Every year, my wife and I struggle to come up with a bee-related Christmas gift that we can make for family and friends. Last year was a building year for my apiary so I did not harvest much honey. However I did have enough honey to make almost 44 bottles of Rock & Rye.
Rock & Rye was a staple of bars before the prohibition. During the prohibition, it became a staple of medicine cabinets. When I was ten years old and sick with a cold, my mother would give me a juice glass of straight up Old Mr. Boston Rock & Rye. I would drink it down, jump in bed, and sleep like a log. The rock candy (sucrose) in Rock & Rye would soothe my throat and the vitamin C from the lemon half (bobbing in the bottle) did not hurt either. The taste and recipe is similar to the favorite cocktail of Don Draper of Mad Men: the Old Fashioned.
Continue reading Give the Gift that Gives a Buzz
A conversation between beekeepers
One of the benefits of writing the BeeHacker blog is that I also get to meet interesting people from around the world. I recently started a dialog with Oleg Sadovskij, a Ukrainian beekeeper, a honey exporter, and manager of TORENT-TRADE Ltd. In Ukraine. I was curious about Ukraine because it is in the top five list of page visits by country to my blog (after US, Great Britain, France, & China).
Americans have heard a lot about Ukraine in the news this year yet few realize the long history and loyal compassion Ukrainians have for honey and the honey bee. There are about 400 thousand beekeepers in Ukraine or 1 beekeeper for every 107 Ukrainians. In the US, that ratio is 1 in 1500! Ukraine is the largest producer of honey among European countries and Russia. On average, a Ukrainian consumes 2.6 lbs of honey annually – double what is consumed in the United States. In 1815 the Ukrainian Peter Prokopovich invented the movable-frame beehive though the American Langstroth discovered bee space which made his 1852 patent for movable frames much more practical. If you are a beekeeper or if you just like honey, then you will find Ukraine a very bee friendly place. Continue reading Beekeeping in Ukraine
January 2011 Bee Culture Magazine
Note: This article, written by Tom Rearick, aka BeeHacker, was just published in the January 2011 issues of Bee Culture Magazine. To subscribe (you should), visit http://www.beeculture.com.
If I had ever been here before
I would probably know just what to do
from the Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young “Deja Vu” album
This is a tough time for honey bees and beekeepers. Colony Collapse Disorder, Varroa, Small Hive Beetle, Africanized Honey Bees, Tracheal mites, and invisible pathogens are wreaking havoc on apiaries. Will more than 30% annual hive losses cripple the pollination industry and discourage hobby and sideline beekeepers? It would be nice if we could look into a crystal ball and see what the future holds. We can’t. But we might gain insight by studying a remarkably similar historical event: the near total extinction of the European wine grape. Continue reading We Have All Been Here Before