DAY 9 – BEE WATER and HOT HONEY DIP

DAY 9 – BEES NEED WATER: Bees find water, carry that water in their crop (aka honey stomach) and transfer the water to waiting bees at the hive in the same way they handle nectar. Bees find water in a number of places including damp rocks, branches, muddy puddles, pond edges and drops adhering to vegetation. Unfortunately, urban bees find water in swimming pools, golf course ponds and oily puddles. In the summer, bees spray water on the honey comb and fan the moisture with their wings to create evaporative cooling. Nurse bees feed water to developing larvae; they also mix water with pollen and nectar to make a jelly fed to larvae and new bees. Water is included in the Royal Jelly mixture fed to queen bee larvae.

Bee drinking waterProblems for bees occur where plants are treated with systemic insecticides. Bees collecting water from guttation drops—drops of water that naturally seep from the tips of stems and leaves—can be poisoned. Worse still, sub-lethal doses of insecticide can enter the hive via water, nectar and pollen; with thousands of bees returning to the hive hourly the levels of poison can rise quickly within the hive. Frank Drummond, Pollination Ecologist, University of Maine has science based research that indicates this “cocktail” of poisons is causing Colony Collapse.

Read Day 7 for details on BEE STOMACHS and link to this remarkable article on Water Collection by Honey Bees.

RECIPE 8 – HOT HONEY DIP is a hands-down favorite for chicken wings.

INGREDIENTS: ½ cup of a medium-flavored honey, for instance midsummer wildflower / ½ cup of Dijon-style mustard / 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce / Freshly ground black pepper, to taste / Cayenne pepper, to taste

DIRECTIONS: Makes 1 cup

In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. Use as a dip for flavored bread or fresh vegetablesChicken wings, grilled fish or meat.

SOURCE: US National Honey Board recipe as interpreted by Kim Flottum for the Backyard Beekeeper’s Honey Handbook, Quarry Books 2009

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