bee farm

Kodachrome, enlarged 4 times, by Paul A. Zahl.

From “Back-yard Monsters in Color,” National Geographic, August, 1952.

Velvety black and yellow bumblebee fur has a deep pile. Carrying pollen grains caught on the hairs from male to female flowers, the bee helps propagate many farm crops. This bee is the only insect which pollinates some types of red clover. Others have tongues too short to reach the nectar, and so are not attracted to deep flowers where they would pick up pollen.

If you ever feel rejected by someone, you can tell yourself they just haven’t evolved to meet your needs. The right bees will find you, don’t worry.

MORE AU IDEAS

• “My stupid friends roped me into a mall scavenger hunt and you’re on the list” AU
• “We both wanted to rent a bike for an hour but the only one they have is a tandem bike” AU
• “You’re adopting the cat that I’ve been trying to adopt for a week now” AU
• “You just moved into the house next to my mom’s and she has you doing her yardwork” AU
• “I’m on a terrible date and you’re my waitor please help me” AU
• “My brother/sister asked me to break up with you for them i’m so sorry” AU
• “I’ve been receiving all your freaking mail since you moved out and you keep getting weird gifts from your brother make it stop” AU
• “Our dick landlord just evicted us both” AU
• “We both just moved in with our siblings and they’re neighbors” AU
• “I’m your neighbor and I can hear you fucking someone who shares my name” AU
• “Your cat got my cat pregnant and now I have all these kittens please take them” AU
• “I’m your ex, you are a cop, and I just got arrested for being drunk and disorderly” AU
• “Remember that one time in college when we were at that party and you asked a random stranger to pretend to be your boyfriend/girlfriend? Yeah well that was me and we’re adults now” AU
• “You’re sort of famous and we vaguely know each other through bumping into each other all the time but the media thinks we’re dating” AU
• “You’re a cop, I’m a firefighter, we always work the same shifts” AU
• “You always ask me for help but I have weird health conditions that prevent me from doing so” AU
• “Your roommate cheated on me and I just threw your laptop out the window thinking it was his” AU
• “My kid just shot a bottle rocket into your window” AU
• “We’re both in the vegetable isle and I just burst into tears while staring at the cabbages” AU
• “That’s my fucking fish that you just caught give it back” AU
• “I’ve had a crush on you since the 11th grade but you’ve hated me ever since that one time” AU
• “The advertisement did not do you justice” AU
• “You jipped me of those concert tickets so I came to your house asshole” AU
• “You think I’m nervous because you’re interviewing me for this high end job but actually it’s because you’re stupidly hot” AU
• “Oh shit this isn’t my car” AU
• “You fell off the map 6 years ago and you think you can just waltz back into my life. Literally. You’re the dance instructor for my best friend’s wedding and we have history” AU
• “It’s 2am on the night of my 21st birthday and we gotta fix this fucking mess by morning or else we’re fucked ” AU
• “My dad’s a cancer patient and you’re his nurse” AU
• “Did I mention that I had a dream about you last night? Oh right we’ve never talked about before” AU
• “Lol this was a terrible idea” AU
• “juSt a game? jUST A GaMe????? FUCK YOU I WILL DO WHATEVER IT TAKES TO WIN” or the “so competitive it’s almost sexual” AU
• “Aren’t you the person from marti gras last year?” AU
• “We’re both on the same multiple stop flight schedules to go to the same destination so we might as well stick together. Also your shoulder is a very comfortable pillow.” AU
• “Fuck you and your bee farm I’ve had enough” AU
• “We’re in an exam study group and I just send you my nudes by accident oops” AU
• “Somehow my gallery sculpture piece looks exactly like you how weird” AU
• “That tattoo on your chest is the exact same as mine” AU
• “I was actually awake when you did that thing” AU
• “Why do we keep running into each other when we live on opposite sides of the country?” AU
• “We need to be really quiet but you have the hiccups” AU
• “Why do you always walk your dog at exactly 12am every night? Do you not enjoy sleep?” AU
• “For the love of God, what is making that noise?” AU
• “Somehow you manage to scare me everytime we run into each other and i already get frightened very easily let me live” AU

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This bee is licking sugar from a q-tip as part of a “proboscis extension reflex” assay.  This experiment, at a lab in Penn State University, is used to test the memory and learning ability of bees.  Researchers expose the restrained bee to a smell and then offer it a sugar reward.   Then after a pause, they expose the bee to the same smell and see if it sticks out its tongue (also called proboscis) in anticipation of the reward.  If it does, then you know is has learned to associate the smell with food. 

Researchers have used this test to show that very small amounts of pesticides and even “inactive" agricultural spray additives are harming bees’ ability to remember where their food is.

This bee was photographed for a story on honeybees in the May issue of National Geographic.

- Anand Varma (@anandavarma), National Geographic photographer

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Honey crop! #honey #honeybee #homegrown #farm #farming #homesteading #bee #apiculture #honey

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People who know something about native bees often know about the “Squash Bee” Peponapis pruinosa. However, there are a number of other native squash bees, and here is one.  This is Xenoglossa strenua.  It doesn’t help that it looks mighty darn similar to Peponapis pruinosa…but both the male and females have yellow on the base of their mandibles, while P.p. does not.  Helpful under the microscope at least.  

This specimen is one of the few, and the only recent, records for Maryland.  An interesting note is that this species is not found in Maryland on any native plants, but only on the agricultural squash and pumpkin plants which originated in the Southwest and were migrated here eons ago by Indian farmers.  Squash plants cannot overwinter in the region, but the squash bees can.

I stand with the ethical farming of the Bee population.

If we’re to actually save the bees, then these farms are key.

It would be great to save wild bees as well, and I would love it we didn’t use pesticides that have a massive effect on the ecosystem, but I don’t quite see how these things are mutually exclusive.

Now the issue here is that the latter point needs more fighters. That’s a losing battle right now, considering our terrible history of treating the natural environment poorly. But the thing about that is that the other side feel like they have valid reasons to kill the bees; to them, the bees are a genuine nuisaince that bore holes through wood and sting people, never mind the fact that bees play a vital role in in the pollination of plants. In a sense, the adverse effects are more obvious than the benefits. We need to make people think differently on this matter.

Now the former point… Bee Keepers aren’t doing any harm. Bees and Humans coexisting in mutualistic relationship, where the bees are protected from outside harm and are provided warmth, food, and medicine, all the while we get the excess honey they happen to make. This enterprise seems to be one of the few ethical farming practices left.

Which is why I’m confused when I see so many people on tumblr who are anti-honey. Honey’s freakin delicious and makes for a healthier alternative to sugar, while at the same time helping people with allergies (like myself) build up a stronger immune system. 

Freeing the bees and closing down these farms makes these bees more susceptible to the environment around them. They’d become pests to someone else, which is going to lead to even more pesticides unleashed upon them. Killing the farm is going to lead to the complete death of the species.

I’m trying to support Bees the best I can. I buy local honey and support the industry… unlike other food products, natural honey made by small companies aren’t exactly hard to find in the US. But that’t about all I know. 

Which is why I open the conversation up for everybody else. I want to save the bees, but we need to agree on how.