Monday, August 27, 2012

On August 27th, 2012, the bees kept busy in the meadows of Michigan. On the day of the honey bee, there's still plenty of flowers to enjoy, and will be for 23 days of your summer balance.


I am pretty sure every family will be exhorted to raise hives of honey bees soon. We can manage if our bird populations drop. However, our food cycle cannot easily function if we have greater declines in honey bees. Around the Chesapeake Bay, students are given the assignment of raising oysters in an artificial environment. Indeed, I noticed a plantation of oyster beds being fed salt water from the bay near Cape Charles, Maryland. We'll soon need all of our students raising honey bees, learning how to use royal jelly to produce queens. I'm not sure we can rely upon hydroponics to grow enough food for our growing human population should our supply of honey bees falls any further. The Killer Bees that made up a running joke in 'Bowling for Columbine', produced by Michael Moore, decided to stay south in warmer climes, so the killer bees aren't going to bail us out.
I have visited a number of honey bee plantations in West Michigan, and I love how much a stack of hives reminds me of a computer room, where racks of computers respond to SQL Server queries or web requests. A hive can fit in a computer sized box, less the monitor, and can be shipped where the bees are needed to pollinate crops, such as almond trees. The box hives and the computers hum according to the level of activity inside the box.
Worker bees can kill wasps, a drone or even a queen by swarming around the victim, creating a ball of buzzing death. The body heat builds up in the center of the ball, and if the heat doesn't kill the victim, the lack of oxygen does. I am rather glad that most hives are short of the number of bees required to swarm and cover a human being.
I love honey on toast, but I understand that much of the honey I buy through conventional sources has been strained to remove all traces of pollen. I've heard theories about the straining, one of which is to cloak the source of the honey. I hear this is as much of a scam as purveyors who try to pass off hazelnut oil as olive oil. I still enjoy conventional honey but think of it as a fake, just like maple syrups that are formulations of corn syrup. Nothing tastes better than honey from a farm-to-table source, especially those brands that are derived from star thistle nectar or orange blossom nectar. Nothing goes better than maple syrup that has been bottled right in the authentic sugar shack.
Image Credit:
Female Honey Bee Morphology. It can be identified as a female by both the number of divisions on its antenna and by its sting.
16 March 2007
WikipedianProlific. Transferred from en.wikipedia. 
Licensed under the GFDL by the author; Released under the GNU Free Documentation License

No comments: