Archive for the 'Miscellaneous' Category

Bees in the News Saturday, September 26th, 2009

After plugging away at this film for a couple of years, it’s always interesting to see journalists attempt to uncover a new dimension to the CCD story.

For two engaging (and somewhat conflicting) articles concerning honeybees, check out these magazines:

NewScientist August 29-September 4, 2009, pg. 6

Discover October 2009, pg. 39

All I can say is that one of these articles makes a lot of sense.

Summer Buzz Beer Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

For those of you that have seen American Colonies: Collapse of the Bee, you know there is a segment featuring a Florida beekeeper named Steve L. Antal. He is friends with the managers and brewers at the Dunedin Brewery, which is also featured briefly. Their Summer Buzz beer is made with Antal’s local honey, which gives the brew a distinctive kick. The brewery’s manager, Travis Kruger, was nice enough to donate a small keg of this delicious beer to sample at the Central Florida Film Festival screening. Thanks Travis. The response was great.

Amusingly, I recently returned the empty keg to the Dunedin Brewery where the brewmaster told me that we “got the last Summer Buzz in the universe.”

Needless to say, I felt privileged.

Don’t Step On A Bee Day Friday, July 10th, 2009

Yes. July 10 is actually recognized as “Don’t Step On A Bee” Day. According to the USA Today’s article, “10 Great Places to Make a Beeline For the Honey,” the holiday began as a caveat against getting stung by a bee on your feet. Now, CCD and the danger of losing commercial beekeeping operations (and, therefore, our food supply) lends some economic and emotional weight to the whole situation. Here’s hoping that the holiday becomes more about saving the important creatures in the future.

And so this year, the unofficial prize for most bee friendly city goes to Chicago. As the USA Today article by Kelly DiNardo states,”Chicago is one of the few cities that allows beekeeping, and several beehives are located atop the roofs of City Hall and The Cultural Center in Chicago. The bees pollinate the flowers along Michigan Avenue and in Grant Park, rewarding the beekeepers with a few hundred jars of honey, which are sold at center to support a job-training program.”

Sting Therapy Sunday, April 12th, 2009

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Notes on Propolis Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Okay, we know what honey and beeswax are used for. It is mostly common knowledge. However, propolis remains a mystery to many laypersons. Propolis (also known as bee glue or bee putty) is a natural resin that bees collect and fashion from tree buds, sap flows, conifer and poplar trees and other botanicals. It can be extremely sticky or brittle depending on temperature. Until the 20th century, it was believed that honeybees used the propolis as a means of sealing up their hive. That is only partly true. It is also used to prevent pests and intruders from entering the hive, reduce vibration and reinforce the hive’s structure.
Actually, humans have their own uses for propolis. Egyptians applied it for the mummification process. The Greeks and Assyrians used it to treat wounds. It is a valuable sealant in dentistry. Some studies show that it can fight against herpes simplex 1 and 2. And, you will find that propolis is an ingredient in many of our common products such as skin creams, lozenges and chewing gum.

Keeping Count Sunday, April 12th, 2009

Just when you think that you can close the book on honeybees, another dimension of intrigue arises. New research and experiments now show that honeybees (and possibly other pollinators) can count.

Well, perhaps the term “counting” isn’t quite apt. Actually, bees can distinguish patterns. They can tell the difference between two and three and four and can remember landmarks in order to reach a destination or food location. After a fourth element is introduced, the bees tend to get confused.

Previous experiments have shown that birds, primates, dolphins, raccoons and salamanders have some kind of numerical ability as well. However, we must remember that the size of a honeybee brain is no bigger than a period.

Interestingly, past research shows that humans have trouble remembering more than four things at a time as well.

Cocaine For Bees?? Sunday, April 12th, 2009

It is more than possible that in today’s economic crisis, many cokeheads are thinking harder about spending cash on their addiction. Meanwhile, honeybees are getting this expensive drug for free.

Recently, a behavioral researcher and neuroscientist named Andrew Barron has been experimenting with cocaine and honeybees at Australia’s Macquarie University. Barron is attempting to better understand addiction in human brains by using bees that have been given a cocaine solution. Using the bee brains as basic models for the molecular activity associated with addiction, Barron has found drugged bees are not unlike drugged humans.

For example, the infamous bee dance used for communication within a hive gets a boost in both enthusiasm and frequency.

Based on information printed in Science Illustrated March/April 2009

Milk and Honey Sunday, April 12th, 2009

It’s easy to forget the connection between an insect that can sting you and the species’ role in the ecosystem/food supply.

As one expert in the film explains,”Everyone in this country is an entomophobe.”

But, the proof lies in every flowering plant you may see in every garden everyday. Honeybees and other pollinators provide the human race with all our fruits, vegetables, flowers, honey and MILK!

As Migratory Beekeeper Dave Hackenberg says, “The cows eat clover and alfalfa, which the bees pollinate, to survive and produce milk.”

Here is an interesting tidbit. Milk is a mass-produced product with many supposed health benefits. However, human bodies can only reap those benefits if they are consuming the right kind of milk. Despite the implied messages of low-fat diets, whole milk is actually closer to the raw milk provided by the cow, and therefore, healthier to consume due to its high protein and fat content. Skim milk, however, leaves out the animal fat the body needs to assimilate protein. The result is a higher risk of nutrient deficiencies. Yet, many people opt for skim or 2% at supermarkets and in coffee shops. Next time you’re craving a latte, pay attention to how many of your fellow customers order a sugar filled espresso drink with low-fat milk hoping that, in some way, it will all balance out.

It’s their choice. But, nobody would get to make that choice if it wasn’t for the amazing pollinators.

Welcome to American Colonies Movie ! Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

American Colonies Movie official site was opened on Feb 10, 2009