The bees are getting to work here at the farm after a great winter in California and Florida. With temperatures warming up – slowly but surely – and the sun returning, you can hear them buzzin’ all around as they get ready to do their work in the orchards and fields around Northern Michigan. Soon the honey will be flowing up here once again!
Bees have made a few appearances in interesting news lately, so let’s take a little trip around the buzz.
Be a Beekeepress
The queen bee Sharon is still accepting applications for her Beekeepress Apprenticeship program – check it out here!
Pesticides Impairing Bees
A recent study shows that a common farm pesticide may impair the ability of bees to fly. It’s another reminder that we all need to be mindful about what we put into the world around us.
Researchers have found a commonly used pesticide can significantly impair the ability of honey bees to fly. The pesticide is called thiamethoxam and it’s used on crops like corn, soybeans and cotton, along with many vegetable and fruit crops.
Agriculture = Good
Another study shows that – while there can be detrimental effects – agriculture on the whole tends to help bees in the area. Just goes to show there’s rarely one “truth” when it comes to complicated ecosystems.
While recent media reports have condemned a commonly used agricultural pesticide as detrimental to honey bee health, scientists with the University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture have found that the overall health of honey bee hives actually improves in the presence of agricultural production.
We know bees have good vision, but apparently it’s even better than we thought, according to these scientists.
“In terms of the smallest object a bee can detect, but not clearly, this works out to be about 0.6° – that’s one third of your thumb width at arm’s length. This is about one third of what bees can clearly see and five times smaller than what has so far been detected in behavioral experiments.”
Take a look at this video of bees using their tiny hairs to clean themselves!
Honeybees have almost three million hairs on their tiny bodies. Each hair is strategically placed to carry pollen and also to brush it off. Researchers at Georgia Tech used high-speed footage of tethered bees covered in pollen to see how these hairs work.
Dallas Bee Swarms
Apparently bees aren’t big fans of paying for parking, and staged a protest of their own against meters in Dallas.
Researches are using bee hives to work out algorithms to combat crime. I’ll be honest- I don’t fully understand it, but it’s interesting.
The bio-inspired algorithm can be used to analyze the connections and relationships among a social network and identify the most dangerous nodes or individuals. Analysis provided by the algorithm could help law enforcement dismantle crime networks or terror cells more effectively and efficiently.
At the Farm
We had a great weekend with our friends at the Oryana Natural Food Market in Traverse City over the weekend. Thanks to everyone who came out to taste the honey and hang out! Be sure to stop by Oryana next time you’re in Traverse City if you didn’t make it out last weekend.
We’ll be helping out with the Odyssey of the Mind Fundraiser for Crystal Lake Elementary this weekend down the road at St. Ambrose Cellars – if you can, stop out and enjoy the music and fun while supporting these great kids on their journey to the Odyssey of the Mind World Finals. And when that’s over, you can catch some of our own performing as “Barefoot” in the tasting room!