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					                                          OF BEES
                                          & HONEY
                                          NEWSLETTER NOVEMBER 2008


THE AFRICAN (KILLER) BEE SURVIVAL GUIDE
Early on in my life I found myself        most trying of situations. On top of     quite different, as these were not only   With their very keen sense of smell
as a conscript in a guerrilla warfare     that it just happened that he was one    much smaller and placid, but actually     the workers not only find food, but
situation in the triangle formed by the   of the few that had been spared the      stingless.                                also discover intruder bees and other
borders of Mozambique, Malawi and         attack. Out of the pandemonium his                                                 insects, or potential threats from
Zambia.                                   voice rang out quite clear, shouting     Stingless or not, they could still be     larger predators around their hives.
                                          at us to stay where we were and to       a huge nuisance, especially the tiny
Some of the most dramatic events          cover ourselves with our blankets. In    black ones, which tried to take any       According to fairly new research,
that the combat group of which I was      reality most couldn’t hear him above     fluid they could find from our eyes,      bees can be trained in ten minutes
a member encountered during the           the mayhem of shouts and screams, or     nose or mouth. Their hive was always      to detect explosives in land mines
entire time of duty in that area were     even worse, our personal panic.          underground and the few ounces            or bombs in luggage at airports. By
actually caused not by man, but by                                                 of honey one may encounter there          comparison, dogs take no less than
enraged swarms of bees. Nothing had       Besides shouting instructions, he also   was actually quite good. If I am not      three months to learn the same job.
prepared me, or the other men for         led by example in a most laudable        wrong, in South Africa they are called
the totally murderous intent of these     manner and in no time, others            “mopane” bees.                            Not much would happen if my mother
sudden and brutal attacks.                followed his example.                                                              was stung a couple of times while
                                                                                   The other type of stingless bees was      raiding our hives other than some
As a child I used to watch my             With outstretched arms holding a         a lot bigger, more rare and made their    local swelling. The reason for it is
mother‘s annual opening of our            blanket that was flying over him, he     nests in holes in trees. From what I      that honey bees are not programmed
“kitchen” hives, which was executed       ran to another                                                                                    to react to the
without much ado or protection.           man who was                                                                                       pheromones contained
Actually, in all it was a quiet placid    being so seriously                                                                                in their attacking
or “civilised” affair. Perhaps a better   stung that by                                                                                     weapon.
description would be a happy ritual on    then had lost his
sharing Nature’s magnanimity.             self-control, and                                                                                As you may have
                                          wrapped it tightly                                                                               learned in previous
I must mention that those hives were      around both of                                                                                   newsletters, normally
cylindrical of about 1 x 0.5m and were    them.                                                                                            it takes only eight
made out of solid pieces of cork oak’s                                                                                                     stings for a person to
bark (quercus suber).                     In no time there                                                                                 become immune to bee
                                          were pairs of men                                                                                venom, even if these
The story is quite different in Africa.   lying about on                                                                                   had occurred over
At about noon on a warm winter’s day,     the ground while                                                                                 some years. It should
one moment we were following in a         embracing each                                                                                   be mentioned that
single file through miombo forest and     other as tight as                                                                                true serious allergic
the next there was chaos resulting        they could, so                                                                                   reactions are very rare
from what seemed to be a massive          that they would make themselves as       could gather, its honey was highly        and are suffered by less than 1% of
grenade that had exploded amongst         small as possible. Male bonding at its   sought after, not only for its quality,   the population.
us. The difference between the real       best, one might say.                     but also for the easiness in raiding
army weapon and this one was that         Most probably this attack may have       their hives. Perhaps these facts may      The exception is Apis mellifera
there was hardly any noise and the        been aggravated by the serious body      explain their small numbers.              scutellata, better known as the African
“shrapnel” was made up of swarms of       odour that emanated from some                                                      yellow bee, or “killer bee” as named by
insects from hell. Suddenly we were       thirty men that hadn’t been close to                                               the Americans.
fighting for sheer survival.              water for a week.                        The world of the bees
                                                                                   is a world of smells.                     As mentioned previously, the theory
Our usual technique of fighting it out    Some years later on a national                                                     of evolutionism may also apply here.
in ambushes or even splintering in all    conference about bees that I attended,
                                                                                   Pheromones, if you like.                  Basically, the more aggressive the
directions did not help us much either,   an overseas guest speaker did                                                      predators are, the more defensive
                                                                                   Queens control all workers’ actions.
as most of us had almost immediately      mention, to my great amazement,                                                    you have to become if your species
                                                                                   There is a coterie of bees that follow
acquired a personal cloud of enraged      about the hyper defensive tendencies                                               is to live on. For a species to survive
                                                                                   every queen’s move and whose main
bees that were dive bombing our           manifested by bees in that same part                                               relentless and brutal depredation, in
                                                                                   job seems to be, besides feeding
heads.                                    of the world.                                                                      this particular case of bees by man, it
                                                                                   the queen, to spread her smelling
                                                                                                                             has to adapt and ultimately develop
                                                                                   (pheromone) instructions throughout
Luckily there was a fellow among us       What is interesting is that in the                                                 its own means of self-protection.
                                                                                   the hive.
who could make instant decisions and      same general area there were two
would not lose his composure in the       other types of honey bees, although                                                                       CONTINUED...
...SURVIVAL GUIDE CONTINUED
As a beekeeper I do get stung quite         can’t stop themselves once aroused to     general attack. It will be perceived        while trying to remove the sting
often and so far do not swell that          the same insane moods of a riotous        by the bees as an attack by a               by lifting it with a finger nail. Putting
much anymore. But as soon as the            mob.                                      dangerous predator.                         some saliva on it should help a bit.
first sting strike’s home, I not only                                                                                             (When there isn’t an actual beehive
notice the bitter almond smell of it        There is a proper formula about how      • “Hanging” around strong hives              in the next 10 or so metres, a sting
very clearly in the air, I also can taste   many stings per kilo a victim can          particularly on hot days should            should not cause a major problem
it in the mouth.                            normally withstand. For adult humans       be avoided, as bees become quite           besides some allergic reactions).
                                            it is something like 250 (3 per kg).       irritable in these conditions. The
For certain the bees can smell it much      Considering that the population in a       opposite is also true, as bees are        • Trying to escape by running away
better than I do. Immediately it has        good size hive could be around 60.000      unable to fly below 8 degrees               through open fields is a no hoper, as
the effect of raising their alarm bells,    bees, one can arrive at that critical      Celsius.                                    African bees may keep the attack up
as well as blowing the trumpet call         number fairly quickly.                                                                 for 2 km and even further on
for a charge. These acts are not only                                                • Only in exceptional situations              occasion.
committed by the guards, but by             Death of a Beekeeper                       should one work on hives or
others bees as well that happen to be                                                  remove strong swarms during the           • From personal experience, the best
near the hive’s entrance at that given      Very recently it appeared in the news      day, especially in residential areas or     is to seek shelter in a dark room
time, and will target anyone in its         the very sad story of a beekeeper that     whenever there are people or                (with close doors if possible). If not
proximity.                                  died while trying to remove a swarm        animals around.                             available, try to dodge around and
                                            in Pretoria. Some facts about it have                                                  through bushes and small trees
                                            now come to light.                       • Perfumes, strong body odours and            while keeping a good pace and
                                                                                       the smell of freshly cut grass seems        following a general direction. Cars
                                             - He was still a trainee and without      to be offensive to bees and the             (with closed windows) have literally
                                               a licence.                              cause of most unprovoked attacks.           saved my skin quite a number of
                                             - He had health problems. (A                                                          times.
                                               beekeeper has to be a healthy         • After a person spends some time
                                               person. A good heart is a must          inside the 3 to 4 m radius around         • Never jump into a pool trying to
                                               to withstand regular or even            a hive, a guard may buzz around the         escape if there are no reeds or pipes
                                               serious bee venom intakes into          intruder’s face as a warning to move        to breathe through. Bees will just
                                               ones system)                            off (usually twice). Normally, if the       hover above the water while waiting
                                             - He tried to remove a massive            warning has not been heeded by              for you to come up.
                                               swarm during daylight hours             then, the next contact would consist
                                               (16H00).                                of an outright attack.                    • Applying propolis tincture to stings
                                             - Not only that, but in a built up                                                    does help.
                                               area.                                 • Avoid wearing dark colours around
                                             - His protective gear was defective.      strong hives.                             • Anti-histamine is recommended.
The more stings they place, the more           (Bees were found inside the veil)
pheromones concentration in the air          - He was probably prone to panic        What to do when a                           • An adrenaline injection is a must for
and logically the more mayhem at
hand.
                                               reactions. (When he was found         swarm attacks                                 very allergic sufferers.
                                               after the attack his hands were
                                               out of the gloves and as expected,    • Please remember to keep your wits         • If an adrenaline injection cannot be
If it happen that cats, dogs, horses,          stung on a massive scale)                                                           immediately administered, the
                                                                                       about you. Panic doesn’t help at all,
cows and even humans, lions or                                                                                                     patient should be taken to a clinic
                                                                                       and I am quite sure that they can
elephants for that matter are unable
to run away or find shelter in a dark
                                            How to avoid                               also smell fear the same as dogs, or        with utmost urgency.

place, the prognosis will not be good
                                            being stung                                lions for that matter.
                                                                                                                                 Bee venom does have excellent
at all.                                                                                                                          medicinal properties, especially for
                                            • Disturbing bees in a strong hive       • At the very first sting a person
                                                                                       should move quickly away from the         auto-immune problems. (See ”Bee
                                              by knocking on it, for instance,
Literally, and in the same way as                                                                                                Venom” in “Medicine from the Bees”
                                              will cause an immediate and              proximity of the hive, and if possible
humans react in many societies, they                                                                                             in www.thehoneybear.co.za )




KAROO HONEY
To understand my great desire in            Yes! It does frustrate a Johannesburg    with predators (crooked suppliers).         ...How else to explain the
obtaining some rare honeys from             beekeeper quite badly by not being       The adaptation of the following story       considerations and ethics, both
the legendry desert and subsequent          able to lay his hands on some of them.   serves as a good answer.                    personal and professional of
disappointments, part of a letter to                                                                                             beekeepers that supply me with
the beekeepers in the same area is          Please guys from the vast expanses       After some narrow escapes while             honeys from faraway, which are
shown underneath.                           of the Southern part of Africa, could    driving on the “wrong” side of the road     impossible for me to harvest?
                                            you tell me what you do with your        in Europe, the following message was
“A short while ago there was a              honeys?                                  sent to my Swiss friends, knowing that      ...The sharks that try the (once off)
write up in one of your (Beekeeping                                                  it would amuse them.                        rip-off or con act (sell damaged
Association) emails about the               Is there any way you can stop my                                                     honey), their poor souls can rot in
different honeys that can be harvested      somewhat insane rumblings of             “There must be a God, or at least a         hell.”
in your part of the world.                  frustration and find the motivation      Saint that looks after fools and bad
                                            to send up some buckets of your          drivers.”                                   Oh well! Fools luck or an idealistic
Not only was there a most incredible        treasured nectar?”                                                                   foolishness?
diversity, but I am sure that the                                                    Somehow I have the feeling that “bad
quality would also be equally superb.       I have often been asked how I manage     drivers” could be replaced now with         Viva Don Quixote! (My hero) Viva!
                                            to survive in my profession, which       “beekeepers”.                               But I have to mention that I do my
Yes! It does boggle the mind.               so often requires swimming in a sea                                                  home work.
NEW PRODUCTS                                                                          HONEY & SINUS
The new batch of Hazelnut, Honey &         The new batch of Almond Honey &            “Ottawa University doctors found in        honey from New Zealand, and sidr
Raw cocoa is absolutely superb. Most       Nuts has a fuller nutty flavour, coarser   tests that ordinary honey kills bacteria   honey from Yemen.
probably it has been enhanced by the       texture and smoother taste, just like      that cause sinus infections, and does it
Raw Honey that it is creamed with          the Hazelnuts. The raw honey used is       better in most cases than antibiotics.     The two killed all floating bacteria in
this time.                                 also the same.                             “It’s astonishing,” researcher Joseph      liquid, and 63-91 percent of biofilms -
                                                                                      Marson said of bees’ unexplained           microorganisms that sometimes form
The texture is a little coarser and the    Almonds are very tasty and the most        ability to combine the nectar of           a protective layer in sinus cavities,
taste is richer and creamier.              nutritious tree-nut around.                flowers into a seemingly potent            urinary tracts, catheters, and heart
Contrary to some similar commercial                                                   medicine.                                  valves, protecting bacteria from
products, there are no sugars*, butters,    - They are a healthy energy supplier                                                 normal drug treatments and often
emulsifiers or preservatives in it.           while dieting.                          The preliminary tests were conducted       leading to chronic infections.
                                                                                      in laboratory dishes, not in live
Hazelnut is rated as the most               - An excellent source of magnesium,       patients, but included the “superbug”      The most effective antibiotic,
beneficial nut for heart health, due to       manganese and unsaturated fats.         methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus       rifampin, killed just 18% of the biofilm
the highest levels of cardio protective                                               aureus or MRSA, which is highly            samples in the tests...
mono-unsaturated fatty acids and            - Good source of fibre, copper,           resistant to antibiotics.
lowest in saturated fats.                     riboflavin and phosphorus, plus                                                    There you have it.
                                              protein.                                In upcoming human trials, a “honey
 - Rated as one of the most                                                           rinse” would be used to “flush out         Please pass this to chronic sinus
   nutritious nuts, with significant        - Great anti-oxidant with high levels     the goo from sinus cavities,” said         sufferers. It seems that most SA
   supply of protein, fibre, vitamin E        of alpha tocopherol Vit. E.             Marson in an interview with AFP. The       doctors could do with it as well.
   and B, iron, calcium, magnesium                                                    researchers have so far tested manuka
   and potassium.                          All that this information says is:
                                           Now we can experience the goodness
 - Contains the highest concentration      of honey and the energy and health
                                           giving properties of the nuts in a most
                                                                                      BEE
   of folate, which reduces the risk                                                                                             Flavonols are the antioxidant property
   of cancer, heart diseases,              delectable and practical way.                                                         most associated with grapes’ dietary
   Alzheimer’s and depression.                                                                                                   benefits. Which of the three foods

Pure Cocoa seed powder has recently
                                           Perhaps to corroborate this statement,
                                           Arab warriors food while on campaign       POLLEN                                     contain the most quercetin, believed
                                                                                                                                 to be the most potent flavonol?

                                                                                      HIGH
been found to contain high levels of       consisted basically of nuts and dates
antioxidant polyphenols, oligomeric        and/or honey, and they could survive                                                  a) red grapes
procynanidins and other flavonoids         on it for many months in a perfectly                                                  b) bee pollen
that help boost the immune system
and offer significant protection
                                           healthy state.
                                                                                      IN ANTI-                                   c) apples



                                                                                      OXIDANTS
against “bad” cholesterol and heart        *The body does not treat honey as a                                                   The answers: b (bee pollen, 31.78 mg
disease. It is also very nutritious,       sugar, even in diabetics.                                                             quercetin per 100 mg; apples, 7.37; red
having a high protein, vitamin and                                                                                               grapes, 3.98)
mineral content.




BEES AS                                                                               NEW
SECURITY GUARDS                                                                       HONEYS
The following letter was sent by a         are housed in a fenced-off enclosure.”     The 2008 good honey luck seems to
                                                                                                                                           CONTACT DETAILS
fellow beekeeper as an explanation of      Although I am sure that this               carry on.
why he couldn’t keep any of my hives       particular beekeeper hadn’t done any
                                                                                                                                     KIM MORGADO 082 558 6666
on his small holding:                      specific queen breeding with hyper         Now is the turn of Burkea Africana,            KIM@THEHONEYBEAR.CO.ZA
                                           defensiveness in mind, his excellent       or Red Syringa. Exactly like October’s        WWW.THEHONEYBEAR.CO.ZA
“I have 14 hives on my property            “watch dogs” not only were free            Combretum.
currently and I don’t think that we        lodging, but in actual fact paid “rent”
can carry any more. 7 are deployed as      in honey on top.                           After careful checking up, it seems
part of security (2 as borehole pump                                                  that the last time these two were                  DISCLAIMER
protectors - 3 as galv. sheet protectors   Nobody would be able to disagree on        seen in reasonable quantities was          The views expressed in this newsletter
on store rooms - 2 as gate guards in       what a great deal he got, if ever there    some eight years ago, which coincided      are those of the author and not
the field behind my house). 7 swarms       was a better one.                          with the start of the drier period that    necessarily that of other authorities
                                                                                      finished recently.                         on the behaviour of bees. They come
                                                                                                                                 mostly from my personal experiences
                                                                                                                                 and memories, as well as common
                                                                                      The honey is smooth, creamy and

FEEDBACK THANKS
                                                                                                                                 sense deductions. The only reason for
                                                                                      medium to light and a bouquet to
                                                                                                                                 the distribution of these newsletters,
                                                                                      match.                                     as stated on various occasions is: “To
All feedback on these newsletters          For all the questions, comments and                                                   Spread the Gospel (and Love) of the
are welcome.                               feedback on the newsletters.               I would say superb for toast.              Bees” to a wider audience.

				
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