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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Saturday, October 30, 2010

American Apitherapy Society Conference


Less than 2 two weeks to go for CMACC! HOTEL ROOM RESERVATIONS AT REDUCED RATE HAVE BEEN EXTENDED TO NOV. 2ND! See hotel info in Information Packet. For the first time our annual event has been planned with the International Biotherapy Society. Check all details when you Download the Information Packet & click here to register on line. The registration form is for those who do not register on-line. Everyone is invited to our Annual Meeting to be held Saturday, late afternoon.

(The Charles Mraz Apitherapy Course and Conference)
Presented by The American Apitherapy Society, Inc.
At the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, Universal City, California, USA
In conjunction with the International Conference on Biotherapy, presented by the International Biotherapy Society (IBS) and the BTER Foundation
(For more information see
The AAS is honored to be sharing this conference with the International Conference on Biotherapy presented for the first time in the USA. Participants will be able to partake in both conferences where two fascinating organizations share a common principle.
Medical doctors, a spectrum of holistic health practitioners, veterinarians, researchers, backyard beekeepers, and members of the general public interested in self-reliant health care will convene from all over the United states and the world to learn about apitherapy. Apitherapy, an ancient healing modality, refers to the therapeutic use of products from the beehive: honey, pollen, royal jelly, propolis, and bee venom therapy.
Attendees will receive basic training in the therapeutic properties of each of the hive products including a hands-on bee venom therapy demonstration where participants obtain practical experience with this healing practice. Presentations are given by the CMACC faculty who are some of the most prominent and experienced apitherapists in the country. Examples of material covered in these presentations are allergic reactions, techniques of BVT, informed consent and legal issues, propolis and cancer, veterinary apitherapy, and patient intake for apitherapy. An exam is given to ascertain comprehension of the material in the course and certificates of completion will be issued. Continuing Education Credits are also available.
The AAS is a nonprofit membership organization established for the purpose of educating about apitherapy and advancing its use. CMACC has been named in memory of Charles Mraz, an American pioneer in the use of bee venom to treat diseases.
Visit for all information and where you can register on the website. Or you can download a registration form to mail with payment. Note that there is an early registration incentive with reduced fees for those registering by September 30th. For questions, contact the AAS at 631-470-9446 or at
Attendance: Registered AAS participants may attend the all sessions of the AAS program as well as those of IBS as part of their registration fee, except for Thursday, Nov. 11, for which an additional fee is charged. IBS participants may attend all AAS events, as part of their registration.
Accreditation: Check the BTER Foundation website noted above for detailed information about accreditation. Continuing Education Credits will be available for the Apitherapy programs done by IBS, for a total of 6 • hours (Sat.& Sun. mornings), for Physicians and other health care providers, per individual state requirements. Certificates of hours of attendance will be available to AAS registrants upon attendance at all programs and successful completion of the examination.
AAS Course, Conference, Faculty and Exam: The tentative program of the Course and Conference is provided here. Watch the website for any changes. The Faculty is described in the Presenter Profiles. AAS provides attendees the opportunity to take an exam on material taught before the exam. In our experience, most attendees welcome this exam, which is multiple choices, as a means to increase their understanding. Corrections are done right after the exam, providing the occasion to discuss issues. The exam is not required but usually everyone takes it as a learning experience.
Accommodations: See the BTER Foundation website above for details about the Accommodations, Activities, and Transportation.
Hotel: The event is being held at the Hilton Los Angeles/Universal City, located at 555 Universal City, California, 91608-1001. A group room rate is available at $159 (plus taxes) per single room per night. Please contact the hotel reservation desk at 1-800-445-8667 and say you are with the International Biotherapy Conference, code IBC. This rate is only available until October 29.
Sharing Rooms: AAS is willing to help people who wish to share a hotel room. Please contact the AAS office at or at 631-470-9446.
Activities: The hotel has an on-site swimming pool, whirlpool, and fitness center. The hotel is close to Universal Studios, Universal City Walk, and Hollywood. There are other attractions in the area, such as Disneyland, Magic Mountain, Griffith Observatory, and Knott’s Berry Farm.
Transportation: Most attendees will be flying into Los Angeles (LAX) airport. Ground transportation is available from Super Shuttle for $18 each way. Reservations are not required but can be made by calling 1-800-224-7767, mentioning that you are with the 8th International Biotherapy Conference, with discount code 73nju. Or you can register on-line at

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Bees Solve Hard Computing Problems Faster Than Supercomputers

In a new study, researchers report that bumblebees were able to figure out the most efficient routes among several computer-controlled "flowers," quickly solving a complex problem that even stumps supercomputers.

We already know bees are pretty good at facial recognition, and researchers have shown they can also be effective air-quality monitors. Here's one more reason to keep them around: They're smarter than computers.

Bumblebees can solve the classic "traveling salesman" problem, which keeps supercomputers busy for days. They learn to fly the shortest possible route between flowers even if they find the flowers in a different order, according to a new British study.

The traveling salesman problem is an (read: very hard) problem in computer science; it involves finding the shortest possible route between cities, visiting each city only once. Bees are the first animals to figure this out, according to Queen Mary University of London researchers.

Bees need lots of energy to fly, so they seek the most efficient route among networks of hundreds of flowers. They navigate using angles of sunlight, which helps them find their way home, researchers say. To do this, their tiny brains must pack a powerful memory.(Old bees are more forgetful, according to a separate study that came out last week.)

To test bee problem-solving, researchers Lars Chittka and Mathieu Lihoreau tested bees' response to computer-controlled artificial flowers. They wanted to see whether the bees would go after the flowers in the order in which they were discovered, or if they would figure out the shortest route among all the flowers even as new ones were added. The bees explored the locations of the flowers and quickly figured out the shortest paths among them, according to a Queen Mary news release.

This is no small feat, especially considering bee brains are about as big as a microdot. When it comes to intelligence, size apparently does not matter.

Earlier this year, researchers showed that bees recognize individual faces because they can make out the relative patterns that make up a face. The new research further suggests bees are highly sophisticated problem solvers, and that better understanding of their brains could improve our understanding of network problems like traffic flows, supply chains and epidemiology.

The research will be published this week in the journal The American Naturalist.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bee Goddess Pendant, “Lady in Gold” unearthed on Crete

Archaeologists made an important discovery when they unearthed an ancient female skeleton covered with gold foil in a grave in the ancient city of Eleutherna on the northern foothills of Mount Ida near Rethymno, Crete. The finding dates back to the early Archaic Period.
The findings were inside a 2,700-year-old twin tomb, the only one in ancient Eleutherna, located very close to a necropolis of fallen warriors. The woman, of high social or religious status, was interred with a second skeleton in a large jar placed behind a false wall, to ward off body snatchers.
The tiny gold ornaments, ranging from 1 to 4cm long, in different forms (square, triangle, and diamond-shaped) were found next to the remains of the woman, discovered a few weeks ago by a team led by archaeology professor Nicholas Stampolidis of the University of Crete – head of the Eleutherna excavation.
A unique jewelry piece depicting a bee as a goddess was also found amongst the thousands of gold plaques. Excavators also unearthed perfume bottles, hundreds of amber, rock crystal and faience beads and a gold pendant in the form of a bee goddess.
The findings are so extraordinary that they justify the decision made recently by the Archaeological Institute of America to include the excavations at ancient Eleutherna among the best worldwide.
YouTube: Introduction to the Excavation of Orthi Petra Eleutherna

View full post on Embassy of Greece in Poland Press & Communication Office

Queen of the Sun, new film on the honey bees

In 1923, Rudolf Steiner, a scientist, philosopher & social innovator, predicted that in 80 to 100 years honeybees would collapse. His prediction has come true with Colony Collapse Disorder where bees are disappearing in mass numbers from their hives with no clear explanation. In an alarming inquiry into the insights behind Steiner’s prediction Queen of The Sun examines the global bee crisis through the eyes of biodynamic beekeepers, scientists, farmers, and philosophers. On a pilgrimage around the world, 10,000 years of beekeeping is unveiled, highlighting how our historic and sacred relationship with bees has been lost due to highly mechanized industrial practices. Featuring Michael Pollan, Vandana Shiva, Gunther Hauk and beekeepers around the world, Queen of The Sun weaves a dramatic story which uncovers the problems and solutions in renewing a culture in balance with nature.

Upcoming Screenings

Hollywood Theater
September 17th–Oct 14th, 2010 or longer- Portland, OR.
See above for up to date screening times.

Wednesday, Oct.6, 2010 - Middlebury, VT
Wednesday, Oct. 6 @ 7:30 PM
*Filmmaker in attendance.

Thursday, Oct.7, 2010 - Waitsfield, VT
Thursday, Oct. 7 @ 7:30 PM
*Filmmaker in attendance.

Tacoma Film Festival
Oct. 7–Oct. 14 - Tacoma, WA
Oct. 9 @ 4:15 PM - School of the Arts - Tacoma, WA

October 7th–17th, 2010 - Mill Valley & San Rafael, California
Tuesday, Oct. 12 @ 6 PM - Sequoia Theatre - Mill Valley, CA
Wednesday, Oct. 13 @ 7 PM - Smith Rafael Film Center - San Rafael, CA
*Filmmaker in attendence.

Friday, Oct. 8–Oct.15th - Burlington, VT
Friday, Oct. 8 @ 7 PM & 9 PM
Saturday, Oct. 9 @ 7 PM & 9 PM
Check here for the rest of the week's showtimes.
*Filmmaker in attendance.

Abu Dhabi Film Festival
Oct. 12–Oct. 19, 2010 - Abu Dhabi, UAE
Oct. 17 @ 7:30 PM - Abu Dhabi Theater - Abu Dhabi, UAE
Oct. 18 @ 7:30 PM - Marina Mall 2 - Abu Dhabi, UAE
*Filmmaker in Attendance.

Planet in Focus Environmental Film Festival
Oct. 13–Oct. 17 - Toronto, CANADA
Friday, Oct. 15 @ 5:00 PM - Royal Ontario Museum
Venues and Times TBA.

October 13th–17th, 2010 - Syracuse, NY
Sunday, Oct. 17 @ 3:00 PM - Capitol Theatre - Rome, NY

Oct. 15-Oct. 24, 2010 - Hot Springs, AR
Saturday, Oct. 16 @ 4:10 PM: Malco Theater - Hot Springs, AR
Thursday, Oct. 21 @ 11:45 AM: Malco Theater - Hot Springs, AR

Austin Film Festival
Oct. 21–Oct. 28 - Austin, TX
Sunday, Oct. 24 @ 7:30 PM - Rollins Theatre

October 21–24, 2010 - Memphis, TN
Venues and Times TBA.

Rudolf Steiner 2011 Press Conference
Thursday, November 4th, 2010 @ 11 AM to 4 PM: Goetheanum - Dornach, Switzerland
*Filmmaker in attendance.

November 4–7, 2010 - Charlottesville, VA
Sunday, Nov. 7 @ 11:30 AM: Univ. of Virginia

United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF)
October 22nd - 31st, 2010 - Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
Saturday, Oct. 30 @ 3:30 PM: Annenberg Auditorium

November 11–14, 2010 - Springdale, Utah
Friday, Nov. 12 @ 6:45 PM: Dixie Auditorium - Springdale, UT

November 11–21, 2010 - St. Louis, Missouri
Monday, Nov. 15. Venue and showtime TBA - St. Louis, MO
Tuesday, Nov. 16. Venue and showtime TBA - St. Louis, MO
*Filmmaker in attendance.

Wednesday, November 17th, 2010 - Pleasantville, NY
Showtime to be announced.
*Filmmakers in attendance.

International Documentary FIlm Festival Amsterdam (IDFA)
November 17th–28th, 2010 - Amsterdam, Netherlands
Venues and times TBA.
*Filmmakers in attendance.

Berlin summt! – Honig von prominenten Dächern der Hauptstadt.

Berlin summt! – Honig von prominenten Dächern der Hauptstadt.
Das Vorhaben

Im Jahr 2011 sollen auf mehreren prominenten Gebäuden und an bekannten Orten Berlins Bienenstöcke aufgestellt und unterhalten werden. Dies geschieht in Kooperation mit dem Imkerverband Berlin und erfahrenen Berliner Imkern.

Mit dieser Aktion und zusätzlichen Informationsmaterialien werben wir für diese traditions­reiche Form der naturbezogenen - und auch lokalwirtschaftlich nützlichen - Beschäftigung und machen auf (stadt-) ökologische Zusammenhänge aufmerksam. Dazu motivieren und vernetzen wir Imkervereine und ihre engagierten Mitglieder, Naturschutzverbände, zuständige Berliner Behörden, Haus- und Gartenbesitzer sowie inter­essierte Bürgerinnen und Bürger für eine Zusammenarbeit. Das Projekt will mit dieser Idee auch für mehr Nachwuchs in der Berliner Imkerschaft sorgen.

Sinn und Zweck

Honigbienen erfüllen als Bestäuber von Bäumen, Blumen und Nutzpflanzen (vor allem Obst, Gemüse und Feldfrüchte) eine wichtige ökologische und landwirtschaftliche Funktion! Die Bienenzucht ist eine Kulturtechnik mit langer Tradition, in der überliefertes Erfahrungswissen und moderne Wissenschaft zusammentreffen. Als Hobby oder Nebenerwerb ist die Imkerei auch für jüngere, berufstätige Menschen eine interessante, naturbezogene Tätigkeit, die für ökologische Zusammenhänge sensibilisiert und einen Beitrag für nachhaltige lokale Wirtschaftskreisläufe leisten kann.

Städte bieten Honigbienen sogar besonders gute Voraussetzungen, nämlich längere Wärme- und durch­gängige Blütezeiten sowie geringeren Pestizideinsatz als auf dem Land. In Berlin gibt es ungefähr 500 Imker, allerdings mit einem hohen Altersdurchschnitt. Die von ihnen gehaltenen Honigbienen sind nicht aggressiv und stechen nur, wenn sie sich bedroht fühlen.

Die Zahl der Imker kann durch unsere Kampagne und die Vernetzung der bereits bestehenden Initiativen deutlich gesteigert werden. Das Hauptstadt-Projekt soll Strahlkraft entwickeln und bildet den Auftakt für die Ausweitung auf weitere Städte und Regionen in Deutschland (bei Interesse bitte beim UfAZ-Team ( melden!).

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bee Mystery Unsolved? Lead Investigator Had Connections to Pesticide Maker

Yesterday's New York Times featured a heartwarming ending to the years-long murder mystery of what was causing Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) among honeybees. Experts suspected pesticides or genetically modified foods, but the article reported that the University of Montana's Bee Alert Team, working alongside the Army, found the cause: the combined effects of a virus and fungus. Data sharing! Chance discoveries! Honeybees live on to sting another day! But according to Fortune, there were a couple of details left out of the front-page story. The team's lead investigator, Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk, may have previously dropped out of testifying in a class-action lawsuit after he received a significant research grant from the pharmaceutical giant Bayer. For years, beekeepers have tried to pursue legal action against Bayer Crop Science over their pesticides, in particular a type of neurotoxin that gets rids of insects by attacking their nervous systems. The beekeepers allege that the pesticides disoriented and killed their hives. One of the markers of CCD is a bee's tendency to fly off in a random direction before it dies.

Fortune contributor Katherine Eban came across this information working on a story about the pesticides connection for Portfolio, but the magazine folded before she finished her reporting. Print media's poison cup runneth over! Eban says that during the course of her research, Bromenshenk also acknowledged that his company, Bee Alert Technology, would benefit more if CCD was caused by a disease, not pesticides, since the company is developing handheld acoustic scanners to detect bee ailments. Eban cites Bayer's funding for the grant as the reason Bromenshenk dropped out as an expert witness in the class-action lawsuit against Bayer. But Bromenshenk denies that Bayer was a factor in either dropping out or the current study.

Bromenshenk defends the [new] study and emphasized that it did not examine the impact of pesticides. "It wasn't on the table because others are funded to do that," he says, noting that no Bayer funds were used on the new study. Bromenshenk vociferously denies that receiving funding from Bayer (to study bee pollination of onions) had anything to do with his decision to withdraw from the plaintiff's side in the litigation against Bayer. "We got no money from Bayer," he says. "We did no work for Bayer; Bayer was sending us warning letters by lawyers."

When Eban contacted Times reporter Kirk Johnson, he told Eban that Bromenshenk never mentioned the connection, adding that he "tried to convey that caution in my story." He also noted that Bromenshenk's study never said that pesticides couldn't be the underlying cause of one of the uncertainties that remain, namely how the virus and fungus, which separately aren't fatal, combine to interact. Other scientists conjecture that they might leave the bees' immune systems weakened. In 1999 France banned the neurotoxin Imidacloprid after a third of its honeybees died. The EPA has approved that type of pesticide, called a neonicotinoid. After suing the EPA in 2008, the NRDC is currently shifting through Bayer's studies on neonicontinoids.

What a scientist didn't tell the New York Times about his study on bee deaths [Fortune]
Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery [NYT]

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Scientists and Soldiers Solve a Bee Mystery

Mike Albans for The New York Times

Members of a joint United States Army-University of Montana research team that located a virus that is possibly collapsing honeybee colonies scanning a healthy hive near Missoula, Mont.
Published: October 6, 2010

DENVER — It has been one of the great murder mysteries of the garden: what is killing off the honeybees?

Since 2006, 20 to 40 percent of the bee colonies in the United States alone have suffered “colony collapse.” Suspected culprits ranged from pesticides to genetically modified food.

Now, a unique partnership — of military scientists and entomologists — appears to have achieved a major breakthrough: identifying a new suspect, or two.

A fungus tag-teaming with a virus have apparently interacted to cause the problem, according to a paper by Army scientists in Maryland and bee experts in Montana in the online science journal PLoS One.

Exactly how that combination kills bees remains uncertain, the scientists said — a subject for the next round of research. But there are solid clues: both the virus and the fungus proliferate in cool, damp weather, and both do their dirty work in the bee gut, suggesting that insect nutrition is somehow compromised.

Liaisons between the military and academia are nothing new, of course. World War II, perhaps the most profound example, ended in an atomic strike on Japan in 1945 largely on the shoulders of scientist-soldiers in the Manhattan Project. And a group of scientists led by Jerry Bromenshenk of the University of Montana in Missoula has researched bee-related applications for the military in the past — developing, for example, a way to use honeybees in detecting land mines.

But researchers on both sides say that colony collapse may be the first time that the defense machinery of the post-Sept. 11 Homeland Security Department and academia have teamed up to address a problem that both sides say they might never have solved on their own.

“Together we could look at things nobody else was looking at,” said Colin Henderson, an associate professor at the University of Montana’s College of Technology and a member of Dr. Bromenshenk’s “Bee Alert” team.

Human nature and bee nature were interconnected in how the puzzle pieces came together. Two brothers helped foster communication across disciplines. A chance meeting and a saved business card proved pivotal. Even learning how to mash dead bees for analysis — a skill not taught at West Point — became a factor.

One perverse twist of colony collapse that has compounded the difficulty of solving it is that the bees do not just die — they fly off in every direction from the hive, then die alone and dispersed. That makes large numbers of bee autopsies — and yes, entomologists actually do those — problematic.

Dr. Bromenshenk’s team at the University of Montana and Montana State University in Bozeman, working with the Army’s Edgewood Chemical Biological Center northeast of Baltimore, said in their jointly written paper that the virus-fungus one-two punch was found in every killed colony the group studied. Neither agent alone seems able to devastate; together, the research suggests, they are 100 percent fatal.

“It’s chicken and egg in a sense — we don’t know which came first,” Dr. Bromenshenk said of the virus-fungus combo — nor is it clear, he added, whether one malady weakens the bees enough to be finished off by the second, or whether they somehow compound the other’s destructive power. “They’re co-factors, that’s all we can say at the moment,” he said. “They’re both present in all these collapsed colonies.”

Research at the University of California, San Francisco, had already identified the fungus as part of the problem. And several RNA-based viruses had been detected as well. But the Army/Montana team, using a new software system developed by the military for analyzing proteins, uncovered a new DNA-based virus, and established a linkage to the fungus, called N. ceranae.

“Our mission is to have detection capability to protect the people in the field from anything biological,” said Charles H. Wick, a microbiologist at Edgewood. Bees, Dr. Wick said, proved to be a perfect opportunity to see what the Army’s analytic software tool could do. “We brought it to bear on this bee question, which is how we field-tested it,” he said.

The Army software system — an advance itself in the growing field of protein research, or proteomics — is designed to test and identify biological agents in circumstances where commanders might have no idea what sort of threat they face. The system searches out the unique proteins in a sample, then identifies a virus or other microscopic life form based on the proteins it is known to contain. The power of that idea in military or bee defense is immense, researchers say, in that it allows them to use what they already know to find something they did not even know they were looking for.

But it took a family connection — through David Wick, Charles’s brother — to really connect the dots. When colony collapse became news a few years ago, Mr. Wick, a tech entrepreneur who moved to Montana in the 1990s for the outdoor lifestyle, saw a television interview with Dr. Bromenshenk about bees.

Mr. Wick knew of his brother’s work in Maryland, and remembered meeting Dr. Bromenshenk at a business conference. A retained business card and a telephone call put the Army and the Bee Alert team buzzing around the same blossom.

The first steps were awkward, partly because the Army lab was not used to testing bees, or more specifically, to extracting bee proteins. “I’m guessing it was January 2007, a meeting in Bethesda, we got a bag of bees and just started smashing them on the desk,” Charles Wick said. “It was very complicated.”

The process eventually was refined. A mortar and pestle worked better than the desktop, and a coffee grinder worked best of all for making good bee paste.

Scientists in the project emphasize that their conclusions are not the final word. The pattern, they say, seems clear, but more research is needed to determine, for example, how further outbreaks might be prevented, and how much environmental factors like heat, cold or drought might play a role.

They said that combination attacks in nature, like the virus and fungus involved in bee deaths, are quite common, and that one answer in protecting bee colonies might be to focus on the fungus — controllable with antifungal agents — especially when the virus is detected.

Still unsolved is what makes the bees fly off into the wild yonder at the point of death. One theory, Dr. Bromenshenk said, is that the viral-fungal combination disrupts memory or navigating skills and the bees simply get lost. Another possibility, he said, is a kind of insect insanity.

In any event, the university’s bee operation itself proved vulnerable just last year, when nearly every bee disappeared over the course of the winter.