Beekeeping in schools

Amanda Lengnick-Hall, a teacher, is teaching elementary school age children about beekeeping at the Shadow Glen Elementary School in Manor, Texas, USA.

"Beekeeping isn’t very common, especially in schools, so I like that they push themselves, even if they’re scared,” Amanda told myStatesman. "But once they get into the suits and get closer to the bees and they start learning more about them, they start becoming really protective of them. It’s really exciting to see them go from scared … to being advocates and getting an opportunity to try something they probably haven’t thought they wanted to try.

The school has six beehives as of December, 2015.  The students are learning about all aspects of beekeeping in an after-school club. They will sell the honey from their bees and use the money to continue funding the program.


In the video you can see Walter Schumacher, otherwise known as the bee czar, founder of the American Honey Bee Protection Agency. He came to the school to check on the health of the hives.


Bees in Napoleonic heraldry

Bees were used in Napoleonic heraldry. The bee was the emblem of the First and the Second Napoleonic Empire and was reserved so that no one could use a bee in their heraldry without a specific Imperial grant.
Imperial Coat of Arms of the French Second Empire
The bee image is in the red material. (Katepanomegas)

The First Empire of France was under Napoleon Bonaparte from 1804 to1815.  The Second Empire of France was the Imperial regime of Napoleon III from 1852 to 1870. This is when the above Coat of Arms was used.

The Bee was considered a symbol of immortality and resurrection. The bee was chosen so as to link the new dynasty to the very origins of France. "After much debate, Napoleon chose the bee as an emblem, due to its ancient origins and links to antiquity and the Merovingian dynasty." Swide

When trying to find a suitable emblem, Napoleon looked to one of his great heroes, the Emperor Charlemagne who had adopted the cicada as an emblem. Napoleon thought it was a bee and, due to the symbolism associated with the bee found it suitable for his purposes.

Large strip unused furnishing fabric, pure silk brocade,
Jacquard woven complete to selvages,
emerald green satin background to pattern of bees

Napoleon had the bee symbol used often and many examples still exist today – from tiny gilded replicas commonly attached to items such as snuff boxes, to the embroidered motifs on his coronation robe or painted images on wallpaper.

Satin and silver slippers worn by the Empress Josephine
at her coronation on December 2, 1804. Musée Des Arts Décoratifs.

Fondation Napoléon
Encyclopedia Britannica
National Gallery of Victoria


Good bee tattoos

These are some of the bee tattoos I have seen lately that I have loved for their strong black and white line. Which one do you like?

black and white bee tattoo
Bee tattoo by Rachel Hauer
black and white and gold bee tattoo
Tattos Time
black and white bee tattoo
Tattoo Zoo
black and white bee tattoo
Buzz Buzz

More great bee tattoos can be found on this site


An urban beehive installation

beehive design
Ru, beehive with cascading flowers attached.

The idea behind Ru, the urban beehive’s concept, is to encourage the reintegration of bees in urban environments.  It is a sculptural design for the urban landscape, which is hoping to create a closer relationship between people and the bees. The beehive would be installed in parks, on greenhouse roofs or other predetermined urban areas. It is designed for the city of Montreal, Quebec by Marc-André Roberge and is called Ru, an urban beehive installation.

See more information about the design concept and drawings of Ru here


Bee quote of the month: September

 bee on azalea
Bumble bee on azalea bloom
Even bees, the little almsmen of spring bowers,
know there is richest juice in poison-flowers. ~ John Keats
BEEKEEPERS: For your interest here is a forum thread about bees and poisonous flowers such as oleander and azalea and rhododendrons.


A bit about bumble bees

about bumblebees

A bumblebee, or bumble bee, is a member of the bee genus Bombus, in the family Apidae.

Bumblebees look different from honeybees. The main difference is that bumblebees are usually larger and covered with dense hair. Their round bodies covered in soft hair, called pile, make them appear fuzzy. They often have strong contrasting bands of colour, as a warning signal to their prey.

Bumble bee on a cherry blossom

Bumblebees are important agricultural pollinators, pollinating the crops that provide us with food to eat. Like their relatives the honeybees, they gather nectar to add to the stores in their nest, and pollen to feed their young. Their nests are small and they do not store large quantities of honey.

nest of bumblebees
Bumble bee nest
There are over 20 different species of bumblebees.
bumblebee species
Bumblebees of different species illustrated by Moses Harris in his 1782 Exposition of English Insects
bumblebee stamp russia
Bombus anachoreta on a Russian postage stamp, 2005

Bumblebees are quite popular in modern culture - there have been stamps designed around them and orchestral music composed about them - "Flight of the Bumblebee"

You can learn about Bumblebees in more depth and help save the bumblebee at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust


Bee Quote of the month: March

quotes about honey bees

The bee, from her industry in summer, eats honey all the winter.

Find out about uses for honey in cooking and skin care.


40 000 worker bees participate in avant garde artwork

art work created by bees
Tomas Gabzdil Libertiny: unbearable lightness

40 000 worker bees were released into the glass and plastic case to complete a wax honeycomb structure over a figure.
Libertiny's art work, called unbearable lightness, makes me wonder about using and controlling wild life as the means to fulfilling his final product. The bees, engaging in their natural process, created a honeycomb skin over the figure and then fill each cell with the honey. Find out more at DESIGNBOOM


Bee quote of the Month October

Bee quote
Place a beehive on my grave
and let the honey soak through.

When I'm dead and gone,
that's what I want from you.

The streets of heaven are gold and sunny,
but I'll stick with my plot and a pot of honey.

Place a beehive on my grave
and let the honey soak through.
May's Honey Song, from The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd


Bee Quote of the month: June

bee quote by Aristotle
Concerning the generation of animals akin to them, as hornets and wasps, the facts in all cases are similar to a certain extent, but are devoid of the extraordinary features which characterize bees; this we should expect, for they have nothing divine about them as the bees have. 
  Aristotle 384 BC – 322 BC


Bee quote of the month: May

I will arise and go now, and go to Innisfree,
And a small cabin build there, of clay and wattles made:
    Nine bean-rows will I have there, a hive for the honey bee,
        And live alone in the bee-loud glade.
    William Butler Yeats, The Lake Isle of Innisfree

If you have a photo you would like to include here of bee hives in a garden please let me know so I can include it.


Brother Adam and the bees

Brother Adam was born Karl Kehrle in 1898, in Germany.
He became a Benedictine monk and a beekeeper at Buckfast Abbey in England.

Buckfast Abbey 1798 painting by J. White Abbott

He became an authority on bee breeding, writing books on the subject and developing the Buckfast bee. This was a strain of very productive bee that was resistant to the Acarapis woodi parasite.
"He was unsurpassed as a breeder of bees. He talked to them, he stroked them. He brought to the hives a calmness that, according to those who saw him at work, the sensitive bees responded to." (The Economist, Sept. 14th 1996)

Many bee breeders, especially in Europe, have used Brother Adam’s stock.


Beekeeping At Buckfast Abbey with a section on mead making
Breeding the Honeybee
Brother Adam- In Search of the Best Strains of Bees

More info about Brother Adam at Elspeth Payne's site.