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The Humble Honey Bee


CelticGypsy

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Being the growing season again as it's spring time. I've had honey bee's on my mind. I see less and less of them each year, and I wonder if the seedlings we plant that self pollinate are taking a toll on this facinating industrious worker. I'm guilty of this myself with my seedlings. In lore the honeybee was an incredibly important creature to the Celtic faith being seen as a symbol of and bringer of knowledge, a messenger of and conduit to the dieties that the Celts observed.

 

As a symbol of friendship, cooperation and communication, bees are also believed to be potent protectors of those who follow the faith and sites they worship at. Interestingly the renowned fleur de lis symbol that is found on some of the earliest most important artifacts and standing stones are now believed by many scholars not actually to be a representation of a flower, but actually a sylized representaion of the bee.

 

The Celt Wise Ones, believed that if you meet a bee you should greet it with the greatest of friendship. They also believed that if you have a bees nest or hive near your garden you should daily converse with the bees and tell them your news of the day. The ancient naturalists knew something about bees, which they domesticated. Bees were greatly prized in the ancient world, as makers of honey that was simultaneously a desired food and one of the few important preservatives, then known.

 

Romans and Greeks believed the bee held the souls of nymphs ( priestesses ) and they were accompanied by eunuch priests known as essenes meaning " drones " The priestesses of the Goddess were called melissae , " bees ". In folklore, bees were always identified with mortality. If bees left their hive, it was taken as a sign that the hive's owner would soon die. It was also considered important to " tell the bees " about a death in the family, so they would not fly away.

 

In some sections of England it was customary to turn beehives around to face in the opposite direction when a corpse was being carried out of the house. Like all other inhabitants of the natural world, insects were regarded by the ancients as mystically powerful, filled with magic, energies and secrets. Their mysterious habits, their curious nests, their ability to fly, and their shape-changing metamorphoses were always matters for wonders.

 

Flying insects were often viewed as soul-carriers or intermediate forms of human souls. Descructive insects were much feared, because a plague of locusts could mean widespread famine, termites could shatter houses and scorpions could kill. Because insects are mostly small, their activities often escaped notice and so there were many erroneous ideas about them. Many questions about their ways still remain unanswered, naturally, such considerations never appreciably interfered with their use as symbols.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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I have a special relationship with bees and often have to "talk" them into not flying around my freaked-out friends. I know some folks are allergic, but jumping around wildly certainly doesn't help the situation. Bees will fly by my porch on their way to the flowers. They always seem to stop for a moment to land on me before going on their way. I love them.

 

Jevne

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I see less and less of them each year

 

Current theories of experts as to the decline of bee populations ranges from Pesticide use making bees more susceptible to disease ,Climate change, loss of habitat, Colony collapse disorder,and various parasites.

 

I'd say it's a bit of all those things myself, The best we who don't keep hives can do, is to plant flowers that attract bees in order to provide more food for them. I read that providing a wide range of food ( flowers? ) results in a boost to the immune systems of bees.

 

We have 2 allotment plots, and to help pollinate our vegetables and other produce, we've been sowing flowers around the edges of the plots to attract bees and other insects. Foxgloves are a favourite of mine.

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Just as I started to read this thread a HUGE bee started tapping itself against the window beside me. Yay! Summer!:sunny:

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While we are on the subject, does anyone know how to move a hive without hurting the bees. I may have mentioned this before, but don't recall the answers. I have a huge hive in the pillars on my front porch. I don't mind them so much, but visitors find it uncomfortable walking through a swarm of bees to get to the front door.

 

J

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I was thinking about bees today while i was out on a walk, It worries me that they're disappearing. I wasn't aware that some plants are self pollenating, It's something i've never even considered. What sort of plants are self pollenating? I've heard a theory that raditation from things like mobile phones could be the reason for them disappearing. Worrying stuff..

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There's a little bee farm near where I live, I see them every so often.

Never thought of self pollinating seeds, hm.

 

I hope it's just temporary :(

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While we are on the subject, does anyone know how to move a hive without hurting the bees. I may have mentioned this before, but don't recall the answers. I have a huge hive in the pillars on my front porch. I don't mind them so much, but visitors find it uncomfortable walking through a swarm of bees to get to the front door.

 

J

 

Excellent for keeping away unwanted visitors... I'd leave them there and then tell people you like to use the back door, lol

 

M

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Are there other types of bees besides specifically honey bees?

 

WHat happened with the guy on the plane... was he using this for wine grapes? Did he get a whole hive or was he going to build one with just the queen, and I wonder why he had to go all the way to ND for a queen... didn't they have any in Cali?

 

M

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this wee article list loads! http://www.buzzle.co...es-of-bees.html

 

i mostly see the big bumblebees around and I love them, they always seem to fly like they are drunk, sort of weaving in and out at a really slow speed too!

 

I remember before Christmas watching an Oz Clark and Hugh Dennis programme (probably on the BBC?) on the making of mead (they were sampling the different christmas tipples around the british isles).

 

I remember the mead makers had to go out in the dead of night and sing I think to the bees in the hive, (I think it was singing or a prayer or something!) to thank the bees for their hard work and ensure that they stay - it may have even been on Yule.

 

ok, I know this is so vague but I will try to get a hold of the original programme and update this with some proper facts!!! :chakrahearts:

Please feel free if anyone else can shed some light on this too! x

 

edited: think mead doesnt have an e at the end!

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Are there other types of bees besides specifically honey bees? Yes.

 

WHat happened with the guy on the plane... was he using this for wine grapes? Did he get a whole hive or was he going to build one with just the queen, and I wonder why he had to go all the way to ND for a queen... didn't they have any in Cali?

 

M

 

It was quite educational for me to have this fella on my plane. When I looked at his boarding pass, and saw that he was in first class, I could hear from the close proximity we had, that the pocket on his shirt made noises. I said to him,

" Excuse me, but do you normally buzz ? " He replied, " Oh that's my new queen bee "... Well now, people bring all sorts of stuff on planes, some of their stuff has to have paperwork, and not all gate agents are aware to let F.A.'s know this.

Of course I have to see this, due to it's on my plane and there are 175 folks riding with me, not to mention a queen bee.

I thought I was the only queen bee on the plane, but that's just me. He told me he was a grower of grapes in California and was on his way back home, he needed this particular bee for his colony as a certain kind of grape was grown for a new blend of white wines. I was relaxed as he produced his paperwork, as he had to bring his 4 drones to the sale to acquaint the drones to the queen, so the the hive would not revolt and kill her, as they were used to another queen, but she had served her purposes elsewhere in another hive. The box the bees were contained in was shaped like a cigarette box, but it had a mesh lining like screen material and air holes, the queen resided in a smaller version of this box, and was inserted into the larger one, she was protected from the drones as they could swagger around her and take in her scent and mark her as their own. So she was in another box within the box. She was flown in ( by aircraft no doubt ) from Italy to a special sale in Fargo, and the gentleman needed her particular breeding genetics to breed to raise his own. I'm thinking this through like " who knewww??? " The whole contraption fit in this man's shirt pocket. I just wanted to make sure of the safety of my other passengers, as some may not appreciate the uniqueness of the situation. He and his bees were excellant passengers on my flight. I've always wondered to this day how much this cost this guy and wondered if I ever have tasted the wine that would of been produced. I tell ya, I've got stories about my flights, and this is just one of them.

Regards,

Gypsy

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OT, but are you a flight attendant? I thought at first "my flight" just referred to the flight you were riding on....

 

M

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OT, but are you a flight attendant? I thought at first "my flight" just referred to the flight you were riding on....

 

M

 

Yes I was.....for a big part of my life, 20 years, I stopped flying in 2008.

Regards,

Gypsy

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Excellent for keeping away unwanted visitors... I'd leave them there and then tell people you like to use the back door, lol

 

M

 

 

Nothing like a little deflection to make a day relaxed... I so agree with you here M. But seriously Jevne, if your friends know that you have this love for bees and their happiness to make a home at your home, they truely understand, your friends I would surmize. I mean if I was invited to your home, and you told me to use the back door, I'd so get it. I love bees too. With your empathic qualities and your love of nature I couldn't imagine you not telling the bees, " I'm so not interested in what that person is selling... " Why not use the bees for a purpose so old in the Craft?

Regards,

Gypsy

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Do self-pollenating plants still have pollen and nectar?

 

 

I dunno ~V~. I just know that when we order seeds, the catalouge says " self pollinating ". Perhaps our M.Witch will weigh in on this and gives us the proper answer. I do know this though, I work with a semi-retired gentleman who was a huge farmer in my area, and he said that his apple orchard suffers because of the lack of bees pollinating his apple blossoms. His trees yeild many varieties of apples, in fact he sat with the scientists at the University of Minnesota who scientifically produced a variety of apple called Honey Crisp, this fella who I work with was one of the first farmers in Minnesota to grow the apple tree.

 

Regards,

Gypsy

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Using human analogy, some plants (and only some) contain both male & female organs. Because the 'organs' are so close together, the pollen is easily transferred from the male to the female organ. Most plants require some sort of mechanical fertilization, whether it's from the wind carrying it, or the pollen sticking to bees, butterflies or other insects that land on them and carrying the pollen to the next plant they land on. Bees' leg anatomy is better suited to this than butterflies or other insects, hence they are the widest pollinators.

 

All flowering plants have nectar but some more than others.

 

The widespread colony collapse isn't just affecting beekeepers, it's affecting all farmers who have crops that rely on bee pollinating - like CG's apple farmer. I've heard of farmers doing the pollinating themselves to try to keep their crops viable ... tedious and very time consuming ... with marginal success.

 

Michele - there are any number of bees other than just honeybees. My particular bane is carpenter bees. Those little (well, not so little) buggers don't sting but seem to love wood house fascia, despite the nearby abundance of other wood in the form of trees. I've spent numerous hours trying to encourage them to be elsewhere, with little success. Jevne, maybe I need your help here?

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While we are on the subject, does anyone know how to move a hive without hurting the bees. I may have mentioned this before, but don't recall the answers. I have a huge hive in the pillars on my front porch. I don't mind them so much, but visitors find it uncomfortable walking through a swarm of bees to get to the front door.

 

J

 

 

If it's a naturally occuring hive, not one you've put there, then I don't think you would be able to move them without destroying the nest. I'm pretty sure they attach it to whatever they've chosen with some sort of saliva type of construction.

 

I'd just leave it be and get people using the back door as others have suggested.

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Good day, all.

 

My particular bane is carpenter bees. Those little (well, not so little) buggers don't sting but seem to love wood house fascia, despite the nearby abundance of other wood in the form of trees. I've spent numerous hours trying to encourage them to be elsewhere, with little success.

 

I have dealt with carpenter bees around my house also, and like you I discovered that they can be very persistent. What information on them I have been able to find indicates that bare, weathered surfaces attract them, and in most cases one or two coats of paint will be enough to deter them from boring. Stains and other treatments are comparatively less effective.

 

As a sidenote, please use caution when dealing with them; while the drone/males do not have stingers, if my reading is correct the females are quite capable of stinging, though you will generally have to antagonize them pretty severely to provoke them into doing so.

 

I generally get on well with bees, and in fact will go out of my way to never harm a honeybee.

 

Wasps of any variety are quite another story. :bolt:

 

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Kurt

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Unfortunately, our house is stained, not painted. I know the females can sting but as much as I hate to do it, I leave dealing with them up to the pest control folks. The males just buzz around, trying to get to the females. They're irritating.

 

Know what you mean about wasps! I'm nursing a wasp sting right now and all I was doing was walking from the car into the house! :censored:

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Good day, all.

 

Unfortunately, our house is stained, not painted. I know the females can sting but as much as I hate to do it, I leave dealing with them up to the pest control folks. The males just buzz around, trying to get to the females. They're irritating.

 

Know what you mean about wasps! I'm nursing a wasp sting right now and all I was doing was walking from the car into the house! :censored:

 

Tea tree oil is reputed to be an effective repellent for bees, though I have not yet personally tried it.

 

It might just be my paranoia talking, but it seems as though 90% of the stinging insects I encounter annually are wasps of some variety or another. Paper wasps are a major nuisance around my home, but the absolute bane of my life outdoors in the summertime is the bald-faced hornet, a type of yellowjacket. It is a large and aggressive species, and every encounter I have ever had with it has been unpleasant in the extreme:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bald-faced_hornet

 

As a child I was climbing white pine trees in our yard with my younger brother and one of our friends when our friend sat down on the limb to which a large nest was attached (the nest was about 0.5m high). The next several minutes were pretty hectic for everyone involved, as you might imagine. :upset:

 

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Kurt

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Good day, all.

 

 

 

Tea tree oil is reputed to be an effective repellent for bees, though I have not yet personally tried it.

 

It might just be my paranoia talking, but it seems as though 90% of the stinging insects I encounter annually are wasps of some variety or another. Paper wasps are a major nuisance around my home, but the absolute bane of my life outdoors in the summertime is the bald-faced hornet, a type of yellowjacket. It is a large and aggressive species, and every encounter I have ever had with it has been unpleasant in the extreme:

 

http://en.wikipedia....ld-faced_hornet

 

As a child I was climbing white pine trees in our yard with my younger brother and one of our friends when our friend sat down on the limb to which a large nest was attached (the nest was about 0.5m high). The next several minutes were pretty hectic for everyone involved, as you might imagine. :upset:

 

 

Kind regards,

 

 

Kurt

 

 

LOL ! sorry Kurt, I get these " visuals "..... paper wasps are such grouchy insects. But from what I know, one can use their nests in magical workings. There is a barber in town, who's shop is full of huge paper wasps nests, he uses them as ornaments and they are just insanely cool. But of course they are empty, I don't think the dude would have any customers if they were filled with grouchy bees. lol.

Regards,

Gypsy

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The males just buzz around, trying to get to the females. They're irritating.

 

 

Know what you mean, I've been to a few bars like that, lol...

 

M

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Nothing like a little deflection to make a day relaxed... I so agree with you here M. But seriously Jevne, if your friends know that you have this love for bees and their happiness to make a home at your home, they truely understand, your friends I would surmize. I mean if I was invited to your home, and you told me to use the back door, I'd so get it. I love bees too. With your empathic qualities and your love of nature I couldn't imagine you not telling the bees, " I'm so not interested in what that person is selling... " Why not use the bees for a purpose so old in the Craft?

Regards,

Gypsy

 

Actually, I'm more worried about potential damage to the foundation. Not sure, if that will be an issue, but I have a lot of money in this house. Love bees, but love my home more. That's my concern.

 

J

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