Saturday, February 4, 2012

What's the buzz....

I love honey and I can remember being told that my grandfather used to keep bees in the middle of his fruit orchard. If I close my eyes I can still see the old, crumbling wood shed under the cherry tree where he kept them, way before my time. 

When I lived in Germany I bought solid honey and even bought honey directly from a bee keeper (Your German word for the day - Bee Keeper = Imker).

It tastes so much better than the stuff you can buy off the shelf and here in Hawaii that is all I seem to be able to get/afford.

Now this might be news to you, but our honey bees are in danger and that's a really bad thing. Think about it. Sure bees make honey, but they are also responsible for pollination. Did you know that 95% of all things that are in need of pollination get pollinated by honey bees?   No honey bees means no fruits or vegetables. Like I said, a very bad thing.

From what I've read, hives have been dying out, right and left since the 80's. One of the causes are mites. Here are two mites species that are responsible. One is the Tracheal mite that lives in the insect's breathing tubes and can kill a whole bee colony at once. 

I know, icky....
Then there is the Varroa mite which sucks the bees' blood and causes an early death.

I found a web site that lists a whole bunch of problems facing the world bee colonies - If you are interested, you can check it out here:

But of all of these, the one that worries me the most is Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).

If you watch the videos below, you will understand my worry. For me video 2 played automatically after video 1 and so on - but incase it doesn't, I posted all 4:

The cliff notes: Bees are leaving the hive (leaving the queen and the larvae behind) and are not returning. Entire countries are losing 30 or more % of their colonies and are not sure why. They're just gone, vanished and know one knows where..

Another strange thing, normally if a hive is abandoned other bees will come and take the honey. In this case they are staying clear of the abandoned hives.

There is much more discussed in the video and I don't think my explanation will do it justice - so if you are interested - watch the clip, surf the net and inform yourself about this tragedy. would love to hear what you think about it.

With bee keeping in my genes, my love for honey and knowing that honey bees are in danger, the thought passed my mind that we should maybe give bee keeping a shot. 

Yesterday an article on just that subject caught my eye in one of my favorite country living/back to a simpler life magazines "Mother Earth News". Here is a link to the article.

The flip side of the story is that no matter how much I love honey and feel an obligation to do what I can to save the honey bee, I'm totally afraid of getting stung. GEES! That hurts! 

For now it is only a dream, but something I really want to do when we live on our Never Rush Ranch.

Aloha Hui Hou!

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