Tag Archives: Honey Bees

Awesome Honey

French apiarist Frieh holds a sample of honey besides colored ones at his home in Ribeauville

As I’m keeping bees, all thing bees are interesting:

(Reuters) – Bees at a cluster of apiaries in northeastern France have been producing honey in mysterious shades of blue and green, alarming their keepers who now believe residue from containers of M&M’s candy processed at a nearby biogas plant is the cause.

Since August, beekeepers around the town of Ribeauville in the region of Alsace have seen bees returning to their hives carrying unidentified colorful substances that have turned their honey unnatural shades.

Mystified, the beekeepers embarked on an investigation and discovered that a biogas plant 4 km (2.5 miles) away has been processing waste from a Mars plant producing M&M’s, bite-sized candies in bright red, blue, green, yellow and brown shells.


Why Are The Honey Bees Dying – CCD Is A Question Mark

Honey Bee

I’ve been following the plight of the honey bee for years now.  But with me recent plunge into the whole apiary business, I’m much more interested.  Back when I first started reading about the problem of hives dying off, Colony Collapse Disorder, the leading theory was that cell phones and cell phone towers were interrupting the ability of the bee to travel.

They were getting lost and dying.

Since then, theories abound.  However, the most recent and loudest has to do with the whole issue surrounding GMO crops.  Is it the pollen from the crops themselves that are killing the bees?  Is it the herbicides and pesticides that can now be used with much more freedom that are killing the bees?

Sadly, we don’t know:

WASHINGTON — The devastation of American honeybee colonies is the result of a complex stew of factors, including pesticides, parasites, poor nutrition and a lack of genetic diversity, according to a comprehensive federal study published on Thursday. The problems affect pollination of American agricultural products worth tens of billions of dollars a year.

The report does not place more weight on one factor over another, and recommends a range of actions and further research.

Honeybees are used to pollinate hundreds of crops, from almonds to strawberries to soybeans. Since 2006, millions of bees have been dying in a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder. The cause or causes have been the subject of much study and speculation.

The federal report appears the same week that European officials took steps toward banning a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids, derived from nicotine, that they consider a critical factor in the mass deaths of bees there.

But officials in the United States Department of Agriculture, the Environmental Protection Agency and others involved in the bee study said that there was not enough evidence to support a ban on one group of pesticides, and that the costs of such action might exceed the benefits.

I’m happy with the approach.  I like the idea of scientific study of causes and reactions.  I also like it when those scientists admit that they don’t yet know and need more time.

Let’s take it.

Honeybee – Colony Collapse Disorder

Bee Hive

I’m getting ready for the new honeybee season.  The hive above has a twin.  In honor of my first real IT job, the one that started this whole thing I do now, I have named them Calvin and Hobbes.  They were the names of the two servers in that little start up company in Seattle.

I digress.

As I mentioned, the hives are getting closer and closer to being ready.  I have one of them painted, the other is on tap.  I’ve selected the spot in the woods where I’m gonna locate them and now only have to clear branches and level the ground.  Well, and obtain concrete blocks and some wood to create a brace; but we’re close.  I stopped out at the bee yard where I’m getting some of my bees and we are on track.

In fact, sitting in the sauna at the Y the other night, I was talking to a long time fellow “Executive Workout’er” and he expressed great interest in establishing a hive at his place.  He loves the idea and wants the bees to assist in his garden.


Anyway, I was distressed to see this headline from the local news:

Bee colonies collapsing as workers abandon hives

I have to admit, however, that my first thought was: “There HAS to be an Obama joke in their some where!  Workers abandoning hives?

But seriously, the problem exists here in NC too:

Jaynes, president of the North Carolina Beekeepers Association, thought he’d have more bees this spring.

He had 12 hives last fall. Now, only two are active after the bees abandoned the other 10.

It’s a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder, and it’s happening all over North America and Europe. Beekeepers and scientists say it has gotten worse in the past few years.

“The hive just abandons,” Jaynes said. “They’ll abandon everything – everything but the queen and a handful of bees.”

Federal officials say there are a number of factors that lead to colony collapse, and there is no direct link between that and insecticides. But a new Harvard study says there is, especially with one particular pesticide called imidacloprid. The pesticide is part of a class called neonicotinoids, which are commonly used on farms and home gardens.

In the study, 15 of 16 bee hives treated with the pesticide died after six months. Those exposed to the highest levels disappeared first.

I plan to keep decent documentation on my hives so we’ll see how mine do.  I just hope not to get stung and get my hives, bees and all, safely to the winter!