Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW

Sacred Honey Bee Evening video clip, CLICK ON THE PHOTO TO VIEW
Click on this photo for a video of "Evening in Honor of the Sacred Honey Bee". Photo by Daniel Bahmani

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Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Vanishing of the Bees, Trailer

Bee deaths leave puzzling mystery By Frank Konkel • DAILY PRESS & ARGUS • August 29, 2010

The unsung heroes of Michigan's agricultural industry are dying at unprecedented rates.

The honeybee, known for stinging and producing honey, is also responsible for the pollination of half of Michigan's $2 billion fruits-and-vegetables industry.

It's also entirely responsible for pollinating agricultural crops with an estimated value of nearly $1 billion in Michigan and $15 billion across the country.

In addition, these bees annually churn out $7 million worth of honey in Michigan.

However in recent years, it's the honeybee that's gotten stung.

Michigan's total honey-producing bee colonies decreased from 95,000 to 65,000 from 1988 to 2006, or by almost one-third. Scientists coined the term colony collapse disorder in 2006 in an effort to describe what was happening to honeybees across the country.

Shawn Shubel witnessed it firsthand. In 2008, Shubel, a 40-year veteran beekeeper and owner of Nectar Sweet Apiaries in Genoa Township, lost 95 percent of his 600-plus hives. Between starter hives, which average 10,000 bees to 20,000 bees, and mature hives, which contain more than 50,000 bees, Shubel lost close to 30 million bees. This year, he's lost about 15 percent of his summer hives, which is still five times more bees than he typically loses in the summer.

"I do believe it was caused by many things, not just one factor," Shubel said, regarding the apparent collapse of his bee colonies.

He also suspects some variant of a virus played a role.

"What they're calling colony collapse disorder is, I think, a cumulative effect of all the problems plaguing bees right now," he said.

Since 2006, countless beekeepers across the United States have reported similar occurrences, leading researchers to suggest myriad suspected causes for the colony collapses.

Gretchen Voyle, horticulture educator at Michigan State University Extension — Livingston County, said varroa and tracheal mites, pesticides, hive beetles, and viruses are all suspected to play a role in colony collapses. Speculation abounds, she said. Cell phone towers, malnutrition, feeding habits and bees feeding on singular food sources have all been fingered as possible honeybee killers.

Ultimately, she said, it remains a mystery.

"Nobody knows why, but something is certainly causing bees to disappear," Voyle said. "They don't know what it is."

Shubel and fellow beekeeper Tim Bennett, owner of Turtlebee and Honeytree Farms Inc. in Deerfield Township, believe new, added stresses placed on honeybees over the years have also contributed to their recent plight.

An average bee colony of 50,000 honeybees will bring in 200 pounds of nectar and handle 60 pounds of pollen during the summer. Each hive is a demonstration of teamwork, Bennett said, with a single queen laying 1,200 eggs per day, several male drone bees mating with her, and thousands of worker bees making hundreds of daily trips to bring nectar and pollen back to the nest.

Beekeepers typically harvest about half of the 100 pounds or more of honey each hive produces each year, leaving the bees the rest of their hard-earned food for the winter. Still, most beekeepers lose 30 percent of their hives in the winter.

All of this occurs in a typical stationary beehive.

In other words, Bennett said, typical domestic bees are naturally stressed out.

The emergence of large mobile hives further increases the stress levels of honeybees.

Thousands of beekeepers transport their hives around the country each year, pollinating major U.S. commodities, like California's $1.5 billion almond crop. These bees mix with each other like a honeybee version of 1969's Woodstock music festival, spreading mites and diseases. They're also fed a singular food source — corn syrup — which Bennett said weakens their immune systems.

When the migratory bees' job is done, they're taken back to their native habitat, interacting with and sometimes contaminating a new batch of local honeybees.

"Our ability to move things from one side of the world to the other has got us into trouble," Bennett said.

Beekeepers like Shubel and Bennett are paid to bring their many beehives to various local orchards throughout Michigan for pollination purposes, but the bees only travel short distances and receive a rich diversity of food.

"Moving from the East Coast to the West Coast is not how God designed bees," Bennett said. "To whatever degree (colony collapse disorder) exists, it's definitely attributed to the many facets of the way our agricultural system is now arranged, the way honeybees are now managed. It's to be credited to many different things, not just one."

It's not just honeybees that are being affected.

Rufus Isaacs, a berry-crops entomologist for Michigan State University, said his latest research suggests increased efforts by crop farmers in pest management — like pesticides — have a negative affect on wild-bee populations.

In a three-year study of Michigan's blueberry crop — which is pollinated almost entirely by bees and is a $120 million industry in the state — Isaacs and fellow entomologist Julianna Tuell determined that increased insecticide use translated to a decline in bee abundance and species richness.

"These results indicate that wild bee communities are negatively affected by increasingly intensive chemical pest-management activities in crop fields," Tuell said.

Where does that leave the honeybee? Nobody knows.

Despite his summer hive losses, Shubel said he "can't complain" about this year's bountiful honey production. Bennett said his bees have avoided the chaotic colony collapse disorder for the year and should also cap off another sweet, productive year.

One thing is for sure. Nobody is losing these honeybees without a fight. If they do, the resounding consequences will sting everybody.

"What's going to happen in the long term, I don't know," Isaacs said. "But from everything I know about beekeepers, they've kept bees alive this long. They're a very industrious bunch, and I think they're quite capable of doing what's needed to keep them alive."

Contact Daily Press & Argus reporter Frank Konkel at (517) 552-2835 or at

"Vanishing of the Bees", Marin County Documentary Film Premier

Open Secret Bookstore in San Rafael, California was the site of the Marin County premier showing of the just-released documentary film "Vanishing of the Bees" (

In attendance for the first public showing were author and teacher Marguerite Rigoglioso, PhD, interviewed in the film, as well as author and activist China Galland. The audience consisted of beekeepers, bee lovers, and just plain interested persons who hoped to learn more about the current state of bees in the world. This film has been compared to "An Inconvenient Truth", and gives extensive background and information about the current and continuing plight of honey bees, CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), and what is being done around the world to address these issues. A must-see for all. Go to or write to see a copy of the trailer and order you own DVD.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Bee Haven to Open in California

Bee Haven to Open in California

A half-acre garden designed for bees and human visitors will open September 11, 2010 on the UC-Davis campus. There are already six million bees and 55 different species that frequent the garden. “We have bumblebees, carpenter bees, leaf cutters, borer bees, mason bees, sweat bees. It’s pretty incredible who we’ve found,” said Neil Williams, an assistant professor who works with native bees.

A garden design competition was held prior to the development, and the Sibbet Group, from Sausalito, CA won out of 30 submissions. Forty different plants were included in the winning design. Haagen-Dazs has donated $500,000 for bee research to UC-Davis and Pennsylvania State University. For their support of bees, the garden was named the Haagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven. The ice cream company focused on supporting bees, because they pollinate many plants used to flavor about half of their ice cream products.

“We’ll not only be providing a pollen and nectar source for the millions of bees on Bee Biology Road, but we will also be demonstrating the beauty and value of pollinator gardens,” said Melinda Borel, program manager at the California Center for Urban Horticulture.

Some of the plants in the bee garden are Basil, Eggplant, Honeysuckles, Mint, Roses, Red Sage, and Oregano. If you are interested in helping bees by planting a garden, here are some suggestions for plants that attract bees.

Bees around the world are in steep decline, a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. If bees continue disappearing, many plants will go unpollinated and agriculture could be impacted very negatively. A Cornell University research study estimated the value bees contribute to U.S. agriculture was $14.6 billion in the year 2000.

posted by Jake Richardson Aug 28, 2010 2:03 pm
filed under: Community Service, Conscious Consumer, Healthy Neighborhood, Nature & Wildlife, Pets & Animals, Wildlife, bees

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Prayer To Our Lady of Blackberry Pie — A Plea for the Sacred Honeybee

thank you to Shiloh Sophia for sharing this on National Honey Bee Awareness Day

Prayer To Our Lady of Blackberry Pie — A Plea for the Sacred Honeybee

August 9, 2009 by Shiloh Sophia
Eye on Humanity

Prayer To Our Lady of Blackberry Pie:

A Plea for the Honeybee

Queen of Honeybees
Lady of the White Dove
Branch laden with ripe fruit
Deliverer from heavy woe
Sender of the cheer of comfort
Sunlight lighting the soul
Breast of sweet milk
Bringer of the Morning Star
Our Lady of the Red Thread
Our Lady fo the Red Rose

Open Open Open
Mine eyes that I might see the way
Our eyes that we might see the way
through to the other side of
poisoned fields, unholy water and honeyless hives

Mother of the true vine
Mother of the way
Mother of the way through

Impossible (seemingly) tasks lay before
your children of red earth
your children who eat the honey and drink the milk
your children who call for help in night
in the presence of foes
are offering unholy food as if it is good to eat.
(it is not but we are hungry and give in)

Lady of Humankind and all good solutions

Reveal Reveal Reveal

a way to save our earth, Oh, Virgin de Papaya
our rivers our turnips our tomatoes
our potatoes our raspberries our apples
peaches, pomegranites, basil, thyme, maple syrup and bay
orchid, clover, nasturtium, lily of the valley

Our Lady of Blackberrie Pie

I know you see everything
every effort and every effort thwarted
I call on your name now
Our Lady of Blackberry Pie
Just think of things like Blackberry Pie becoming extinct
(And us being fed false colored berries with red #9. Sigh. Shudder)

Please don your garment of justice
please now
I know you know…but….
For those who do not know and those who want to know:

Just ask the Queen Bee what is happening to her hives
Just ask the Mama Whale what is happening to her sea
Just ask the Empress Butterfly what has happened to her cocoons
Just as the Mama Frog what has happened to her shimmering legs
Just ask the Princess Salamander how far from home she has had to travel
Just ask the wolf, La Loba, what has happened to her wooded trail
Just ask the Salmon Mother why her children cannot make it up the river

The extinct ancestors of the Rain Forest have sent messengers back to us
but so few are listening to the messages
but those who are
are taking courage
those who are
are calling for justice.
Lady of Justice, don’t wait for the time when the blackberries are gone
and the bumble bees have all gone to slumber – grant us passage through
this matrix not made of the mother matter
but other matters of money, money
who has no other mother than man and woman
and how we have chosen to raise it.

Honeycombs without honey haunt our collective dreams.

Some seek to turn our tragedy into profit –
those are the selfsame who caused the problem
others are looking for the prophet, someone with answers.
We shall not give out, give up or give in
Oh Holy Lady
but this day,
this morning with honey in my coffee,
and bees buzzing around my bare feet in wet grass
I found a four leaf clover, my first
and then I found another, my second
and then I found another, my third
Knowing that you are the Mother of Clover and
Feeling lucky enough, I stopped looking
and came to you in prayer
with this my plea for the sacred honeybee.

Shiloh Sophia McCloud

Great News for the Bees (and Us) !!

Finally, there is some good news regarding protection of our precious bees. This is from the July/August issue ofThe American Gardener, the fantastic gardening magazine from the American Horticultural Society. (If you don’t have a subscription, you’re missing a lot a great articles and information about plants and gardening.)
“Federal Court Shelves Pesticide (quoted from July/Aug. issue of The American Gardener)
Following a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) and the Xerces Society, a New York federal court ruled that the systemic insecticide spirotetramat be removed from circulation due to concerns about its long term effects on honeybees and other pollinators. The pesticide, produced by Bayer CropScience, goes by the trade names Monvento, Ultor, and Kontos. It was approved for use on hundreds of crops – including apples, pears, peaches, oranges and tomatoes – by the U.S. Enviromental Protection Agency (EPA) in June 2008 (during the Bush Administration’s tenure), but the court found that the EPA did not meet the legal requirements for registering a pesticide. When an insecticide manufacturer submits an application for its product to be registered by the EPA, the agency is legally obligated to publish it for review by the public, as well as allow for public comments for 30 days. (This pesticide is already banned in Europe when it was recognized to be leading cause of honeybee mortality; my comment.) In the case of spirotetramat, the EPA failed to follow this process.
The NRDC and the Xerces Society filed the lawsuit, in part because of beekeepers’ fears that the insecticide may have a delayed, negative impact on bee populations that is not fully understood because of the absence of long-term data. The court ordered the removal of spirotetramat from the market in December 2009, and in March 2010, the EPA announced a temporary cancellation order, which bans its sale and distribution. The agency must now reevaluate the pesticide to determine whether it is likely to cause chronic damage to bee colonies.”
All the more reason to be eating organically produced foods and refusing to let these big multinational corporations put profits before the welfare of the environment and public health!

Happy National Honey Bee Awareness Day!

August 21st, 2010

Today is the second annual National Honey Bee Awareness Day. Check out the website for more information about the inspiration behind this day, and what you can do to help the honey bees:

In the San Francisco Bay Area you can celebrate by coming to see the premier of the new documentary Vanishing of the Bees. On their website times and dates of local events can be found:

In Marin County the film will be shown @ 7:30 pm at Open Secret Bookstore, 923 "C"St. San Rafael, CA 94901 415-457-4191. It will be hosted by Barbara "Bee" Framm. In attendance will be Professor Marguerite Rigoglioso, who is interviewed in the film. She will be staying afterwards for a discussion and has offered to teach a bee 'mantra', or toning, to those who are interested. Please join us! suggested donation $10, but no one turned away! The film runs about 1 1/2 hours. Look forward to seeing you there, please pass the word!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Scientists stunned as bee populations continue to decline

(NaturalNews) Monday, August 16, 2010 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Scientists remain stymied as honeybees in the United States and across the world continue to die in large numbers.

"There are a lot of beekeepers who are in trouble" said David Mendes, president of the American Beekeeping Federation. "Under normal condition you have 10 percent winter losses ... this year there are 30, 40 to 50 percent losses."

For many years, beekeepers have been plagued by colony collapse disorder, in which formerly healthy bees abruptly vanish from their hives. The number of beehives in the United States dropped 32 percent in 2007, another 36 percent in 2008 and still another 29 percent in 2009.

A number of explanations for the phenomenon have been suggested, including diseases, parasites, malnutrition, but toxic chemicals are emerging as a major concern among beekeepers.

"It might not be the only factor but it's a contributing factor," said Jeff Pettis of the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

A study recently published in the journal Public Library of Science found 121 different pesticides in 887 samples taken from beehives in 23 U.S. states and Canada.

"I don't put my bees in Florida because the last couple of years there has been tremendous increase in pesticide use in the orange crop to fight a disease," Mendes said.

"A few years ago they did not use any pesticide at all."

Pettis said that the destruction of natural lands is having a negative impact on the health of bees, which require a "diverse natural habitat."

"The world population growth is in a sense the reason for pollinators' decline," he said. "Because we need to produce more and more food to feed the world we grow crops in larger fields."

The irony, he noted, is that global agriculture depends heavily on honeybees to pollinate critical food crops.

"A growing world means growing more food and to do that we need pollinators," he said. "And the fact that the world is continuing to grow is the driving force behind the habitat destruction."

Sources for this story include:

Wednesday, August 11, 2010



Philadelphia has a long history of “firsts” – from the first hospital to the first zoo to the discovery of electricity, innovations of all kinds have happened here. Beekeepers across the city and the United States are buzzing away, preparing to celebrate another Philadelphia “first”– the invention of the movable frame bee hive. December 2010 marks the 200th birthday of Philadelphian Lorenzo L. Langstroth, “The Father of American Beekeeping,” and inventor of the hive that changed the future of apiculture forever. To celebrate his birthday, four Philadelphia organizations have teamed up to present the Philadelphia Honey Festival on the weekend of September 10-12, 2010. The coordinating partners are the Wagner Free Institute of Science, Philadelphia Beekeepers G uild, Bartram’s Garden and The Wyck Association, organizations invested in educating the public about natural science.

The festivities will kick off with the placement of a historical marker at 106 South Front Street, the house where Langstroth was born. The marker placement will be on Friday, September 10th at 3:30 PM, MC’d by Kim Flottum, Editor of Bee Culture Magazine, and one of the event’s sponsors, and includes a keynote address from Pennsylvania Secretary of Agriculture, Russell Redding, an appearance by the Pennsylvania Honey Queen, and will conclude with the viewing of Langstroth’s papers at the American Philosophical Society.

There will be something for everyone at the festival, the three anchor sites, Wagner Institute, Bartram’s Garden and The Wyck Association will be buzzing with events on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

What better place to celebrate the importance of bees than right on the banks of the Schuylkill River at the birthplace of American botany? Bartram’s Garden is the landmark home and garden of America’s pioneering family of naturalists, botanists and explorers. During the Honey Festival this Southwest Philadelphia site will appeal to those interested in the history of beekeeping, and the aesthetic inspiration these important pollinators provide. On Friday, Bartram’s Garden will host the opening of the DaVinci Art Alliance exhibition aptly titled “What’s the Buzz,” from 5 – 8 PM. On Saturday, September 11th, and Sunday, September 12th, the Garden will be open all day, for botanical illustration meetups and house tours. History buffs should not miss the lecture, History of American Bee Keeping 17 76-1810 on Sunday afternoon at 1 PM, presented by Professor William Butler. His lecture will be followed by a curator’s talk, Bees in Art, presented by Dr. Debra Miller of DaVinci Art Alliance.

For those interested in starting their own apiary, Historic Wyck is the place to be! This remarkable Germantown site has been a home and a working farm for more than 250 years, and features a nationally-known garden of old roses (over 30 varieties), originally planted in the 1820s. Wyck will host three well-known beekeeping authorities on Saturday from 12-4. Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture Magazine, will discuss the Joys of Urban Beekeeping. Elizabeth Capaldi Evans, Professor of Biology at Bucknell University and author of the book, Why do Bees Buzz? Fascinating Answers to Questions about Bees will discuss her work on bee behavior. Dean Stiglitz, author of The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Beekeeping will talk about Natural Beekeeping. Also, Historian Matt Redmon will do a short presentation about Lorenzo Langstrot h, Philadelphia’s own inventor of the modern beehive. Honey extractions and hive demonstrations will also be happening throughout the day. Food will be available for purchase, as well as honey from local beekeepers and honey and wax related products from a number of vendors.

The Wagner Free Institute of Science will be the Honey Fest host for children and their families. This Victorian natural history museum located in North Philadelphia, has been dedicated to providing free science education to the public for over 150 years. Children make up 1/3 of the museum’s annual audience, and the Honey Festival will kick off the Institute’s 2010-11 season of Saturday Family Programs. Open from 12 – 4 PM on Saturday, September 11th, the afternoon will feature “Pollinator Power!” a lesson for children ages 6-12 about the importance of pollinators in our lives. Sip honey-sweetened iced tea, and listen to local folk rocker, Liam Gallagher, while you peruse goods from local booksellers, bee artists and beekeepers. Beeswax candle-making, free Häagen-Dazs ice cream treats, scavenger hunts, and the debut of the Institute’s new native pollinator garden will sweeten the day for all who attend.

The goal of the Philadelphia Honey Festival is to raise awareness about the importance of bees to our environment, the impact of local honey on our economy, and to promote urban beekeeping and gardening. All festival events are free. Some events require reservations, please see attached schedule for more details.

For more information: