Tag Archives | Bees

‘The Bees Can’t Wait': White House Plan to Save Pollinators Falls Short, Say Experts

Experts say that in order for bees and pollinators to survive and thrive, President Obama must order an immediate ban on neonicotinoids. (Photo: CrashSunRay2013/cc/flickr)

Experts say that in order for bees and pollinators to survive and thrive, President Obama must order an immediate ban on neonicotinoids. (Photo: CrashSunRay2013/cc/flickr)

This post was originally published on Common Dreams. You can read more of Lauren McCauley’s posts here.

Faced with the growing crisis of declining bee populations, the White House on Tuesday released its strategy for improving pollinator health. Almost immediately, experts decried the plan, saying it “misses the mark” by refusing to acknowledge the overwhelming role that pesticides play in driving bee deaths.

Under the strategy (pdf) put forth by the Pollinator Health Task Force, which falls under the leadership of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the federal government aims to:

  • Reduce honey bee colony losses to no more than 15% within 10 years, deemed “economically sustainable levels.”
  • Increase the Eastern population of the monarch butterfly to 225 million butterflies and protect its annual North American migration.
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More Bees Are Dying As Colony Collapse Increases

If you thought that honeybees were recovering from the calamitous colony collapse disorder highlighted a couple of years back in the film Vanishing of the Bees, you’d be wrong. A new survey by the Bee Informed Partnership reveals that the problem is actually getting worse:

The Bee Informed Partnership, in collaboration with the Apiary Inspectors of America (AIA) and the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is releasing preliminary results for the ninth annual national survey of honey bee colony losses. For the 2014/2015 winter season, a preliminary 6,128 beekeepers in the United States provided valid responses. Collectively, these beekeepers managed 398,247 colonies in October 2014, representing about 14.5% of the country’s estimated 2.74 million managed honey bee colonies1.

About two-thirds of the respondents (67.2%) experienced winter colony loss rates greater than the average self-reported acceptable winter mortality rate of 18.7%. Preliminary results estimate that a total of 23.1% of the colonies managed in the Unites States were lost over the 2014/2015 winter.

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3 Reasons To Go Against The Flow Hive

The Flow Hive

The Flow Hive

This article was originally published on HoneyColony.

 Against The Flow

Frankly, I am tired of people raving about how wonderful the Flow Hive invention is and posting it on my Facebook wall every other day. The viral-ity of this fundraising campaign has been astounding. During my travels in Central America, I even had a Belgium restaurant owner in Nicaragua ask me whether I’d heard about it.

“I love honey. This is amazing,” you read over and over again in the comments from people worldwide who have no clue about beekeeping. The gadget allows you to harvest honey without opening the hive, and Australian inventors Stuart and son Ceder Anderson promise that there is “no mess, no fuss, no expensive processing equipment, and [that] the bees are hardly even disturbed.”

But just because no disturbance is seemingly occurring to the naked eye doesn’t mean it’s not happening.… Read the rest

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Pesticides Linked to Honeybee Deaths Pose More Risks

It’s no secret to anyone who has seen Vanishing of the Bees or otherwise kept up with our coverage of Colony Collapse Disorder that most of the blame for the ill health of bees can be squarely blamed on pesticides, most particularly neonicotinoids. The latest findings in Europe back this up, as reported in the New York Times, but don’t expect AgriBusiness to accede to giving up their favorite killer chemicals without a fight:

An influential European scientific body said on Wednesday that a group of pesticides believed to contribute to mass deaths of honeybees is probably more damaging to ecosystems than previously thought and questioned whether the substances had a place in sustainable agriculture.

Bee keeping at Primrose Cottage, Little OAKLEY, Northants.

The finding could have repercussions on both sides of the Atlantic for the companies that produce the chemicals, which are known as neonicotinoids because of their chemical similarity to nicotine. Global sales of the chemicals reach into the billions of dollars.

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The Hive That’s Going To Make Bee-Keeping Easy

Some inventors in Australia are set to revitalize small scale bee-keeping in a way they surely couldn’t have imagined when they dreamed up the Flow Hive. Launched less than 24 hours ago, their crowdfunding campaign seeking $70,000 has succeeded on an unimaginable scale, closing in fast on $2 Million at the time of writing with no signs of slowing down.

flow hive

Just what is the Flow Hive, you may well ask? The inventors Stuart and Cedar Anderson explain:

A Flow Hive is our term for a standard beehive using a brood box with one or more Flow Supers for honey storage and extraction.  A honeybee hive is usually made up of two boxes; the brood box where the queen bee lays eggs, and the ‘super’ with honeycomb for the storage of honey.  A ‘Flow Super’ is a beehive box using Flow Frames that the bees store honey in.

The Flow frame consists of already partly formed honeycomb cells.  

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Most Honey, Including Organic, Contains Monsanto Roundup Toxic Glyphosates

Dino Giordano (CC BY 2.0)

Dino Giordano (CC BY 2.0)

Via Kali Sinclair at Global Research:

A recent study by researchers from Boston University and Abraxis LLC found significant amounts of glyphosates in a food that you wouldn’t necessarily expect: honey.

Five categories of food items were tested from Philadelphia grocery stores: honey, corn and pancake syrup, soy milk, tofu, and soy sauce. Sixty-two percent of the conventional honeys and 45% of the organic honeys sampled had levels of glyphosates above the minimum established limits.

It’s hard to ignore the presence of glyphosate in a large portion of our food supply. Glyphosate is the main ingredient in Monsanto’s star herbicide, Roundup. It is interesting to note that the level of glyphosates was much higher in honey from countries that permitted GM crops; honey from the U.S. contained the highest levels.

Even the Organic Honey?

So how did so many of the 69 honey samples, including 11 organic samples, tested contain such high levels of glyphosates?

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Honeycomb Geometry

Karunakar Rayker (CC BY 2.0)

Karunakar Rayker (CC BY 2.0)

Via Alistair Bird at A Periodical:

Bees have encouraged mathematical speculation for two millennia, since classical scholars tried to explain the geometrically appealing shape of honeycombs. How do bees tackle complex problems that humans would express mathematically? In this series we’ll explore three situations where understanding the maths could help explain the uncanny instincts of bees.

Honeycomb geometry

Honeybees collect nectar from flowers and use it to produce honey, which they then store in honeycombs made of beeswax (in turn derived from honey). A question that has puzzled many inquiring minds across the ages is: why are honeycombs made of hexagonal cells?

The Roman scholar Varro, in his 1st century BC book-long poem De Agri Cultura (“On Agriculture”), briefly states

“Does not the chamber in the comb have six angles, the same number as the bee has feet? The geometricians prove that this hexagon inscribed in a circular figure encloses the greatest amount of space1.”

This quote is the earliest known source suggesting a link between the hexagonal shape of the honeycomb and a mathematical property of the hexagon, made more explicit a few centuries later by Pappus of Alexandria (sometimes considered to be the last Ancient Greek mathematician).

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Did GMO Corn Really Kill All Those Bees In Canada?

Toshihiro Gamo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Toshihiro Gamo (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

This piece originally appeared on HoneyColony.

Last week, a story about GMO corn killing millions of bees in Canada went viral. Only one small oversight, the title was misleading and the event was two years old. With the pesticide pushers regularly spreading misinformation, it’s important that we get our facts straight. What is the current bee situation in Canada and who really is to blame?

The Link Between GMO Corn And Bees

As the director of the film Vanishing of the Bees, and the resident bee guardian within my virtual community, FB friends regularly post bee news on my wall. Last week, a handful of people sent me a story titled 37 Million Bees Found Dead In Ontario, Canada After Planting Large GMO Corn Field. It sounded familiar. Interested to learn more, I tracked down the beekeeper Dave Schuit who had lost all those bees.… Read the rest

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Artist Creates Stunning Sculptures From Beehives

I was looking for articles about honeybees to post on True Mind’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, and I came across the artwork of beekeeper Ren Ri. It’s stunning and I thought that the Disinfo community might be interested as well. He creates everything out of bits of beehive and beeswax.

via Alessandro De Toni Cool Hunting:

RenRiBeesWax1-thumb-620x413-84698

Artist Ren Ri (who trained at Tsinghua Academy of Art and Saint Petersburg State University in Russia) creates art that is influenced by his childhood—one that occurred amongst the beautiful scenery of Wuhan’s lush vegetation. “Back then, I was spending a lot of time observing animals and plants; my passion for moulding was parallel to an interest for insect ethology,” he recalls. Thus came the inspiration for his project “Yuansu II” which is crafted from the extraordinary medium of beeswax.

RenRiBeesWax3-thumb-620x413-84702

The artist’s unconventional medium is fascinating and has a life of its own—adding character and volatility to each piece of art.

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