bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

"Everybody's happy and nobody's been stung"

Rent-a-Keeper has removed a seven-foot high honeybee nest from an old woodpecker's hole in an ash tree near Milton Keynes in England. The action was taken to try to save the 150-year-old tree which had disease in several limbs. As the beekeeper said on successfully completing the job: “Everybody's happy and nobody's been stung”.


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Feast and famine

While Australia has droughts causing low yields in many parts, South Africa has rains causing lots of swarms and honey.


Seventeen hives atop Manhattan

Great story about high rise illegal beekeeping in Manhattan and elsewhere.


Monday, November 27, 2006

Ways and genes

A tiny insight into the mechanics of genome research from North Texas e-News:

The microarray, a device that can measure thousands of genes simultaneously, allows scientists to study honeybee genes and apply the information to a broad range of research interests for bees and other organisms. For example, American Foul Brood (AFB), a disease caused by bacteria, attacks bee larvae. Large infestations of AFB can lead to the death of entire honey bee colonies. The microarray lets researchers look at how AFB is affecting the bee, what genes are involved in the process, and, more importantly, scientists can determine an appropriate immune response to provide further protection for honey bee health.


Honey 'flu

A US farming magazine has published a neat review of the pollination crisis in the USA dubbing the varroa problem as "the honeybee 'flu" en route. Talk seems to be increasing about importing bees.

Another option being touted by entomologists is to import large numbers of bee colonies to replace losses of native bees to pests and natural disasters. Australia, South America and some European countries are potential sources of the common type of gentle bee that is typically raised for honey in the U.S.

Any type of program involving importation of bees will require exceptional inspection vigilance to be certain the imported sources do not bring in any hitchhiking new super virulent pests. One approach is to send genetically superior, inseminated queens to the exporting countries to allow them to establish pest-resistant and tolerant colonies before sending them to U.S. beekeepers.

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Sunday, November 26, 2006

Whither Brazilian honey?

Despite the European ban on Brazilian honey, Brazil's honey exports grow, reaching US$ 20.13 million until the end of October this year, against US$ 18.94 million sold abroad in the whole of 2005. No indication of who is buying, though.

Update: we have an answer! See comment below.


Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanks be for cranberries

On this, Thanksgiving Day, spare a thought for those poor bees that had to pollinate all those cranberries earlier this year when it was so cold.


Monday, November 20, 2006

Inclusive BBKA

I hear that in the new draft British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) constitution there is a proposal to include bees of all types in their remit.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Pierre the Bear reads the small print

Buying “Canada Grade No 1” doesn't necessarily mean its Canadian honey so Saskatchewan beekeepers have launched a read-the-small-print campaign with Pierre the bear. Canada Grade No 1 simply means it meets Canadian standards.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Bee Movie peek

Here's a two-minute clip from Jerry Seinfield's Bee Movies to be released in twelve months' time.


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Monarchical police state

The bee hive as a police state is the focus of a BBC article based on Francis Ratnieks' work at Sheffield University.


The other side of Guantanamo

Guantanamo, Cuba, or rather the US foothold in Cuba, is infamous for its orange jackets, but there is a brighter side:

Guantanamo that is the real Cuba is where the country's organic honey production began. I'm not quite sure how they define organic in this context (does someone track the bees' foraging), but it's been a good production year.

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Latter day trivia

Here's a bit of trivia for your next pub quiz: what was the name of the house of Brigham Young, the founder of Mormon movement? Beehive House.


Friday, November 10, 2006

It's as suspicious as tupelo honey

A food writer's bag containing recording equipment, tupelo honey, an oyster shell and seasoning rub was blamed for a three-hour shutdown and evacuation of Tallahassee's airport Monday, authorities said. It looked suspicious on the scanner and someone pressed the alarm.

The bag's owner, Todd Coleman, food editor for New York-based Saveur magazine, was detained but later released after a robot opened the bag.

Thanks to cesarflor, whomever you might be, for the alert.


Thursday, November 09, 2006

Part-time beekeepers or part-time thieves?

I'm back online with everything working sweetly (pause to see if PC objects to patronising comment). Nope! here we go ...

Thanks to Rufus, here's a story described as "quirky" by Ananova. It obviously made one journalist happy.

Bee thieves stage sting

Thieves broke into a garden and stole £900 worth of bees in what
police described as a professional sting.

Officers in Mettmann, western Germany, said the raid was highly professional and involved breaking through a section of a thick stone garden wall.

Six entire hives were removed - with thousands of bees still inside.

Cops say they do not know how many people were involved in the theft or how they managed to transport the bees away from the garden but it is likely that the thieves were bee experts.


Thursday, November 02, 2006


Still only sporadic posting as my main PC continues to have relapses, but I couldn't resist posting this photo from the Wanganui Chronicle in New Zealand.

Ashley and Loma Head can't get anyone to remove a swarm outside their house and, as you can see, they are very scared!

It seems that beekeepers in New Zealand are less keen to collect swarms now that varroa has arrived.

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