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2 months ago

Bees do it!


In this edition of The Green Issue we wanted to pay homage to those incredible bumblebees that proudly don their yellow and black suits. We know they are going extinct, but there is still hope! There are wonderful sustainability projects that are doing the seemingly impossible to preserve them. This is why it is so important that we support these projects using natural, local, and eco-friendly honeys.

Superfamily: Apoideaany 

Suborder: Apocrita

Order: Hymenoptera

Includes the familiar honeybee (Apis) and bumblebee (Bombus and Psithyrus)

Size: from about 2 mm to 4 cm (about 0.08 to 1.6 inches).

Only insects in the scientific genus Apis are true honey producers.


Types of honeybees and what they do


Workers

  • Secrete the wax used in the hive, and form it into honeycombs.
  • Forage for all of the nectar and pollen brought into the hive. 
  • Transform the nectar into honey.
  • Defend the hive against intruders and maintain optimal conditions by heating, cooling, and ventilating the hive.



Drones

  • Feed themselves directly from honey cells in the hive, or beg for food from worker bees.
  • They are reared chiefly before new queens are produced, ensuring that drones will be available to mate with emerging queens.
  • They eat, rest, and patrol mating sites (drone congregation areas). 

A colony that has lost its queen may develop laying workers, who can produce only drones.


Queen Bees

  • Her function is one of production.
  • She is normally the only reproductive female in the colony. 
  • Egg-laying begins when the first fresh pollen is brought home by the workers. 
  • The queen can lay as many as 2000 eggs each day. 

Queen Bees produce a pheromone known as queen substance. This mixture of chemicals is passed individually from bee to bee throughout the entire hive as they share food.

  • If a queen bee is removed from a colony, the workers will notice her absence within several hours because of the drop in the level of this pheromone. 
  • Workers evaluate their queen based on the quantity of the queen substance she produces. If workers begin to perceive a lower dose, they perceive her as low quality, and supersede her by replacing with another female!


How they produce honey

1. Female worker bees collect plant nectar from over than 5,000 flowers in one day.

2. Nectar is taken to the hive inside a special organ called the honey stomach.

3. Once inside the hive, house bees added enzymes to the nectar and chemical changes begin.

4. Bees place nectar and honey on comb and fan wings to remove excess moisture.

5. Once the enzyme action is complete and moisture level is low, ripe honey is stored in the cells of honeycomb. A wax cap on top keeps it clean.

What is going on with bees?

We have selected some articles and videos to help you better understand what happens with bees and their ecosystems, in order to find solutions together: 

Why bees are disappearing and why we need them so much


Bees are the most important pollinators of our fruits, vegetables, flowers, and feed crops for farm animals. Without them: no food, no human life, just that simple! Discover the truth in this Ted Talk video:

https://www.ted.com/talks/marla_spivak_why_bees_are_disappearing/up-next?referrer=playlist-why_we_need_bees#t-13452

The economic role of bees


As the number of bees declines, the price of over 130 fruits and vegetables crops that we reply on in the bar rises. This economic impact is convincingly explained here: 

https://www.ted.com/talks/noah_wilson_rich_every_city_needs_healthy_honey_bees/up-next?referrer=playlist-why_we_need_bees&language=en#t-78074

Why bees are disappearing

Due in part to temperature extremes and fluctuations, bee ecosystems are being devastated. Check it out:

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/animals/article/bumblebees-going-extinct-climate-change-pesticides



“Beerosities” (bee + curiosities) that will surprise you

Meet a real bee whisperer

Ryan is a bee whisperer. In this video he will show us how honey is harvested just outside Portland, Oregon. It’s amazing how they open the hives, extract the honey, filter it, and put it into the bottle: 

https://www.bonappetit.com/video/watch/brad-makes-honey

How to identify authentic honey in 5 steps

1. Slight impurities are present. You will find small traces of pollen and wax. 

2. Thick texture. It takes a while to drip from the spoon.

3. It takes longer to dilute in water. 

4. It crystalizes. If it does not, it is processed. 

5. To prove whether it is real honey or not: Add some drops of iodine to a glass of water with a bit of honey. If it turns blue, the honey is mixed with cornstarch. 


Honey tastings 

Honey, I’m home! Professional honey tasting podcast

Arthur Garske has lived his life in and around bees. If there is something that needs to be learned about bees, Arthur knows it! Join him as he schools us about bees as well as his second passion, honey. Pour yourself a cup of tea and enjoy this sweet listen!  

https://omny.fm/shows/honey-im-home/professional-honey-tasting-the-sweetest-thing

The Nepalese honey that makes people… hallucinate?

In the foothills of the Himalayas a local community harvests honey from high cliffs. Discover one of the oldest methods of harvesting honey in the world and learn about a very rare phenomenon that occurs in spring: the honey gets rich with Rhododendron pollen which has psychedelic effects. Are you ready for this bizarre video?

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GSeQVJIT-ls


4 “Beestainable” (bee + sustainable) projects



1. Bermondsey Street Bees

@bstreetbees

This sustainable beekeeping project supplies artisanal real honeys to chefs and bartenders who want to support British beekeeping. Who wants to learn more about this project? Maybe even schedule a class with a specialized sommelier? Take a look at the videos, documentaries, and articles in the following link:

https://www.bermondseystreetbees.co.uk/bsb-in-the-media/


The London Honey Company

@london_honey_co



Are you looking for pure natural honey from London´s rooftops? Fall in love with single-origin honeys or infused honeys, as well as honey straight from the hive. You can also learn the craft of beekeeping and be part of this amazing online taster session: https://thelondonhoneycompany.co.uk/collections/courses/products/beekeeping-for-beginners-online-taster-session-14th-august-2021


The Ginza Honeybee Project 

The Ginza Honeybee Project is greening the rooftops of this exclusive shopping district in Tokyo, raising bees, and commercializing their honey. This sustainable social business produces over one ton of honey per year. 

https://www.nippon.com/en/japan-topics/g01011/


Fairmont's Bee Sustainable Program

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts saw the opportunity to help support honey bee health by placing beehives on rooftop gardens. Today, the program features over 20 honey bee apiaries and more than 20 wild pollinator bee hotels at Fairmont locations worldwide. Find more info here: 

http://fairmontbeesustainable.com


Cocktails: Oh Honey, Honey! 

To prepare these cocktails, we invite you to use 100% pure local honeys that reflect the profile of their origin, and most importantly, that are produced sustainably.

Fam Margarita

Ingredients

  • 60 ml / 2 parts Altos Plata 
  • 20 ml / 2/3 part fresh lemon juice
  • 25 ml / 2/3 part Devon flower honey water (1:1)*
  • lemon thyme for garnish

Method

Shake and strain all ingredients into a rocks glass and garnish with lemon thyme.

 *Runny local honey, a sprig of aromatic thyme. 

30 ml = 1 oz  


Altos Honey Highball

Ingredients

  • 50 ml / 1 2/3 parts Altos Reposado 
  • 20 ml / 2/3 part lime juice 
  • 20 ml / 2/3 part honey* 
  • 40 ml / 1 1/3 parts orange juice 
  • club soda to top
  • 1 orange twist  

Method

Add the first three ingredients to a highball glass. Stir to dissolve the honey. Add and integrate the orange juice. Add ice and top with club soda. Garnish with an orange twist.

Any local artisanal real honey will work. 

30 ml = 1 oz