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    Smiley Honey News

    Amazing Sense of Smell

    I was taking some pictures of our beeswax products, and this honey bee flew over to investigate. I am continually amazed by a bee's senses. Whenever we are washing empty honey barrels outside of our facility, dozens of honey bees will show up in a matter of minutes. Think about it -- with a brain the size of a grass seed, foraging honey bees can zero in on nectar, honey and beeswax in a flash. Recent research shows that honeybees can detect specific airborne molecules in the parts per trillion range.

    Dr. John Lieff published a fascinating piece about honeybee brains on his blog "Searching for the Mind" in November 2012.  Here are some highlights from Dr. Lieff's article:

    • bees use abstract thought and symbolic language
    • bees routinely solve the advanced mathematical problem of the travelling salesman
    • bees mix medication in the hive and know when a fungus is dangerous
    • bees distinguish landscape scenes, types of flowers, shapes and patterns
    • bees forage for information
    • bees learn categories, sequences, combinations and the changes of future rewards

    For the complete article, please go to: http://jonlieffmd.com/blog/the-remarkable-bee-brain-2

    Honeybee Prose

    And now you ask in your heart, "How shall we distinguish that which is good in pleasure from that which is not good?" Go to your fields and your gardens, and you shall learn that it is the pleasure of the bee to gather honey of the flower. But it is also the pleasure of the flower to yield its honey to the bee. For to the bee a flower is a fountain of life. And to the flower a bee is a messenger of love. And to both, bee and flower, the giving and the receiving of pleasure is a need and an ecstasy.

    Excerpt from "The Prophet" by Kahil Gibran

    Photo Credit: Mike De Leo

    Why We Love Beekeeping

    Beekeeping is complicated. In comparison, herding cats is easy. Think about it - 40,000 flying insects with painful stingers buzzing all around the place and you are trying to coax them into making so much honey that you can "borrow" up to 100 of pounds from the hive without overstressing the colony. If the weather cooperates, and the flowers bloom, and crazy neighbors/stupid teenagers leave the hives alone, and farmers don't spray their crops or orchards while the hives are present, and the queen stays healthy,and the hives are not invaded by parasites or disease, and bears stay the heck away from your bee yards, then you might get a decent honey crop. Is it worth it? Yes, it is. And this picture provides a pretty good explanation why. Hard work; sweet rewards. Enough said.

    Beekeeper Humor

    We love hearing from our customers. This week we received a very nice note from Charlotte in Texas. She is enjoying her first ever bottle of tupelo. She also included this comic strip, which is too funny not to share.

    Recipe Contest

    Two of my favorite things are honey and chocolate, and I am looking for recipes that bring them together in perfect harmony.  Submit your recipes to smileyhoney@gmail.com before October 25th, and I will test the best ones and pick my top three favorites. First prize is a free 3 pound bottle of tupelo honey, second prize is a free 2 pound bottle of tupelo, and third prize gets you a free 1 pound bottle. I will post the winning recipes on a future blog post.

    In the meantime, here is a simple treat I made today: Melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a small sauce pan over low heat. Add 1/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/4 cup honey. Whisk briskly until smooth. Pour into a small bowl and refrigerate until firm. Take a small spoon and scoop out a truffle sized ball for a major honey-chocolate jolt.

    Good Luck!

    -Brian D. Bertonneau, Owner

    Honey Trivia

    You may have heard these little nuggets of trivia before, but we always enjoy repeating them. Some of the facts are so amazing, we never lose our sense of wonder when we contemplate them anew. The answers to the questions are found below. See how many you can get right without peeking.

    1.  How many flowers must honeybees visit to make one pound of honey?

    2.  How many miles does a beehive fly (collectively) to make a pound of honey?

    3.  How much honey does an average worker bee make in its lifetime?

    4.  How much honey would it take to fuel a bee's flight around the world?

    5.  How long does a worker bee live in mid-summer?

    6.  How many bees are there in an average hive around mid-summer?

    7.  How many different tasks do worker bees perform?

    8.  How many eggs does the queen lay each day?

    9.  How many beekeepers are there in the United States?

    10. Which state is nicknamed the beehive state?

    Bonus Question: What is the average annual consumption of honey in the United States?

    _______________________

    (1) approximately two million; (2) 55,000 miles; (3) about 1/10 of a teaspoon; (4) about one ounce; (5) around 6 weeks; (6) between 40,000 and 70,000; (7) fourteen -- nursing the larvae, caring for the queen, cleaning the hive, cleaning other bees, removing dead bees, building honeycomb, capping honeycomb, packing pollen in cells, fanning nectar to remove moisture, repairing the hive, collecting nectar and pollen, collecting propolis, collecting water and guarding the hive; (8) around 1,500 per day; (9) approximately 212,000; (10) Utah.

    Bonus: Not enough! (about 1.3 pounds per year).