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?

This Week at Bee Smart…Pests

Trying out some topical changes here at the Bee Smart beekeeping project.  You may have noticed the new weekly puzzle on Wednesdays.  It has a theme.  That’s due to the idea that each week here will loosely focus on a particular subject.

This week’s subject is pests of beekeeping.  Notice that we’re just talking about pests, not diseases or poison.

Nasty little critters like Varroa mites and Small Hive Beetles (SHB).  Wax moths, ants, skunks, even dragonflies.

There are many pests that seem intent on taking down bees.  We’ll spend this week talking about some of them in these posts, in the puzzles and maybe a video.

Some pests are persistent threats nearly all year long.  Others are seasonal or unique to certain conditions.  I won’t try to cover everything in this post, way too much ground to cover in a year let alone one week or one post.

However, we’ll spend this week getting to know a bit more about some of the troublemakers that keep making bees lives harder than they should be.  They can make beekeepers jobs harder too.

Thanks for stopping by to see what we’re up to and please come back often.  We’ll try to make sure we have something fresh ready every day.

The Bee Smart beekeeping project podcast beegins again

Yes, things are getting back on track on especially awesome.

The Beehooligans Podcast will start recording again by the end of the Month and get at least one episode out by then.. We are jumping from being a weekly podcast to every two weeks instead.  

Also, we’re focusing on assembling a live, local group of beekeeperly people to a round table discussion and one or two of our alternately located Beehooligans via web conferencing in on the chat.

And hey, if you happen to be in the Omaha, NE area on one of the days we record, we’d love to have you sit in with us.

They are honey bees, They are Legion.

One…is the loneliest number….

Unless, of course, you’re talking about bees.  Bees throw things on their side sometimes.  Take the honey bee colony for example.

There is “A” honey bee colony.  One.  Singular.  “It” is what we beekeepers are interacting with when we tend to a hive.  “A” colony is made up of many tens of thousands of individual bees that fall into one of three castes.  So now we have one colony, three castes and thousands of bees.  Yet and still, we are talking about the same thing.

Of the three castes within a colony (reproductive female, reproductive males, and non-reproductive females), none of them can sustain a colony on it’s own.  They are all three interdependent upon each other.  A colony cannot and will not survive long without all three castes represented.

Each individual bee carries out tasks determined in part part instinct, age, and interaction with other bees.  All of the tasks carried out by all of the bees are carried out not with their own individual interests in mind, but to fulfill the needs of the colony as a whole, single, unified entity.

This important to understand as we tend to our hives.  As I work with a hive, I am working with “A” honey bee colony, not just a bunch of bees in a box.  There is no indication that the bees possess a sense of individuality on a one-by-one basis.

I like to name my hives to reflect the singularity of the “many in one” colony.  Just for fun, I once had a hive named “Borg” and another named “Legion”.    It was all fun and games until Legion picked up some REALLY “hot” traits and made the trope a bit too close for comfort.

Actually, Legion is quite an accurate trope to describe the honey bee colony.  It brings to mind the concept of the “hive mind”  (gee, I wonder where that concept came from😮) in which, there is no individual identity of the members of the whole, they are one mind,  they share a singular identity.

So, as you go out and tend the hives, consider seeing them not a simply a box of a bunch of bees but as “A” Bee colony instead.  It may very well affect how you interact with them and how you go about your beekeeping.

 

Story Review: Earl Pruitt’s Smoker by Patrick Frievald

Patrick Frievald is an Apiarist.  He makes part of his living working with bees.  He is also an author of several books in the horror genre.  When you combine beekeeping and creative writing, interesting things can happen.

In the new anthology called “Behold! Oddities, Curiosities, and Undefinable Wonders“, Patrick has a story titled “Earl Pruitt’s Smoker”.  It took me awhile, but I finally got to read the story.

Having read most of the other books by Patrick Frievald, I was curious how this would turn out given his great passion for bees and beekeeping and making delicious, spicy honey things and his supernatural thrillers that make up most of his author endeavors.

I’d bee lying if I said that “Earl Pruitt’s Smoker” was an innocent walk through the flowers in regards to telling a tale based on beekeeping.  It’s an earnest story though, giving us a passionate tale of bees, beekeeping and the smoky motives and pressures of the people who find the practice nearly an obsession.

Patrick spells an imaginative painting using his own passion for beekeeping to give an honest rendering of the world of beekeeping as only a beekeeper can see it.   I like it a lot.  It’s engaging and challenges preconceived notions about who people really are beneath the veil.

I hope you get a chance to read this story.  There just aren’t enough ‘good’ things to read about the world of beekeeping.  In fact, I can see this single tale being the beginning of an anthology in it’s own right both in following the possession of the smoker in question and the lead for other stories based on the beekeeping theme in general.

Bee Smart and read “Earl Pruitt’s Smoker” by Patrick Frievald.

What’s the point?

So, the Bee Smart beekeeping project and that goes into it here…   What’s the point of it all when there are so many other beekeeping websites out there?  I ask myself this every so often.

I am always come back to the notion that I believe that there are things about bees and beekeeping that can be introduced and communicated differently, if not better in general.

The one thing about the web is that it contains so much information yet in many ways, so little context.  People can do a Google search on seconds to get information yet still not understand it because it lacks context and perspective.  In some cases, it does get presented with context and perspective but sadly, in a way that leaves people no better off or with any better understanding than before.  In some cases, even in a worse place.

Also, Bee Smart beekeeping project is here to entertain and inform anyone who wants to understand bees and beekeeping better not just a specific group.  I want to help non beekeepers understand every bit as much as I want beekeepers of any skill level to understand.

I just hope to do so in a way that isn’t necessarily the same way as everywhere else on the internet.  That is from the perspective of beekeeping as a professional trade.    The Point of presenting information to you about bees and beekeeping isn’t so much as to influence anyone to being pro this or anti that.  It’s more of a “here’s what it is, here’s how it works, here are the pro’s and con’s of it.”

The goal is to help people be successful.  To be successful in anything to do with bees or beekeeping, you have to be informed and you have to be interested.  The Bee Smart approach to achieving being informed is to provide you with as accurate and honest information as possible.

The way we address being interested is to present the information in an entertaining (we hope) way.  When people are having fun with something, they pay more attention and usually remember it better.

Anything you can access on this website is zero cost to you.  Listen to the podcasts, watch videos, read articles and posts, download useful documents, interact on the forums.  No charge.

I have a Patreon page for people who beelieve in what I am doing here and their support helps make it possible to make everything available at no upfront cost.  I hope to get more Patreon supporters so that I can offer better quality content and more of it.  In order to get more people to become Patreon supporters, they have to beelieve in the Bee Smart beekeeping project and what it’s trying to achieve also.

Thanks to everyone who is visiting us here and finding this content useful, informative and entertaining.  Thank you greatly to our Patreon supporters for continuing to help us make it happen.