Category Archives: news

Central Texas Fires

On a serious note, central Texas is currently experiencing some of the worst fires in the history of the State. A year-long drought followed by large gusts of cool dry air from Tropical Storm Lee was a deadly cocktail for starting wild fires. This is a shot of downtown Austin with dark billowing smoke dominating the horizon.

For those interesting in helping, please donate to the Red Cross of Central Texas.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under news

Brooklyn people are crazy!

You can read the entire article here, but this is my favorite excerpt from a recent Slate article about a beehive exposed during Hurricane Irene.

But the vibe among these amateur beekeepers was bordering on hostile. As a city contractor made phone calls, several people in yoga clothes and a twenty-something cyclist with a moustache argued over who had spotted the hive first. A man in a beekeeping suit, sans hood, pondered preempting them all by scaling the wet, slippery tree trunk and snatching it, seemingly with his bare hands. 

It sounds like this entire argument could have been solved with a quick game of rock paper scissors lizard Spock.

Leave a comment

Filed under beekeeping, news

This is why you call the professionals…

My parents live in Florida, and sent me this article of a man who tried to smoke out a colony of bees that took residence in his home. Unfortunately, he ended up setting his house on fire and the bees are still there.

Leave a comment

Filed under news

Did Jurassic Park Teach us Nothing?

The BBC is reporting that scientists have developed a technique to “switch off” genes in the Varroa mite which is a major pest of honeybees. They hope this technique will eventually be used to force the mites to “self-destruct”.

I’ve sung Bee Weaver’s praises before, but they stopped treating for Varroa mites over 15 years ago. They lost a lot of their hives initially, but over time, natural selection created the right combination of behaviors to cope with this pest. To me, this is a better method (along with good Integrated Pest Managment (IPM) techniques) for coping with Varroa mites then trying to genetically engineer your way to a solution.

1 Comment

Filed under beekeeping, news

Human Pollination

There has been a lot of discussion on what would happen to our food supply if the pollinator population (both native bees and imported honey bees) were to decline dramatically or disappear altogether. The overall consensus is that it is not a good outcome for us humans.

What I didn’t realize is that some areas of the world are already dealing with a lack of adequate pollinators for their crops. In the Maoxian county of Sichuan, China, workers now have to pollinate pear and apple trees by hand because the pollinator population has, for all intents and purposes, been destroyed.

You can read the entire Guardian article here, but is a sobering look of what could happen if fundamental changes to America’s and the world’s agricultural practices are not made in the near future.

1 Comment

Filed under beekeeping, education, news, pollination

Beekeeping Articles

I often find or I’m sent articles about beekeeping so I thought it would be a good idea to start posting them on my blog so I can find them again.

The Beekeeper Next Door
Beekeepers Ask EPA to Remove Pesticide Linked to Colony Collapse Disorder, Citing Leaked Agency Memo

Leave a comment

Filed under beekeeping, news

Red Honey in Brooklyn

Once I got my pollen analysis from my first honey harvest, I was a bit disappointed that it was almost all from crepe myrtles instead of a wide spectrum of native Austin plants. However, after reading this article in the New York Times, it could have been a lot worse. Turns out urban beekeepers in Brooklyn were finding red “honey” in their hives, and it was eventually discovered the bees were raiding a local factory that makes maraschino cherries.

I think this is a good lesson on hive placement because bees are going to take the least path of resistance when gathering nectar. If they find an abundant food source close to the hive, they will take advantage of it. Unfortunately for these beekeepers, this food source was chock full of Red Dye No. 40. Obviously, a beekeeper can’t take into account everything within 3-5 miles of their hive, but knowing the area well will help you figure out these odd occurrences.

Here in Austin, we had a similar event except this time it was green honey instead of red. Our guesses were either cotton candy or snow cones/popsicles, but we never found out anything definitive.

2 Comments

Filed under beekeeping, news