Monday, September 21, 2009

Honey of a Meeting

Last Wednesday the monthly meeting of the Manassas chapter of NARFE was a honey of a meeting since the organization got to listen to two local beekeepers speak about the business of beekeeping. One topic discussed was the recent disappearance of so many of the nation's honeybees. One third less honeybees this year on top of one third less honeybees the year before. The situation is so dire that honeybee keepers this year drove their bees in semis across the country to California to the almond groves to pollinate the flowers so there would be a crop of nuts. On these trips the bees obviously can't get out and scout for flowers for nectar so they are fed corn syrup! This lost of bees is called bee collapse. I suggest you do a Google search to learn more about this. If the bees disappear, humans will soon disappear because we are on the top of the food chain that start with bees pollinating crops that produce food directly for us or in the case of meat provide food for cattle, pigs and chickens to eat. Why are the bees disappearing? Some scientists suspect a bacteria or fungus is the reason. In the above photo Clark Griffith and Bruce Hafner have on beekeeping jackets with attached netted hats.
In this photo Clark Griffith explains how the bees recreate perfectly the design on the bottom of hive tray as they build up the honeycomb. He explained that it is fascinating that they can do this and do it perfectly.
Below are ten honey facts we learned from attending this meeting.
#1 Honey is good for treating allergies but do buy the local honey that has the antibodies of your area.
#2 Honey color and flavor depends on the flowers the bees visit. Want lavender honey? Get it from hives near a lavender field. But don't put hives near a large stand of rhododendron or azalea bushes because then the honey will be poisonous.
#3 Honey can be used to treat these medical problems: arthritis, breathing problems, bruises, minor skin burns, bedwetting, anxiety, hot flashes, muscle craps and an alcoholic hangovers.
#4 Don't store honey in the refrigerator. Store honey in a closed container in a dry cupboard.
#5 If the honey becomes white with granulation it is still good. To remove the granulation just place the container on a trivet in boiling water until all the crystals melt.
#6 Baked items like cakes and cookies will last longer if baked with part honey as the honey acts as a natural way to retard drying out. This is good to know if you are sending cookies to the kids at college or the troops overseas. To substitute in baked goods use this idea: replace an equal amount of the sugar with an equal amount of honey and then reduce other liquid by 1/4 cup.
#7 It takes a bee 15 trips to a zucchini blossom to successfully pollinate the flower so that there will be a zuchinni.
#8 Honeybees literally work themselves to death so that the old adage stay as busy as a bee is not good advice for humans to follow.
#9 Honeybees are like termites in that they swarm when they need more room. Literally one half of the group will leave to go find a new home.
#10 The queen bee lives the longest. She can live up to six years.
That's it. Now go have a honey of a September monday morning !

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