The Buzz Issue 6: Spring At Last

Honeybees outside of hive entrance, ready for action.
Honeybees ready for action!

Welcome to The Buzz, our monthly newsletter coming to you straight from the ๐Ÿฏhoneyverse๐Ÿฏ featuring a wide selection of stories, articles, links, product updates and much more!

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๐Ÿ This Month's Features:

April Fireside with John Russell

John Russell's regular State of the Hive: updates on how our bees are doing ๐Ÿ

Wildflower Seed Packets: How To!

Want to help out local pollinators, but not sure how to get started? We've got you covered!

Bee Smokers: What is it??

Handy little devices, they are a big part of why beekeepers are able to beekeep at all!

An Egg Hunt!

With the timing of this issue, we simply could not resist.

Guest Article: Gardening with Bees!

We wanted to try something new: have a read of this helpful guest article by Michael Jenkins for beginner friendly info on making it easier for bees to thrive in your garden!

New Products!

A collection featuring some of the latest and greatest. From last month, wildflower seed packets! This month, be prepared for something a little different ๐Ÿ

News and Miscellany

Bees, Cities and Human Health

  • National Geographic has just published a fantastic read on a very recent study around how discarded detritus found in bee hives can be examined to learn many things about the environment surrounding the hive.
  • Cities involved included Tokyo, Venice, Sydney, Melbourne and New York.
  • Researchers were able to discover information about the local microbiome including the presence of types of fungi and bacteria as well as DNA from the pathogen which causes cat scratch fever in humans!
  • Described as "flying Swiffer sheets", bees may become even more useful to humans if researchers are able to take advantage of their unique abilities which are especially well suited for collecting materials from the environment.
  • Find the National Geographic article here

Difficult Winter in BC For Bees

  • A challenging winter has left British Columbian bee colonies in danger as the previous winter resulted in colony losses close to 45 percent.
  • Mites are expected to be the primary problem, particularly parasitic varroa mites, however there are several other contributing factors involved.
  • Kevin Hamilton, BC apiary inspector, recommends planting bee friendly plants such as lavender and sage as a way for individuals to help these pollinators out ๐Ÿ
  • More details on the CBC's website here

Conterfeit Honey in the UK

  • Following our analysis from last month of the Canadian Government's report on food fraud, the European Commission has found 46% of overall sampled products to be fraudulent, with 100% of the UK honey sampled to have failed testing.
  • Counterfeit foods have become a major problem as they undercut high quality products from legitimate businesses and suppliers, while at the same time deceiving consumers with food containing materials that aren't on the label.
  • A master beekeeper, Lynne Ingram, is quoted as saying that shoppers should make sure to choose products that state the country of origin on the label, as well as source from traditional local beekeepers when possible.
  • Full article at theguardian.com

Science and Tech

Article: "Male orchid bees craft unique perfumes from flowers โ€“ now we know why", New Scientist (external link)

  • Some may be surprised to learn that not only are orchid bees a thing, but that they are able to craft their own perfume for attracting a mate โค๏ธ
  • Male bees collect the scent of flowers they visit in the hopes that it will help their odds in courtship
  • Researchers found that a bee might even go as far as to borrow the perfume of a competitor!

Article: "โ€˜Bees are sentientโ€™: inside the stunning brains of natureโ€™s hardest workers", The Guardian (external link)

  • Comprehensive (read: large) piece detailing the latest on our understanding of bee intelligence
  • Ecologist Stephen Buchmann posits that bees may have a "primitive form of consciousness" and can display complex emotions
  • An experiment involving a "robotic crab spider" demonstrated that bees can show behaviour similar to PTSD symptoms
  • With bees such a crucial part of the human diet and life on Earth in general, this research is critical given the enormous numbers of bees that must perish in order to grow certain crops at scale

Research Paper: "Positive selection in cytochrome P450 genes is associated with gonad phenotype and mating strategy in social bees", Nature (external link)

  • Honeybees are unique among bees in their mating strategies and anatomy in a very large way
  • For most bees, a queen will mate with a single male bee or a only a few, whereas a honeybee queen will mate with several partners (described as extremely polyandrous)
  • This research analyzes genetic samples from various species' of bee to learn more about how highly social bees may compare to other types, a great read for anyone curious about bee behaviour (written well!)

Did You Know?

  • April comes from Latin Aprilis, a word with uncertain origins ๐Ÿค” (Wikipedia page)
  • Stingless honey bees exist! There are hundreds of species' of these, and humans have been working with them since ancient times. More at Wikipedia
  • Among honeybees, males are called drones and do not have stingers or the ability to feed themselves. His primary function in the hive is to prepare to mate with a maiden queen and distribute the hive's genetic information to other hives. After mating, the drone's mission is complete and he soon passes away.

Let us know how we did!

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