What an exciting day, indeed!I can hardly contain myself. Not only did I catch my first swarm, but it was in my own garden!Soo, another miracle?
Like I said in my first Wheel of Fortune posts, I think miracles are mostly amazing synchronicities that turn out in one’s favor.The distance between it becoming a tragedy or a miracle is 33 degrees, give or take. Or so I’m guessing.
What had to come together for the easiest, beginner’s luck swarm experience, perhaps ever, in the history of East Texas?!
First, Handy Hubby had to be not only home, which happens only half the year, but also helping me in the garden, which happened this morning for the first time in months.He’s been very busy finishing the fencing for the expanded pasture, which he did just finish, and it’s a beautiful accomplishment for which I’m also excited and sending him big applause.Then, he outdid himself, once again, in his usual non-chalant manner.
He said something incomprehensible to me from the back of the garden, I said what, he said, again, something incomprehensible, followed by ‘swarm’, which I did hear, but that was still confusing because the likelihood of a bee swarm at the back of the garden didn’t register at all, so I assumed he meant more ants, that is fire ants, that are so bad this spring we’ve succumbed to poisoning them, with manufactured chemicals. No, I’m not proud.
“Just come here,” he urged, which made me think it must really be an exceptionally impressive ant hill, not that surprising.
But no!A decent sized swarm, right there, ripe for the picking. And, Handy Hubby right there to help, and their discoverer.
We maneuvered them from the fence to the hive without a hitch.
Might it have been from one of our own hives?Possibly, but that doesn’t diminish the joy even slightly.They are now happily re-nesting in a top-bar hive which had mysteriously died a month ago, very much to my disappointment.I never found the time to post about that, though I’d planned to.
I know they mean well, but the podcasters and bloggers and various other ‘social influencers’ who at the moment are espousing some variant of “make the best of it” really just don’t get it. Don’t think of it as quarantine. Click past the media hype and overcome the social distancing, they say, through ‘personal growth’ work.
Such utter nonsense. Use this as an opportunity to take up a new hobby, they repeat, learn something new, organize your closets, take an online class, and loads of other banal advice that demonstrate unequivocally how disconnected they really are from the core of the issue. Throw someone into solitary confinement and then insist he’ll be a better person for it. Adversity builds character, right? Occasionally it does, but more often, it does not.
Stop thinking, and start feeling, I’d advise them, if they were listening to me. It’s a very different beast to choose isolation than to have it forced upon you. It feels different, because it is like the exact polar opposite.
We were avid travelers, Hubby and I, before and after we met. Being forced to evacuate, twice, was absolutely nothing like the feeling of choosing one’s own time and place of adventure. That I was somehow expected to smash these bipolar feelings together was actually really offensive. I got that advice constantly, too. Think of it as an opportunity, I heard from everyone who claimed they cared. Go volunteer. Be the bigger person. You’re not really homeless. Show them what you’re made of. Seriously? And you label this empathy? Give me a break, pronto, please! The perfect opportunity presenting itself to me then was, and still is, to drop those self-righteous idiots like hot potatoes.
It’s very different believing something intellectually, taking steps toward verifying that belief in order to quantify it as knowing, and the spin cycle that’s required for the Positivity Virus to see every insane challenge as an opportunity. Don’t panic. Get resilient. Don’t fret over your lost job. Don’t contemplate the doom of mandatory vaccinations or the gloom of martial law. No pain no gain. Think of it as a character-builder. Rise to the Occassion. Raise your vibration. Find the silver lining. Dig deep. Help others. Why? Because we say so. Because that’s what it means to be a good person. So, the slave class abides.
If you ask, but, how do you know this? I did ‘the work’ they reply. The Work. The Great Work. That means, They know. They got to choose it, or at least, not to choose it. Now they insist everyone become as enlighten and evolved and woke, by saving your friends and community from your fatal invisible germs. Good for you, good for them, good for all.
When the so-called free-thinkers start to cooperate with the government mandates, and insist you do to, it might be the right time to unsub.
Personal growth work, by force. The beatings will continue until moral improves. Personal growth work, through shaming tactics. Become a better team player through home quarantine. We couldn’t get you to evolve yourself to fit our agenda in the easy way, so really, it was your choice. We’ve been trying to breed and mold the ideal global hive for a century, we’re nearly there, there’s just a few million more pesky free-thinkers we need to convert, that is, convince. Everything we do is for your own good.
I told that to my bees today when I went to inspect their colonies. I said, “Hi my bees! I’m from the government and I’m here to help!”
They were not convinced. One colony actually crafted themselves a very unconventional upside-down foyer, apparently because they called mutiny on my restricted access portal. The brazen nerve of them! I told them they would get robbed mercilessly with this approach. They did not abide! And they were robbed mercilessly, just as I’d predicted.
Now those frightful rebels have created a super strong colony by virtue of fighting off all those thieves. They’re like ninja warrior bees!
How dare they successfully trump my sub-par, ignorant efforts at micro-management!
A quick look at their valiant efforts, please excuse my poor video skills!
Continuing from my new line of questioning on this blog, Science’s G.O.D. (https://kenshohomestead.org/2019/11/29/sciences-g-o-d/), or the Great Organizing Dynamic, here’s some more speculation.Please volunteer any thoughts, facts, references, opinions—I’m really searching for direction and substance in this series of posts.
A bit of bee background:
The way honeybees communicate has been historically termed ‘the waggle dance’.There are at least 9 different dances that have been observed and recorded. (v. FRISCH, 1965)
1) The round-dance is a call to search for food in all directions within a radius of 25 m. 2) The waggle-dance describes the direction of the destination in terms of the respective position of the sun and defines the distance. 3) The Rumpel-dance describes a conspicuous type of movement made by suc- cessfully returning foragers. They hastily make their way across the honey- comb, bumping into colony members and informing them that something is going on, e.g., that food is available. 4) The Ruck-dance is carried out by foragers that are emptying their honey sacs and involves intermittent, directed tail wagging. It serves more to indicate a general dancing mood than to impart any specific message. 5) The sickel-dance has been observed in every bee species (with one exception) in the transition between the round-dance and the waggle dance (figure-eight). The opening of the „sickel“ in the dance pattern denotes the direction to the feeding site. 6) The buzzing run is the sign to disperse. Scouts barge through the interlocked bees in the swarm in an undirected, zigzag course and audibly buzz their wings. 7) In the Putzlauf the bee shakes its body from one side to the other. 8) In the vibration-dance, one bee takes up contact with another, whereby it rapidly vibrates its abdomen. The meaning of this dance has not yet been deciphered, although their is strong evidence that it involves a communication form combining dance and acoustic signals. 9) Finally, the Zitter-dance is an expression of neurotic behavior and is disregarded by the surrounding bees. Research has shown it to be a result of a traumatic experience such as severe impact, poisoning, injury to appendages, or extreme state of alarm.
What researchers draw in copying these dance moves has been described as a ‘squished figure 8’.More current research focuses on not only what can be observed visually, but precisely how their communication works acoustically.
The first time I saw the figure of this ‘squished figure 8’ drawn by my beginning beekeeping teacher, I recognized it, and being the diligent student I sometimes can be, I raised my hand and questioned, “You just drew a torus, the bees must be communicating through a toroidal field?”No one had any idea what I was talking about.
But I’ve got a strong sense that those who study UFOs know exactly what I’m talking about.
“The craft was able to displace gravity through the propagation of magnetic waves controlled by shifting the magnetic poles around the craft so as to control, or vector, not a propulsion system but the repulsion force of like charges.[p100]
raced among themselves to figure out how the craft could retain its electric capacity[p100]
The air force discovered that the entire vehicle functioned just like a giant capacitor. In other words, the craft itself stored the energy necessary to propagate the magnetic wave that elevated it, allowed it to achieve escape velocity from the earth’s gravity, and enabled it to achieve speeds of over seven thousand miles per hour.” [p101]
I’m not a scientist by any stretch, I’ve never been good at science, or math, or any technological field.I could be completely wrong in trying to make this connection.
But, I do think I’m right in assuming there are some far more intelligent minds out there who have also considered this connection. And I’d really like to find them.
“The results indicate that the wagging run is the “master component” of the dance. The figure-of-eight dance path does not seem to convey information. Both sound and wagging must be present in the dance, but no specific roles were found for these components. Both sound and wagging convey information about distance and direction, and they appear to be largely redundant.”https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00166696
Redundant?Kinda like the bee version of ‘junk DNA’ the scientist have tried to sell us? Come on now.
“It is also not known how the dance followers detect the dancer’s movements in the darkness of the hive where visual cues can not be used.”
The popular wisdom has been the bees communicate their navigation paths using the sun, but I’ve seen bees out foraging on overcast days and even in light rain.
Which makes me wonder, could the bees be demonstrating Ampere’s Law?
The magnetic field in space around an electric current is proportional to the electric current which serves as its source, just as the electric field in space is proportional to the chargewhich serves as its source. Ampere’s Law states that for any closed loop path, the sum of the length elements times the magnetic field in the direction of the length element is equal to the permeabilitytimes the electric current enclosed in the loop.
Furthermore, do you think all this research is being done for the love of bees?That’s what many bee-lovers believe, I’m sure.
Naïve folks think it’s all about making life easier, and more enjoyable for everyone, and learning all about the bees, just because they are fascinating creatures and honey is delicious and we all love nature.
Sorry to try to burst that bubble once again, but the global military industrial complex doesn’t give a crap about your comfort, or the bees. They want better weapons.
Acoustic weapons are all the rage.“Simple high-intensity sound causes the inner ear to generate nerve impulses that register as sound. Since the inner ear also regulates spatial orientation, saturation of the inner ear by high-intensity sound may cause spatial disorientation. For example, loud music was used by American forces to drive Manual Norriega from the Vatican Embassy in Panama in 1990. High-intensity low-frequency sound may cause other organs to resonate, causing a number of physiological results, possibly including death. Acoustic weapons pose the hazard of being indiscriminate weapons, potentially imposing the same damage on friendly forces and noncombatants as on enemy combatants or other targets.” GlobalSecurity.org
Bees dropping from the sky confused around cell towers. Hmmm . . .related?
If you plan to join the growing number of hobby beekeepers the very first step should be to define your goals.I learned that the hard way.
It’s a wonderful thing to see the popularity of beekeeping keeps increasing.I love beekeeping for many reasons, but when I was first starting out the learning curve was very intimidating. And that’s coming from someone who usually adores learning.
Not only was there loads to learn about the bees themselves, but also about how to manage their colonies, which changes depending on your hive type, which is dependent on what your goals are as a beekeeper.
The first question to answer for yourself as a newbie is if you are interested in beekeeping as livestock or as habitat provider, or maybe both.
I had several mishaps in my first years because I hadn’t asked myself this most fundamental question.I hadn’t asked myself this because in all the books, forums, courses and club meetings I’d attended, no one asked this question.The general assumption is always that the beekeeper is interested in bees as livestock, because that’s what most want.
In this case, follow the commercial standards, using their Langstroth hives and peripheral equipment, their treatment schedules for pests and diseases, and their feeding programs and supplies, and you should be good to go.You can buy nucs (nucleus colonies) in the spring, and if all goes well you’ll have some honey before winter.This is by far the most popular route to take in beekeeping.
But it’s not for everyone, including me, which took me a few years to figure out.Honey, pollen, wax, propolis, royal jelly, queen rearing, and other processes and products from beekeeping are the main goals of this style of beekeeping and there’s lots to learn from the commercial operators who have mastered many of these skills for maximum efficiency and profit.
However, if you are interested more in providing habitat and learning from the bees, and creating truly sustainable, long-term, self-sufficient colonies in your space, following commercial practices is really not the way to go, and can lead to a lot of expense, confusion and frustration.
In the hopes of encouraging more beekeepers to become honeybee habitat providers rather than livestock managers only, here are a few tips and resources.
The conventional practice is to keep all your hives in a ‘bee yard’ for reasons of convenience and space.This is antithetical to bee colonies’ natural proclivity to nest far from one another. It creates problems of diseases and pests that spread rapidly in conditions of overpopulation, which is why so many treatments are needed, and then feeding when nectar/pollen flow is scarce, as well as being hyper-vigilant in your regular hive inspections to find issues immediately before they spread.Now that I have spaced my 6 hives out around a very large area I’m having far more success. But, only time will tell!
What else I’ve learned:
The typical Langstroth hive is made for easy transport and standardization purposes for the industry mainly, but they are not ideal for the honeybee habitat provider, because they are made with thin walls in order to be lightweight. This means they are poorly insulated and so not suitable for the long-term stability of the hive—getting too hot in summer in southern climates and too cold in winter in northern climates. Our top-bar hives and nucs have thick walls and insulated roofs.
If you want your bees adapted to your area and climate you don’t want to do the conventional practice of buying new queens every couple of years.Ideally, you’ll want your colonies to produce their own queens.Queen-rearing will remain an essential skill for a more advanced beekeeper, because occassionally you may still want to make splits to increase your numbers or to replace weak colonies, or to re-queen another hive displaying poor genetic traits.
When the colonies are weak, depending on the issue, they may need to be culled. This is rarely suggested by professional beekeepers who promote regular treatments on which the weak colonies then become dependent, while still spreading their weak genes on to subsequent generations and their diseases and pests to other colonies.
Just like the faulty logic of ‘herd immunity’ in the vaccine debate among human populations, many commercial beekeepers use the same complaint about those of us who want go au naturel,that is, treatment-free, with our bees.
Many scientists and researchers are trying to raise public awareness that this is not how herd-immunity works, not in livestock or in humans, and I applaud their efforts. I personally find referring to populations of people as a herd to be insulting. I think it actually trains individuals through neuro-linguistic programming (NLP) to think of themselves and each other not as unique and separate individuals, but rather as cattle to be managed.
You’ll also want to mostly forgo the conventional practice of swarm prevention.The goal is for the bees to become self-sufficient, as in the wild, where colonies can live for decades with no hand from man to aid or to disturb.Some of these colonies are enormous, like one we found in an old oil barrel, there for over 15 years and thriving with multiple queens in the same colony, which most likely swarmed annually.
Swarming is a natural, bio-dynamic process performing many different functions for the colony, hygiene being an essential one. Everything the beekeeper takes away from their natural processes is a stress on them which must then be alleviated by other, most likely artificial, means.
Plant perennial and annual crops the bees like for your area and climate.Here in the south there are plenty of plants that bloom at different times most of the year, giving free bee buffets from early spring to late fall, like: bluebonnet, white clover, hairy vetch, wild mustard, vitek, morning glory, trumpet vine, yaupon, and lots of garden herbs and crops, too.It is my greatest pleasure to harvest cucumbers, peas, beans and arugula surrounded by forging bees—they love them as much as we do!
Experimenting and observing is the most fabulous feature of the honeybee habitat provider!
I know a homeschooling homesteader with an observation hive in their house that the children treasure.Not only do they learn from these fascinating creatures about how they operate in the hive, but how they are connected to the seasons and to their environment.They’re learning constantly from the colonies’ successes as much as from their failures.
I practice slightly different techniques with each hive to discover which methods work best here on the wee homestead: one hive has a screened bottom board, one I keep with a reduced entrance all year, one’s in full-sun and another partial shade, and so on.Not that this will necessarily solve the mystery of colony failure, but every bit of data helps!
Some unconventional resources:
The Shamanic Way of the Bee: Ancient Wisdom and Healing Practices of the Bee Masters by Simon Buxton (2004)
The Dancing Bees: An Account of the Life and Senses of the Honey Beeby Karl von Frisch (1953)
Top-Bar Beekeeping: Organic Practices for Honeybee Health by Les Crowder & Heather Harrell (2012)
Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture by Ross Conrad (2013)
Deconstructing the law of large numbers and the wisdom of the crowd, our new and forever hero. I am he. You are me. We’re all one big happy family.
At the mercy of a God, as we have always been. Only it’s a new God.
Similar to the old one, don’t worry. Same, same, but different.
You see, because AI can do it better than me, better than you, and that’s good. Feel comforted. AI will take care of you, of your pets, of your globe or plane or island, wherever you want to live, all One in the G-machine.
Queen calling, another ancient skill to soon go hi-tech?
Beekeeping Today Podcast
“Dr. Jerry Bromenshenk and Dr. David Firth from the Univerisity of Montana are working together on a new application for beekeepers called Bee Health Guru. The application uses artificial intelligence (AI) to listen to the sound and based upon complex algorithms and learned history, can provide a diagnosis of the colony’s health. Simply amazing. Jerry and David join Jeff & Kim on this episode to talk about the history of the technology and the ongoing research of the technology under-pinnings of the cell phone app. At the beginning of the podcast, you can hear Jeff listening to a audio clip of a 2-deep colony of bees at rest. Then suddenly, no… instantly, their tone changes. Could you tell what happened? The audio file was provided by Dr. Bromenshenk. In the recording, a colony of honey bees ‘at rest’ are given one (1) drop of toluene. The communication through the hive was instantaneous. Bees communicate more than we knew and the Bee Health Guruapp hopes to help us translate just what they’re saying!”
It’s better this way. Trust them. They’re on our side, as always.
Just sit there nice and cozy. Oops, lift your feet, the robo-vacuum coming through!
Can we get you more kool-aid, dear?
Or, might you consider taking an interest in an actual life, with living creatures, which AI is not and . . . ?
It’s not, right? We still know the difference, right?!
Honeybees know the value of their venom, they give their lives for it. We know how precious is the value of the honeybees’ venom, understanding it as both cure and poison.
In natural healing bee venom is used for all sorts of cures, a number of them painful.Honeybees can be merciless, even to each other, for the ‘greater good’.
What did I find today outside one of our hives but droves of drones, those are the males, kicked out by those bossy female workers who clearly decided they could no longer be supported. They will also kill and replace an unproductive queen without hesitation.
And me, being the opportunistic and cunning human that I am, collected these evicted dead bodies in order to make Podmore, considered an exceptional traditional medicine used to cure all sorts of ailments.
Quite unknown to American beekeepers, I wonder why, considering its value? Could it be they don’t like the thought or action of collecting dead bees? Podmore
This reminds me of another big related beef I have with our current cultural climate: Weakness is not a virtue.And neither is positivity.
I like the way Micheal Tsarion just put it in his last podcast, because I think it’s spot on. Our Prozac smile culture is in a “regressed state of animated autism.”
Optimistic bias undermines preparedness and invites disaster, according to sociologist Karen Cerulo.
In Barbara Ehrenreich’s 2009 book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America, she underscores how hard Americans have been working to adapt to the popular and largely unchallenged principles of the positivity movement, our reflexive capacity for dismissing disturbing news, whitewashing tragedy as a ‘failure of imagination’ and relentlessly spinning suffering as little more than a growth opportunity.
While in fact I am writing now out of a spirit of sourness and personal disappointment, unlike Ehrenreich according to her intro, I nonetheless find much value in her final paragraph: “Once our basic material needs are met—in my utopia, anyway—life becomes a perpetual celebration in which everyone has a talent to contribute.But we cannot levitate ourselves into that blessed condition by wishing it.We need to brace ourselves for a struggle against terrifying obstacles, both of our own making and imposed by the natural world.And the first step is to recover from the mass delusion that is positive thinking.”
The bees know.
One of the very many things that fascinate me about the bees is that the Freemasons so covet it as a symbol.I can imagine there are many reasons for this, most of which will probably remain a lifelong mystery to me.
At some point the bees simply refuse to adjust any more and they swarm, this is a natural, healthy, cyclical process, which most American beekeepers try to avoid at all costs.
We seem as a culture to abhor natural processes.
As cruel as this is sure to sound, could it be that maybe swarms and cullings are natural processes for humans as well as bees?
My new honeybee hero and virtual mentor: Dr. Leo Sharashkin!
A short break from the heavy subject of addiction to share some homestead updates lately as well as highlights and misfortunes from the last year.
Starting with the good news, we have two new happy thriving lambs!
They are the first of the year with two more mamas looking full and ready to follow with some of their own any day now. Or more likely, since today it is beautiful and sunny, it will be the next time it’s pouring rain and freezing cold.
That was the weather once again for this rough start. Unfortunately, our permanent corral space is not yet finished.
I had to cancel a holiday trip at the very last minute and I spent a lot of time stressed and worrying. I couldn’t handle a repeat of last year, which is such a tragic story for me I haven’t yet been able to tell it publicly.
It was nearly a repeat. Hubby was at work again, and to keep it short and simple, I found one of our not-so-well-trained LGD (Livestock Guard Dog) had jumped the fence, grabbed one just after birth, jumped the fence back and was ‘guarding’ it until I found it barely breathing and injured.
Luckily there was a completely unplanned, last minute visit that cheered me up after my canceled trip.
And it’s hard to think of anything worse in the garden than poison ivy and wasps!
And my bee colonies didn’t even last the summer. This is an enormous disappointment. But I don’t give up easily and have next spring’s bees on order, locally sourced this time.
Additional misfortunes include the duck that was mysteriously fried by our electric pole in the front yard. And another incident that shot an electric impulse through my hand, up my arm, and landed in now nearly 2 months of stabbing shoulder pain. Then there’s the ram that’s butted me 3 times and therefore will meet his demise prematurely ASAP.
I don’t think Hubby shares this sentiment, but in my case, I’ve definitely had better years.
Here’s to better fortune in the coming year, for me, and for all y’all!