Thursday, January 5, 2012

Come Get The BZZZZ!

Start the year off by getting in the know, honey
BRFAL, the local chapter of Virginia Master Naturalists has invited Dr. Ronald Hanawalt to give a lecture on Honey Bees which is open to the public. 
The talk will begin at 7 p.m. on Thursday January 19th at the SMLA office (400 Scruggs Rd, Moneta VA).
Come get the bzzzz!
Dr. Hanawalt obtained his BS and PhD degrees from Rutgers University with major interests in plant ecology and soils. His research has dealt with inorganic nutrient distribution between soils and native plants in contrasting ecosystems. His university teaching included a variety of ecology and soils courses.

The first part of the talk will trace the development of a new nest by a swarm of bees. Often, a hollow tree that is sheltered from predators and weather can provide a home for honey bees.  The chosen cavity is then cleaned and a comb built. In these cavities the bees have evolved a nest structure to meet their survival needs. Brood rearing and food storage are accomplished in this remarkable wax comb. The first year is critical to the swarm's survival as they must build the comb, raise more bees, and store food while suitable flowers are in bloom.

Man has long been a predator of the bee's brood and honey supply, Ancient cave paintings show people climbing to rob honey bee nests. Robbing of bee trees is still an important food getting activity for humans in several parts of the world. During the middle ages bee trees were equipped with doors and annual harvests became possible. Such trees were "owned" and laws applied to beekeepers. Since it is easier to stand on the ground than climb a tree to harvest, pieces of hollow logs became "bee gums" and later sawn boards became common enough to use as bee hives.

The seminar is free, but advance registration is required due to limited space.  Reservations can be made by email or by phone at: 540-365-4613.  Certified Virginia Master Naturalists will get Advanced Training Credit for attending this seminar.

This is also a good time to indicate your interest in becoming a Virginia Master Naturalist by participating in the 2012 Basic Training Course:  

Sessions will be held from 6 PM to 8:30 PM Tuesdays at the Franklin Center in downtown Rocky Mount, beginning, March 8th through May 24th.  Five Saturday field trips are also planned.  Topics covered include: geology, entomology, aquatic ecology, plants, reptiles, amphibians, birds, mammals, etc. All with a Virginia emphasis. More information, including application forms is available on our website.

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