7 November 2000
Volume 8: no. 7
It's really hard to believe that the year is passing so quickly. Today is election day and soon we will all be thinking about Thanksgiving and all the other holidays which come at the end of the year. When I arrive at this time of year most times, I think of the many `buggy' things I wanted to do this year, but did not get `around to.' Now is the time to `winterize' your insect collections. Many of the collections I saw this fall at the fairs and various shows were outstanding. We have some great collections - we just need to be sure to keep them that way. After getting your collection back from the various shows in which it has been displayed this fall check make sure it is still in good condition.
- Is the glass unbroken/unscratched and does it seal the box well? A replacement box may be in order. Wintertime might be a good time to consider making a new holding or display box. Instructions for construction may be obtained from your extension agent.
- Is the protectant (moth balls, crystals or pest strip) still working? Be sure to replace the protective material at least every 2 months.
- Are the pins firmly set or do you have loose specimens in the box? Loose specimens not only get ruined themselves, but they can damage others.
- Are there twirlers in the box? Repair or replace any badly damaged specimens in the box. Give special attention to large beetles and to Lepidoptera. Make sure your moths and butterflies have their wings spread correctly.
- Store your box in a cool dry place out of direct sunlight. Set your box up so that visitors may observe it.
Wintertime is a good time to make changes in your collection and to really get it ready for the active collecting season. Also remember that because of the warmer days we have been having you can actively collect during the entire year. A new project we have begun to promote is the `collection journal' project. This entails keeping a journal of the various specimens collected when, how they were collected and any unique circumstances. I have found that many of the insect specimens which go into a collection have stories behind them. Those stories are interesting and can now be used as a project. Simply write the journal of your collection and submit it when the collection is submitted for judging. The journal will also be judged along with the collection.
Announcing the 2001 `Encouraging youth to Due in my office by
Bee Essay Contest
Announcing the 2001
`Encouraging youth to
Due in my office by
The beekeeping industry is concerned about the decline in the number of beekeepers as well as the advancing average age of active beekeepers. What could be done to encourage someone to become a beekeeper, whether hobbyist or commercial?
Writing the Essay is a learning experience for those 4-Hers who participate and often it stimulates many of them to get into beekeeping as a sideline for profit or hobby. Since I am in charge of the Mississippi Bee Essay Contest, it might not be good for me to give a long list of reasons for getting into beekeeping at an early age but I do have some suggestions:
- I suggest that you find a local beekeeper and get to know him - this alone might help you with some answers for youth involvement.
- You might also study more about bees. They are very interesting creatures. There are numerous texts on bees in your local library and that is where you should start.
- Check http://www.ifas.ufl.edu/~mts/apishtm/apis_2000/apapr_2000.htm#4 or - http://abfnet.org/
- Contact the Mississippi Beekeepers Association for brochures and information about beekeeping. There may be a beekeeper who would even share equipment or a bee hive with a young person to get them started.
The contest is open to active 4-H Club members only. 4-Hers who have previously placed first, second, or third at the national level are not eligible; other state winners are eligible to re-enter. The essay must be typewritten, double-spaced, on one side of the paper following standard manuscript format. Essays should be 750 to 1000 words long on the designated subject. All factual statements must be referenced with bibliographical style endnotes. Each essay must be accompanied by a biographical sketch of the essayist along with complete mailing address and telephone number. Mississippi essays should be mailed to:
Dr. Michael R. Williams
Entomology and Plant Pathology Department
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
See - http://www.msstate.edu/Entomology/4-H/bee2000.html
Featured Insect: Honey Bee
Buzz! What a busy honeybee! Honeybees make and do things that are helpful to humans. They are very interesting insects. Honeybees provide us with honey, royal jelly, beeswax, and propolis. They are very cooperative insects and have good colony structure. They are the prime pollinators of the planet. Honeybees are social insects. A typical hive is divided primarily into worker bees and drones, ruled by the queen. Now let's go find out the wonderful things that bees do that help us!
Honeybees have to go through a long process to make honey. The house bee and the field bee (both female worker bees) are involved in the process. First the field bee goes out and collects nectar, which it stores in its internal honey sac. The nectar is brought back to the hive and transferred to the house bee, tongue to tongue. Then the house bee spreads a drop of nectar on the roof of a cell in a comb. During the next couple of days other house bees fan their wings over the nectar so that the moisture evaporates (nectar is 80% water and honey is 19% water). Finally, more house bees cover every cell filled with thickened nectar with a thin layer of wax. Honey is a product that honey bees make. Humans use the honey for many different purposes. Honey can be a substitute for sugar in many foods. Honey has a greater sweetening ability that sugar doesn't have. One cup of honey weighs twelve ounces while one cup of sugar weighs seven ounces. Honey was also used in various ways in history. Long ago priests used honey and cakes sweetened by honey in religious ceremonies. In Roman times, honey was used as widely as sugar is now. Honey was used for cooking, preserving meats, vegetables, fruits, sauces and dressing. It is said that honey was the first and last food that Jesus Christ ate on Earth. Muhammad is recorded in the Koran saying that honey is a remedy for all illnesses.
Royal jelly is a secretion from workers' glands. It is fed to the queen bee throughout her larval and adult life. It is also fed to larvae for the first two and a half days. It is a creamy milky-white color, strongly acidic, has a prudent odor and bitter taste. The queen eats only royal jelly, the worker bees eat some royal jelly and the drones eat the least amount. Royal jelly is high in protein and is rich in vitamins B, C and D. Royal jelly is used in many things such as in dietary supplements, additives in lotions, cosmetics and creams. It is in demand as a human health food.
Beeswax is a secretion from four glands on the underside of a worker bees' abdomen. Some major uses of beeswax are cosmetics and candle making. Some minor uses are lotions, cold creams, ointments, salves, lipsticks, rouges, pill coatings, waterproofing, coatings for electrical apparatus, floor and furniture polishes, leather polishes, arts and crafts items, adhesives, crayons, inks, basketball molding, grafting wax, ski wax and ironing wax. Most of the world's beeswax comes from Africa. Roman wax tablets were found in Egypt. Persians and Syrians both covered important bodies with wax before burial. Beeswax death masks were made by Mme Tussaud for King Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette after their execution. There are two ways to make beeswax candles. There is the dipping method where the wicks are repeatedly dipped into a pool of melted beeswax. There is also the pouring method where the wick is suspended and a dipper full of melted wax is poured over it.
For honeybees, propolis is used as a kind of glue. Honeybees gather propolis from trees and other vegetation. They use it to seal cracks and crevices in the hive to make it less drafty when it is cold. Propolis is sticky when it is warm and it is difficult to deal with when it is hard. Propolis was used for medical purposes by doctors in Via Sacra. Roman doctors favored it more than wax. Propolis is also an effective dressing for wounds and was used during the Boer War (Oct. 11, 1899-May 31, 1902). Propolis was used in veterinary practice in Russia. It is used as ointments for healing animal cuts and wounds. Doctors have experimented with an alcohol tincture for hearing defects. If propolis is mixed with mineral spirits, it can be used as a natural varnish. Famous violinists used propolis in their violin varnish.
Since many of our pollinators are now scarce, we are more dependent on the honeybee for crop pollination. Pollination starts when a field bee crawls into a plant blossom seeking nectar. The honey bee is dusted with pollen. Then the field bee flies over to another blossom with the pollen in its hair. When the bee lands, the pollen falls onto this blossom's stigma allowing a fruit, vegetable or other crop to grow.
Farmers often rent colonies of bees to pollinate their crops. Even though other insects pollinate crops too, honeybees are one of the few that are synchronized and managed with the development of crops. If honeybees didn't pollinate, some crops wouldn't be able to grow. Without the pollination from the bees there would be one third less crops in the world than there is now.
This information was taken from the Insecta Inspecta World site:
The Honors Academy, Thornton Jr. High School, Fremont, California
e-mail address - firstname.lastname@example.org
Dr. Michael R. Williams
Entomology & Plant Pathology
Mississippi State, MS 39762-9775
phone - 601-325-2085
home - 601-323-5699
FAX - 601-325-8837