About Living Beeing
We talk to people who are passionate about bees, from entomologists to botanists, scientists, beekeepers, honey experts, historians, artists and api-therapists. The podcast is accessible to everyone, as a non-technical, entertaining and informative adventure into a part of the insect world that has been a source of fascination and inspiration for millenia.
This podcast is brought to you by www.parityaudio.co.uk
For more information about this podcast, visit our website at www.livingbeeing.com
Jen first got into keeping bees more than 10 years ago and quickly realised: that real ecology is more complex than we can ever imagine, that everything fits together in remarkable and wonderful ways and that just keeping honeybees in hives is far from the answer. Now she talks to schools and young learners about the other 274 species of bee, about butterflies, flies and wasps, about their relationships with plants and about how we need to protect our environment in a sensitive, meaningful way. She aims to dispel myths and misunderstandings and to help nurture a new generation of active naturalists. As ever, check out our website for pictures: www.livingbeeing.com
Back in April 2021, we spoke to Markku P, an urban beekeeper living and working with bees in Finland. After a bit of a summer break, we can now share this wonderful interview with you. Marrku is passionate about bee genetics, and a particular supporter of the black honeybee (Apis Mellifera Mellifera), believed to be the indigeous bee of Western / Northern Europe. We also hear about some of the challenges posed by some of Winnie the Pooh’s cousins. More information and pictures from Finland can be found on our website at www.livingbeeing.com
Back in July 2020, in the midst of the pandemic, co-host Chris Park shared with us his huge experience in making mead. People have been dabbling with this fascinating brew for millenia. An alcoholic drink made from mixing honey and water (and sometimes herbs or fruit), it has a delicious effect on mind and body. In a mouth-tingling episode, we talk about mead’s rich taste, its powerful medicinal properties, the ancient traditions of making mead and the wide range of herbs that can be added to increase its flavour, opacity and health values. Check out some great pictures and a FREE, easy mead recipe at www.livingbeeing.com.
The talented Rikk Smith, aka. Shining Fox, makes Native American flutes. He tells us about his recent introduction to the honeybee and how this journey inspired him to make an instrument in the creature’s honour. Rikk also treats us to a song on this beautiful instrument. Rikk learned to make these instruments while in America and was taught the traditional methods. For him, the whole process of making a flute is a spiritual and meditative experience. Captivating listening. Check out the pictures on our website: www.livingbeeing.com. You can also find out all about Rikk and his flutes at: www.shiningfoxcreations.com.
A matter of weeks before the release and roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccines, we spoke to leading Apitherapist, Stefan Stangaciu about the huge progress in research relating to honeybee medicines; particularly propolis. Apitherapy is all about the health that comes from bees (Apis) and the hive. Stefan has 29 years experience in this area. Our lives have been transformed by pandemic, leading us to search urgently for new drugs, vaccines and remedies. We look to multinationals and powerful corporates for answers; but the bee’s clever strategies for disease mitigation and control pre-date ours by millions of years. Their ability to cope, adapt and survive is a sobering example to us as humans. Perhaps now we can draw on their experience and benefit from their medicine; reviving what our ancestors already knew. More information plus the Zoom recording on www.livingbeeing.com. Stefan’s website: www.apitherapy.com.
Get your dance shoes on! It's been very exciting for us to discover Bioni Samp. Well-known on the mainland-Europe dance club and festival circuit, the mysteriously named Bioni Samp is a fascinating blend of musician, beekeeper and environmentalist. He is passionate about bees and their vital place in our natural world. His aim is to enthuse, educate and entertain. Bioni is involved in a number of bee-related projects and has set up a number of initiatives and creative learning spaces - most notably in Finsbury Park in London where you can visit his Bee House! More info plus videos available on our website: www.livingbeeing.com. Find out about Bioni's music, videos to see: https://bionisamp.wordpress.com
Many people will never have heard of propolis - the bees’ secret weapon against infection. Honeybees collect sticky tree resin, bring it back to the hive and manipulate it into a substance that lines the nest or coats foreign bodies (even dead mice!) to block out unwanted bacteria and infection. Humankind has long known of this product and used it to boost immunity and cure or prevent anything from viruses to severe toothache etc. Researching and using this substance as a medicine could be a vital defence tool in a new pandemic-prevalent world. James Fearnley is a man of extraordinary achievements who has dedicated a large part of his life to the research of hive products beneficial to health - in particular propolis. He founded the International Propolis Research Group (IPRG) and, more recently, the Bee Arc (www.beearc.com). His company BeeVital (www.beevitalpropolis.com) was set up to research and explore the many pharmacological and clinical properties of propolis. Pictures and show notes available at: www.livingbeeing.com
Gladstone manages c. 100 hives on the island of Tobago where the climate is very different with exotic foraging plants. Gladstone tells us all about the honey, the forage and the challenges for new beekeepers. We were also lucky enough to chat with Sharon, his wife; the other half of the family business who has found a niche for herself making soaps and cosmetics from beehive products. With tales of stingless bees and bee safaris, this is a rare insight into another world of beekeeping. Sit back, close your eyes and imagine yourself transported to a tropical bee paradise.
It’s now 5 months since we launched our podcast. Despite lockdown and the continuing global pandemic, the bees have been as busy as ever. They are the great survivors. This year we’ve seen plentiful swarms and a good excess of honey. Patrick is keen to show Chris his hives on James’ land nearby in Wiltshire. At the end of the beekeeping season, it’s a nice opportunity to discuss the different “establishments” in which bees can live and thrive. A swarm has even been known to set up home in a traffic cone! We haven’t got one of those but our log hive (supplied by http://beekindhives.uk) was occupied within a week.
Following on from episode 10, we learn about some of the tracking methods being used in Jersey. The island already has asian hornet nests but the situation would be much worse without the intervention thus far. The mainland can learn much from Jersey about how to control this new invasive species. There’s some amazing inventions and ideas coming online all the time, from radio telemetry to using sniffer dogs. And, of course, the eyes of UK beekeepers and the general public will be key in the fight; with the important message “See it, snap it, send it!”. Visit our website at www.livingbeeing.com for all the resources from this episode along with pictures and weblinks.
It’s Asian Hornet Week and Sam Day is back from a busy visit to Jersey. The island is already experiencing the spread of this insect from the French mainland. Able to hibernate in imported plants and foods and with a potentially voracious appetite for bees and other insects, it has the potential to have a significant effect on our indigenous fauna and home agriculture. Along with a team of 30+ experts and volunteers, Sam has been helping to research and test possible solutions for tracking and pinpointing these nests more easily. And she’s captured and brought back some wonderful audio interviews, samples and stories. https://www.bbka.org.uk/Event/asian-hornet-week-2020?gclid=CjwKCAjwtNf6BRAwEiwAkt6UQvUqraNZ7X-SNAnhRSaB7Jy13uqVQgcXaoS1oh13UYxIb8pwI67w1BoC00sQAvD_BwE
We talk to Nikki Gammans, “Project Manager of the Short-Haired Bumblebee Project” for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BCT) during Bees' Needs Week in July. Nikki developed a passion for insects from a young age. She now helps to protect the humble bumblebee species which are under continued stress and strain from climate change and loss of habitat. She tells us about all the things we can do to support these charismatic and emblematic gentle giants. We hear about: bees that are incredible foragers and pollinators; bees that are under threat of extinction; bees that spend the night out, rough sleeping; and bees that sting Chris when he disturbs their nest! Please do check out the BCT website which has lots of information and ideas for helping bumblebees: www.bumblebeeconservation.org. Pictures and further information as ever available on our website: www.livingbeeing.com.
We follow in the footsteps of the renowned Gilbert White - naturalist, ecologist and ornithologist - on our first location recording in Gilbert’s hometown of Selborne, almost exactly 300 years after his birth. On a glorious summer’s day in July, our guide, Stephen Fleming (AKA. Drone Whisperer and co-editor of Bee Craft magazine: www.bee-craft.com) takes us to the exact spot where Gilbert heard a strange humming sound. We learn more about the mysterious DCA - no, not a 70’s rock cover band nor a complex unit of electricity, but a Drone Congregation Area. Our adventure leaves more questions unanswered than answered and more mysteries to ponder. For example: how do drones know where to go in their final, fateful or fruitless flight to mate with a queen; how does the queen find them; what links these magical places to ancient settlements, hill forts and peoples of old; is there, perhaps, a DCA somewhere near you? For pictures and video click: www.livingbeeing.com and Vita Bee Health DCA videos: https://www.vita-europe.com/beehealth/blog/dca2016/
David Charles has been keeping bees since 1962. Before bee suits David and his fellow beekeepers tended to their bees armed only with some net curtains and a pair of bicycle clips. And what characters there were in those days! What are the best plants for bees? Did beekeepers really use sulphur to kill their bees to get the honey? What happens when you are stung on the hand by a mass of bees? A fascinating potted history of beekeeping. Some bee-tech but all explained in our show notes and a lovely listen!
Apitherapy is a practice that uses the healing powers of honeybees. Gerry first came across it by accident when she became very ill with Lyme disease - a debilitating condition caused by tick bites. Treatment for this disease, in Gerry’s case, involved a lengthy course of bee stings! Her ongoing research has led to further interest in other apitherapy practices such as the use of propolis, pollen and royal jelly. Gerry also writes childrens’ stories and she treated us to some wonderful excerpts from her new book “The Secrets of Hope, the Honey Bee”.
Nicola tells us about her passion for bees and Bees for Development which helps people in extreme poverty to build a livelihood from beekeeping; bringing health to communities and helping to support biodiversity. A low cost activity, it also allows people time to support families and continue farming. For many it’s a life-saver. She tells us about what inspired her to go on this journey and how, as a vegan, beekeeping can still make sense if conducted with sensitivity. And Chris has been sleeping on his bees again. A beekeeping episode but of interest to everyone.
Chris and Patrick talk to Norman Carreck - a well-known bee scientist - about his love and passion for bees; both as a beekeeper and a scientist. Sensitive to the needs of bees, Norman gives us his opinion on a whole raft of topics: what constitutes indigenous or alien species, the wonderful adaptability of bees, asian hornet, successful species of bee, stress and the movement of bees, plants and animals by humans, the Covid-19 pandemic, disease, local bees and tolerance of disease, inbreeding, Peter Tomkin, the longevity of beekeepers, getting young people involved, 5G and EMF.
Sara grew up in Iowa and lost her home in a tornado - but that’s another story! Sara teaches and exhibits at the National Honey Show every year - well worth a visit. A fascinating exploration of the health benefits of wax, honey and propolis; soaps and serates and a magical journey back in time to the mystical history of recipes and pharmacopia.
We talk to Dr Martin Bencsik about the wonder of bees, their sensitivities to vibration and communication through sound. Martin’s father kept bees but the young Martin disliked beekeeping and remembers his fear of being stung! Ironically, today much of Martin’s research work as a scientist involves studying bees and how they cooperate in the hive specifically through the use of vibration - toots and quacks from the queens. Fascinating new research.
Brigit Strawbridge talks to Verity on her allotment.. A fascinating insight into the diverse foraging habits of many different species of bee and how the gardener might plant to support bees and attract them to the garden Her delightful enthusiasm for bees is infectious. A must-listen for any keen gardener or nature lover. Brigit is a British environmentalist and author of - "Dancing with Bees".