13 d’abril 2018

DESÈ CURS D'APICULTURA



16 de febrer 2018

NO BEES, NO LIFE

by Peter Kosmus, Boštjan Noě and Karolina Vrtaěnik together with the 66 most important names in the field of beekeeping from 32 countries.
The authors wrote this book to present bees and their great importance for the environment and people in an accessible way. Bees provide us with excellent bee products (honey, beeswax, pollen, royal jelly ... ), but their essential role is to pollinate plants, which supplies us with one third of our food. Besides being vital for food production, pollination also preserves plant diversity and thus influences ecosys­tems that give us oxygen, fuel, clean water, air, regulate the weather, the climate ... In addition to that, bees are a part of our lives in many other ways. 

The book covers various topics, such as the history of bees, bee products, the impor­tance of continuous education of beekeepers, the importance of bees and reasons for their endangerment in certain parts of the world. It describes various types of beekeeping around the world, but also apitherapy and apitourism that have de­veloped especially in the recent period. The book also describes the significance of bees in religion and how bees can serve as an example of an exemplary life centred around values. It also contains a text on how beekeeping can help disabled people. 

The purpose of the book is to raise awareness about the dependence of people on bees and nature. Thus, the book speaks to every individual, community or company and shows them how they can contribute to better conditions for the survival of bees. 

The book is intended for a wide readership, including those who do not know much about bees, and those who do and would like to learn more. 

Basic information about the book and its authors, and feedback are available at https://beebooks.si

11 de febrer 2018

QUÈ ELS PASSA A LES ABELLES?


El CREAF col·labora en l’edició d’un vídeo d’animació per explicar de forma senzilla el declivi que estan patint moltes espècies d’abelles arreu del món.

Ignasi Bartomeus, investigador de l’Estació Biològica de Doñana (EBD-CSIC), i José Luis Ordóñez, tècnic de comunicació del CREAF, han elaborat un vídeo d’animació per explicar perquè estan desapareixent moltes espècies d’abelles, quina implicació pot tenir aquest fet i quines mesures correctores hi podem aplicar. El vídeo també fa èmfasi en mostrar la gran diversitat d’abelles solitàries que existeixen i el paper que juguen en la pol·linització de moltes plantes, incloent molts del conreus que formen part de la nostra alimentació.


Tant la idea original com el format de l’animació han estat una iniciativa personal de l’investigador Ignasi Bartomeus, davant la dificultat d’oferir a un públic ampli una resposta senzilla a la pregunta que encapçala el vídeo. Roger Isasi-Isasmendi hi ha posat la veu, i Belén Sánchez Humanes (ex-investigadora del CREAF) i Mireia Banqué (tècnica del CREAF) hi han participat en diferents fases del procés de creació.

07 de febrer 2018

EN CASO DE SER PICADA POR ABEJAS Y AVISPAS


La reacción que experimentan las personas al sufrir una picadura de abeja o avispa son dolores en la zona afectada, inflamación, picazón o enrojecimiento. “En el caso de las picaduras  de abejas, entre un 1 y 2% de la  población  puede desarrollar  reacciones alérgicas  severas caracterizadas por el compromiso de  la  vía  aérea,  dificultad  respiratoria e hipotensión”, precisa la especialista.
Si la picadura ya es un hecho, la doctora recomienda actuar de manera rápida, retirando el aguijón y evitando hacer presión sobre el saco que contiene el veneno. Además, se debe lavar cuidadosamente la herida con agua y jabón; aplicar hielo de manera indirecta en la zona afectada; evitar rascarse la herida y vigilar la aparición de signos que indiquen complicaciones como dificultad para respirar, sensación de desmayo inminente, hinchazón de cara y lengua.
“En caso de que  aparezcan  síntomas  de  complicación  como  los  descritos, presencia  de  picaduras  múltiples o antecedentes  de  haber  sufrido reacciones  alérgicas  severas  con  picaduras  anteriores, se debe consultar inmediatamente a un médico”, alerta Falck.
Cuando se esté al aire libre, evitar usar ropa de colores brillantes y perfumes; así como prendas sueltas que puedan atrapar insectos entre la tela y la piel. El olor de los alimentos atrae a los insectos, se debe tener cuidado cuando se cocina; evitar comer o beber bebidas dulces al exterior y mantener la comida cubierta hasta el momento de comerla.
Fuente: RadioRomántica.cl Foto: Archivo Vida Apícola

LA AVISPA ASESINA ASIÁTICA SE EXPANDE SIN RESISTENCIA HACIA EL SUR DE CATALUNYA


La avispa asiática (nombre científico Vespa velutina) popularmente conocida como “avispa asesina” prosigue su expansión implacable por Catalunya. El último caso, un enorme nido en un árbol muy próximo al núcleo urbano de Santa Susanna (Maresme) localizado la semana pasada, ha evidenciado la irrupción de esta especie invasora en el parque natural de Montnegre-Corredor. Otros nidos se han descubierto en zonas costeras como Canet de Mar y Sant Pol de Mar.

Desde el Departament de Territori i Sostenibilitat de la Generalitat consideran que la avispa asiática está totalmente instalada en Catalunya. Las comarcas afectadas continuan siendo el Alt Empordà, la Garrotxa, la Selva, Pla de l’Estany y el Gironès. Con menos afectación le siguen el Ripollès y el Baix Empordà, aunque en estas comarcas ya se han detectado molestias en construcciones y viviendas.

Durante el 2017, la avispa asiática se ha extendido por otras demarcaciones catalanas,como la Cerdanya, el Berguedà, el Bages y el Vallès Oriental. El Maresme, ha sido la última comarca afectada, donde ya se han empezado a destruir nido

Pese a que la distribución de las colmenas de vespa velutina no se haya incrementado excesivamente en las comarcas catalanas, si que se detecta un crecimiento exponencial del número de nidos con respecto al 2012, primer año en el que se detectó la especie invasora en Catalunya, llegada a Francia en 2004 en un contenedor portuario procedente del continente asiático.

En Catalunya, en el 2017 se detectaron 370 nidos con respecto a los 116 del año anterior, lo que confirma el crecimiento exponencial. Aún así, las cifras se podrían disparar ya que se estima que sólo se detecta el 10% de los nidos que realmente están instalados en la geografía catalana.

La destrucción de los nidos corre a cargo de los Agentes Rurales sólo en aquellos lugares donde pueda suponer un peligro para las personas. La avispa asiática, según los expertos, es imposible de erradicar, pero sí se pueden aplicar medidas de control, gestionadas a través de un protocolo de actuación, elaborado en colaboración con los apicultores. Se centra principalmente en la eliminación de los nidos y la captura de las reinas, con métodos que surgen de la hibernación, generalmente a partir de febrero, cuando las temperaturas van en aumento.

Si el ritmo invasivo de la avispa asiática se mantiene, la amenaza para las poblaciones autóctonas de abejas de la miel se agrava, ya que la invasora las ataca y extermina. Fuentes del sector apícola mantienen que hay riesgo la desparición de las abejas en pocos años, lo que supondría un impacto de incalculables consecuencias para el equilibrio ecológico y la biodiversidad.

FEDE CEDÓ - La Vanguardia

03 de febrer 2018

BEESWAX ALCHEMY

By Petra Ahnert

Create Natural Beeswax Products for Health and Home: Make your own candles, soap, balms, salves, and home dêcor from the hive.


‘THIS IS THE BOOK I’ve been waiting thirty years for. Excellent instructions. Bountiful information. Beautifully done’. 
Kim Flottum, Editor Bee Culture Magazine. 

Chapter 1, The Wax:
  • Candle Wax
  • Beekeepers Wax
  • White Wax
  • Insider Tips

Chapter 2, Candle Making:
  • Rolled Candles
  • Rolled Taper Candles
  • Rolled Pillar Candles
  • Wicking
  • Folded Candles
  • Votive Candles
  • Folded Pillar Candles
  • Hand-Dipped Candles
  • Hand-Dipped Taper Candles
  • Hand-Dipped Birthday Candles

Chapter 3, Balms and Bars:
  • Basic Lip Balm
  • Lip Balm with Butters
  • Lip Gloss
  • Solid Body-Care Bars
  • Solid Lotion Bar
  • Message Bar
  • Cuticle Cream
  • Heel Balm
  • Chest Rub
  • Non Petroleum Jelly

Chapter 4, Salves Creams and Scrubs:
  • Salve Master Recipe
  • Oil Herbal Infusion
  • All-Purpose Salve
  • Cracked Skin Salve
  • Burn Salve
  • Itch Soother
  • Rosebud Salve
  • Woodworkers Salve
  • Icy Joint and Muscle Balm
  • Emulsifying Sugar Scrub
  • Beeswax Cream
  • Solid Natural Perfumes
  • Solid Perfume Master Recipe
  • Perfume Essential Oil Blends

Chapter 5, Soaps:
  • Starter Recipe ((No beeswax or honey)
  • Honey Beeswax Soap (Cold Process recipe)
  • Honey, Oats, and Beeswax Soap (Hot process recipe)

Chapter 6, Home Products:
  • Beeswax Ornaments
  • Beeswax Dipped Leaves
  • Beeswax Pinecone
  • Firestarters Beeswax Luminaries
  • Cutting Board Conditioner
  • Solid Wood Polish
  • Wood Conditioner Cream
  • Beeswax Furniture Polish
  • Waxed Fabric
  • Waterproof Sneakers
  • Waxed Cotton Sandwich Wraps
  • Beading and Sewing
  • Thread Conditioner

Chapter 7, Beeswax Art:
  • Batik
  • Encaustic

Chapter 8, Ingredients Guide:
  • Butters
  • Oils
  • Miscellaneous
  • Fatty Acid Glossary
  • Herbs
  • Essential Oils
Nothern bee books

26 de gener 2018

L'ÉTAT DE SANTÉ DES ABEILLES


À l’échelle planétaire, les abeilles sont en danger.  Non seulement cette situation est inquiétante par ce qu’elle nous indique sur la santé de nos écosystèmes, mais également en raison du rôle primordial de cet insecte pour la pollinisation de plusieurs de nos aliments. 

Un pollinisateur essentiel à notre alimentation ! 

La pollinisation assure la fécondation nécessaire à la reproduction sexuée des plantes à fleurs, un processus indispensable à leur survie. Tout comme le vent et de nombreux insectes, oiseaux et petits mammifères, l’abeille participe à la pollinisation. Son rôle est cependant exceptionnel alors qu’une abeille peut visiter, à elle seule, une moyenne de 700 fleurs par jour. 

On estime qu’environ 80 % des végétaux à fleurs sont ainsi butinés par cet insecte et que le tiers de nos ressources alimentaires dépendent directement de la pollinisation des abeilles. Ce service rendu à l’agriculture est estimé à une valeur de 32 à 78 milliards de dollars canadiens selon le Programment des Nations Unies pour l’environnement. 

Le déclin des abeilles constitue donc un enjeu crucial à la fois pour l’équilibre de nos écosystèmes et pour notre alimentation.

Syndrome d'effondrement des colonies 

Le syndrome d’effondrement des colonies (Colony Collapse Disorder) est le terme adopté par les scientifiques pour parler du déclin soudain et massif des colonies d'abeilles dans plusieurs régions du monde. 

Bien qu’il ne soit pas entièrement compris, plusieurs facteurs sont avancés pour expliquer ce phénomène. Il serait notamment attribuable à l’appauvrissement de la diversité végétale, au stress et aux carences nutritives liés à l’utilisation des abeilles pour la pollinisation de monocultures, à l’usage croissant des pesticides et à l’essor d’agents pathogènes. En plus de ces facteurs, les dommages causés par le varroa, un parasite originaire d’Asie, contribueraient à ce phénomène.

Bien que ce syndrome ne soit pas diagnostiqué au Québec, des pertes anormales d’abeilles sont néanmoins observées depuis le début des années 2000.  Malgré ces pertes importantes, le nombre de ruches en activité dans la province a crû de 33 % entre 1998 et 2010, en raison d’une demande croissante des services de pollinisation pour de meilleurs prix. 

Aussi, lorsque l'on parle des problèmes de santé des abeilles on parle davantage d'une dégradation de l'état de santé des colonies que d'une chute du nombre d'abeilles.

L’abeille, sentinelle de l’environnement 

Par son travail de pollinisation, son périmètre d’action et sa sensibilité à l’environnement, l’abeille agit comme baromètre écologique. À ce titre, elle est utilisée dans diverses recherches pour identifier et évaluer les taux de polluants, de biodiversité, de radioactivité et de bactéries présents dans certains écosystèmes. 


Aussi, l'état de santé actuel des abeilles ne devrait-il pas sonner l’alarme dans nos sociétés?

Agriculture urbane Montreal

24 de gener 2018

MEMÒRIES D'UNA ABELLA



Quan jo vaig néixer començava a despuntar la primavera en la vessant solana de les muntanyes prelitorals. Casa meva reposava en un indret idíl·lic, envoltada de flora mediterrània que feia les delícies de les abelles més exigents. Romaní, farigola i cap d’ase a principis de temporada i cirerer d’arboç, bruguerola i olivarda per tancar l’anyada.

memoriesabella.blogspot.com

21 de gener 2018

WHAT IS IT LIKE TO BE A BEE?


You’re a honeybee. Despite being around 700,000 times smaller than the average human, you’ve got more of almost everything. Instead of four articulated limbs, you have six, each with six segments. (Your bee’s knees, sadly, don’t exist.) You’re exceptionally hairy. A shock of bristly setae covers your body and face to help you keep warm, collect pollen, and even detect movement. Your straw-like tongue stretches far beyond the end of your jaw, but has no taste buds on it. Instead, you “taste” with other, specialized hairs, called sensillae, that you use to sense the chemicals that brush against particular parts of your body.

You’ve got five eyes. Two of them, called compound eyes and made up of 6,900 tiny lenses, take up about half your face. Each lens sends you a different “pixel,” which you use to see the world around you. The colors you see are different. Red looks like black to you and your three “primary” colors are blue, green, and ultraviolet. You detect motion insanely well, but outlines are fuzzy and images blocky, like a stained-glass window. (Your three other eyes detect only changes in light to tell you quickly if something dangerous is swooping your way.)

Now that you’re a honeybee you can do all kinds of things you couldn’t before. Your four wings move at 11,400 strokes per minute. You can sense chemicals in the air. You’re fluent in waggle dance, so you’re able to tell the other members of your colony where the nectar supplies are. But how much does any of this tell us about what it actually feels like to be a bee?

We all know what it’s like to be ourselves—to be conscious of the world around us, and be conscious of that consciousness. But what consciousness means more generally, for other people and other creatures, is a hot potato tossed between philosophers, biologists, psychologists, and anyone who’s ever wondered whether it feels the same to be a dog as it does to be an octopus. In general, we think that if you have some kind of unique, subjective experience of the world, you’re conscious to some extent. The problem is that in trying to envisage any consciousness besides our own, we run into the limits of the human imagination. In the case of honeybees, it’s hard to know if interesting behavior is reflective of an interesting experience of the world or masks a more simple stimulus-response existence. The lights are on, but is anyone home? To examine these questions means to take a ride on that hot potato—from philosopher to scientist and back again and again and again.

More and more, scientific research seems to suggest that bees do have a kind of consciousness, even as myths and misconceptions about their capacities persist. In a recent TED Talk, cognitive scientist Andrew B. Barron of Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, described how he had had to be lovingly “talked down” from a “pearl-clutching” moment after someone asked him whether bees actually have brains. They do, of course.

Understanding what their consciousness might look or feel like is probably a fool’s errand. It’s really hard to imagine what it’s like to be almost anything or anyone other than what you are, says philosopher Colin Klein, also from Macquarie University, who has worked extensively alongside Barron. With people, it’s much easier. “You can talk to them, you can read fiction, there are a lot of things you can do—but it takes a certain amount of work to get into that space and in particular to realize what you experience, what you don’t experience, what your horizons look like,” he says. But the more different the experience of the organism you’re trying to imagine is, the harder it becomes. “You can start to think at least in what senses the experience of something like a bee might be different from ours”—how they structure the world around them, say, or whether they experience “space” the way we do.

The philosopher Thomas Nagel’s famous 1974 essay, “What Is It Like to Be a Bat?” suggests that being “like” something else is possible only if the target is conscious of the world around it. “The fact that an organism has conscious experience at all means, basically, that there is something it is like to be that organism,” he writes. Or, “fundamentally an organism has conscious mental states if and only if there is something that it is to be that organism—something it is like for the organism.” On top of that mindscrabble, our ability to imagine ourselves as another being is limited by the world that we know—as people. We might be able to imagine having webbed arms and hands, like a bat, or five eyes, like a bee, but the specific senses and abilities these animals possess are frankly inconceivable. “I want to know what it is like for a bat to be a bat. Yet if I try to imagine this, I am restricted to the resources of my own mind, and those resources are inadequate to the task,” he adds. Moreover, “I cannot perform it either by imagining additions to my present experience, or by imagining segments gradually subtracted from it.”

Despite these difficulties, what we want to know, Klein and Barron wrote in an op-ed in The Conversation in 2016, is whether bees and other insects “can feel and sense the environment from a first-person perspective.”

It seems likely that there are lots of different kinds of consciousness, of varying levels of complexity. As human beings, not only are we aware of ourselves and the world around us, we’re also aware of that awareness. A step down in complexity might lack that awareness of self-awareness. And a step down from that might be limited to a distinctive experience of the external world only.

Such a simple ladder may not be the best way to organize this kind of complexity, says David Chalmers, a leather jacket-wearing Australian philosopher at New York University best known for his work in philosophy of mind—a branch of philosophy that asks these kinds of questions. “But there are probably different ways of arranging states of mind, or consciousness, in a hierarchy,” he says. What’s harder to distinguish is the precise point where consciousness ends, and what the light switch, “on-off,” moment might be, further down the evolutionary chain. “It’s awfully hard to see what a borderline case of being conscious would be,” he says, even while it’s not that hard to know what a borderline case of being alive might look like, as in a virus. “It would sort of feel like something,” he says, trailing off in thought, “but not.”

So far as bee consciousness goes, however, he thinks there are likely to be some factors in consciousness that we share, like vision, and some that we don’t at all, “whether it’s sensory systems that humans have that bees don’t have, or whether it’s things more like concepts, like language, that give us a kind of consciousness that bees don’t have.”

Klein is more specific. “We think that bees have experiences that feel like something to the bee,” he says. “We don’t think the bees are aware of having experiences that feel like something to them. The bee is not going round saying to itself, ‘Gee, it’s a lovely day, look at that flower.’ It doesn’t have any of these more sophisticated, reflexive kinds of consciousness.”

Still, despite having a brain that is a fraction of the size of even the tiniest mammal’s, bees seem capable of some incredibly complex behaviors and mental gymnastics. Studies over the last few decades have revealed them to do everything from having a concept of zero to experiencing emotion, from tool use to social learning. If you give them cocaine, they dance more vigorously and tend to overestimate how much pollen they’ve foraged. If they watch a plastic bee scoring goals with a soccer ball, they can follow suit for a sugar water reward. Wouldn’t these complex behaviors be enough to assume some kind of consciousness? Not necessarily, says Barron. “Honeybees are unusual among the insects in that they have a whole list of clever things that they are able to do,” he says. “And some people would say that that means that they are more likely to be conscious. I disagree with that.”
Think of all the other things able to perform complicated tasks that we’re pretty sure aren’t conscious. Robots do everything from juggle to play the piano, but, as far as we know, are “dark” inside. Like bees, Roomba vacuum cleaners make decisions, navigate around the world, and adapt—but there’s probably nothing it’s “like” to be one of them. And plants have been shown to have a kind of memory: Over time, for example, they can learn that being repeatedly dropped isn’t anything to freak out about. But few suggest they possess consciousness.

“I think this is one of the problems with the behavioral approach, is that it encourages this looking for very clever things,” says Klein. “Whereas if consciousness is a widespread phenomenon, you should expect that it might be in a lot of different types of things that don’t necessarily do the things that we take to be markers of consciousness.”

If behavior can’t enough tell us about the inner life of a bee, perhaps the structure of their sesame seed–sized brains can. In a human brain, key studies suggest consciousness lies in the midbrain, an evolutionarily much older section. In a study published last year, Barron and Klein investigated the structure of the bee brain, which seems to be made up of similar bits to our own, with a region responsible for similar tasks. “It’s smaller, it’s organized differently, it’s different-shaped, but if you look at the kind of computations it does, it’s doing the same sort of things as the midbrain,” Klein says. “So if you think in humans the midbrain is responsible for being conscious, and you think this is doing the same kind of thing, then you ought to think insects are conscious as well.”

This biological approach opens up consciousness to a variety of other organisms that don’t do the clever things that bees do, like beetles or potato bugs. They might be less obviously interesting, but that doesn’t make them less likely to be conscious. The technology that allows us to examine insect brains on a neuron-by-neuron level is very new, Barron says. “If they really are instinctive, then we’re learning something about what the insect brain is capable of. If they’re not, then we’re learning something more profound.”

The technology also allows us to map the brains of organisms that we think probably aren’t conscious, and assess what they lack. Caenorhabditis elegans is a roundworm commonly used in scientific research. In recent years, scientists have developed a connectome—a sort of complex brain map—for this tiny soil-dweller, which measures barely a millimeter in length. “They have 302 neurons,” says Klein, compared to a bee’s 960,000 and a human’s 86 billion. “Those [worms], we think, are actually very much like robots, like complicated robots.” If exposed to a particular stimulus, they respond in a particular, predictable way. “Unless there’s some kind of danger, and then it does that, unless it’s hungry, and then it does this—so you can really map out what it’s going to do.” In bees, he says, there seems to be a kind of qualitative shift, in which the brain is somehow more than its connections.

All of this neurobiology is beginning to paint a picture—that it feels like nothing to be a C. elegans, or a robot, or a plant, but it probably feels like something to be a bee. If that’s the case, it is still not known where, between the roundworm and the honeybee, that awareness switches on, if it does. While neurobiology is a very important part of the story, says Chalmers, “it may not settle the issue of consciousness. You very frequently find a situation where two people might agree on the neurobiology of a given case, but disagree on what that implies about consciousness.” He gives the example of fish, and the ongoing discourse about whether their neurobiology suggests that they do or do not feel pain. “Knowing the neurobiological facts doesn’t necessarily settle the question.”

We can try to imagine what it’s like to have six hairy legs, or see in pixels, or crave nectar. We can even try to imagine what it’s like to be part of a hive, a superorganism with motivations of its own. But what it’s actually like to be a bee—its subjective experience of the world—is going to remain elusive. But we’re starting to figure out that it’s probably like something. And that’s not nothing.

Atlas Obscura