Is the buzz of bees fading?

6 Jul

By Jillian Marshall

April 18, 2014

Updated Apr 18, 2014 at 7:36 PM EDT


Kirkwood, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Spring is here and the warmer weather is bringing out all the insects and animals. But bees aren’t buzzing like they used to in New York.


In the state of New York and in the Southern Tier, bee colonies’ populations are dwindling.


Sue Garing, a Kirkwood bee keeper, said it’s because of Colony Collapse Disorder.

Garing said a large part of the disorder is the varroa mite. The mite, who is similar to a tick, punches holes into the hard shell of the bee, making it vulnerable for viruses and bacteria.


There are more than 50,000 beehives in New York and together they produce more than 2.5 million pounds of honey a year.


But it’s not just honey production that suffers, the decline comes at a steep price for our environment, our farms, and economy.


Garing said bees affect two thirds of the foods we eat, and if they are gone, so is the food.

For example, it takes at least two hives per acre to pollinate apple trees.


Another reason for the decline is what humans are doing.


“The insidiousness of what we’re doing to the environment, introducing a lot of chemicals to the environment and literally paving over the food resources of bees and other creatures,” Garing said.


For first-time bee keeper Bob Nolan, of McDonough, the decline of these honey-making machines is just another reason to start his own bee colony and pollinate more.


“We put in 80 blueberry bushes so we hope the bees will help pollinate the blueberry bushes,” Nolan said.


In February, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) called upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the USDA, to investigate into the bee population loss to help strengthen farms and build back bee colonies.

World’s first beekeeping DONKEY gets his own custom suit in Brazil

5 Jul


Boneco is the world’s first beekeeping donkey – and he’s great at his job.


Brazilian gent Manuel Juraci clearly doesn’t buy into a dog as man’s best friend, instead trusting his ass to give him a helping hand.


The unlikely pair are proving a great success, with the partnership bringing in more honey than ever before.


Manuel is just one of 120 beekeepers in his town of Itatira, and he and Boneco are among the most successful in the area.


He’s also a bit of an inventor – known locally as Professor Pardal – coming up with the custom full body beekeeper suit for his four-legged friend.


The design is turning heads with the Association of Honey Producers wanting to see more of them made to cover their own asses.


Boneco isn’t the only furry friend helping out beekeepers though, with Bazz the black labrador helping out Josh Kennett in South Australia.


He said: “The process of training Bazz and developing the suit has been an attempt to find a better way of controlling American foulbrood disease.


“Detection and quarantine processes are essential to save our bees. I realised that Bazz was able to sniff out the disease, and save thousands of bees – but he didn’t like being around them too much when he was getting stung.


“So I’ve tried to develop a suit the dog can wear and hopefully avoid being stung.”

Recipe: Honey-Pepper Roasted Shrimp with Green Beans and Olives

4 Jul

Serves 4

¼ cup honey

½ teaspoon red pepper flakes

½ teaspoon salt

2 cloves garlic, minced

Zest of 1 orange

2 tablespoons minced fresh rosemary

½ cup pitted Kalamata olives

8 ounces green beans, trimmed

1 pound large peeled and deveined raw shrimp



  1.  Heat the oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat the foil with cooking spray.

       2. In a medium bowl, stir together the honey, red pepper flakes, salt, garlic, orange zest and rosemary. Stir in the olives and the green beans to coat. Spread the mixture on the prepared baking sheet and roast for 20 minutes. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and add the shrimp, stirring them into the other ingredients. Roast for another five minutes, or until the shrimp are pink and firm. Serve immediately.


— Alison Ladman, The Associated Press

Honey and Schmaltz: Your Virtual Jewish Recipe Box

2 Jul

By Sari Kamin


It started with an artichoke. I was in Rome studying food and culture. The day before, I had eaten the best pasta of my life: a simple cacio e pepe sublimely balanced with pepper, cheese, and the most perfectly cooked al dente noodles. But it was a artichoke in the old Jewish ghetto that left me speechless.


That bite became the inspiration for Honey & Schmaltz an ongoing culinary memoir of Jewish food.


Despite being raised by a Reform rabbi, religion and I have never really clicked. But as I bit into that fried artichoke — a food as Jewish as matzo ball soup — I was overcome with nostalgia. I’m not Italian, but somehow I felt a deep connection to my ancestors. I wanted to dig deeper into my own history by way of the lexicon of recipes my people had produced.


Over the last two months I met with and interviewed close to 40 individuals — chefs like Aaron Israel at Shalom Japan, food writers like Joan Nathan and Gil Marks and passionate home cooks. I asked them each to share a recipe with me — one that had been passed down through generations in their family and embodies their heritage. I asked them to cook the recipe while I witnessed, photographing their process in the kitchen, taking down the recipe and sampling the results. As they cooked I heard the stories behind the recipes, where they came from and who made them, when they were eaten and why they are special.


There was Dahlia Abraham Klein, the vegetarian cookbook author in Great Neck, NY who was born to Afghan Bukharian parents. She took me to a Persian grocery and cracked cardamom pods with her teeth. I sat on the train heading back to Manhattan, sucking on lemony pistachios and wondering: When would I have ever been so welcomed into a stranger’s home? That night I went home and made Ghormez Sabzi, a Persian green stew overflowing with herbs made bitter by the addition of dried limes.


I met Gil Marks, the well-known author and historian who gave me a lesson in the history of noodles while he fried matzo meal fritters in sweet honey and oil — his grandmother’s recipe.


I went to Washington, DC to the home of Joan Nathan. She greeted me with homemade apricot jam and made her mother’s plum tart, the one they would eat on Rosh Hashanah when Italian blue plums are in season.


These cooks welcomed me into their homes, their kitchens, their restaurants, as they cooked the food of their grandmothers and grandfathers, aunts and uncles. They told me the stories of their childhoods and their ancestors. The great names and the less renowned — all were generous with their stories and recipes.


I learned the chronicle of a people as their memories simmered and stewed on their stovetops and counters. When launches next week on May 1 — with these family recipes and the stories that lived beneath the ingredients — I hope it will serve as a collective testimony, that it enshrines our ancestors and provides an archive for their recipes. In the end, it is a menu for memory.

5 Benefits Of Green Tea With Honey

30 Jun

Posted by: Deepa Published: Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 7:00 [IST]


Green tea is slowly becoming the most popular beverage. The spot once occupied by coffee and tea is slowly being taken by green tea. More and more brands are coming up with their versions of green tea. Some have plain green tea as their major brewing flavour, while for others it’s a mixture of the green tea with some amazing flavours of lemon and lemon grass. Green tea is never had with sugar. The main purpose of green tea is to rejuvenate you, and sugar is not the ideal combination for green tea. Ideal combination for green tea would be a dash of lemon and some honey. This combination makes sure you are absolutely stress-free, and benefits you as well.


Here are a few health benefits of having green tea with honey. Improves Brain Functions It’s not just a rejuvenating drink; it makes you smarter too. Caffeine is one of the prime ingredients present in green tea. When you have it with honey, the taste adds vitamins to it which is good for your brain health. The presence of these two ingredients in green tea improves concentration as the neurons are fired better and in a more focussed way. It also helps improve brain reaction time as well as your memory. Green tea with honey is indeed great for your brain health. Remember, caffeine present in green tea is in lesser amounts as compared to coffee. Hence, it makes your brain stable and focussed. This is one of the health benefits of having green tea with honey.


Burns your Fat

Most people are looking at things that can help them reduce the excess calories they have recently gained. For most of them, the good news is that having a few cups of green tea combined with honey on a regular basis can actually help them relieve the excess calories. Green tea boosts the metabolism in the body while honey reduces the calories. Fat oxidation by this combination is increased by about 17 per cent.


Prevents Risk of Cancer

One of the important health benefits of having Green tea with honey is that it gives out great antioxidants necessary for good health of the body. The multiplying effect of body cells in an uncontrolled fashion gives rise to cancer. Having green tea would help produce antioxidants that reduce the effect of this uncontrolled multiplying effect. Green tea on a regular basis not just prevents the effects of cancer but also mitigates them. This is an important green tea benefits.


Improves Dental Health

Most people are concerned about cavities and other dental issues. Catechins present in green tea with honey are effective in case of improving the dental health too. Plaque and other dental issues are caused mainly due to streptococcus mutans bacteria. The catechins in green tea combined with honey reduce the effects of this bacteria, thus providing better dental health. This is one of the health benefits of having green tea with honey.


Better Bone Health

Osteoporosis is a major body issue that most people fear. It is especially true for older woman as the bone strength reduces in these women after a certain age. Having green tea with honey not just adds taste but also makes the bone stronger and healthier. You will see that with green tea, the bone loss is reduced while actively producing antioxidants and anti-inflammatory activities.

Honeybees in Kenya have Resilience to Diseases that Destroy Bees Elsewhere

29 Jun

By James A. Foley

Apr 19, 2014 05:17 AM EDT


Populations of East Africa honeybees appear to be resilient toward a number of devastating parasites and pathogens that affect bee colonies in Europe, the US and Asia, according to new research.


Among the pests that have ravaged honeybee colonies elsewhere in the world are Nosema microsporidia andVarroa mites.


Varroa mites, along with colony collapse disorder, are responsible for global honeybee populations crashing.


“Our East African honeybees appear to be resilient to these invasive pests, which suggests to us that the chemicals used to control pests in Europe, Asia and the United States currently are not necessary in East Africa,” said researcher Elliud Muli of South Eastern Kenya University.


Varroa mites were first reported in Kenya in 2009, so honeybees there have proven resilient for a number of years.


“Kenyan beekeepers believe that bee populations have been experiencing declines in recent years, but our results suggest that the common causes for colony losses in the United States and Europe — parasites, pathogens and pesticides — do not seem to be affecting Kenyan bees, at least not yet,” said Christina Grozinger, professor of entomology and director of the Center for Pollinator Research at Penn State University.


“Some of our preliminary data suggest that the loss of habitat and drought impacting flowering plants, from which the bees get all their food, may be the more important factor driving these declines,” she said.


Penn State entomology research scientist Harland Patch suggested that there is a symbiotic relationship between bees and flowering plants.


“Honeybees are pollinators of untold numbers of plants in every ecosystem on the African continent,” Patch said in a statement. “They pollinate many food crops as well as those important for economic development, and their products, like honey and wax, are vital to the livelihood of many families. People say the greatest animal in Africa is the lion or the elephant, but honeybees are more essential, and their decline would have profound impacts across the continent.”


The researchers report that their study, which included a nationwide survey of 24 locations across Kenya to evaluate the numbers and sizes of honeybee colonies, assesses the presence or absence of Varroa and Nosema parasites and viruses, is the first comprehensive study of bee health in East Africa.


Varroa mites, the study reveled, are present throughout Kenya, except in the remote north. The Nosema virus was less widespread.


Pesticides were only found in low concentrations at all of the research sites.


Of the most common viruses that affect honeybees in the US, only three were found in Kenya bees.


“The Africanized bees – the so-called ‘killer bees’ – in the Americas seem to be having no problem with Varroa or diseases, so I would not be surprised to find they have some innate genetic tolerance to these pests,” Patch said. “We suspect the seemingly greater tolerance of African bees to these pests over the western bees is a combination of genes and environment.”


The researchers published their work in the journal PLOS One.

Medicinal Uses of Honey

28 Jun

By Julie Edgar

WebMD Feature

Reviewed by Laura J. Martin, MD


Honey has a long medicinal history. The ancient Egyptians not only made offerings of honey to their gods, they also used it as an embalming fluid and a dressing for wounds. On that last point, at least, they were on to something.


Today, many people swarm to honey for its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties. Holistic practitioners consider it one of nature’s best all-around remedies.


But outside of the laboratory, claims for honey’s healthfulness are unproven — except in the area of wound care and, to a lesser extent, cough suppression.


Here’s the truth behind the claims about honey’s health benefits — and an important warning.



Never Give Honey to an Infant

Honey is natural and considered harmless for adults. But pediatricians strongly caution against feeding honey to children under 1 year old.


“Do not let babies eat honey,” states, a web site of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


That’s because of the risk of botulism. The spores of the botulism bacteria are found in dust and soil that may make their way into honey. Infants do not have a developed immune system to defend against infection, says Jatinder Bhatia, MD, a Georgia neonatologist who heads the American Academy of Pediatrics’ Committee on Nutrition.


“It’s been shown very clearly that honey can give infants botulism,” a paralytic disorder in which the infant must be given anti-toxins and often be placed on a respirator in an intensive care unit, he says. Bhatia has never seen a case of infant botulism.


But parents may feed their infants cereals that contain honey, he says. “It’s cooked, so it’s OK,” Bhatia says. He explains that when it comes to botulism risk, “we’re talking about honey out of the bottle.”


The National Honey Board, which the USDA oversees, also agrees that infants should not be given honey. “The concern for babies stems from the fact that infants lack the fully developed gastrointestinal tract of older humans,” the Board’s web site states.


Antibacterial Honey?

In the laboratory, honey has been shown to hamper the growth of food-borne pathogens such as E. coli and salmonella, and to fight certain bacteria, includingStaphylococcus aureus and Pseudomonas aeruginosa, both of which are common in hospitals and doctors’ offices. But whether it does the same in people hasn’t been proven.


Shop for honey and you’ll see that some are lighter, others are darker. In general, the darker the honey, the better its antibacterial and antioxidant power.


Honey comes in many varieties, depending on the floral source of pollen or nectar gathered and regurgitated by the honey bee upon arrival in the hive.


Honey producers may apply to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) for a grade on their product, but the score does not account for color. Rather, the honey is judged for clarity, aroma, and flavor, and the absence of sediments, such as honeycomb particles.


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