Jen first got into keeping bees more than 10 years ago and quickly realised: that real ecology is more complex than we can ever imagine, that everything fits together in remarkable and wonderful ways and that just keeping honeybees in hives is far from the answer. Now she talks to schools and young learners about the other 274 species of bee, about butterflies, flies and wasps, about their relationships with plants and about how we need to protect our environment in a sensitive, meaningful way. She aims to dispel myths and misunderstandings and to help nurture a new generation of active naturalists. As ever, check out our website for pictures: www.livingbeeing.com
Back in April 2021, we spoke to Markku P, an urban beekeeper living and working with bees in Finland. After a bit of a summer break, we can now share this wonderful interview with you. Marrku is passionate about bee genetics, and a particular supporter of the black honeybee (Apis Mellifera Mellifera), believed to be the indigeous bee of Western / Northern Europe. We also hear about some of the challenges posed by some of Winnie the Pooh’s cousins. More information and pictures from Finland can be found on our website at www.livingbeeing.com
Back in July 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, co-host Chris Park shared with us his huge experience in making mead. People have been dabbling with this fascinating brew for millenia. An alcoholic drink made from mixing honey and water (and sometimes herbs or fruit), it has a delicious effect on mind and body. In a mouth-tingling episode, we talk about mead’s rich taste, its powerful medicinal properties, the ancient traditions of making mead and the wide range of herbs that can be added to increase its flavour, opacity and health values. Check out some great pictures and a FREE, easy mead recipe at www.livingbeeing.com.
The talented Rikk Smith, aka. Shining Fox, makes Native American flutes. He tells us about his recent introduction to the honeybee and how this journey inspired him to make an instrument in the creature’s honour. Rikk also treats us to a song on this beautiful instrument. Rikk learned to make these instruments while in America and was taught the traditional methods. For him, the whole process of making a flute is a spiritual and meditative experience. Captivating listening. Check out the pictures on our website: www.livingbeeing.com. You can also find out all about Rikk and his flutes at: www.shiningfoxcreations.com.
A matter of weeks before the release and roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines, we spoke to leading Apitherapist, Stefan Stangaciu about the huge progress in research relating to honeybee medicines; particularly propolis. Apitherapy is all about the health that comes from bees (Apis) and the hive. Stefan has 29 years experience in this area. Our lives have been transformed by pandemic, leading us to search urgently for new drugs, vaccines and remedies. We look to multinationals and powerful corporates for answers; but the bee’s clever strategies for disease mitigation and control pre-date ours by millions of years. Their ability to cope, adapt and survive is a sobering example to us as humans. Perhaps now we can draw on their experience and benefit from their medicine; reviving what our ancestors already knew. More information plus the Zoom recording on www.livingbeeing.com. Stefan’s website: www.apitherapy.com.
Get your dance shoes on! It's been very exciting for us to discover Bioni Samp. Well-known on the mainland-Europe dance club and festival circuit, the mysteriously named Bioni Samp is a fascinating blend of musician, beekeeper and environmentalist. He is passionate about bees and their vital place in our natural world. His aim is to enthuse, educate and entertain. Bioni is involved in a number of bee-related projects and has set up a number of initiatives and creative learning spaces - most notably in Finsbury Park in London where you can visit his Bee House! More info plus videos available on our website: www.livingbeeing.com. Find out about Bioni's music, videos to see: https://bionisamp.wordpress.com
Many people will never have heard of propolis - the bees’ secret weapon against infection. Honeybees collect sticky tree resin, bring it back to the hive and manipulate it into a substance that lines the nest or coats foreign bodies (even dead mice!) to block out unwanted bacteria and infection. Humankind has long known of this product and used it to boost immunity and cure or prevent anything from viruses to severe toothache etc. Researching and using this substance as a medicine could be a vital defence tool in a new pandemic-prevalent world. James Fearnley is a man of extraordinary achievements who has dedicated a large part of his life to the research of hive products beneficial to health - in particular propolis. He founded the International Propolis Research Group (IPRG) and, more recently, the Bee Arc (www.beearc.com). His company BeeVital (www.beevitalpropolis.com) was set up to research and explore the many pharmacological and clinical properties of propolis. Pictures and show notes available at: www.livingbeeing.com
King Solomon. Gladstone Solomon, a bee farmer on the island of Tobago, tells us about his fascinating beekeeping career.
Gladstone manages c. 100 hives on the island of Tobago where the climate is very different with exotic foraging plants. Gladstone tells us all about the honey, the forage and the challenges for new beekeepers. We were also lucky enough to chat with Sharon, his wife; the other half of the family business who has found a niche for herself making soaps and cosmetics from beehive products. With tales of stingless bees and bee safaris, this is a rare insight into another world of beekeeping. Sit back, close your eyes and imagine yourself transported to a tropical bee paradise.
The Beekeepers. Chris comes to see Patrick’s hives on James’ land. Bees living in conventional hives, russian hives, and their natural home: a log.
It’s now 5 months since we launched our podcast. Despite lockdown and the continuing global pandemic, the bees have been as busy as ever. They are the great survivors. This year we’ve seen plentiful swarms and a good excess of honey. Patrick is keen to show Chris his hives on James’ land nearby in Wiltshire. At the end of the beekeeping season, it’s a nice opportunity to discuss the different “establishments” in which bees can live and thrive. A swarm has even been known to set up home in a traffic cone! We haven’t got one of those but our log hive (supplied by http://beekindhives.uk) was occupied within a week.
Uninvited Guests 2. More from Sam Day. Some of the solutions that might slow the spread of the Asian Hornet.
Following on from episode 10, we learn about some of the tracking methods being used in Jersey. The island already has asian hornet nests but the situation would be much worse without the intervention thus far. The mainland can learn much from Jersey about how to control this new invasive species. There’s some amazing inventions and ideas coming online all the time, from radio telemetry to using sniffer dogs. And, of course, the eyes of UK beekeepers and the general public will be key in the fight; with the important message “See it, snap it, send it!”. Visit our website at www.livingbeeing.com for all the resources from this episode along with pictures and weblinks.