When we think of bees, we usually think of flowers, honey, dandelions, clover and many other images that connect us to nature. Our connection with the earth through bees is not only a comforting connection but also a necessary one; one that has seen human threats lately, as well as the unexplained. But in one corner of the world, on the shores of Lake Erie, a bee phenomenon has parts of the community bursting into, well, hives.
We've all heard the buzz about colony disorder (CCD), the phenomenon of worker bees abruptly disappearing from the hive, leaving honey and immature bees to die. There have been reductions in hives throughout agricultural history, but they were not significant enough until 2006, when the drastic reductions gave birth to a new mandate. The agricultural importance of bees should not be underestimated. Bees are an integral part of the ecosystem in the way they interact and connect with their parts. Over one third of our food supplies rely on bee pollination and are essential to the reproduction of the plants that bee service.
Imagine a world without blueberries, avocados, almonds, sunflowers, cranberries or, your summer favorite, watermelon. Without the honey bee, many of our staple foods would be at risk. Without the bees, we also wouldn't have the direct by-product: honey. Raw honey is antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal. Our story, without the bees, would have a much different look. Civil war gunshot wounds were filled with honey as a way to heal and fight infection. In the Middle Ages, before the invention of gunpowder, bees were introduced into clay balls and used as projectiles during wartime.
More recently, the Cleveland Clinic reports that it gives its patients surgery to drink honey rather than jelly as a postoperative recovery agent. Hotels that have grown their own herbs and flowers have added bee hives to their culinary repertoire for sweets, soups, salad dressings and more. The end-product of the honey bee, beeswax, has been used for candles for the Catholic Church for centuries. Considered a sacred product, beeswax was once a requirement for all candles used in services. Ancient Egyptians used beeswax to make masks of death, to create statues of gods for graves, and to embalm their loved ones.
But one of the latest steps in protecting the honey bee came from the most logical but surprising place: the Haagen-Dazs Corporation. In 2008, the company gave $ 100,000 to the University of California at Davis to tackle the decline in bee populations and to support research on sustainable pollination. More recently, Haagen-Dazs has partnered with UC Davis to raise awareness of the plight of the honey bee with its plans for Honey Bee Haven. This set of interconnected gardens, Pollution Patch, Nectar Corner and Hiding the Bee Hive provides a year-round source of food for bees. Honey Bee Haven is located half an acre from the UC Davis campus at the Local Bee Research Center for Bees. Once again imagine a world without ice cream, including Hagen-Daz.
But corporations like these are not the only entities involved in the fight against CCD. Backyard beekeepers are cut or pollinated across the country, accompanied by associations to support the "new bees" in their endeavors. These organizations act as a resource for amateur beekeepers, stung by the desire to include "bees". They provide forums for exchanging ideas and information to raise public awareness of the benefits of natural honey and beehives. The Galvin-Gilman family of Port Clinton, Ohio, exemplifies the concept of America's amateur beekeepers on the banks of Lake Erie. This family ran into or bumped into a hobby-turned-business in the summer when the opportunity to save a bee landed.
As with many first-time beekeeping entrepreneurs, they have had their share of bumps and gaps in beehives and are accustomed to bee-flyers who return to the hive after a busy pollination day. Galvin-Gilman are also targeted; It is imperative that you dress appropriately when dealing with hive dwellers. For headgear is essential a hat with a veil to protect the head and neck. Wearing light-colored jumpsuits is recommended because dark clothing irritates bees, making them more likely to sting as they may look to Galvin-Gillman as predators like a skunk or bear. Bees like to walk on their hands and feet, which is why loose fitting gloves and sturdy boots are important. For added protection, they fasten the cuffs of the shirt and pants to prevent the bees from entering.
They also learned more than they ever thought about bee civilization. There are three types of bees in the hive: the hive queen is the center of the bee universe and acts as the mother of them all. Each hive has one queen with the sole task of laying eggs to support the hive population. Like many American households, the hive requires a healthy, happy queen to last.
In addition to the queen there are bee workers and drones. The thousands of beekeepers who live in the hive have every responsibility, except laying eggs and mating. Most worker bee species do not have the ability to reproduce the queen and instead deposit wax to build a comb, keep the hive clean and safe, feed the larvae, drones and queen, collect the necessary nutrients for the hive, and maintain a consistent breeding area. they cool the hive, they deposit water, then they ventilate it with their wings, and in order to heat the hive, they collect to generate body heat.
Hive drones have limited functions, the main one being to mate with the queen. Drones have a different body style than worker bees, including larger eyes, bodies and tighter bellies. As mating with the queen happens in flight, larger eyes benefit the drones. A lesser benefit than being a drone is the fact that, after copulation, the drone dies due to the necessary parts that break away from the body during intercourse and are expelled from the hive in severe weather in the fall. Another function of the drone is to assist the worker bee in controlling the temperature in the hive. Thus, two very important functions for a bee whose life span is only 90 days.
Galvin-Gilman was first introduced to bee rearing when a hive was found in the trunk of a tree cut down. Transporting the hive was complicated, insidious, and unsuccessful, but left them eager to continue to study the intricacies of the process. They have started anew and have now grown to four successful hives with more planned for the coming summer season. She also gave them credit for the beekeeping adventure parts and parcels. A great favorite of the family is bee pollen, described by Beth Gilman as "wholesome food". Bee pollen has an earthy, rich taste and is thought to have "all the nutrients needed by the human body to sustain life". Its benefits include boosting the immune system, the ability to build allergen resistance, reduce stress and increase energy and endurance.
A sweet, chewy snack that they enjoy is bee propolis, which is used as an adhesive in the production of hives and has several recommended health benefits. It has been shown to have antibiotic and antiseptic properties and possible antiviral and anti-inflammatory applications. However, the bee is cautious; people who respond to bee stings can respond to propolis in the same way.
Another benefit of the Galvin-Gilman family in beekeeping is the spread of buying local. In his local WPCR All Around the Town program, Chris Galvin is involved in local products, businesses and people. From coffee shops to delicacies and everything in between, Chris introduced many local businesses, including generous gems, a Beth jewelry website that includes every type of jewelry that can be presented. Children's jewelry, bridal, licensed, religious and knowledgeable jewelry such as pieces for breast and ovarian cancer and autism can all be found at the touch of a button.
Chris also introduced http://beekeepersalive.yolasite.com and http://builtbylove.com, the sites for the family bee business. Although the bees are ending their summer start and are beginning a rebirth for a new season, the Galvin-Gilman family do not remain idle. Brian Gilman acts as a worker bee on his own, planning, thinking and looking for new hives in time to be ready for the summer. Chris and Beth work hard on product design and marketing. Although the honey from Port Clinton was a new endeavor, the available honey they were selling was sold out within a week. So for the time being, they will work hard and drive behind-the-scenes fashion until early summer and everyone will find themselves busy as busy bees.