The Aftermath and Some Surprising News on Notre Dame

News That Lit Up the World

Fire and smoke rising from Notre Dame cathedral as it burns April 15, 2019 (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

Everything was in a uproar earlier this week when the world watched as Notre Dame was consumed by fire on Monday. The fire broke the hearts of many around the world, as they watched the spire burn and collapse. It was feared that the many precious catholic relics and artworks housed at Notre Dame could have been lost. The world held its breath as it waited to learn the fate of the historic French Catholic cathedral, and the relics and artworks housed there.

As the next few days went by, many the world over were thankful to learn that no lives were lost, the fire was believed to be accidental, most of and  the relics and artworks were saved, and the stone structure of the church was found to be intact. With enough time and money, the iconic church can be repaired. And with that said, what else could there be left to say?

 

Did You Know Notre Dame Had Residents?

Yes, and most, if not all, of the residents of Notre Dame survived… nearly 180,000 of them. Right now, you’re probably thinking “Wait?! More Bees, what do you mean? Did the church have termites? Ants?” No, friends. The church had bees. The bees were placed there in 2013 as a part of France’s efforts to help the decreasing bee populations. Their beekeeper;  Nicholas Géant, was quite relieved as a drone flying over showed all three hives had been untouched by the flames and some photos even showed bees clustered on a gargoyle not far from the sacristy.

What More?

In conclusion, at this time there isn’t too much more. People have pledged money to rebuild and constructions plans to repair the cathedral that took nearly eight and a half centuries to construct are underway. Nicholas awaits the time to see his bees and the saved relics are safe. And the beloved Rose Windows seem intact as well. However, it could have been so much worse.

 

This post is a bit short but we had to share. We are more than happy to find and inform you of events concerning the bees around the world. We need the bees for so much and all efforts to preserve and protect them is an incredible step in the direction to saving them.

 

More Bee News With More Bees

Did you love this article and want to see more? Well, check out some of these links for other great articles on things like bees learning math or how bees can save elephants.

For more information on the fire of Notre Dame and bees  take a peek at these articles.

https://www.theblaze.com/news/cathedral-notre-dame-our-lady-bees-are-still-alive

https://www.cnn.com/2019/04/15/europe/notre-dame-artifacts/index.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/notre-dame-beekeeper-waits-learn-fate-his-180-000-bees-n995676

Stay tuned with us for more news on bees and the conservation efforts. For the time being share this article with your friends and family. When you share posts like these you help us spread the good news in the world of bees.

 

To Spray or Not to Spray: It’s Okay to Spray

The Final Stand

Our journey on garden care for this series is coming to an end our friends. Thus, we wanted to finally cover The use of bee safe sprays. There can and has been debate due to new developments in scientific research and new discoveries being made. So, hold tight and enjoy as we wrap up our “To Spray or Not to Spray” series.

 

To Spray, I say!

Let’s say you don’t like the idea of having more bugs in your garden and/or they simply didn’t last as long as you hoped. Rotating and cleaning your tools has help but now you are simply getting too busy but you still want fresh fruits and veggies, or just a nice garden to relax in. That is no problem at all, sprays can be incredibly helpful and rather effective. But that effectiveness can come at a price since they can kill bees quite easily. What can you do, what are your choices?

 

Follow Some Instruction First

Depending on the spray, you may be just fine to use it. However, certain forms of applying this may cause problems for the bees or even your plants. Here are a few basic practices to help ensure the safety of the bees and other pollinators.

  • Always use the products you buy at the recommended concentrations and with the recommended frequency.
  • Always try to treat after dusk, or before dawn, when bees will be in their hives.
  • Never spray liquid treatments or spread powered treatments when it is windy. The wind will scatter the treatments to unintended areas.
  • Never treat open flowers or soon to open flower buds directly. Bees and other pollinators feed off of the nectar and/or pollen from flowers. Treating the flowers or flower buds can lead to contaminated nectar and/or pollen.

Here are some treatments that are believed to be safe for the bees:

 

Neem Oil 

The oil pressed from Neem seeds can be used as a pesticide/fungicide. It is biodegradable and short lived. When used as an insecticide, it should be use in concentrations below 0.3%. Higher concentrations of neem oil can damage plants. Because of this, it is recommended to treat a few leaves of each type plant, and waiting 24 hours, before treating all of your plants. To make a 0.3% mixture, disperse 1 tablespoon neem oil into 1 gallon of water. Shake every time before use, since the oil and water can separate. Only insects that eat the sprayed plant are harmed. If sprayed when bees are not flying, and blooms/buds are avoided, it is relatively safe for bees. This treatment has been shown to be effective against aphids, mealybugs, scale, whiteflies, and mites, and other insects that eat plant matter. Only young insects in the larval stage are harmed by neem oil.

 

A 1% neem oil solution (3 tablespoons into 1 gallon of water) can be used as a fungicide. Saturate the roots of infected plants. In this capacity, neem oil can be used to treat rust, black spot, root rot, and sooty mold.

 

Insecticidal Soap

You can make your own insecticidal soap using a liquid castile soap. Spray a 2% solution directly on insect infestations to kill insects. The soap makes the cell membranes of the insects leak their contents, which leads to insect death. Make by adding 1 tablespoon of liquid castile soap to 1 quart of water. Alternatively, you can purchase an insecticidal soap. This is a very effective insecticide against many insects, especially soft bodied insects. There is no residual effect, so once dry, it will not kill insects. Because will be killed if directly sprayed, so do not use if bees are flying. Instead, spray between dusk and dawn.

 

Garlic 

While garlic will kill some insects, it is most effective used as a deterrent for soft bodied and crawling pests. To make a garlic concentrate, blend 2-3 heads of garlic in your blender with 4 cups of water, then blend until liquified. Strain the liquid into a clean 1 quart jar and store in your refrigerator. When ready to use, mix 1 part garlic concentrate to 3 parts fresh water. Spray this mixture onto plants- avoid blooms. Scientific evidence indicates garlic is not harmful to bees. Garlic can also be planted in your garden, in flower beds, and around trees to act as a deterrent.

Turn Up the Heat for the Garlic Solution

Some people like to include a hot pepper when they make their concentrate. Hot peppers contain capsaicin. It’s what makes them hot. It is non-toxic to reptiles, birds, but it can cause diarrhea, indigestion, stomach pain, gas, and excessive thirst in most animals, but acts a nerve toxin for invertebrates. That means it will kill insects, including bees. If you choose remember it can harm the bees and many other pollinators. Spray between dusk and dawn, when the bees are not flying. Never directly spray the flowers or flower buds. Never spray water sources – it will kill aquatic invertebrates, and can poison the water for beneficial insects. And finally, peppers can burn plants if used in too high of a concentration.

The Wonders of Garlic Continues

Garlic can also be used as a fungicide. A 2008 report in the European Journal of Plant Pathology found garlic effective against tomato leaf blight and tuber blight. Baker, dubbed “America’s Master Gardener,” writes that “there’s nothin’ fungi hate more than garlic.” To use garlic as a fungicide, add ½ cup baking soda to your 1 quart of garlic concentrate. To treat fungal infections, mix 1 part  of the concentrate/baking soda mixture with 3 parts fresh water. Use this to saturate the soil around plants suffering from fungal infections. Just use with caution is you have cats or dogs since garlic, chives, and onion can be toxic to both.

 

Kaolin Clay 

Kaolin clay is used as a barrier. Insects don’t like it, so they stay off of treated plants. It needs to be used before you develop any pest problems, It should be reapplied every 1-3 weeks, for a total of 3 applications. To use the clay, mix 2 cups of clay with 1 gallon water, and 1 T liquid soap. Use a pump sprayer. This solution of finely ground kaolin clay is sprayed onto plants, including developing fruits or vegetables. The solution needs constant agitation or shaking to keep the kaolin clay particles suspended in the water. Application of the clay will not harm the produce but does deter pests from feeding on the plants or produce. Kaolin clay treatments can be used up to the day of harvest. The Kaolin film can simply be rinsed off the produce when harvested or before consumption. Kaolin clay is non-toxic bees.

 

Final Notes

A few important things to remember when choosing to use treatments:

  1. Treatments approved for use on organic produce are not always safe for bees. So, don’t fall into the trap of thinking that if a treatment is approved for organic farming/gardening, it must be safe for general use.  List of organic treatments

 

  1. Natural does not always mean safe for the bees. For example, Natural pyrethrums (isolated from chrysanthemum plants), once believed to be safe for use around bees are now know to be harmful.

 

  1. Just because a treatment is believed to be safe around bees at this time, that doesn’t mean that in the future we won’t discover that it is actually harmful. A case in point is glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer. So, when you use a “safe” treatment, you might unknowingly be contributing to the problem of colony collapse disorder in the bees. Because of this, try to limit the exposure honey bees receive.

Okay Now, POP QUIZ!

No, It’s Okay, Put the Pencil Down, We Were Kidding

 

We hope all of these have helped you in your efforts in improving your garden and making your life a bit easier. We all can accomplish great things when we work together so help us in protecting the bees simply by sharing this article series with your friends, family, neighbors, coworkers, or even the next stranger you see in the grocery aisle. Okay, sorry, please don’t go asking strangers to read articles you find on the internet- that isn’t safe and we would like you to remain safe and healthy. How about you simply considering sharing this article on facebook and let us know what you thought out all of this. As always, we love hearing from you and we hope you take care.

 

If you haven’t read it yet, check out last week’s article. It goes hand in hand with this one.

To Spray or Not To Spray: The Infection

References

https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/pnw591_1.pdf

https://www.xerces.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/12/xerces-organic-approved-pesticides-factsheet.pdf

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/kaolin-clay-insect-control.htm

https://homeguides.sfgate.com/organic-pepper-spray-insects-78401.html

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/pesticides/neem-oil-uses.htm

 

To Spray or Not To Spray: The Infection

Please help me, More Bees! That last article was awesome but I have seen spotting infecting my plants! What is it and what do I do?

 

Well, let us be the first to tell you that helping you is what we love to do. Next, that sounds like you have a diseased plant. Now; the world isn’t going to burn to the ground, there are things that can be done before completely removing the plant. If you have already tossed the infected plants then use this to better equip yourself for the next bout.

 

What Can Cause These Diseases?

Many things from aphids and slugs to the soil getting too wet, too hot, and/or too cold, or simply bacteria and fungi being carried through the water or wind. It all depends on the plants condition when it became infected. Much like we get sick when our immune systems are compromised, plants also run the risks of becoming ill when their defenses are worn down. So, what can infect the plant and what can it do to the rest of the garden?

 

Know the Enemy

No worries; friends, we were just going to get there. Anyone who manages are garden typically does what they can to optimize garden health. From helping remove pests to simply watering and supplying fresh soil and beneficial nutrients. But, beyond what some novice gardeners realize, those yellow spots aren’t necessarily “sun spots” or wilting. We hope the information below helps in combating some of the more common diseases and you can optimize the health of your yard.

 

Blight

What is blight? It is typically characterized by rapid chlorosis -or the sudden decreased ability to produce chlorophyll-  and deterioration resulting in plant death.

There are many types of blight and each typically affects plants in various weather conditions and seasons. Take Early and Late Blight for instance; the names typically correlate to when each occur. Though they can be seen affecting plants at the same time, early blight is more prominent early in the year and when humidity is high and the temperature is warmer. Late blight tends to occur later in the year and favors cool temperatures and moist conditions. Others like bur oak blight, leaf blight, fire blight, chestnut blight, and so on. Being vigilant and understanding the speed and capability of blight can help protect you plants and prevent further spread.

Here is a helpful link to help further understand the many types of common blight and how to deal with them.

https://www.britannica.com/science/blight

Downy Mildew

The next contender that offends our garden is downy mildew; a fungal infection that begins as small yellow blotches on the plants that may be more noticeable after rainfall. They can increase and change in color based on length of infection, plant health, and even the plant infected as fungus has varieties for each plant species it infects.

Downy mildew will infect plants from either air, water, insects,  or even indirect contact from tools used on other infected plants. They will sporulate in cool and moist conditions typically during spring and fall. This disease is rather quick to peak and difficult to control so dealing with it sooner is better.

More information can be found via the links below.

https://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/plant-disease/downy-mildew/

https://ag.umass.edu/greenhouse-floriculture/fact-sheets/downy-mildews-of-ornamental-plants

 

Rust

No, not that orange gunk that occurs on your garden tools or car due to alloys reacting to oxygen and moisture. Rust on plants is a fungal parasite disease that infects over 5,000 different plants. The fungus is typically orange to brown specks on the plant as first. White pustules will eventually form and then darken and turn black.

Rust prefers four to eight hours of low light and warm, moist conditions before long exposure to intense light, high temperatures, and dry leaf surfaces. Overwinter the areas will blacken and becomes cork-like. This disease can cause defoliation and deformation and easily infect other nearby plants.

Further information can be gathered with the following links.

https://www.planetnatural.com/pest-problem-solver/plant-disease/common-rust/

https://www.almanac.com/pest/rust-plant-disease

 

Some Helpful Ways to Prevent

Now that we have gone over some common diseases that plague plants, we should give you the pot of gold at the end of this little rainbow. No worries, we aren’t going to say to spend tons of money to resolve these issues as there are simpler ways as well as some pretty good preventive measures to ensure continued health and easy upkeep.

 

  1. One great way to deal with and prevent most ailments is to purchase or even build your own greenhouse. Greenhouses offer the ability to control the temperature and humidity plus they keep many airborne fungi from landing on your plants. You can also adapt your greenhouse to generate air flow to help improve plant health. Regular cleaning in the start of the season can also prevent slugs and other pest infestations.

 

  1. Planning your garden and keeping proper spacing. Both are key in preventing disease spread and allowing proper air circulation. Planning your garden can help promote more better hygiene and easier upkeep so tending to the plants can be easier.

 

  1. Weeding; yes, simple as that. Pulling weeds can reduce the chances of rot and promote healthier soils and more nourishment for your plants.

 

  1. Cleaning your garden tools. Never thought much of that well used gardening shovel or those sheers. But, those trusty tools can very well be what caused the disease to spread. You should regularly clean your tools as to help prevent anything from clinging to them and disinfect them after dealing with an infected or infested plant.

 

  1. Primarily work with local plants from a nearby rather than ordering offline. Local nurseries can assure of the plant health and allow you to chose your own plant rather than ordering plants of unknown origin and health from the internet.

 

  1. Rotate your plants and crops to help thwart bacteria development that can cause root rot and disperse fresh soil to help feed your plants.

 

Always dispose of dead leaves or plants in proper waste reciprocals for making them compost can infect your garden as well as all your compost. Wash your hands or change gloves -and remember to wash them before use- after each interacting with an infected plant. All of these measures can help deal with infected plants and prevent furthering all or any infections.

 

What About Pests?

Oh am I glad you asked, click here for the link to last week’s article where we covered many common pests and really awesome ways to deal with them. As for the next installment of this article series; please hold onto next week where will inform you or various remedies and methods to helping promote garden health as a whole. In the meantime, help us out by sharing this article with your family, friends, and even coworkers to spread the word.

 

Wanna see something else cool? Have you seen our subscriptions? Your garden isn’t the only one you should be fretting over the health of. You also deserve something nice for all the hard work and wear and tear of the day. More Bees offers a lot of wholesome products to help promote beautiful and healthy skin for you. Treat yourself and click the picture below for a reward of a subscription that sees you being happy and healthy with no need to make an online shopping list. Make your list and let us handle the rest. No hassle and no reminders as we can ship them to your door once a month or every three months.

Oh! Did I mention that the quarterly subscription offers FREE SHIPPING?

 

To Spray Or Not To Spray: A Gardeners Helpers

Oh no! My garden has aphids, weeds, and fungus growth! What can I do to save my garden?!  Well, the first line of defense is your fingers. See an unwanted insect? Pick it off. See an unwanted weed? pull it. Notice a leaf that looks sickly? Pinch it off. Make sure you throw any pulled plants or pinched off leaves into the garbage, not your compost. Also, make sure to wash your hands before handling other plants, so you do not transfer disease or insects from plant to plant. However, making life a little easier has been something we love helping you all with- so here we go!

 

Meet Your Allies

For now, let’s calm down and approach garden health one step at a time. Mites, aphids, caterpillars, and other problematic pest insects that are capable of ruining your entire garden if left unattended. We know we are asking you to think twice on pesticides and there are better and more natural solutions that make light work for you and will deal with your backyard intruders.

 

Ladybugs

A well known ally is the ladybug; coccinellidae. Ladybugs are one of many leaf beetles which prefer to prey upon aphids, thrips, scale insects, and many other plant infesting pests. But not all ladybugs actually eat other insects and some are likely to eat fungi like mushrooms. So, knowing which ladybug species you are hosting can help. Click here to see more on the ladybug and their eating habits. Plants that can help encourage these insects are dill, yarrow, fennel, and dandelion. However if you have larger pests there is parasitic mini-wasps.

 

Parasitic Mini-Wasps

Ewe! A wasp?! More Bees what are you thinking, we thought you didn’t like wasps! While all animals have their place, the coolest thing about some of these wasps is they can live off of nectar and simply lay their eggs in their designated prey- whether that be spiders, ants, or caterpillars. They typically don’t harm bees and they aren’t harmful to people either. So whatever you want these wasps to help control just depends on the wasp you can either buy or invite. Check here for more information on what they prey on and what their feeding habits are.

https://harvesttotable.com/parasitic-wasps-beneficial-insects/

 

Green Lacewings

Don’t like either of those/ Well, why not try the lacewing? What is a lacewing?

Well, they are a petite and rather pretty green insect that hang around porch lights and windows. However, the pest destroyer is their larvae. Occasionally called aphid lions they forage gardens in search for insects, larvae, and eggs to eat before they move onto their next life cycle. Here is some more on the green lacewing and their life cycle.

https://www.insectary.com/portfolio-items/green-lacewing/

 

Reinforcements

There are many more insects that can help improve your pest issue within your garden. And so long as you do your research you can find that these natural predators are much more effective than spraying plants down with chemicals. We hope you find this helpful in order to not only save your garden but to provide a safe environment for bees to forage to provide for their hives and continue their amazing service to our world. Remember that these are all still animals and providing safe and shallow water sources will help keep them and ensure their survival and continue aid. Tune in next week as we help you consider some safer ways to aid your garden and even protect it from fungal growth along with insects.

 

https://permaculturenews.org/2014/10/04/plants-attract-beneficial-insects/

https://www.organiclesson.com/beneficial-insects-garden-pest-control/

https://www.gardeningknowhow.com/plant-problems/pests/insects/beneficial-insects.htm

Also; to read the first part of this article series on what pesticides and fungicides can do to bees, please click the link below to check that out. Don’t forget to share this with all your friends on facebook and/or instagram and let’s all work to help protect the bees and live happy.

To Spray Or Not To Spray: Pesticides and Bees

To Spray Or Not To Spray: Pesticides and Bees

Spring Showers of… Pesticides

The other day, as I drove down my street, I saw several of our neighbors out doing yard work. Spring is finally and truly here. For many, that means it’s time to start cleaning up the yard from winter, before things really start growing and your yard gets out of control.

Spring brings longer days, rain, and warmer weather. These are prime conditions for growth. Not just growth of the plants you want in your yard and garden, but also growth of insects, weeds, and fungus. For many of you, insects, weeds, and fungus means adding treatments to the plants and soil in your yard and garden.

 

Before you break out the treatments, please take a few moments to consider what you are applying, and how it can affect the bees. Even if you think you only use bee-friendly treatments, take a moment to read this post. You might be surprised by what I learn.

The Buzz Behind the Pesticides

To start with, remember that even if you don’t have bee hives, bees still forage in your yard. Bees routinely search for food (nectar, and pollen) and water up to 2 miles away from their hive. That means that even if you don’t have bees, the treatments you use on your yard can affect bees.

A lot of you have heard about pesticides called neonicotinoids. They’re harmful to the bees, so many of you steer clear of these. That’s a good thing, since at higher concentrations, neonicotinoids kill bees outright. With repeated exposure to low levels of neonicotinoids, bees exhibit a whole host of problems. The problems are both physical and cognitive. Cognitively, the problems include difficulties with disorientation, communication, memory, developmental delays, and learning. Physically, bees experience problems with flight and movement, reduced levels of foraging for food, and a compromised immune system. Chronic exposure to low levels of neonicotinoids weakens the bees, and in this way neonicotinoids can contribute to the eventual death of a hive.

What Science Has Shown

Studies have shown that even when neonicotinoids are applied in a small restricted area, these compounds soon show up in the greater environment around there areas of use. These pesticides are added to the soil, and taken up by the plant you wish to protect. If this is a flowering plant, the nectar and pollen produced will contain low levels of neonicotinoids. But it is even worse than that. It has been discovered that these compounds do not stay in the soil to which they were applied. Runoff carries them out of the soil and allows them to enter the waterways. This water can then go on to contaminate other plants, and animals, including bees.

 

Because bees have been struggling, and because neonicotinoids have been found to be widespread in the greater environments of the areas where they are applied, many countries have passed bans on neonicotinoids. Other countries are working to ban them. It is important to realize that neonicotinoids are only one class of pesticides known to be highly toxic to bees. Other classes of pesticides known to be highly toxic to bees include organophosphates and pyrethroids (both natural and synthetic). You can find more complete lists from OSU, and from Wikipedia.

So, Pesticide or No?

Unfortunately, only a few of the pesticides known to be toxic to bees are banned in the United States. If you feel you must apply pesticides, please try to pick pesticides from the list that are relatively nontoxic to the bees (see Wikipedia and OSU links). Always apply as directed at the concentration specified. Also consider applying the pesticide in the evening or at night. Bees don’t fly or forage at these times. Finally, try not spray any open blossoms or contaminate the water supply used by the bees.

 

Pesticides have gotten a lot of attention lately, but they aren’t the only thing you need to worry about when treating your lawn and garden.

 

A growing body of research is beginning to show that some herbicides and fungicides once believed to be harmless to bees may actually pose serious risks. While not directly fatal to the bees, exposure seem to weaken honeybee to other threats. For example, one group of researchers found that bees exposed to fungicide sprays are 3 times more likely to die, even when the fungicides tested were generally believed to be safe to use around bees.

Can We Combine Low Level Products

Another group of researchers has found that glyphosate (the active ingredient in Roundup weed killer) damages the gut microbiomes of honeybees. It causes them to lose as many as half of the beneficial bacterial species in their guts. This makes it harder for the bees to digest their food, leading to malnourishment. It also makes bees more vulnerable to infection and death from harmful bacteria and viruses, like those carried by varroa and tracheal mites.

To make matters worse, another group of researchers has found that bees not only like, they preferentially seek out food tainted by certain herbicides and fungicides. They discovered this by offering bees the choice two ‘nectar’ drinks. One was sugar-water one of 20 naturally occurring chemicals commonly encountered by bees in plants and/or in their hives. The other was sugar water tainted with one of either 2 herbicides, or three fungicides. The experiment showed that out of all the sugar-water mixtures tested, bees repeatedly showed the most preference for sugar-water tainted with glyphosate (an herbicide) or chlorothalonil (fungicide). And they told the other bees in their hives which drink to collect ‘nectar’ from. Bees are able to communicate with each other this way.

 

By preferentially consuming sugar-water containing these chemicals, bees are getting much higher doses than previously anticipated. This calls into question whether the bees are actually ingesting levels of these compounds that might be toxic, instead of negligible levels as previously assumed.

What is All This?

What do all of these findings mean? It means that we are likely poisoning the bees, contributing to their decline. Fungicides can reduce a bees abilities to metabolize pesticides, like the most common pesticide used to treat varroa mites inside a hive. Or some of the pesticides used to treat agricultural or yard and garden pests. That means that even if you started with a pesticide that was considered safe for use around bees, the fungicides may make the pesticide toxic to bees at much lower than anticipated doses. Adding glyphosate (and possibly other herbicides) into the mix leads to malnourished bees with weakened immune systems. It becomes easy to see how we are contributing to the precipitous and perplexing loss of bees. For these reasons, we ask that you use caution and choose wisely when applying any treatments on your lawn or garden.

 

Thank you for caring enough about the bees to read this post. Next week, We’ll explore some of the green bee-friendly methods being used by many to combat pests, weeds, and fungal infections in the yard and garden.

Referenses

https://citybugs.tamu.edu/factsheets/ipm/what-is-a-neonicotinoid/

https://www.gotscience.org/2018/02/honeybees-attracted-common-fungicide-herbicide/.

https://cosmosmagazine.com/biology/glyphosate-linked-to-bee-deaths

https://cen.acs.org/environment/pesticides/Glyphosate-disrupts-honey-bee-gut/96/web/2018/09

https://www.gotscience.org/2018/02/honeybees-attracted-common-fungicide-herbicide/

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/science/neonicotinoid-pesticides-slowly-killing-bees

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pesticide_toxicity_to_bees

https://catalog.extension.oregonstate.edu/sites/catalog/files/project/pdf/pnw591_1.pdf

The Waxes of Skin Care: The Types and the Benefit of Each

Comparison of Some Natural Waxes Used in Body Products:

Waxes are complex mixtures of large organic molecules: alcohols, fatty acids, and esters.

They are insoluble in water, but most of them can be dissolved into organic non-polar liquids, like oils and many organic solvents. They tend to be malleable solid at or near room temperature, and most melt above 104 deg F.

Compared to fats and oils, they are harder, less greasy and more brittle. They are also very resistant to moisture, oxidation and microbial degradation. In general, waxes can help protect the skin (by forming a film and/or acting as an emollient). They also help thicken, emulsify, and stabilize many body products. This can improve their texture, viscosity, and stability.

 

Plant, Animal, or Mineral

Many plants and animals make waxes. The oldest know, and used continuously for thousands of years, is beeswax. Some will even argue that wax also occurs naturally in petroleum. Though we by no means consider it equal to plant or animal waxes. In addition to naturally occurring waxes, there are in also man made waxes. In this post, we will take a look at the following waxes.

Animal: Beeswax, Lanolin

Lanolin
Beeswax

 

 

 

 

 

 

Plant:Carnauba, Candelilla

Candelilla Wax
Carnauba Wax

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beeswax

Beeswax is a wax secreted by the European honeybee and has been used for thousands of years, for a variety of body product applications: from lotions to salves and balms. It is the oldest known emulsifier for body products. The potential for allergic reaction is low, is not likely to clog pores, and allows the skin to breathe. Include the fact that it’s an emollient, a humectant, and antimicrobial, it’s easy to see why beeswax is well suited to body products.

As with the other natural waxes, beeswax improve emulsions and consistency in a variety of different formulas, can help extend the shelf life of certain ingredients, thicken a formula, and much more. Because beeswax has a tacky consistency on it’s own, adding it to body products produces products with good staying power. Beeswax ranges in color from white to deep amber. It has a melting point of 62 to 64 °C (144 to 147 °F). Because beeswax isn’t brittle over as large of a temperature range as the plant waxes, solid products that incorporate beeswax are less likely to crack or shear. Because this wax is produced by bees, it is not vegan.

 

Lanolin

Lanolin is wax secreted by wool-bearing animals, and is made up predominantly of long chain waxy esters. It is a greasy thick solid. Studies have shown that lanolin is a long lasting emollient that breathes, and reduces skin roughness. That makes it easy to understand why lanolin, and lanolin derivatives, are used extensively in both the personal care products, as well as many health care products. Lotions, salves, balms, and ointments are where you are most likely to run into lanolin in your medicine cabinet.

Other applications include use in lubricants, rust-preventive coatings, shoe polish, and other commercial products. The melting point of pure lanolin is 38 °C (100 °F). Unfortunately, out of the natural waxes looked at here, it is the most likely to cause allergic reaction. This should be kept in mind when purchasing or formulating body products. This wax is made by wool bearing animals, as such, is not vegan.

 

Carnauba Wax

Carnauba wax comes from the carnauba palm (Copernicia cerifera), which is a native of Brazil. The wax it produced is a hard brittle amber to brown colored solid. Bleaching the wax can lighten the color. It is known as the queen of waxes because it is the hardest wax. Used most commonly to give a glossy protective finish to a variety of products –  car paint, leather, wood, food. Edible – used since 1920 for waxing fruits and veggies, and added to pastries. In cosmetics, carnauba wax is used to add stiffness to mixtures like mascara and lipstick. It is also used in emulsions like liquid and cream lotions. Melting point: 82–86 °C (180–187 °F). It’s E number (food additive number) is E903. This wax is vegan.

 

 

Candelilla Wax

Candelilla Wax is a brittle brownish yellow wax that is made by the Candelilla shrub, native to Mexico and the Southwestern United States. It’s primarily used to harden other waxes without raising their melting point. Additionally, it is used as a glazing agent for foods, a binding agent for gums, in the manufacture of varnish, and as a hardener for lip balms and lotion bars. Melting Point: 68.5–72.5 °C(156-163°F). It’s E number (food additive number) is E902. This wax is vegan.

 

Waxes For All

With the exception of lanolin, which is a thick pasty solid at ambient temperature, the others mentioned are firm, that can be bought in a variety of shapes/sizes: slab, chunks, flake, pellets, powder. Size can have an effect when trying to measure or melt the wax. Which wax you pick, will depend on personal preference, and your desired results.

 

Links giving some basic information on various natural waxes:

Beeswax

Lanolin

Carnauba wax

Candelilla wax

Lanolin allergies

 

A note on Paraffin Wax:

Many of you will say paraffin is not natural, since it is a petroleum product. Others might try arguing that it is natural, because be isolated naturally from crude, simply by distillation. In that respect, it could be argued that it is natural. So, here goes: Paraffin wax is isolated during the petroleum distillation process. It is a bluish-white opaque solid. It was first isolated and used in Germany in 1830. Since then, a long and varied list of uses has come about. As such, most of us got our exposure to paraffin early on –  it is the primary ingredient in crayons, candles, and Vaseline. Most uses make use of the fact that paraffin wax can be used as a protectant, a lubricant, or a sealant. Because of it’s slippery feel, paraffin is added to body products to make them easier to spread around.

Another reason it is used in beauty products is because it is a relatively cheap way to make skin feel moisturized. It’s important to note, that even though the skin feels hydrated after applying paraffin wax containing products, paraffin is not hydrating, and doesn’t do a good job or repairing skin damage. And, it is not necessarily good for the skin for other reasons – It clogs pores, doesn’t let the skin breathe, and can contain trace chemicals from the petroleum distillation process that are harmful. Melting point:37 °C (99 °F). It’s E number (food additive number) is E905. This wax is vegan.

Paraffin wax

Paraffin wax in body products

A Good Direction for Amazing Skin Care

Even if you believe that paraffin is a natural option, it is our opinion that with very few exceptions, a more wholesome, nourishing, natural wax can, and should be used. Our recommendation is Carnauba wax if you are waxing your car or beeswax if you would be using on your skin. When it comes to protecting and keeping your skin hydrated, beeswax is incredible at both. You can try this in our solid lotion bars. Just pop out the puck and rub it where your skin is dry and will notice just a little protects and moisturizes your skin. Beeswax is a humectant and will draw moisture to your skin even in extremely dry climates as well as sealing in the moisture without clogging your pores.

 

More Bees solid lotions are a fantastic choice for natural care for your skin. These lotion bars are great for sensitive or worked skin. Whether you clean, build, sew, file, whatever it is you do our solid lotions are capable in helping repair and protect your skin. You can click the link below to our store and try one of these fantastic products for yourself.

The Buzz on Canandian Artist: Aganetha Dyke

Hauntingly beautiful

That’s what I thought when I looked at images from the “Masked Ball” series of sculptures by Aganetha Dyke.

Aganetha Dyck is a Canadian artist that was born in Manitoba in 1937. She now resides in Winnipeg, Canada. Much of her work centers on, or relates to honey bees. My favorites are the “Masked Ball” series of sculptures. To create these, and other similar sculptures, Ms. Dyck uses found objects (figurines, shoes, sports equipment, etc.).  After finding the pieces she will use, Ms. Dyck paints bee pheromones onto them before placing them into active bee hives, and leaves them there, sometimes for years.

The Art of the Bees

Ms. Dyck has always found the bees to be an incredible architects, who build beautiful 3 dimensional sculptures. Sculpture that she believes to be true art. Ms. Dyke views her art as a collaborative effort between her and the honey bees with which she works. Communication between different species has long been an interest of Ms. Dyck, and she considers the bees co-artists. She believes that works such as hers can remind us of our interconnections with other species, our shared vulnerability, and our fleeting life in the world.

Much of the research she has done on bees has focused on the ramifications of the disappearing honey bee for our world.

“I’m really concerned for them. 95 per cent of wild honey bees have disappeared. When you’re so close to a creature that’s so important to the world and you know how quickly they could disappear, and what that would do to humanity, that’s a relationship that’s pretty precious.”

-Aganetha Dyke

Though many of her works rely directly on the laying down of beeswax by bees, some of her work is in the form of scans and images taken from inside working hives, creations that combine drawings with hive parts or beeswax, and creations made by dipping everyday items into melted beeswax.

 

Her work has been exhibited in many galleries and museums in the past, including the National Gallery of Canada, the Glenbow Museum in Calgary, and the Vancouver Art Gallery.

Upcoming Exhibit

To see some of Aganetha Dyck’s work up close and personal, consider visiting the upcoming Something More than Nothing exhibit. It will be at the Reach Gallery Museum in Abbotsford, British Columbia (on the US-Canada border very near Vancouver, BC) from 5/23/2019 through 9/15/2019. This exhibit contains work from several artists. It deals with the concept that hidden or ignored work is nevertheless fundamental and necessary in our world.

 

Wikipedia article on Aganetha Dyke

Gibson Gallery

Reach Gallery Museum

Video with Ms. Dyck

 

The Giant Bee of Indonesia Is Back Again

In the midst of an ever growing list of extinct and endangered bee species, there is a bright spot.

In 2018, for the first time in almost four decades, Megachile Pluto (commonly known as Wallace’s Giant Bee) was sited. Even though this bee was once feared extinct, the individual who found the Wallace’s Giant Bee captured and promptly sold it for $9,100 on Ebay.

The killing and sale of the giant bee sparked outrage, and many feared for these reclusive bees. And then last week, another giant bee was sighted. Thankfully, after photographing this specimen, the individual released the bee alive.

Who is Megachile Pluto?

Discovered in 1858 by Alfred Russel Wallace, as he catalogued the flora and fauna of Indonesia, this bee received a mere one sentence entry in Wallace’s journal. This bee lives on three islands of the Indonesian province of North Moluccas: Bacan, Halmahera and Tidore. Oil palm plantations steadily are replacing the lowland forests where these bees live, leading to an ever increasing reduction of habitat.

Many feared that this bee had become extinct, until it was seen again in 1981. It would be 38 years until the next sighting of Megachile Pluto. And you would know if you saw Wallace’s Giant Bee.

This bee is the largest bee in the world. Females measure approximately  1 ½ inches long with a wing span of 2 ½, while males measure 0.9 inches long. (For comparison, a typical honeybee measures in at approximately ½ inches long.) These giant bees live in active tree-dwelling termite nests. The females have large mandibles, capable of gathering, transporting, and manipulating the plant resins that the bees use to fashion their nests. As with all other species of Megachile bees, Wallace’s Giant Bee feeds on nectar and pollen, and carries pollen in the thick hairs on its ventral surface (abdomen).

Looking to the future

People have seen this bee only a handful of times since its discovery. For that reason, there is no accurate estimates of how many of these bees exist. From a conservation standpoint, Megachile Pluto is a vulnerable species. Entomologists are unsure if the sighting is good or bad from a conservation standpoint. The news coverage the sighting has generated is sure to make more people aware of this reclusive bee. The question is, will people go to these Indonesian islands in search of these bees, or will they be encourage to fight for the preservation of this species. Will they invade its territory, or will they lobby for the preservation of it?

The next time someone sees one of these incredible bees, will they sell it on Ebay, or will the let it be?

Further reading

There are many credible sources of information on Wallace’s Giant Bee. Here are a few.

Aussie Bee Post on Wallace’s Bee

National Geographic article on the sale of Megachile Pluto specimen in 2018

Megachile Pluto Wikipedia article

 

When the Daisies Come Up Spring Is Here

“What flowers mean spring to you?” I asked my husband just the other night.

 

“Daisies.” Was his rather interesting and simple response. Intrigued I chose to pry for more information.

 

“Why? Daisies aren’t the first to come up. They aren’t the first to flower.” I didn’t think I would get an answer. So I was surprised when it came.

 

“Steve said to watch for the daisies. That they meant spring.” Steve; Ron’s beekeeping mentor, he told Ron that when the daisies came up, it was time to really gear and grow the bees. There would be a steady flow of nectar from a succession of flowering plants all the way into the fall.

 

“They’re little and white and come up in the grass.” Ron told me.

 

I was curious about the type of daisy Steve might have been talking about, so I jumped onto my computer. Daisy…Kingdom Plantae, order Asterales, family Asteraceae…Wow! Did you know that there are over 4,000 species of daisy!

 

Three possible types of daisy Steve could have been talking about:

Lawn Daisy (also known as Common Daisy and English Daisy)

Bellis perennis is called The lawn daisy because even mowing will not get rid of them in your lawn. This daisy originated in Europe, but is now naturalized across temperate regions of the Americas and Australia as well. It blooms late spring through fall. This plant grows low to the ground, and is considered an invasive weed by most. Though considered a weed, it is also intentionally cultivated in many gardens as a flowering ground cover. A growing number of people are now deciding to grow the lawn daisy intentionally in their yards. This is a good choice if you are going for bee friendly plants for your yard.

 

Fleabane Daisy

Erigeron annuus. Native to North America, this daisy species grows in 43 out of the 48 contiguous states. This daisy has very small flowers, but they can grow quite tall – up to 5 feet. The flowers of this daisy are often white with yellow centers. But sometimes they have pink or purple petals.

 

 

 

Oxeye Daisy

Leucanthemum vulgare. As with the lawn daisy, this daisy originated in europe, and is widespread there. It has naturally spread across temperate regions of Asia, and Turkey, and has been introduced into the Americas, Australia, and New Zealand. Cattle will not eat it, and once established, it is difficult to get rid of. It is considered an invasive weed by over 40 countries. This daisy blooms spring through fall, and has a very high pollen count. This plant grows up to 20 inches high. Though considered a weed, it is also intentionally cultivated in many gardens as a flowering ground cover. A growing number of people are now deciding to grow the lawn daisy intentionally in their yards. This is a good choice if you are going for bee friendly plants for your yard.

 

There are countless other wildly growing  could be the flowers Steve was referring to. I wish we could ask him, though he probably didn’t know the exact species name. Steve tragically and unexpectedly passed away several years ago. I’m still not sure exactly which species Steve was talking about. I wish he was still with us, so he could tell us. We miss you Steve. This article was in memory of you.

Bellis perennis

Erigeron annuus

Leucanthemum vulgare

The Buzz of Rainy Days: What Can You Do?

Do you have little ones in your life? It could be your kids, grand kids, nieces, or nephews. It could be your friend’s kids, the kids you babysit, or the ones you teach. I bet they’re getting restless right about now. Snow and rain and cold, Cold, COLD! Just when many of us though that winter was going to be mild this year, it slammed into us. That means lately, kids have been kept in a lot more than they would like. They’re getting bored, irritable, and antsy. They’re probably starting to bicker, and drive you crazy. So what can you do?

Here are a few activities that will occupy them, alleviate some boredom.

 

Edible Peanut Butter Play Dough

Here’s a fun, edible clay that will keep many kids occupied for hours. You will need to mix together:

  • 1 C creamy peanut butter
  • 1 ½ C dried milk
  • ¼ C honey

Mix until the mixture forms a ball. Knead until smooth. Add more dried milk as needed while mixing/kneading to make a smooth, pliable ball that doesn’t stick to the hands, bowl, or the surface it is kneaded on.

Hand out chunks to the kids. Encourage the kids to form the dough into animals and other shapes. Or, break out the cookie cutters. The really cool thing about this clay is that the kids can eat their masterpieces, if you’re OK with that. If the kids will be eating their creations, consider making available dried fruit, candies, baking chips, nuts, seeds, pretzel sticks, and/or shredded coconut to decorate their project. Before letting the kids eat their sculptures, or putting the clay back into the storage container, consider immortalizing their creations with a quick photo. Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container or bag in the refrigerator. If the dough develops an off odor, throw it out.

Things to consider:

  • Make sure any kids involved do not have nut or milk allergies.
  • This activity is not recommended over shag carpeting. Consider covering the carpet if you will be doing this activity in a carpeted area..
  • Have kids wear an older shirt, since the oils from the peanut butter can transfer from the clay, to their hands, and onto their cloths.
  • If you want to occupy the kids, let them play for awhile before cleaning up.
  • Make sure kids wash their hands before and after playing with the clay.
  • Clean the play surface before handing out the play dough.
  • Even the best behaved kids are going to be tempted to nibble on the clay (which is ok, if you’re OK with it). Keep this in mind when handing out chunks of clay to play with.
  • Refrigerate unused portions for another day.

 

Sensory Play Box

Let your child play with a homemade sensory box. In a box or bin, place dries pasta, dried beans, beads, small toys, buttons, small smooth pieces of glass, washers, small pom poms, etc. Pebbles, sand, fake paper grass, toilet paper tubes, and fake flower tops and leaves can be fun too. Make sure to use a variety of textures, colors, and sizes.

Allow the kids to free play. Some will make up little games, others will play pretend, or they will explore differences between the items in the box. For extra fun, include a spoon, a measuring cup, and a magnifying glass. A pair of chopsticks, tweezers and/or tongs can also be very fun when added to the box.

To get a bigger bang from your box, you can change things up. You can turn your sensory bin into more than one activity. For example, give your child an ice cube tray or egg carton and encourage them to sort by different textures, colors, shapes, types of item, etc. Or challenge them to see which items they can pick up with chopsticks. Regardless of how the kids choose to play, many kids will play quietly with a sensory box as long as you let them.

Things to consider:

  • Small items pose a choking hazard.
  • If the child will be sitting on the floor to do this activity, consider putting down a small blanket or sheet. When the child is finished playing, simply pick up the floor covering, and pour the items back into the box.
  • Shorter, flatter boxes/bins work better than really deep ones.
  • If you want to occupy the kids, let them play for awhile.

 

 

Movie Day

Recreate the magic of a movie theater right in your home. Our top picks are: Epic, A Bug’s Life, James and the Giant Peach, and Antz . A single movie, or a marathon –  your choice. All it takes is a good movie(s), a few treats, a drink, some popcorn, and a very dark room, and you’re ready to go. Besides candy and popcorn, consider cheese chunks, dried fruit, nuts and small pieces of fresh fruits and veggies. Don’t forget to have intermissions as needed, for bathroom breaks, to stretch, and to refresh treats and drinks.

 

I was asked over my shoulder a few moments ago “But what does this have to do with honey bees?” My answer to all of you is, as much or as little as you want it to. The Play dough can just be play dough, or it can turn into a discussion on bees, how they make honey, and why. The sensory boxes can be bee themed if you like. Or not. If they are, you can ask “What/why”  type questions to get your kids minds going. Questions like “Why do you think bees like flowers?” The movies can be any type of movies. They can just be a movie if you want. Or they can be the starting point for many discussions on insects, pollinators, or bee. That’s the beauty of these activities. They can be whatever you want or need them to be.