An article I published recently on bees

Feb 16, 2009 by

Well, this seems like the appropriate place to link to the article I wrote. Here's an excerpt: IS THE HONEYMOON OVER? There's something particularly sweet about the first time you fall in love, especially when you're falling in love with honeybees. I remember when I first laid eyes on a buzzing, crawling hive box frame of apis mellifera, commonly known as the European or Western honeybee. I was living in the Philippines on a Fulbright grant in spring 2007, and decided to visit a small resort, the Bohol Bee Farm, located on the southern island of Bohol. Vicky Wallace, the Filipina owner and an avid beekeeper, created her sanctuary over the past 10 years. She dedicated her resort, a small farm plus a collection of hexagonal buildings nestled around an organic restaurant, to teaching locals and tourists about organic farming and the importance of bees. Once I held the thriving hive frame in my hands, I was sold. I stayed at the resort for 10 days to study beekeeping. In the process, I became a master of bee trivia, sharing my new enthusiasm like a recent convert. Did you know, I'd ask visiting tourists, that bees have been around for more than 30 million years, and that they are the only insects that actually produce food for humans? Did you know that more than 90 percent of all bees are female, led by a queen that maintains the hive through her pheromones? If the tourists let me, I would go on to add: the queen bee also only mates once, you know, and during her mating flight she'll mate with several male bees, known as drones, who will die mid-air when she rips out their thorax post-coitus. This usually got a grimace. Now that I had them, I'd explain that it takes about 550 worker bees (all female) to produce one pound of honey from about two million flowers, and that the average honeybee — who will only live for approximately three weeks — will only contribute about one-twelfth of a teaspoon during her entire lifetime. And did you know, I'd ask, breathless, that bees communicate navigational facts by dancing? I'd tell these facts in between bouts of eating honeycomb, finally consuming so much that I made myself sick. Read the rest here: Is the Honeymoon Over?

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