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Old 08-06-2011, 02:14 PM   #1
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Default May Berenbaum...Someone you should know.

May Berenbaum is the princple scientist for the Bee Spotter program here in Illinois at the University of Illinois. She is a charming and fun, spirited scientist experienced in relating to the public.

From the Berenbaum Files All 2011 News News College of Liberal Arts & Sciences University of Illinois

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Many of Berenbaum’s books bring entomology to a popular audience, and the titles alone reflect the humor and accessibility of her work—Buzzwords: A Scientist Muses on Sex, Bugs, and Rock’n Roll; Ninety-nine Gnats, Nits, and Nibblers; and her most recent book, a cookbook entitled Honey, I’m Homemade: Sweet Treats from the Beehive.

Another one of her books, The Earwig’s Tail: A Modern Bestiary of Multi-Legged Legends, pops many modern myths surrounding insects, such as the belief that if an earwig crawls into your ear it can bore into your brain
A podcast from 2009 with some information still relevant. There is a complete text of the session included at the link.Below the link is an exerpt.

To Bee or Not to Bee: Scientific American Podcast


Quote:
Berenbaum:So one of the findings from this yet unpublished work that was discussed in Florida at the meeting that Reed attended, Apiary Inspectors of America, was a high-fructose corn syrup which is the preferred diet for overwintering bees because it's much cheaper than feeding them honey or sugar; apparently it wipes out these potentially symbiotic microbes. One thing that Reed found that's in his dissertation, when you feed honeybees honey, they upregulate their cytochrome p450 monooxygenases, these enzymes that process among other things plant chemicals, when you give them sugar, it's nothing. So when you feed them on a sugar diet they are not turning on their chemical processing equipment, so this is something that nobody expected. I mean people aren't used to thinking of honeybees as broad generalists because they'll feed on hundreds of different flowers, but in a way they are dietary super specialists because they feed on this narrow range—they feed on pollen, honey and bee bread. And granted the components can come from all different places, but feeding on nectar or honey derived from nectars [is a] very different proposition from feeding on other types of plant tissue because plants load up their vulnerable tissues with chemicals, you know, natural pesticides, so that insects won't eat them, but they want insects to eat nectar; that's the whole point [of nectar].

Steve: So it's possible that this high-fructose corn syrup that's, you know, partially responsible for the obesity epidemic in humans is also having a devastating effect on the bee population.

Berenbaum: Well, that's a big jump, but I would say that feeding bees other than honey may have physiological consequences that nobody anticipated. Back in the '70s the dietary studies were conducted, at least one of the USDA bee labs, and certainly short term there is no longevity effect. And that actually led to the widespread adoption of these alternative diets. But nobody was looking at the microbial symbionts in the gut, nobody was looking at the detoxification enzymes, we didn't even know to look. So there may be subtle effects.

Bee Spotter Project
Citizen Science

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Project Details...

PRINCIPAL SCIENTIST: May Berenbaum, Professor and Department Head
SCIENTIST AFFILIATION: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Entomology Department
DATES: Ongoing
LOCATION: Illinois - Project coordinators hope to expand BeeSpotter nationwide
PROJECT TYPE: Fieldwork
COST: Free
GRADE LEVEL: All Ages
TIME COMMITMENT: Variable
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Old 08-06-2011, 03:31 PM   #2
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Talking about honey bee collapse.

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Old 08-06-2011, 05:40 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
Watched the video and a couple of thoughts came to mind. Firstly, that was sure a sparse audience; I hope the intent of the lecture was to supply information to an online audience, otherwise...

Secondly, though the jury is still out on the definite cause of the problem, globalization appears to be the catalyst in that it allows pathogens to conglomerate within the bees, making the bee's defenses fight off enemies it is not accustomed to.

I was a bit disappointed that she didn't mention native bees as an alternative to the honey bee. Perhaps only because the focus of the lecture was aimed at CCD?
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:47 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
May Berenbaum is the princple scientist for the Bee Spotter program here in Illinois at the University of Illinois. She is a charming and fun, spirited scientist experienced in relating to the public.

From the Berenbaum Files All 2011 News News College of Liberal Arts & Sciences University of Illinois



A podcast from 2009 with some information still relevant. There is a complete text of the session included at the link.Below the link is an exerpt.

To Bee or Not to Bee: Scientific American Podcast





Bee Spotter Project
Citizen Science
Whoa, high fructose corn syrup is a dangerous substance. In humans it causes diabetes, obesity, malnutrition and who knows what else. I noticed that Pepsi Corp. discontinued its use in all of their products. Regular Pepsi Cola now has cane sugar as an ingredient and the corn syrup has been banned from the company. Bet they know something we don't...

So, what do we do? we feed it to bees!! Insanity does reign!!!
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Old 08-06-2011, 05:54 PM   #5
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Bee Spotter Project
Citizen Science
Illinois seems to be taking the lead in bee research and this brilliant woman is probably the reason why. Chicago, you asserted, takes its bees seriously, and this Bee Spotter site is, to me, the envy of the other states. Wish we had something similar going in MA.

But, anyone who cares to from MA can always join WG and become active in our B. affinis thread!!!
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Old 08-06-2011, 07:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by jack View Post
Whoa, high fructose corn syrup is a dangerous substance. In humans it causes diabetes, obesity, malnutrition and who knows what else. I noticed that Pepsi Corp. discontinued its use in all of their products. Regular Pepsi Cola now has cane sugar as an ingredient and the corn syrup has been banned from the company. Bet they know something we don't...
Wondering where you got your Pepsi information? Not here.
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Old 08-06-2011, 08:02 PM   #7
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Wondering where you got your Pepsi information? Not here.
Ben, they have not updated that site. Just today at the supermarket, they had a sign out above the Pepsi display renouncing their corn syrup usage. this was a large sign, and it stated "No more corn syrup, now with cane sugar!"
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Old 08-07-2011, 06:09 AM   #8
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May Berenbaum has long been one of my favorite people, entomologist or otherwise. She has a regular column ('Buzz Words') in the American Entomologist that always is interesting and usually entertaining as well. My wife and I were fortunate to meet her in person when she made a presentation at a meeting of the Washington (D.C.) Entomological Society several years ago. In addition to being a great scientist, also just a very nice person.
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Old 08-07-2011, 09:03 AM   #9
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May Berenbaum has long been one of my favorite people, entomologist or otherwise. She has a regular column ('Buzz Words') in the American Entomologist that always is interesting and usually entertaining as well. My wife and I were fortunate to meet her in person when she made a presentation at a meeting of the Washington (D.C.) Entomological Society several years ago. In addition to being a great scientist, also just a very nice person.
No surprise after watching the video. She came out on that stage with ease, confidence, and humility. I loved her immediately. Indeed, I then ordered three works from my local library by her. I figured with a wit like she demonstrated, a reader would read and perhaps retain some difficult etymological concepts.

Glad to know, too, that someone at the site knows her as you do.
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