Many of you know that I’m a hobby bee keeper. It’s a simple and very rewarding hobby. The bees do all the work! Whenever I am working with the bees it’s a closeness to nature that is rejuvenating and inspiring.
Many of you may know about the rapid decline of honeybees but may not know of the potential impact it can have on our economy and quality of life. Below is an article my friend sent me that illustrates the concern the government is having on the mysterious rapid decline of honey bees.
More and more people in California are taking up beekeeping as a hobby. As a matter of fact we have seen bee keeping supplies available in William Sonoma, a popular store that sells cookware and other household items.
I would not necessarily consider myself an activist. I always felt that example is the best way to inspire and encourage people. But I would like to say that I have found a great thrill and joy in keeping bees and I highly recommend it as a hobby. They are unbelievably fascinating and beautiful little creatures. They are like flying diamonds that give a gift of liquid gold and who’s buzz resonates the soul.
They are also vital to a particular quality of life we enjoy. They are extraordinary living creatures, just like you!
Subject: Reuters: White House announces strategy to save the honeybees
White House announces strategy to save the honeybees
The rapid decline of honeybees and other pollinators poses a serious problem for US food production, say administration officials
By Ros Krasny
JUNE 20, 2014
The White House on Friday announced a federal strategy to reverse a rapid decline in the number of honey bees and other pollinators in the United States that poses a threat to billions of dollars in crops.
In recent years, bees have died at a rate the U.S. government says is economically unsustainable. Honey bees pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of the food consumed by Americans, including apples, lemons, broccoli, avocados and carrots.
Crops such as almonds, California’s second most valuable agriculture commodity, are almost exclusively pollinated by honey bees.
“Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States,” the White House said in a statement.
The contribution of native wild pollinators such as bumble bees were valued at $9 billion in 2009.
In May, an annual report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the “Bee Informed Partnership,” an industry group, estimated total losses of managed honey bee colonies at 23 percent over the winter of 2013-14, the latest in a series of annual declines.
Numbers of monarch butterflies, another pollinator, have slumped as well.
“The problem is serious, and poses a significant challenge that needs to be addressed to ensure the sustainability of our food production systems,” the White House said.
The recent loss of honey bee colonies is thought to be caused by factors including a loss of natural forage and inadequate diets, mite infestations and diseases, loss of genetic diversity, and exposure to certain pesticides.
Bees have also been subject to a condition called colony collapse disorder (CCD) in which there is a rapid, unexpected and catastrophic loss of bees in a hive.
President Barack Obama directed federal agencies to use research, land management, education and public/private partnerships to advance honey bee and other pollinator health and habitats.
But the environmental group Friends of the Earth said the beekeeper in chief should have taken action against neonicotinoids, a class of pesticides chemically similar to nicotine that has been linked to bee deaths.
“The administration should prevent the release and use of these toxic pesticides until determined safe,” said Friends of the Earth president Erich Pica.
The upscale grocery chain Whole Foods Markets in 2013 launched a campaign to support protection of bees. It distributed photographs of the denuded store shelves possible if bees were to disappear.
Under Obama’s plan the Environmental Protection Agency and USDA will lead a multi-agency task force to develop a pollinator health strategy and action plan within six months.
As part of the plan, the USDA announced $8 million in funding for farmers and ranchers in five states who establish new habitats for honey bee populations.
The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign has declared June 16-22 “pollinator week” in the United States.
Obama’s move, the group said, “is the result of a nearly 20-year campaign to increase awareness and all action for pollinators.”
(Additional reporting by Carey Gillam in Kansas City; Editing by Richard Chang and David Gregorio)
Hey folks, although It’s been quite sometime since I have given a hive update, we still have our darling little ladies buzzing around the property and collecting pollen and nectar.
There was a spell there for about 4 years back in mid 2000 or so that we sent the hives away for a while because of some remodeling we were doing on the property but I know have one hive on the property and it will probably eventually build to 3 or so. That’s where I’ll keep it because it can be a lot of work come honey harvest season.
The following are from our 2011 harvest where we reaped about 512 lbs of honey. This harvest was for the last 3 years.
We made bottles that had almonds in them and some with walnuts, and some with both. The majority of the honey was wild flower and Eucalyptus.
Although there has not been many additions to Steve’s bees for a while. Steve Still tends to them every month. As a matter of fact, it’s just about time for a honey harvest and this will be the largest pull ever.
Every now and then Steve will go to his kids school and give a little presentation. One of his neighbors heard that he kept bees so they asked him if he would like to come to their school and give a little presentation to the kindegardeners. Good opportunity to remember what it was like to have a toddler.
Steve packed up his stuff, including an observation hive with live bees in it and took to Herschel school in Northridge CA to teach the kids a little about the birds and the bees, (well, maybe just the bees.)
My sweet little golden darlings are busy again. In Southern California, bees can forage for nectar through the winter due to the blossoming of Eucalyptus trees. Eucalyptus honey is usually darker than wild flower, clover or lavender honey, but just as sweet.
In July, we harvested about 12 gallons of honey. We make a gathering out of it and invite friends to help. This year we had about 9 people working a day and a half. The L.A. Times did a little story and a television crew shot it for some TV home do-it-yourself network. I haven’t seen it yet but I took them through the entire process. Some of them were scared to death – ha!
Unfortunately, I lost one hive due to a condition that a colony can get called Chalk Brood. I replaced it with a wild swarm and then introduced a new young Italian Queen. She’s really a babe and quickly gained the trust and acceptance of the worker bees in the hive. Now they are a happy family – a little cold this time of the year – but they still go out everyday and milk the trees for nectar to make their sweet stuff.
Hmmm, sounds like what I go through when I write a song.
Had dinner with Brian Eno last night and checked bees today. Because this is a bee entry I don’t want to get into how fascinating Eno is because I could go on and on…
There are 5 colonies on our property at this time, plus one in Hollywood and 2 at our friend’s house. The last pull yielded 478 pounds of pure honey and was only done in July. There are a lot of drones, so it looks as though several hives are preparing to swarm. Today was a beautiful day and the bees were being very friendly. I need to order 4 more medium depth supers. I’m not quite sold on the new plastic frames because the bees don’t necessarily like them as much as the wax ones and they are hard to grab with the hive tool.
I will order some wooden frames and some plastic and see if they could mix it up. It’s going to be a large harvest and I’m thinking if I get the supers this week and put them on next week, then by May I could do a honey harvest.
July 21, 2001 2:00am
It’s Friday night at 2am and I’m in my bunk on the tour bus, and we just played a killer gig in Atlanta, Georgia. I know it’s been a long time since I wrote about the bees, but there has been a lot going on.
The hives have been getting enormous, and I knew a few were about to swarm. About 3 months ago, the #3 hive near our bedroom had a huge swarm and the bees ended up high in the ornamental strawberry tree there. Impossible to get down without risking a broken neck, but it was almost worth it. It was big.
Anyway, I left the hive alone, and let them rear a new Queen. When she went out on her maiden voyage to get impregnated, she swarmed in the big oak tree so Julian & I went out there and captured the swarm and hived it. We put it right outside the sliding glass doors by his bedroom.
I’m hoping the #3 hive will rear yet another Queen, but it doesn’t look good. The #2 hive with the Italian Queen took over a year and a half to get going, and is now piled up with 4 supers. That’s very high. I pulled the supers as we went, and stored the honey in the pantry.
2 days before I left for the G3 tour, about 4 weeks ago, I looked out over the hive and saw some funny activity happening. I thought it must be time to add another super because it was getting busy in there and maybe they were getting ready to swarm. So I went to my storage shed to get another super. I opened the door, walked in, closed the door and — right on the back of the door in front of me was an old mirror, about 5 feet high, and it was covered in the biggest swarm of bees I’ve ever seen. I was about 6 inches away from it, and it had to have at least 30000 bees. But I wasn’t going to let her get away from me again, that little Italian Queen. I fixed up a full depth super, sprayed sugar water on the enormous swarm and shook them down off of my mirror. I put the box on the ground about a foot away from where they landed, and amazingly they all marched right into the box.
I now have 5 colonies on my property in Encino and one in Hollywood. The three I had last year manufactured 90 frames of honey since the last harvest in September 2000. That’s about 700 pounds of honey, waiting to be harvested the day after I return home from G3. I can’t even imagine all the honey I’ll have next year, when all 6 hives mature. Oh well, sweet dreams.