'bees' on Serious Eats

Some Progress in Disappearing Honeybee Mystery

Scientists trying to crack the Colony Collapse Syndrome (CCD) mystery that's killed millions of beehives worldwide, may be onto something, according to Scientific American: The growing consensus among researchers is that multiple factors such as poor nutrition and exposure to pesticides can interact to weaken colonies and make them susceptible to a virus-mediated collapse. In the case of our experiments in greenhouses, the stress of being confined to a relatively small space could have been enough to make colonies succumb to IAPV and die with CCD-like symptoms. More recent results from long-term monitoring have identified other unexpected factors for increased colony loss, including the fungicide chlorothalonil. Research is now focused on understanding how these factors relate to colony collapse.... More

More on the Beekeeping Bill

“Honeybees are quite predictable, docile, and beneficial," said Carroll Gardens beekeeper David Graves to The Brooklyn Paper. "They are very misunderstood." The beekeeping community has nicknamed Brooklyn Heights councilman David Yassky, "Yassky the Pooh," for his bill. Previously: Bill Introduced... More

The Great Vegan Honey Debate

Can vegans who eat honey still call themselves vegan? In light of honey-eating becoming a bigger part of the vegan diet, Daniel Engber of Slate investigates the different beliefs and facts behind the great vegan honey debate. While one could argue that bees are exploited as industrial pollinators much more so than as honey producers, finding alternatives to honey is more reasonable than limiting one's diet to just wind-pollinated plants. It's safe to say that eating plants is also more important than consuming honey to maintain a healthy diet (or, you know, life). Since honey is just a euphemism for bee regurgitation (or the alliterative "bee barf," as I prefer), it seems obvious that it fits under the non-vegan... More

How Much For That Beehive?

Photograph from Tambako the Jaguar on Flickr Bee rental costs may be to blame for the price of produce these days. Since honeybees started mysteriously disappearing, growers of products like pumpkins, cucumbers, and almonds have been forced to rent bees by the colony in order to pollinate their crops. Most crops require one to two beehives per acre, and each hive now costs somewhere between $10 and $180, depending on the season and the grower's intended use for the bees—a burden which is passed on to the consumer in the form of higher food prices. Not only is this a significant cost, but with scientists still perplexed as to the cause of the bee blight, there's no readily apparent solution... More

Can We Save the Honey Bees and Eat Seriously Delicious Ice Cream? Yes, We Can

Wandering through one of my local gourmet stores on my way to see my mother-in-law, Hilda, I spotted a pint of a Häagen-Dazs flavor I had been hearing about but had never seen. Vanilla Honey Bee is a new Häagen-Dazs flavor that comes complete with a cause (saving the honeybees from Colony Collapse Disorder) and a story (pollinating bees are responsible for way more than honey, as in (by some estimates) 33 percent of what we eat). I quickly came up with a plan to serve three causes with one little pint of ice cream: Taste the new flavor, help save honeybees, and bring my mother-in-law a treat. I bought a pint of the Vanilla Honey Bee and a pint... More

Scientists Buzzing About Honeybee Deaths

In what's essentially a rehash of a story from late February, the New York Times is reporting that honeybees are vanishing. What's new is that about 60 scientists met yesterday to figure out why. "So far, known enemies of the bee world, like the varroa mite, on their own at least, do not appear to be responsible for the unusually high losses." Researchers have turned to bee autopsies and genetic testing to unlock the mystery and have found the "unusual" presence of fungi also found in humans suffering from AIDS or cancer. The insects' disappearance has much to do with our food supply: "They are the principal pollinators of hundreds of fruits, vegetables, flowers and nuts." Photograph from ndrwfgg... More

Honeybees Are More Important Than You Realize

An alarming number of bees are inexplicably going missing across the USA, and if you're tempted to make an alien abduction joke, first consider how important they are to the food supply: "A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States, mostly fruits, vegetables and nuts. “Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food,” said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation." A 20% loss of bees in the offseason is normal, but West Coast beekeepers have been losing 30 to 60%, and beekeepers on the East Coast and Texas more than 70%. Is it... More

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