Bee Keeper Extraordinaire! Bee Keepers everywhere!
The Wonderful World of Honey Bees
Scribe: Neil Bretvick Editor: Jim Kindsvater
In this issue:
Wendi Fischer will introduce the Ugandan Women’s Chess Champion and her coach, and John Cherry will introduce us to “the Wonderful World of Honeybees”.
Program Chair Bob Holert introduced the speaker, BBRC member John Cherry whose presentation was titled “To Be a Bee”. John keeps hives of honey bees on Orcas Island. He introduced the various types of bees we have, including honey bees, bumble bees, and the indigenous Mason Bee. He presented slides showing each type of bee, including one of an Australian Bear Bumble Bee which wasn’t as scary looking as its name would imply!
Honey bees are “Super Organisms” like ants, which exist in colonies and have a collective understanding of each one’s purpose in the colony or hive. He likened them to the Borg from Star Trek. The worker bees are female, and the drones are males. The worker bees do all the work; the male drones purpose is to mate with the queen then just hang around the hive until the female workers kick them out. One member called out to John, “You’re just making all this up!” to a hearty laugh from the group!
There is just one queen bee per hive. She lays hundreds of eggs, which the workers provide food for. The workers live an average of eight weeks, which is why the queen is so busy laying eggs.
At some point, a queen may leave the hive with a group of workers and drones called a “swarm”. They will hang out in a tree while a new hive is located, and they will get to work making it their home. Not all the bees leave in the swarm however. The bees left behind will actually create a new queen for their hive. This is accomplished by choosing a particular egg to provide special food for.
Most beekeepers use a Langsgroth Hive, designed with grids to easily collect honey from. John demonstrated one of his hives (without bees in it of course!).
John discussed forms of bee communication, including the “waggle dance”, which they use to tell other bees where food sources are located. Bees will travel up to 3 or 4 miles from the hive to find food. Jenny Andrews asked John to demonstrate the waggle dance, to which John responded, “I can’t do it alone, you’ll need to join me!”
John discussed a serious issue called “Colony Collapse Disorder” where hives either empty out or all the bees die within. It is an issue of concern being studied to see what the causes might be; possibilities include parasitic mites, pollutants, pesticides, and industrial beekeeping.
John recommended two movies on the topic: “Queen of the Sun” and “More Than Honey”. He spoke briefly about a community project to develop hives and beekeeping on Christmas Island in the Pacific.
The answer to the question, “How many eyes does a worker bee have?” – Five. Two large eyes on either side and three on top of the head, apparently to navigate through a crowed hive. Many wrong answers were given and many dollar bills left on the tables!
President Scott Sadler mentioned 1,000 pounds of fresh produce was donated by BBRC and Houser Martin Morris to Rotary First Harvest in John’s honor.
President Scott Sadler opened the meeting.
Steve Goldfarb gave the invocation and led in the Pledge of Allegiance. John Martinka introduced guests and visiting Rotarians. There were no visiting Rotarians; guests, invited by Wendi Fischer, were Phiona Mutesi, Ugandan Women’s Chess Champion and her coach, Robert Katende; and Rodney and Amanda Suddith of Sports Outreach Institute.
Mike Ralph and Wendi Fischer gave an update for the upcoming 10K, recognizing many sponsors, and encouraging others to sponsor and/or volunteer during the run. The BBRC has exceeded its volunteer goal, but they need more runners, and are hoping for good weather tomorrow!
John Martinka gave an update on the Antigua project, and the handing out of dictionaries to third graders there. He mentioned a quiz was given to students in Antigua who averaged 4.2 correct answers to 7 questions about what dictionaries are and how they are used.
Wendi Fischer introduced two of her guests, Phiona Mutesi and Robert Katende, who spoke about Rotary’s outreach to Uganda teaching chess to young people there as a way of empowering the youth.
Phiona learned to play chess in one day at an early age. Phiona has since become the women’s chess champion in Uganda, and won her first title in 2006, and entered worldwide competition in 2010. She and Robert shared stories of life in the Ugandan slums, and there was a brief video presentation.
Phiona wants to be a pediatrician, and dreams of becoming a Chess Grandmaster. Recommended reading about Phiona’s story – “The Queen of Katwe” by Tim Crothers.
Our Sergeant at Arms, Paul Chapman has returned and proceeded to issue fines. His question for the group – “How many eyes does a worker bee have?” which was answered during John’s presentation.
Colleen Turner spoke briefly about dictionaries handed out to local school third graders, and thanked the volunteers who helped distribute them. The group sang happy birthday to Colleen!
A Major Grants Committee meeting will be held in the lounge following the meeting.
There is still time to donate to the Oso Landslide relief effort through the BBRC.
president’s thought for the week:
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