Archive for December, 2010

Might Bees Go Hungry Without Invasive Species?

December 21, 2010

Spotted knapweed is an invasive species now ubiquitous in the United States.  Thanks to my colleague Costa Georgopoulos for bringing a recent article to my attention.  A counteroffensive against knapweed is being launched to try to control or eradicate this flowering weed.  Some Michigan beekeepers feel that without knapweed, their bees will suffer for want of forage, particularly in late summer.  They are understandably concerned for their own livelihoods, but also for their ability to maintain a robust bee population in Michigan.  Please chime in on this issue.  What should be the benchmark for a healthy bee population?  If bees are snacking on Maraschino-cherry-sugar-water in Brooklyn and invasive knapweed in Michigan and Utah, then how can we talk intelligently about sustainable agriculture and all-natural honey?  Do Michigan beekeepers market “Clover Honey?”  If so, how much of their clover nectar really comes from knapweed?

The first two pages of the Knapweed article are available in pdf format here.  The above photos came form this website with additional information about invasive plants.

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Brooklyn Bees Produce Red Honey

December 19, 2010

Thanks to Michele Widera of the Salt Lake City Library for bringing to my attention an article in the New York Times about bees that mysteriously produce red honey.  You can read the article by clicking on this link, BeesinBrooklyn.  Bees are industrious creatures but as the article makes clear, they are opportunists.  I find it particularly amusing that the woman beekeeper from New York featured in the story is named Cerise, translation – cherry, in French.

Thanks to Lou Melini for pointing out a related article in The Atlantic.   The article gives a different take on the same phenomenon with some interesting anecdotes.

New York Times, Beekeeping, and Expanding Vocabulary

December 12, 2010

There are frequent articles on the New York Times about beekeeping.   I encourage scouts to stay up-to-date on beekeeping news and send me links to articles if you see them (anywhere).  Here is an article from the New York Times with some interesting scientific background on honey bees, their evolution, and human interactions.  Scouts might also want to watch the progress of other beekeepers.   Here is a link to a beekeeper’s blog at the New York Times.  Beekeeping blogs are great and all, but there is life outside of the hive.  I urge scouts to expand their horizons and broaden their vocabulary.  If you have never used the word simulacrum in a sentence, then I recommend that you browse the blog of a Andreas Forster, a former Salt Lake City resident living for the moment in London.  English is not, by the way, Andreas’s first language.

Ambrose Advent Candles Appreciated in Ireland

December 3, 2010

The Boy Scouts of Troop 202 produced a quality product when they embarked on beekeeping and candle making this year.  Families all over the world are enjoying the candles during Advent.  If you have stories to tell about your advent candles and honey, please let me know.

Ambrose Advent candles were marketed worldwide and anyone who got one of the 150 sets knows how lucky they are to enjoy these lovely pure beeswax candles.  Patricia and Bonaventure McCullough sent this photo of their Ambrose Advent candles sitting on their table with a lovely advent wreath in Kilnamona, County Clare, Ireland.   Patricia and Bonaventure are the parents of my friend and colleague John McCullough who purchased the candles and sent them to Ireland.  Hats off to the McCullough family and a happy and healthy holiday season from the scouts of Troop 202.

The Jean-Francois Millet Medal

December 1, 2010

Trent is our first recipient of the prestigious Millet Medal in beekeeping.  Trent received his award at the recent Court of Honor where 12 scouts received their Beekeeping Merit Badge.   Congratulations to Trent for his outstanding achievements in beekeeping and to all the scouts who distinguished themselves this year looking after the bees and harvesting the products of the hive.

Jean-Francois Millet was a 19th-century French artist who painted a wonderful painting called Des Glaneuses (The Gleaners).  The painting now hangs in the Musee d’Orsay in Paris.  Each year a beekeeper who demonstrates outstanding ability in the art of gleaning will receive the renowned Millet Medal.   This year Trent demonstrated unparalleled prowess in the art of gleaning burr comb from hives.