tasty substance you call nectar to trick honey bees and some other insects into pollinating them and help them to reproduce, multiply and spread out.  With bee pollination, some flowering plants can take over entire landscapes and no-one bats an eye except to look at the pretty sight.

Puh-leeze.

They lure us in with this tantalizing nectar.  We brush past all the pollen, covering ourselves in it, drink up the nectar and store it to take home and share with the colony.  On the way, bees stop at other, similar flowers and as we go in for the nectar again, the pollen we picked up from the previous schemer is brushed off onto the next one helping it to reproduce more efficiently.

Meanwhile, we take the nectar home, mix in a variety of enzymes from our Crop and as we pass it to the next bee or into a stores cell, we mix even more of the “special enzyme mixture” into the nectar which, among other things, converts the sugars and helps to dehydrate the nectar until it’s only about 18% water.  When you consider that nectar starts out as maybe 80% water or more, that’s one heck of a transformation we put it through.

So it get’s converted, dehydrated, stored and then we save it and make more.  It gets eaten, eventually.  depending on the time of year or the season.  This is the primary food of all adult bees.  We do collect some of the pollen also to feed the brood but for adult bees, we get the good stuff.

However, we have to live with the knowledge that we are willing accomplices to plants’ diabolical plot to take over the world.  Really, when it all comes down to it, we don’t mind.  The plants and bees were here long before you people and we’ll pretty much bee here long after you are gone.  Not that I’m wishing anything bad on anyone, just, well, you know, that whole “Survival of the Fittest” thing.

A single honey bee colony in a beekeeper’s hive is capable of relatively easily producing anywhere from 50 to 300 pounds of honey depending on the resources, environment and weather.  Of course, it also depends on the bees.  I have got some cousins that, well, let’s just say if they don’t get motivated, they will be “Naturally Selected” before you can say “Honey”.

I have sisters who will spend their whole lives as a forager collecting about 1/12th of a teaspoon of honey.  Don’t worry too much about it though, I have more sisters than most cities have people.  This is what they are made for.  True story.

My Momma, the Queen bee, she told me once, “Bubba Bee, when you’re sisters give you food, you’d better eat all they give you beecause that stuff took a whole lotta effort to make and we’re all counting on you to go make some future Queen bee mighty successful at laying eggs.  So you eat that honey and become healthy and strong.”

Truth bee told, my Momma didn’t call me “Bubba”.  She just said, “Boy”  beecause when she’s laying that many eggs to beecome drones, it’s hard to come up with that many different names.  One of my sisters did tell me once that one colony in a hive can fly a total (combining all the flights of all the foragers) of about 55,000 miles, getting nectar from approximately 2 million flowers just to make one pound of honey.

Did you realize that honey bees are considered to be the only insect that make food edible by humans?

You’re welcome.

There’s A New Sheriff Around Here

Congratulations are in order.  Big Bear got the great idea to hire an Editor-In-Chief to handle the Bee Smart website.  So beecause I proved myself so handy at beeing a, well let’s face it, I was a mascot, I have been given a shot at running the whole show here.

Life as a drone isn’t all that it’s cracked up to bee.  Yes, I know I’m small for a drone and yes, he makes me wear that prosthetic stinger.   Still , it’s significantly better than life in the hives.  Sure, there’s all the hang time with the fellas and you get to hang out in pretty much any hive you want.  It’s kind of like what you call living like a rock star.  All the girls giving you attention, free food whenever you want, crash anyplace, chasing all the best bee girls, every one of them is like a queen.

Oh sure, we die when we finally manage to catch up and spend some quality time with one of those queens.  But hey, what a way to go, am I right?

But then, oh they don’t tell you about this when you crawl out of the cell day one.  Oh no, when the weather goes cold, it’s like zombee apocalypse time for drones in the hive.  It’s like every single worker is out to kill you.  IT’S CRAZY I SAY!!!

So, thanks, but no thanks.  I found my way out of that craziness and landed a sweet job working for Big Bear here at Bee Smart as the “Public Relations Representative”.  Yeah, I was a mascot.  That’s alright though.  I’ve been reading and watching all kinds of fascinating documentaries on people.  This YouTube thing is wild.  You humans are a trip.

So here I am, the new Editor-in-Chief of Bee Smart beekeeping project.  On the surface, my main job is to keep everyone informed and entertained.  “Keep the content flowing like honey.” is what the Bear told me.

Beehind the scenes though, really, have you ever tried to keep a bunch of A Type personality beekeepers like the bunch we have here on task?  It’s like herding Aphids.  No cooperation at all, I’m here ta tell ya.

I think you’ll like what we have planned in the upcoming days, weeks and months ahead.  Lot’s of news captured from the web, curated and posted here for you.  Original articles on anything and everything to do with bees, beekeepers and beekeeping and anything else like honey, beeswax, woodworking, gardening for bees…  You get what I mean.

Of course we can’t forget the podcasts.  Or the videos.  Let’s not forget the monthly newsletter for Patrons too.  Whew.  I just started this job and I’m already tired just thinking about it.  I don’t know now if it was a promotion or punishment.

 

Lost colonies: How bee rustling works

Hive stealing has been around for a very long time.  While this article discusses pretty well how “bee rustling” is impacted by almond season, it doesn’t go quite into the history of the malpractice.

Also, I’d like to add that the estimable gentleman from Bee Culture magazine that was quoted in this article is Kim Flottum (NOT Flossum).  As always, excellent input Kim.

When $90,000 worth of bee colonies were stolen recently in Manvel, it raised one question among those outside the industry: Why? Why steal bees?

Source: Lost colonies: How bee rustling works

Bee Smart Presents.. A Moment With Big Bear

Bee Smart Crew member Big Bear occasionally drops a quick video talking about things to do with beekeeping.  What’s Big Bear talking about today? beesides not having a great camera (you’ll see how bad all too soon) he has a thing or two to share about having a plan for your beekeeping this year.

The Bee Smart Podcast Crew Has A New Regular – YappyBeeman

Beecause we’re always looking for awesome people who can have fun in this wild beekeeping world we work in, JP brought us a fella who’s a natural fit for the Bee Smart Podcast Crew.

Beginning soon, “Yappy” AKA Travis Ulbrich, will bee joining us on the weekly podcast and you will find select examples of his work among our various and sundry postings. with plenty of links to show you even more of the cool stuff he does with bees.

Thank you for stepping in to the Bee Smart community and Yappy, we know you’ll bee right at home here.

 

The Weekly Bee Smart Podcast, update 2

We have some more information.  The episodes will begin on Saturday January 7th 2017 and will be posted every Saturday by 12:00 p.m. CST thereafter.

We have a great panel of podcasters to introduce to you in January.  Big Bear, Tony Gaines will bee hosting regularly with Jeff Armstrong AKA JPtheBeeMan joining the panel in the second episode and thereafter with somewhat regularity.

We’ll spend January introducing you to our regular podcast panelists and in February, we’ll begin to invite guest panelists to sit in on the discussions with us.  I’m very excited to say we have a great start to our lineup of guest panelists so far for February 2017.  Kim Flottum from Bee Culture Magazine will bee joining us.  John Winkler from the Papio-Missouri River Natural Resources District in Eastern Nebraska will join us also.  I’m also looking forward to having Guy Shingleton, inventor and distributor of the terrific Colorado Bee Vac sitting in with us as well.

Keep in mind that we really won’t be doing “interviews” as you know them typically.  Our guest panelists are invited to sit in on the discussion of topics we have for that particular episode.  Of course, don’t bee surprised to notice that some of the topics discussed just happen to bee right up the alley of the guest panelist we have on a given episode.

The topics in each episode will range from news to Q&A to “Behind The Scenes” stories and who knows what else we will get into.  Just know that it will always have a bearing, directly or indirectly on bees, beekeepers and beekeeping in some way.

The weekly Bee Smart podcast

Beginning in January 2017, the Bee Smart weekly podcast will become available for streaming and download on a once per week basis.  That might seem obvious up front but it represents quite a challenge in coordinating schedules and keeping interesting topics each and every time.

The purpose of the weekly podcast is to have an opportunity to share ideas, opinions, experiences and insight from a variety of perspectives.  At the core of the podcast panel there is myself, Big Bear, and Tony G.  In this team up alone we have a different perspectives from an experienced, professional apiarist and a new, just learning beekeeper.

Along the way, we will add guest hosts to the panel other beekeepers of different experience levels and those having a speciality or niche that they tend to focus on.  These are possible to include just about anyone with an interesting story, background or perspective on bees, beekeeping or beekeepers.  It could even be you.

The weekly podcast is expected to be a 15 to 30 minute episode in which the podcast panel will talk about something in general relating to bees, beekeepers and beekeeping or it might put more focus on a special interest of one of the podcast panelists.

We don’t plan to do “interviews” with notable beekeepers as a great many times it can put people “on the spot”.  Instead we will invite notable people involved with bees, beekeepers and beekeeping to sit on the podcast panel as a guest panelist.  This way, if there is something in particular the guest panelist would like to discuss, they have the opportunity without it being a “deer caught in the headlights” experience for them.

For the guest panelist, they are one of us for the time and part of a larger conversation.  Hopefully, this keeps it more relaxing, more fun and more interesting for everyone.

Bee Smart is a multimedia project by BBE-Tech Apiary Services that has the grand objective of being a fun way to continue teaching, learning and sharing experiences by beekeepers and people involved in activities and businesses related to beekeeping for everyone who has an interest in bees, beekeepers and beekeeping.