First of all a massive “merci beaucoup” to the French farmers. They have banned the use of all pesticides posing a threat to the honeybees. Vive La France! If other European farmers follow suit that would help enormously with the decline of our honeybees.
Secondly scientists now think honeybees can provide an answer to the antibiotic question. As we know, Doctors are less willing, these days, to give out antibiotics as the more they dish out the more immune we become to their healing properties. According to Science Dailey “Raw honey has been used against infections for millennia, before honey— as we now know it — was manufactured and sold in stores. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have identified a unique group of 13 lactic acid bacteria found in fresh honey, from the honey stomach of bees. The bacteria produce a myriad of active antimicrobial compounds.” They have been tested on several human wound pathogens such as methicillin- resistant staphylococcus among many others and it has shown that the lactic acid bacteria applied to the pathogens in the laboratory counteracted all of them.. Not to get too scientific on you all, they go on to say that the findings have implications for developing countries where fresh honey is easily available but also for Western countries where antibiotic resistance is seriously increasing.. So google away if you want to know more!
On to a lighter subject. Yesterday I was at a wonderful networking lunch run by an incredible lady, Lady Val. It was held in Brown’s Court Rooms in London and the guest speaker was Sir Michael Palin. Quite a few of the the attendees worked for Prison charities in one way or another and it occurred to me, while chatting to various people, that, perhaps in some prisons, maybe open prisons, it might be a good idea to introduce beekeeping to the inmates. Beekeeping is a wonderful hobby that teaches you so much about community living and how working side by side produces wonderful results. To be a beekeeper you have to have patience and be very gentle and respectful of the honeybees. And, once you are a beekeeper you will undoubtably have enormous respect for the honeybees.. the more you learn about them and handle them more respect you have. And this you can take through to your every day life. At the end of the spring and summer season you have a wonderful product, honey, that you can sell, and after the winter you recycle the wax from last years brood boxes and can either make candles or various products from it yourself or send it off to be recycled in to new un-pulled comb for the new season. Now I know not many prisons have much space but perhaps in an open prison where they do have gardens this could prove to be a very worthwhile project which would sit nicely side by side with gardening. It is something I am definitely looking in to.
With all those thoughts buzzing around my mind, no apologies for the pun, I thoroughly enjoyed the day and all the really interesting people I met. Below are a couple of pictures from my day, one of them with Sir Michael Palin, who was, by the way, utterly charming, witty and very entertaining. In other words he did not disappoint. You know sometimes you really like someone you see on television and then you meet them and it turns out they aren’t the jovial kindred spirit you had been led to believe they were. Well he was everything and more. I had a wonderful time. Met great people and I know I will stay in touch with quite a few and also work on the beekeeping in prisons idea.
This morning I was at Chartridge Combined School. Hopefully photographs will follow. The children were fantastic. I first talked to year 6 students and then to three classes all at once. Again, they were enthusiastic and asked great questions.. Here it comes.. the question to which I didn’t know the answer to.. the thing is, and here I go with my excuses, I did know the answer but that naughty little doubt fairly tweaked my mind and so I erred on the side of caution and said, as I do, I would google the answer and get back to them, which I have just done. I do not think it does any harm for the children to know that we adults to not have an answer for everything or indeed that we too can get brain freeze!
Do honeybees see in colour?
It has been proved that honeybees do see in colour. However, they do not see it as we do. They see it through an ultra violet light. Their vision is much faster than humans and their colour vision is the fastest in the animal world, five times faster than human vision.
If a honeybee were a super hero it's sight would be its super power!
Well that’s it for this week. I will be putting all of this on to my podcast when I can get in to the studio. My youngest is currently recording a book in there.. hence the delay in my weekly podcast.
See you next week. Keep tuning in!