Bumbles Pollinating a Massive Cucumber Crop

10 09 2014

I find it really difficult to identify bees, and I’m sure I’ve complained before about poor internet resources/guides to identifying bees. I did spend some time looking around, but nothing conclusive has come from my search.

Anyhow, I’ve got a collection of recent photos taken in southern Quebec of some bumblebees going nuts over a massive cucumber crop. You’ll notice from the differences in pattern, that there are two different species present. I believe the one in the bottom left photo is the odd one out. With the rest, note the distinctive black circle in the center of the bee’s thorax, the stripe of black at the top of the abdomen, and the fact that the edging of the final yellow stripe on the abdomen isn’t straight, but dimples up in the centre. Black and yellow only, this bee is black-bummed.

Acacia Honey in China

21 01 2013

Chinese Acacia Honey - yang huai feng miFrom time to time, I buy a jar of Chinese honey. It makes sense. After all, I live in China. Why not buy local? Of course, Chinese products are often suspect in some way – many Chinese folks I’ve spoken to are suspicious of honey coming from their own country, and as I’ve written about before, they have a reason to be. But I’ve also written that it’s impossible for us to avoid toxins completely given what we, as humans, have done to our world. So Chinese honey and whatever chemicals it contains makes their way into my kitchen.

Robinia pseudoacacia 004This time round, I secured a jar of acacia honey.  One of the more common monofloral honeys, this honey comes from the false acacia tree  (洋槐 yáng​ huái – black locust tree or Robinia pseudoacacia). The tree grows in warmer climates in Europe and North America, but it also grows in China. The honey is usually rather light in colour, but can have an amber hue (particularly if it has been pasteurized) like in the jar you see here.

Acacia honey has a higher fructose content than most honeys. As a result, it tastes sweeter – you will likely need less to sweeten your tea – and it probably won’t crystallize like most honeys will over time.

See other posts on my Chinese honey adventures:

Support a Beekeeper! Bees Alive! Now Taking Advertisers

10 08 2012

Are you a beekeeper that sells honey, value-added products or offers other products, courses or services? Do you know and appreciate a beekeeper in your area? Then please read on.

Bees Alive! is now devoting space to the advertising of local honey, beekeeping services, workshops and other products.

This is an an established web site since June 2010 that serves to educate people about bees, what they do, and why they are important. We also support a ‘shop local and organic’ philosophy, and this kind of consumption does not exclude honey and honey products.

In the last month, I created a page on Bees Alive! devoted to advertising for local beekeepers to find out whether we’d get any interest/traffic (I can monitor search terms used to get to our site), and indeed, I’ve had visitors looking for honey in specific regions as well as for specific beekeepers, specific farmers’ market venues, and specific products. I’d like to open the advertising up to people in other regions than those I’ve tested. This is a site that attracts international visitors, and ideally, I’d like to see that reflected in the advertising.

So, why not advertise your or your favourite local honey and value-added products with Bees Alive!…?

Makes an affordable gift to the beekeeper in your life (even if they’re not selling honey, but might like some exposure to their projects). And if that beekeeper is you, all the better!

Check out fees below. If you have something a little different in mind than the options below, let’s talk. Further info, and a contact form can be found below.

Advertising Options 2012

Option Example Pricing
Business name that links to your web site Bees Alive! $5 / month
$55 / year
Name and address that links to your web site
ABC Honey and Honey Products
123 Bee Lane
Beeville, HB
phone number/email
$6 / month
$66 / year
Business Card
that links to your web site
bee business card sample $10 / month
$110 / year
Blog Post
(once published, these details remain accessible to search engines until the end of time)
Jean-Marie Sempels: Local Honey in Quyon, Quebec $200 / post
$10 for later modifications such as address changes
(major changes require a new post)

To add a single line of text that lists your products or special features (organic, specialty crops, workshops, etc.), add $1/month or $11/year.

Listings will be categorized by country, then province/state/territory, then region.

Honey vendors who opt to advertise through a blog post will be listed as a FEATURED LISTING in their respective region.

See how this works: HERE.

We are currently taking payment through PayPal.

If you are interested in advertising with Bees Alive! or would like to talk about options, please fill out the form below, including a way to contact you via email.

Blackberries Are Coming – Thank You Honeybees!

27 07 2012

Nearly three years ago, I published a short rant – a blackberry season rant, no less – on the first incarnation of The Good Villager, my responsible living and travel blog (no longer running). The Good Villager was born in Nanaimo, British Columbia, and having travelled through Canada, the US and China, we are now back in Nanaimo, BC to celebrate our third birthday. I think it’s worth talking about blackberries again, and as this post does and will live on Bees Alive! for all eternity, let’s throw (or gently place) a few bees into the mix.

Come mid- to late August, Nanaimo is absolutely covered in blackberries. You can almost walk anywhere and have breakfast or a snack along the way. I’m exaggerating, but only slightly. But seriously, we couldn’t walk and snack without the bees. Honey bees are currently busy making that special period of time a reality.

I managed to get a few photos of our friends at work among the blackberry blossoms on Protection Island, a little island off the east coast of Vancouver Island at Nanaimo.

Honeybee pollinating blackberry blossom on Protection Island in Canada

Honey bee pollinating blackberry blossom on Protection Island in Canada

Local Honey for Sale: Jane’s Honey Bees of Fraser Valley, BC

14 07 2012

Honey from Jane's Honey Bees of Fraser Valley, British ColumbiaLiz Graham is the Bee Master behind Jane’s Honey Bees located in Fraser Valley of BC. I met her while covering the Main Street Farmers’ Market in Vancouver where you can find her selling honey and value-added products.

Liz Graham of Jane's Honey Bees - Fraser Valley, BC CanadaThe company also offers pollination services, and because of this, crop-specific honeys are available (at my time of visit, blueberry honey was on offer!)


You can find this beekeeper at the Vancouver Main Street Farmers’ Market.

.Jane's Honey Bees Business Card

Jean-Marie Sempels: Local Honey in Quyon, Quebec

4 07 2012

Jean-Marie Semplels - BeekeeperLocal honey on offer through the Wakefield Farmers’ Market and the Old Chelsea Market in Southern Quebec.

On offer: Pure liquid honey, flavoured honey, creamed honey, honeycomb, and more. Very affordable prices.

for more information on products and shipping, and on other locations where this honey is sold.

If you have sampled products from this apiary, please feel free to include your comments below :)

Honey by the Bees of Jean-Marie Sempels


Chives: Good for Humans, Bumbles, Honeybees & Swallowtails

24 06 2012

If you have some space in your garden and want to plant something that will benefit everyone (or at least many), then pick chives. They are quite pretty when they flower, humans can eat both the stem and the flowers, and the flowers will attract several different kinds of bee as well as butterflies. I’ve done two different posts on chives already – one on human use (on my other blog: The Good Villager), and one guest photo contribution of a bumblebee visitation in southern Ontario. See the links below for these posts and after that, some further photos from where I currently am in southern Quebec.

Honeybee on Chive Flower - southern Quebec - June 2012

Honey Bee on Chive Flower - southern Quebec - June 2012

Bumblebee on Chive Flower - southern Quebec -June 2012

Swallowtail Butterfly on Chive Flower - southern Quebec - June 2012


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