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Tonight we sleep with royalty in the house

Eight queens to be exact. Our packages of honey bees have arrived! Each of those "bee buses" holds one queen, and 10,000 workers. These will be distributed to our customers who have purchased them. They will then populate 8 new hives in our area. This is the first year for us selling bees. Really quite exciting!

Here is a link to a video showing how to populate the new hive with these packages. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZknUirqbQk
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A fungal honeybee connection

We were just discussing the other day how a species of solitary Brazilian bee was discovered that cultivates fungus as food for it's young. Now we hear that the devastating Varrora Mite , which can kill whole hives of honeybees, may be controlled with a special fungus that was known to kill termites.

Mushroom expert Paul Stamets says he noticed a relationship between honeybees and mushrooms when he observed bees sipping on sugar-rich fungal roots growing in his backyard. "I looked down, and they were sucking on my mycelium," he says. Now he thinks he knows why.

In recent years, his research has shown that rare fungi found in the old-growth forests of western Washington can help fight other viruses and diseases, including tuberculosis, smallpox and bird flu. He wondered if the honeybee would see similar health benefits from wood-rotting mushrooms. "Bees have immune systems, just like we do," he says. "These mushrooms are like miniature pharmaceutical factories."

So far the experiments with the fungus, bees, and mites appears to be working.

#bees  
#fungus  
#varroramite  
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Mothers of Invention
 
In Marigat town in the heart of Baringo County, Kenya, beekeeping can be big business. Problem was, when the men we're sent to collect the honey, they would return with half filled buckets, and lots of stings. Seems machine made protective bee keeping equipment at Sh4,000 is out of the price range for these people. 
 
According to "Daily Nation", to get more women involved in the honey gathering they created their own honey gathering suits made out of gunny bags. “'We sell our gears at Sh700 each and hire at Sh200 per day to farmers who need. Last year we sold 20, this year we hope to surpass the number'.  Faith Lekunosok, a beekeeper, says she has used the gear severally and finds it effective. 'Save for the sweating while in it, I have not found any other drawback. But I would rather bear the heat than bee stings or lose honey to our men.'

David Palla, a bee product and standards official at State Department of Livestock, says the gunny bag bee suit is much better than cotton-made ones. 'The kit does not cause deaths to bees,' says Palla. 'Bees normally sting on cotton fabric and die but they cannot penetrate nylon.' Palla encourages use of nylon material in the manufacture of honey-harvesting gears." 
 
National Honey Council chairman Nzainga Kithuma notes beekeeping is male-dominated in the region, with men harvesting honey without gear. However, with such innovations, more women are joining the agribusiness amid growing demand for honey." 
 
The mothers of invention.

#beekeeping
#suits
#kenya
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Bee and Broccoli

One of our worker bees decided to land on our broccoli seedling trays. I can only assume she is gathering moisture from the soil mix? Not sure why the wing fanning occurs, but I assume its just the excitement of the upcoming weekend.

Keep bees happy by supplying water for them. Might be a bird bath, pond, or simply a bucket of water. Be sure to leave rocks, or something jutting out of the water. This way bees that fall into the water will be able to climb out, and fly on.

#bees  
#broccoli  
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The Cuckoo Bee robs other bees!

Not all bee species "get along". Read about a parasitic bee that is no friend of the Bumble Bee. The photo shows how these bees sleep. They grab hold with their mandibles, then fall asleep
Stunning Photos and Education for me

A few weeks ago +John Kimbler​ volunteered to contribute to +GotScience.org​. I was fortunate to be tapped to review his outstanding macro photography. We decided to collaborate on an article starring his "cuckoo" bee photos.

As I learned while researching the subject, ~90% of bee species are solitary and most cuckoo bee species are too. The article discusses cuckoo bees that attack solitary nests and also the more complex interactions in "cuckooing" a social bee hive (bumbleebees were the ones I read the material). I certainly learned a lot preparing this article.

Please take a few minutes when you can to view +John Kimbler​'s absolutely stunning photos.


H/t +Kate Stone​, +Jess Romaine​, and +GotScience.org
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New FDA rules concerning beekeeping
 
Starting this January beekeepers will need to hire a veterinarian if they need to apply antibiotics to their colonies. Why would beekeepers be adding antibiotics to their hives? American and European Foulbrood are two devastating diseases of bees that are treated with antibiotics as a preventative measure. If the disease is not treated the only solution for a colony affected is destruction of the colony by fire. Yes, the entire hive is set aflame (bees are killed first), as the spores of the disease can remain viable in the wood for up to 40 years! 
 
Until the new law goes into effect beekeepers can apply their own antibiotics. Once the new year arrives a veterinarian will have to be hired to inspect the hives. The problem?  Most vets have little, or no knowledge of bees, or beekeeping. It's also unclear if all the hives a particular beekeeper owns will need to be inspected. This could be quite time consuming with large beekeeping operations.
 
The new rules are designed to keep unwanted antibiotics out of our food supply. Meat, eggs, milk, etc. often contain these antibiotics, which we then consume. Honey is different however, as it's a processed food. Honeybees add enzymes to flower nectar that help convert sucrose into fructose and glucose, which is a lot different that getting milk straight from a cow. It's unclear if these antibiotics are ever present in the honey. 
 
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By Jrmgkia - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=31431865  
#honeybee 
#beekeeping
#rules
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Bees ground F-22 fighter jet
 
In June, a swarm of bees found its way into the exhaust nozzle of an F-22 at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia.
Though some wanted to “get rid” of the bees, Tech. Sgt. Jeffrey Baskin decided to do the humane thing and call in the experts.
 
After Langley-Eustis’ resident entomologist realized he couldn’t do anything about the swarm about the swarm, the base brought in* Andy Westrich, a retired Navy member and a local bee keeper, who was able to remove the bees using vacuum hoses. *The bees are now residing in their new hive  brewery, where they’ll “maintain the honey bee colony and use the honey for their production facility.”
He thinks the swarm may have landed on the F-22 because the queen got tired while flying to a new hive location. 
 
#bees
#swarm
#jet
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Bee swarm!
 
Gentleman walks out to get in his car and discovers 10,000 +bees hanging around the back end. It seems the queen was caught in the "boot" (trunk) of the car. Since the colony lives or dies based on its queen, they thought it best to hang around until she was freed. 
 
When bees swarm like this they are at their most docile. There is no hive to protect. A local beekeeper was called and collected the queen, and the swarm. Score a new colony for the beekeeper. If you see a swarm such as this be sure to call a local beekeeper to collect them. Don't try and remove them yourself.
 
Short 30 second video at the link. 
 
#bees 
#swarm 
# car
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Humans working together with birds to find honey

Interesting story concerning how humans work with "honey guide birds" in Africa. They communicate in what is considered one of the oldest animal/ human cases of collaboration.

"The bird might even have played a role in the emergence of fully modern humans and their energetically demanding brains. Honey is a vital resource for many subsistence cultures sometimes supplying 80 percent of calories in a month.”

#bees
#honey
#human
#africa

In Africa, Birds and Humans Form a Unique Honey Hunting Party

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/07/23/science/birds-bees-honeyguides-africa.html

John N. Thompson, a distinguished professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of California, Santa Cruz, said: “I think it’s an absolutely terrific paper. This is one of those ‘just-so’ natural history stories we’ve known for years, and now we’ve got some hard-won data to show it really is so.”
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OUCH!

Since we started beekeeping the bee stings have become more frequent. When I get stung on my hand my lower forearm swells up, so this article was an interesting read. Anything to keep the swelling and pain down is the goal. One subject touched on is how quickly to remove the stinger. Some say to scrape the stinger out with a credit card so as not to squeeze the poison further into the arm. This article indicates speed in removing the stinger it is more important than how it's removed. It must be removed withing 8 seconds to prevent up to 30% of the swelling.

Also interesting was smoking the sting with your smoker tool so as to mask the "attack" pheromone the bee puts off when stinging you. It's that "attack" pheromone that calls the other bees to join in the attack.

Interesting read for both the beekeeper, and anyone interested in the physiology of the bee sting.

Bee Culture, Bee venom and the chemistry of the "ouch!"
http://bit.ly/29tHPz8

#bee
#sting
#beekeeping
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