bees, honey and other sticky subjects

Monday, March 19, 2007

Honey to die for

Border guards in Kazakhstan have arrested a man for trying to smuggle a home-made grenade in a pot of honey, says Reuters. He says it was a present from his wife for his relatives. He claimed he thought it was honey. His views on his wife and his relatives went unreported.


Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Einstein moment looms?

The UK press is now picking up on CCD on both sides of the Atlantic.

Albert Einstein once predicted that if bees were to disappear, man would follow only a few years later.

That hypothesis could soon be put to the test, as a mysterious condition that has wiped half of the honey bee population the United States over the last 35 years appears to be repeating itself in Europe.
Meanwhile, some US comedian has suggested that investors hoard bees -- the fewer there are, the more valuable they will become.

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007

CCD speculation

The curious symptom of CCD that leaves hives empty -- without even the usual pests and hive robbers until after about two weeks -- brings this speculation from Jerry Bromenshenk of Montana University and Bee alert Inc:

... the possibility that CCD is caused by a chemical that dissipates after a certain time period. After the chemical agent has gone away, the hive is once again safe or tempting for prospective robbers.

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Bees, red herrings and scapegoats on the Eiffel Tower

Kerry tells me about a stitch-up on the Eiffel Tower. It's another book that features -- or maybe doesn't feature -- a bee.

From the blurb, it already seems clear that the bee is a red herring and a scapegoat (picture that!) and that it didn't cause the death of our short-lived heroine on the second floor of the Eiffel Tower. And, any way, if you've ever been up the Tower, you'll wonder why on earth a bee would fly so high in the first place.

The book is: Murder on the Eiffel Tower by Claude Izner from Gallic Books.


Sunday, March 11, 2007

Four Walls

A Greek island mystery that features bee-keeping has been shortlisted for a British foreign literature award. The book, Four Walls, was written by Vangelis Hatziyannidis and translated from Greek by Anne-Marie Stanton-Ife. Envelope day is 1st May.

Shame on the cover designer who doesn't know the difference between a bumblebee and a honeybee.

Meanwhile the synopsis from Amazon:
Following the death of his beekeeper father, P Rodakis lives a solitary life in the old family house on a Greek island. He takes in a young fugitive woman and her daughter. Thanks to his father's secret recipe, they produce delicious honey that becomes highly sought after. P Rodakis is captured and imprisoned by a jealous monk who wants the power of the honey for himself. Rosa goes in search of her real father and incest and imprisonment become the themes explored in this powerful novel.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

Somebody's happy!

Tasmanian beekeepers are expecting a bumper leatherwood honey harvest up to 40 percent above average because of an exceptionally warm February.


Monday, March 05, 2007

Honeybees as canaries

Montana researchers believe that the buzzing of a colony of honeybees may indicate the presence of certain chemicals and even the presence of the varroa mite. Using artificial neural networks, the same technology behind voice recognition software, they say they will be able to analyze the buzzing to determine the specific buzz for each chemical.

“We found bees respond within 30 seconds or less to the presence of a toxic chemical,” said Jerry Bromenshenk of Bee Alert Technology, Inc and the University of Montana. “But the real surprise was that the sounds bees produce can actually tell what chemical is hitting them.”

“We can tell not only whether the colony has mites or not,” he said, “but also the level of infestation they have. The sounds they make change with every stressor in characteristic ways.”

Bromenshenk says he and his colleagues hope to translate the technology into a handheld device that could instantly detect an infestation.

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Sunday, March 04, 2007

Disappearing European bees

The flurry of publicity about CCD and disappearing bees has reached the UK and Max Watkins of Vita has indicated that the phenomenon of disappearing bees has also been evident in Europe too in the past few seasons.

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Hiveside broadcasting

Promotion of beekeeping by British beekeepers has encouraged a BBC Radio 4 programme Broadcasting House to adopt an urban hive and following its progress through the season.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

The Daily Ludicrous

Britain's middle-class, nasty newspaper The Daily Mail, somehow thinks beekeeping is somewhere between inappropriate and absurd!

In a rant (it likes ranting), it has claimed that the Diana Memorial Fund has squandered her precious legacy:

As the years went on, however, the Fund began to take a different path. Grants went to causes from the inappropriate to the absurd - including one of £150,000 to restore the Kosovan bee-keeping industry.


Badgers' honey

Good old Wisconsin, the badger state, came second in the US states honey production table. The average yield per colony was a staggering 93 lbs (42 kg).

The usual top two states -- California and North Dakota -- experienced lower harvests because of dry conditions.

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