Here in California we had a very hot summer. For most of June, July, and August we’ve had temperatures over one hundred degrees. Most gardens with full sun exposure did not do very well and neither did bees. We were really able to see the difference between hives that were shaded (or had some shade […]
Birth: Aug. 30, 1842
Death: Sep. 29, 1916
Albert J. Cook (1842-1916) was a 19th century educator and writer who influenced an entire generation of American beekeepers. He served as an instructor at Michigan Agricultural College (Michigan Agricultural University) in 1866 (Michigan State University later) where he offered one of the first collegiate courses in beekeeping culture.
Cook published the first textbook on American beekeeping, The Manual of the Apiary, in 1876 based upon his lecture series. The book was an instant success. Beginning as a mere brochure, this textbook expanded through ten editions in less than a decade, growing with each edition.
Albert J. Cook, professor of zoology and entomology, established the insect collection at Michigan Agricultural College (Agricultural University of Michigan) in 1867. By 1878, the collection consisted of nearly 1,200 local specimens collected primarily used for demonstration classrooms, for comparison, and to aid in species identification for farmers Michigan.
- Manual of the apiary. Chicago: Newman & Son (1880).
- Wintering bees. Lansing: Agricultural College of Michigan (1885).
- Report of apicultural experiments in 1891. (1892).
- The Bee-Keeper’s Guide; or Manual of the Apiary pp. 543. (17th ed.) Chicago: Newman & Son (1902).
Maurice Polydore Marie Bernard Maeterlinck (also called Comte (Count) Maeterlinck from 1932; [mo.ʁis ma.tɛʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in Belgium, [mɛ.teʁ.lɛ̃ːk] in France; 29 August 1862 – 6 May 1949) was a Belgian playwright, poet, and essayist who was a Fleming, but wrote in French. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1911 “in appreciation of his many-sided literary activities, and especially of his dramatic works, which are distinguished by a wealth of imagination and by a poetic fancy, which reveals, sometimes in the guise of a fairy tale, a deep inspiration, while in a mysterious way they appeal to the readers’ own feelings and stimulate their imaginations”. The main themes in his work are death and the meaning of life. His plays form an important part of the Symbolist movement.
From Amazon.com on his book titled, The Life of the Bee.
In an exuberantly poetic work that is less about bees and more about life, Maurice Maeterlinck expresses his philosophy of the human condition. The renowned Belgian poet and dramatist offers brilliant proof in this, his most popular work, that “no living creature, not even man, has achieved in the center of his sphere, what the bee has achieved.” From their amazingly intricate feats of architecture to their intrinsic sense of self-sacrifice, Maeterlinck takes a “bee’s-eye view” of the most orderly society on Earth.
An enthusiastic and expert beekeeper, Maeterlinck did not intend to write a scientific treatise, even though he details such topics as the mathematically accurate construction of the hive, the division of labor among community members, the life of the young queen and her miraculous nuptial flight, and the movement and meaning of the swarm.
An enchanting classic by one of the most important figures of world literature in the twentieth century and winner of the 1911 Nobel Prize in Literature, this fascinating study is a magnificent tribute to one of the most orderly communities in the world. It is also filled with humble lessons for the human race.
My wife told me yesterday that one of my bees bit her. I cringed and corrected her, “You mean it stung you?” “Yes,” she said. I went on to explain that her faux pas might lead to an uncomfortable situation should she mention amongst a group of beekeepers that a bee bit her. She understood. But the fact is, it’s possible a bee bit her or at least could bite her.
Today’s beekeeping vocabulary word is “Mandible.” Honey bees have jaws called mandibles that have lots of uses. Below is an excerpt from Rusty Berlew’s excellent blog called Honey Bee Suite. Rusty writes an excellent beekeeping blog and tackles very interesting articles. I highly recommend it.
Here’s is Rusty’s take on mandibles. (Link to full article below.)
Honey bee mandibles are all-in-one tools
Like one of those fold-up multipurpose pocket tools, honey bee mandibles are used for anything that requires cutting, grasping, or squeezing. For example:
- Cutting itself out of the brood cell
- Working wax scales into honeycomb
- Carrying dead bees from inside the hive
- Removing detritus from the hive, including wood chips, paper, or cardboard left by the beekeeper
- Carving pieces of bee bread from storage inside the hive
- Delivering food to larvae
- Grooming themselves and the queen
- Cutting drones from their cells and helping them emerge
- Tearing down unused queen cells
- Moving wax from one area of the hive to another
- Working propolis into hive cracks and crevices
- Biting flower petals, if possible, to access pollen or nectar*
- Chewing wood to enlarge an entrance*
|Birth:||Aug. 27, 1923|
|Death:||Aug. 6, 2007|
By Patricia Sullivan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, October 6, 2007
George Wady Imirie Jr., 84, a master beekeeper who tirelessly promoted the value of bees and beehives, died of congestive heart failure Sept. 6 at the Casey House in Rockville.
As a beekeeper since 1933, Mr. Imirie knew enough about the stinging insects to brave the swarms at his Rockville home without the usual head-to-toe beekeeping garb.
“Bees don’t like socks, especially woolly ones,” he told a reporter in 1997. “A hat is a good idea, because if a bee gets tangled up in your hair, it’ll sting you. I don’t wear a shirt, because that way, if a bee is on me, I can feel it and brush it away.”
Far more than stings, Mr. Imirie worried about the decline in bee colonies over the past several decades, infestation of the wild bee population by mites, and the level of knowledge and skill of those who keep apiaries.
“He definitely was someone who didn’t feel it necessary to tolerate any ignorance around him,” said Marc Hoffman, a member of the Montgomery County Beekeepers Association, which Mr. Imirie founded. “He would interrupt someone to ask, ‘How many hours is it before the larva emerges from the egg?’ and you’d better know the answer.”
But he also shared his knowledge, writing an opinionated and blunt newsletter called the “Pink Pages,” which addressed how to prevent swarming, how to prepare in fall so bees would overwinter well and how to deal with pests. The newsletter was read by beekeepers around the world. He coined a phrase now popular in bee circles, “Be a bee-keeper, not a bee-haver.”
In addition, Mr. Imirie and his sons thrilled Montgomery County Fair visitors and schoolchildren with demonstrations with a live hive of honeybees.
A Bethesda native born to a family that has been in the area for 298 years, Mr. Imirie started tending hives at age 9, following in the footsteps of his father and grandfather. He dropped the hobby when he went to the University of Michigan for his undergraduate degree.
He was studying for a graduate degree in atomic engineering when World War II broke out. He was briefly in the Army, then joined the Manhattan Project in Oak Ridge, Tenn., and Los Alamos, N.M., working on the atomic bombs that were dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
After the war, he studied engineering at Washington University in St. Louis and American University, one of his sons said. Mr. Imirie returned to Bethesda and helped run the family auto parts business for most of his working life until it was sold 18 years ago.
Mr. Imirie resumed beekeeping on his six-acre property in Rockville. He set up the hives in a square around a gnarly old apple tree. A hedge trimmed to a height just taller than Mr. Imirie surrounded the yard so that when bees emerged from the hives in search of nectar they would fly high enough to clear the bushes and avoid bystanders.
He founded the beekeepers association in the 1980s and for many years ran it almost single-handedly. After five strokes in 1990, Mr. Imirie began using a scooter. Throat cancer further slowed him in the late 1990s.
When Maryland agreed to produce auto license plates with a beekeeping insignia, Mr. Imirie was given the prototype, BEE 001, which he affixed to his scooter.
The association named its annual award for education after him.
|Birth:||Aug. 27, 1923|
|Death:||Aug. 6, 2007|
A light flavoured muffin great for breakfast, brunch or even lunch!
Of all the bad things out there threatening the survival of honey bees in our brave new world, none is more lethal than the Varroa destructor mite.
The Varroa mite has done more than just imperil the future of honey bees, and with that future the very food supply we all depend on. It has pitted beekeeper against beekeeper in the endless debate on whether to treat Varroa mites in your colony, or go treatment free. Treatment lite?
Should we, as Seeley and Winston have suggested, turn our bee genome inside out in pursuit of a honey bee that might outrun Varroa but will end up being just another kind of wasp…no honey harvests, no increase? Do we even have a choice?
Read more about this interesting option here: Eradication is the Goal: Gene Silencing is the Tool — Here We Bee
Walt Wright was born and raised in Burtonsville, MD, then a barefoot country boy area, and now suburbia of a sprawling Washington, DC. He enlisted in the Air Force to get electronics training, and served as a radar repairman. After service time he joined General Electric in maintaining overseas sites of the Security Service (spell that SPY).
Still with GE, in 1960 he relocated to Huntsville, Ala./Redstone Arsenal to make his contribution on the nation’s quest to put a man on the moon. Development of the propulsive stages of the Saturn V moon rocket was accomplished by NASA on Redstone Arsenal. His responsibility on that program was electronic compatibility of subsystems within stages and compatibility between propulsive stages and the electronics of the instrument ring. No interaction (interference/noise) was permitted between systems on the man-rated launch vehicle.
For the Shuttle program, an added responsibility was systems engineer for on-board Range Safety components. The Air Force has autonomous authority to destroy any launch from the Cape area that poses a threat to populated areas of eastern Florida. Astronauts on board is no exception. If the launch strays from the predicted trajectory, the Air Force can destroy the vehicle by radio command. On-board equipment to implement destruct includes the command receiving and processing electronics and pyrotechnics to disperse propellants.
Walt is aware that the above work history provides very weak credentials to be considered as a honey bee “expert.” He took up beekeeping in his late fifties to supplement retirement income. Confident in his trouble shooting skills, he accepted the challenge “very early” to get to the bottom of the swarming problem. He credits observation skills, sharpened by years of electronics trouble-shooting, for solving the riddle. He was surprised that it was as easy as it was. When his hypothesis was in place in three years, he thought at first it must be in error. Surely, thousands of beekeepers, looking into millions of hives, could not possibly have missed the obvious. His conclusion: beekeepers see, but do not observe, or ask themselves why the bees do what they do.
Honey bees are motivated by survival of the colony. Survival of the existing colony is priority one. In the spring, priority two is the generation of the reproductive swarm. Not even that much is described in the popular literature. Walt concentrated his investigation of swarming in terms of colony activities that support those survival objectives. His findings are a radical departure from literature conventional wisdom. As an example, he claims that all the elements of “congestion”, such as bee crowding and nectar in the brood nest, are deliberate steps to implementing the reproductive swarm process, and not the other way around. The literature has congestion as the “cause” and that’s backwards.
Getting his observations published has been slow moving. Editors of the magazines have an obligation to their subscribers to weed out the chaff from crackpots. Natural skepticism creates mostly rejections of submitted articles. For the year 06 he resorted to writing articles on general beekeeping techniques to build a base of credibility.
He looks forward to presenting his observations through Beesource. It should not be necessary via this medium to appease editors or their advisors. As a start in telling it like it is, he announces point blank: The mystery of reproductive swarming has been solved.
Walter William Wright
August 24, 1932 – February 6, 2016
Quite literally, everything starts with a tasty meal.
In 1943 Abraham Maslow wrote a psychology article proposing a human heirarchy of needs. The short and sweet of the article is: humans start with meeting their basic needs such as food and shelter and, only as those needs are secure can we move to more advanced levels of operations.
So, what does this have to do with bees or insects? Nothing except that we probably need to understand other life forms also have a hierarchy o…f needs even if limited or primitive. Instead of behaviorally based it’s totally instinctual and for most it starts with food and ends with reproduction. Small Hive Beetles, Wax Moths, Yellow Jackets, and other pests are simply trying to have a tasty meal and move on to reproduction.
Our job, as beekeepers, is to interupt their ability to progess from food acquisition to reproduction. They want food; deny them access to food and they never progress to reproduction. Let this thought occupy our minds as we contemplate how to combat these pests (after all, we’re already fed so we can operate on higher Maslovian levels).
Denying food to pests: Does our bee feeding program build up the opposing armies as well as feed our bees? Do you see SHB or yellow jackets at your feeding station? Have we provided our hives with adequate defensive tools like entrance reducers, SHB traps, and “hive right-sizing” to guard and protect food stores? Are we inadvertantly announcing food availability with fragrant oils to attract pests who are actively seeking out food sources?
Using their needs against them: Bait traps can turn the tables on the pests by tricking them into thinking a food source is available. Simple, cheap traps can be made to attract these pests while NOT attracting honey bees. Poor, poor pests; can’t we all just get a snack? If they are hungry they are more likely to try that bait trap. Be careful not to create an increase in pest pressure through careless feeding of the foes.
My point is simply, if they don’t eat they don’t reproduce.
I remember some time back being encouraged to think like a honey bee. During these times of food dearth, perhaps it also pays to start thinking like a pest.
Seemingly indestructible Varroa mites have decimated honeybee populations and are a primary cause of colony collapse disorder, or CCD. Michigan State University scientists have found genetic holes in Varroa mites’ armor that could potentially reduce or eliminate the marauding invaders. Credit: Zachary HuangMichigan State University scientists have found genetic holes in the pests’ armor that…
Read full article here: Varroa mites—bees’ archenemies—have genetic holes in their armour — BEEKeeperTom’s Blog
The worst beekeeping mistakes come from putting off what you should have done yesterday. Somehow, problems inside a bee hive don’t get better by themselves. I keep thinking they will, but they don’t…. [[ This is a content summary only. Visit my website for full links, other content, and more. ]]
We all have days like this. Read more here: Incredibly stupid things a beekeeper can do — Honey Bee Suite
Having had great success with recipe Saturdays, I’ve decided to add Vocabulary Sundays. Short and sweet vocabulary building for beekeepers and those interested in learning more before taking the leap.
Today’s word is: Larva
Larva stage of a honey bee’s life
Three days after the queen lays the egg, it hatches into a larva (the plural is larvae). Healthy larvae are snowy white and resemble small grubs curled up in the cells (see Figure 2-12). Tiny at first, the larvae grow quickly, shedding their skin five times.
These helpless little creatures have voracious appetites, consuming 1,300 meals a day. The nurse bees first feed the larvae royal jelly, and later they’re weaned to a mixture of honey and pollen (sometimes referred to as bee bread). Within just five days, they are 1,570 times larger than their original size. At this time the worker bees seal the larvae in the cell with a porous capping of tan beeswax.
What are you doing for National Honey Bee Day this year? It’s coming up soon. Share your own plans or events in the comments section below. August 19, 2017 is officially “National Honey Bee Day” in the USA. Every year around the country, bee clubs and bee lovers gather together for education, outreach, fun…
These are a big family favorite in our house! These bars are great for when you want a small snack and want something healthy. They are high in fiber, a great source of protein, and energy. They almost taste like a candy bar without all of the added junk. They are also fun to use […]
Read more here: Raw Honey Food Bars — The Honey Cottage
From David Morland, ADBKA Chair: I learnt recently that my Grandfather was the first bee scientist at Rothamsted and one of the founder members of the International Bee Research Association (IBRA). His books and papers were passed on to Eva Crane whose own collection was the foundation of the IBRA library. He was succeeded as […]