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The sugar water/corn syrup/fruitcose vs. honey debate for feeding your bees is a long-standing one.

A bee on the buckwheat. Photo by Doug Hardwick

A bee on the buckwheat. Buckwheat is a good late summer-early fall feeding plant for your bees. Photo by Doug Hardwick

 

Recently, I found a Scientific American podcast interview from 2009 in which May Berenbaum, University of Illinois entomologist and bee researcher, discussed that very question with Steve Mirsky of Scientific American.

Here are some of the main points Berenbaum made:

  • Honeybee grubs (baby bees) eat a mixture of pollen and honey we call “bee bread.”
  • Sugar doesn’t provide bees with some of the enzymes that help bees process plant chemicals.
  • Brenebaum: “. . . feeding on nectar or honey derived from nectars [is a] very different proposition from feeding on other types of plant tissue because plants load up their vulnerable tissues with chemicals, you know, natural pesticides, so that insects won’t eat them, but they want insects to eat nectar; that’s the whole point [of nectar].”
  • When you substitute a natural food for an artificial one, there may unintended consequences.

Berenbaum has been awarded one of the 10 National Science Medals by President Barack Obama.

The beekeeper in this corner is a big advocate of honey over sugar water in this debate. It’s a lot easier to leave honey in the hive than to take it off and then have to feed them sugar water to get them through the next season. Sometimes that’s not possible, of course, and you do what you can to keep your bees alive. But beekeeper should think ahead and keep as much honey on the hive as possible.

They should also try to provide their bees with plants to feed on during as much of the year (Year-around (almost) blooms for the bees) as possible.

***

Below is the transcript to this part of the interview, and you can hear the entire interview at this link.

Read the rest of this entry »

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May Berenbaum, a well-known entomologist and bee researcher at the University of Illinois, has been awarded a National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama.

May Berenbaum (photo: University of Illinois)

May Berenbaum (photo: University of Illinois)

The medal is the nation’s highest honor for achievement and leadership in advancing fields of science.

Berenbaum’s work has concentrated in how bees and other insects interact with plants.

But she has also worked to demystify insects and to make them less scary in the minds of the public. Berenbaum was the inspiration for the X Files television show’s fictional entomologist Bambi Berenbaum.

She has written numerous books and articles about bees, including

Berenbaum was one of 10 scientists to receive the medal, which will be awarded at a White House ceremony later this year.

In making the award, Obama said of these scientists:

“These scholars and innovators have expanded our understanding of the world, made invaluable contributions to their fields, and helped improve countless lives. Our nation has been enriched by their achievements, and by all the scientists and technologists across America dedicated to discovery, inquiry, and invention.”

The National Medal of Science was created by statute in 1959 and is administered for the White House by the National Science Foundation.

Other recipients of the medal include

·        Bruce Alberts, University of California, San Francisco, CA

·        Robert Axelrod, University of Michigan, MI

·        Alexandre J. Chorin, University of California, Berkeley, CA

·        Thomas Kailath, Stanford University, CA

·        Judith P. Klinman, University of California, Berkeley, CA

·        Jerrold Meinwald, Cornell University, NY

·        Burton Richter, SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University, CA

·        Sean C. Solomon, Columbia University, NY

And a posthumous medal to:

·        David Blackwell, University of California, Berkeley, CA

 

Key words: May Berenbaum, entomologist, National Medal of Science, White House, President Barack Obama, University of Illinois, bugs, insects, The Earwig’s Tail: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-legged Legends, Honey I’m Home-Made: Sweet Treats from the Beehive Across the Centuries and Around the World, X-files, Bambi Berenbaum

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Blount County Beekeepers Association

Join us

If you’re interested in joining the Blount County Beekeepers Association, call

Dale Hinkle
423-261- 5234

or

Kathy Flaherty
203-314- 0270

Welcome

Welcome to the web site of the Blount County Beekeepers Association in Maryville, Tennessee.

This site will tell you a little about the association and how to become a member. It will also tell you a little about beekeeping.

Bees are an important part of our environment and particularly our agricultural system. They are also fascinating creatures.

We hope you will be interested enough to join us at some point, even if you're not interested in keeping bees. There are lots of ways you can join in with what we do.

Follow us on Twitter at @blountbees.

Schedule of BCBA meetings for 2019

The Blount County Beekeepers Association meets on the second Monday of every month, except for September and December, at 6:30 p.m. at the Maryville Church of Christ, 611 Sherwood Drive in Maryville.

All of the meetings are open to the public, and anyone interested in learning more about beekeeping is welcome and encouraged to attend.

The following is the schedule of meetings and activities for 2018:

January 14 – regular meeting

February 11 – regular meeting

February 16 – BCBA short course for new beekeepers

TBA– New Beekeepers class

March 11 – regular meeting

March 17 -Wooden Ware class

April 8 – regular meeting

April  TBA-Field Day for new beekeepers

May 13 – regular meeting

June 10 – regular meeting

July 8 – regular meeting

August 12 – regular meeting

October 14 – regular meeting

November 11 – regular meeting

December 9 – Christmas dinner

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