Honey Bees – Hive

Take an intimate look a life of a beehive. This infrared view of the inside of the hive shows the complex inner workings of the colony as they build combs, produce honey, protect the queen, and raise a new generation of workers and drones. Building their communal home inside a large hollow log, the hive is located in the town of Waal in Bavaria, Germany.

http://www.ustream.tv/exploreGermanHoneyBeeHive

New bee species for Vlieland island

Dear Kitty. Some blog

Anthophora furcata, (C) Josef Dvorak www.biolib.cz for BWARS

On Monday 8 July, a bee was photographed on Vlieland island in the Netherlands.

That bee was an Anthophora furcata.

This species had never been recorded on Vlieland before; though it is known to live on Texel and Terschelling islands.

About relatives of this species, see here.

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OMG, like there are totally things called Valley Bees!

*(_* ™

WSU starts sperm bank for honeybees

By NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS, Associated Press

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) – There’s a lot of buzz at Washington State University over work to develop the first sperm bank for honeybees.

Entomologist Steve Sheppard and his crew are using liquid nitrogen to preserve semen extracted from the industrious insects that pollinate much of the nation’s food supply but face environmental threats. The goal is to preserve and improve the stock of honeybees and to prevent subspecies from extinction.

“We do that frequently with horses and cattle and chickens,” said Susan Cobey, a research associate on the project. “Finally, we have the capability to do it with bees.”

Honeybees are serious business. Washington’s $1 billion apple crop, for instance, needs 250,000 colonies of bees each year to pollinate the orchards. California almond growers need 1 million colonies per year to pollinate their crop.

As a result, there is incentive to find ways to strengthen bee colonies.

But the problem has been storing bee sperm for the long term. One of Sheppard’s graduate students, Brandon Hopkins, came up with the solution of preserving it in liquid nitrogen tanks on the Pullman campus. It can be preserved this way for years. The bee industry has provided funding so WSU researchers can buy the tanks and other equipment they need.

Honeybees face a lot of challenges in the modern world. They can be attacked by invasive mites, exposed to disease and pesticides, or faced with a substandard diet because of modern practices that discourage farms from planting a variety of crops. These threats can combine to cause colony collapse disorder, in which the worker bees disappear and an entire hive is doomed, Sheppard said.

One way to fight colony collapse is to create smarter, stronger bees, he said. That’s where the work being done at WSU comes in. Scientists can use the semen to selectively breed honeybees to improve the subspecies and make it more resistant to dangers.

There are 28 subspecies of honeybees in the world, but the U.S. since 1922 has restricted the import of live honeybees to protect local bees from mites and other dangers.

In an effort to improve the local stock, the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 2008 granted Washington State a permit to import honeybee semen for breeding purposes, Sheppard said.

bee sperm bankTo meet the goals of beekeepers across the various climate zones of the U.S., Sheppard and his colleagues identified three subspecies for import. The desired bees come from Italy, the eastern Alps and the mountains of the nation of Georgia, he said.

The Italian bees, for instance, are prized because they reproduce quickly and provide maximum pollination for early-blooming crops like almonds, Sheppard said. By contrast, beekeepers in colder climates want bees that delay reproducing, so a late cold snap does not kill an entire brood, he said. That’s where the bees from the Alps and Georgia are valuable.

The semen from the desirable bees is extracted and frozen, Sheppard said.

“We are able to freeze and thaw well enough to make a whole generation of queens,” Hopkins said.

The new sperm bank – which the scientists prefer to call a “germplasm repository”- could also help preserve imperiled subspecies, Cobey said.

“This gives us huge capabilities to preserve stock,” Cobey said. “We have honeybees globally that we are losing.”

Weeping Wednesday end….

beeWell it was a tough day today hearing about the 37 Million bees dying in Elmwood Canada. But in honor of them and all bees….I posted all bee stuff on my other WordPress page: www.netdog06.wordpress.com Feel free to check it out, hope you can feel the Love there.

Oregon dead bee update….

dead bee updateIn response to a massive bumblebee die-off blamed on pesticides, the Oregon Department of Agriculture issued a temporary restriction Thursday on 18 insecticides with the active ingredient dinotefuran.
An estimated 50,000 bees and other insects died in a Wilsonville shopping center parking lot last week. A landscaper sprayed 55 flowering European linden trees with Safari pesticide on June 15. State officials confirmed the dinotefuran insecticide was responsible for the deaths. Hundreds of dead bees in Hillsboro are also being investigated.
“We’re not trying to get it off the shelves, or trying to tell people to dispose of it, we’re just telling people not to use it,” said Bruce Pokarney, a spokesperson for the department of agriculture.
While Pokarney acknowledged it would be difficult to cite individual homeowners, he said licensed pesticide applicators would be violating Oregon regulations if they use dinotefuran-based insecticides on plants in the next 180 days.
The temporary ban only affects pesticide use that might harm pollinators, like bumblebees. Safari is one of the insecticides restricted by the Agriculture Department. Most of the restricted insecticides are used primarily for ornamental, not agricultural, pest control.
Dinotefuran use in flea collars, and ant and roach control will still be allowed.
The Department of Agriculture will reassess the temporary restriction after officials finish their investigation into the pesticide applications in Wilsonville and Hillsboro. These inquiries could take up to four months.
The Valent U.S.A. Corporation, which distributes Safari, could not be reached for comment, but the company released a statement earlier this week about the bee deaths.
“We are actively conducting outreach with our customers and industry partners to reinforce the importance of responsible use according to label guidelines,” the statement said.
Dinotefuran is a member of a type of insecticides called neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids can be broken down into two groups: the nitro-group and the cyano-group. Dinotefuran is a member of the nitro-group, which has been shown to be more poisonous to pollinators. The European Union issued a temporarily ban earlier this year on three other nitro-group neonicotinoids, which goes into effect this December.
The Washington state Department of Agriculture decided against banning the ornamental use of neonicotinoids earlier this month. Instead, the Washington department will “urge the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to consider whether additional use restrictions are needed when the products are applied to ornamental plants.”
The EPA is currently reviewing the effects of neonicotinoids on pollinators, since research and beekills incidents highlight “the potential direct and/or indirect effects of neonicotinic pesticides,” its website said.
The Portland-based Xerces Society, who originally reported the Wilsonville bee deaths to the Department of Agriculture, is working with a congressional office on legislation about pollinators and pesticide use, said Scott Black, Xerces’ executive director.
“We hope that this is just the start, that now we can take a look at this entire class of pesticides called neonicotiniods and really scrutinize them for their potential impact on these beneficial insects,” Black said.
–Elizabeth Case

The Comb

inspired-by-honeycomb

Raw Honeycomb is a true delicacy of nature. The hexagonal cells that create the comb are made by bees from beeswax. 550 bees have to visit 2 million flower blossoms to create 1 pound of honey, and then must consume 6 pounds of honey to generate 1 pound of beeswax. Beeswax is an amazing substance that is entirely edible and contains a variety of healing and allergy-soothing properties. Into each beeswax cell, bees deposit the flower nectar they have gathered from thousands of flowers. The bees then stand over the cell and fan their wings to evaporate the water from the nectar, leaving behind a rich, syrupy, golden substance that we know as honey. The cell is capped with a thin layer of beeswax and reserved as food supply for the colony. Enjoy Raw Honeycomb with slices of tart green apple and a wedge of salty artisan sharp cheddar for a delicious appetizer or dessert.

 

Benefits of eating honeycomb

 

Bees Wax

The major component of honeycomb is bees wax, which is used as structural support. Bees wax has no nutritional content and widely believed to be inert, but some nutritional experts contend that it may display mild anti-inflammatory properties, as cited in “Nutritional Sciences.” Regardless, eating large amounts of waxy material may slow digestion and lead to constipation, so its best to start with small amounts and notice how your body responds to it.

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