Serious winter arrived in the Catskills, and this morning I insulated my beehive to help protect the ladies from the bitterest cold. Though they're often able to do just fine, clustering like penguins and beating their wings to keep things toasty and dry, I want to give this remaining hive all the help I can. Bees have been on my mind this week, and so all of this week's stories relate to them in some way.
One of the pieces I came across was this -- a 8,000 year old cave painting, depicting a human foraging for honey from wild bees. Known as Bicorp Man, it's the earliest known representation of humans and honeybees.
The Healing Powers of Honey, via Gastropod
"Honey seems like a simple, comforting food, slathered on toast, spooned down to soothe sore throats, and beloved of bears, both plush and real. In reality, this sticky combination of bee spit and evaporated nectar is a powerful and ancient ingredient. For much of history, honey was humanity's main source of sweetness, as well as our first vehicle for getting drunk. Unlike table sugar, honey also comes in an infinite variety of textures and flavors, influenced by the two million blossoms from which each jar is made. And, from ancient Egypt to modern medicine, honey has been valued for its healing powers."
"It’s honey, but not just any honey. It’s Manūka honey, a sweet extravagance from New Zealand that sells for a sticky $2.50 an ounce—six times the cost of conventional honey—and has attracted a slew of famous fans. Kardashian, who has a promotional contract, claims Manūka is responsible for her robust health and soft skin."
The ancient art of honey hunting in Nepal - in pictures, via The Guardian
"The Gurung tribespeople of Nepal have been collecting honey from Himalayan cliffs for centuries, but now their lifestyle is under threat from commercialisation and tours offering visitors a chance to 'join a honey hunt'. Photographer Andrew Newey spent two weeks living with the Gurung in central Nepal, documenting the risks and skill involved in this dying tradition."
Man Paints Murals to Bring Attention to the Plight of Honeybees, via Modern Farmer
“I want to take these small, misunderstood creatures and paint them really big, so people will learn about their startling decline as well as their incredible importance,” explains Willey. “Everyone on the planet should know what’s going on with our bees.”