WellesleyWeston Magazine

SPRING 2014

Launched in 2005, WellesleyWeston Magazine is a quarterly publication tailored to Wellesley and Weston residents and edited to enrich the experience of living in two of Massachusetts' most desirable communities.

Issue link: http://wellesleywestonmagazine.epubxp.com/i/256387

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121 s p r i n g 2 0 1 4 | W e l l e s l e y W e s t o n M a g a z i n e C A R O LY N S . E L L I S writer honey bees have contributed to human survival and comfort since prehistoric times. Apis mellifera arrived in North America in the 1600s with European settlers. With their remarkable instincts for navigation, communication, and social organization, honey bees rival the achievements of engineers and scientists and fascinate beekeepers who know and love them. Honey bee populations have declined dramatically in the last 30 years, and homeowners in Weston and Wellesley, concerned about future food supplies, are turning to beekeeping. "People are both dreadfully fearful of bees," says George A. Roman of Wellesley, "and fearful for the survival of the species." Honey bees are one of 20,000 known species of bees. These domesticated insects create long-lasting nests of wax where they store honey and pollen and raise their young. Besides being sweet and flavorful, honey is rich in nutrients, and people have valued honey and consumed it for millennia. Honey is the one sweetener humans can consume without processing. It is derived from nectar bees gather from flowers one tiny "sip" at a time. In the hive, bees fan the collected nectar with their wings to reduce water content from 85 percent to less than 18 percent. Bees then seal honey in the comb where it is protected from impurities. Beekeepers assist this natural process so bees can create a surplus for humans to extract and use. "Our job as beekeepers is to provide bees with the best environment for their intuitive behaviors and abilities," says Ed Karle, of Middlesex Beekeepers Association. Honey varies in flavor and color by flower source and season. Paul Jakubowski's goal is to harvest his weight in honey each year from his hives in Weston. With three hives he can meet his goal and provide family and friends with unprocessed, unadulterated honey. For Jakubowski, backyard beekeeping also means contributing to sustainability and gaining a deeper awareness of the environment, as the bees act as barometers of their natural milieu. "We know it's reached 50 degrees in January when we see bees are outside the hive for a bathroom flight," he says. In the mid-1800s the Reverend L. L. Langstroth revolutionized beekeeping when he introduced the first movable frame beehive in America. His patented structure, Sweeten Suburban Life 120-126_WWMa14_Bee Keepers_v2_WellesleyWeston Magazine 2/2/14 12:22 PM Page 121

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