Thursday, June 30, 2016

Free Online Beekeeping Course

     Ohio State University Bee Lab has created a free "Honey Bee Biology and Beekeeping Course" based on Dr. Reed Johnson's for-credit OSU Beekeeping Course.  The course consists of video lectures, handouts and readings that can be accessed through iTunes.  They need volunteers to review the course and offer suggestions.
     The Ohio State University Bee Lab has a long history of providing great beekeeping information via publications and webinars to the public.  My initial and brief observation of the course is that though it could use some tweaking it has excellent potential.  To be a volunteer to review this course fill out this simple registration to receive a link to the course.
     Another good, free online beekeeping course, "Honey Bees and Colony Strength Evaluation"  (you may log in as a guest) is presented by the University of California.  This course is offered in modules covering topics from very basic beginner beekeeping information to more advanced colony strength evaluation so that the student can choose the module suited to their skill level.  Access to both of these courses is available in the Online Education section of our Beekeepers' Library.  Enjoy!

Saturday, June 25, 2016

A Ghost in the Making

     This is an environmental award winning film about the effort to find and save a single species of bee.  There are about 25,000 species of bees on planet earth and we lose species fairly regularly of all species of life for a variety of reasons mostly related to irresponsible acts by us humans.  In this particular case the prime causes that threaten this species are probably habitat loss and the importation of European bumble bees and their diseases (Nosema) for greenhouse pollination.
     As a long time environmentalist I'm acutely aware of the devastation brought by the introduction of species to new environments which leaves me with no explanation for why I am a keeper of European honey bees in North America.  The main issues with beekeeping today are either imported through the global movement of bees or chemically created by us.  Some of our introduced problems are the Korean species of Varroa mite, Nosema, Afrianized bees, American Foulbrood and new to us the small hive beetle from the tropics.  The chemically toxic environment we have created is a reality we have to deal with.
     Why this film is important is as Louie Schwartzberg suggests we protect what we love and we can't love what we don't know.


     I love to photograph insects and one of the species I look forward to, the Orange Rumped Bumble Bee (Bombus Melanopygus) is similar to the Rusty-Patched Bumble Bee.  It forages on and pollinates our raspberries, blackberries and black locust trees from May to June. 


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