Natural Beekeeping

Top Bar ApiRevolution has begun! Lets make some inexpensive Top Bar Hives and let them be pesticide free on their own natural comb! Che Guebee is a rebel bee fighting for the survival of the Biodiversity we all depend on and which is seriously endangered by deforestation and mono-crop agriculture! What kind of teaching have you got if you exclude nature?

Thursday, September 19, 2013

My bees collect Urine and Blood

While some worker bees collect nectar, pollen and propolis other collect urine. Yes urine :) human, dog, cow, horse ... any urine they can find. Many beekeepers have noticed this but to this date no scientist ever came to the idea to test why (at least I don't know of such a study). I have even seen my bees licking fish blood from the outdoor table I use to clean the Pike I catch during the fishing season (salts, Iron ?)
Worker Bees collecting something from the urine from our composting toilet
We have a composting toilet in our summer cottage which releases the excess urine onto the ground. This is the area where I see daily at least several bees collecting urine ... or collecting something from it. I never see them collecting the liquid itself but rather licking something in the vicinity of it. Many assume they are after the salts also known as electrolytes. These include Sodium, Potassium and Chloride.
In human bodies their function is this:

  • Sodium helps digest proteins and carbohydrates and keeps your blood from becoming too acidic or too alkaline.

  • Potassium is used in digestion to synthesize proteins and starch and is a major constituent of muscle tissue.

  • Chloride is a constituent of hydrochloric acid, which breaks down food in your stomach. It’s also used by white blood cells to make hypochlorite, a natural antiseptic.
While some assume salts are being collected others say its the minerals. Urine indeed is very mineral rich.
Human urine properties are these:

Alanine, total ..... 38 mg/day
Arginine, total ..... 32 mg/day
Ascorbic acid ..... 30 mg/day
Allantoin ..... 12 mg/day
Amino acids, total ..... 2.1 g/day
Bicarbonate ..... 140 mg/day
Biotin ..... 35 mg/day
Calcium ..... 23 mg/day
Creatinine ..... 1.4 mg/day
Cystine ..... 120 mg/day
Dopamine ..... 0.40 mg/day
Epinephrine ..... 0.01 mg/day
Folic acid ..... 4 mg/day
Glucose ..... 100 mg/day
Glutamic acid ..... 308 mg/day
Glycine ..... 455 mg/day
Inositol ..... 14 mg/day
Iodine ..... 0.25 mg/day
Iron ..... 0.5 mg/day
Lysine, total ..... 56 mg/day
Magnesium ..... 100 mg/day
Manganese ..... 0.5 mg/day
Methionine, total ..... 10 mg/day
Nitrogen, total ..... 15 g/day
Ornithine ..... 10 mg/day
Pantothenic acid ..... 3 mg/day
Phenylalanine ..... 21 mg/day
Phosphorus, organic .....9 mg/day
Potassium ..... 2.5 mg/day
Proteins, total ..... 5 mg/day
Riboflavin ..... 0.9 mg/day
Tryptophan, total ..... 28 mg/day
Tyrosine, total ..... 50 mg/day
Urea ..... 24.5 mg/day
Vitamin B6 ..... 100 mg/day
Vitamin B12 ..... 0.03 mg/day
Zinc ..... 1.4 mg/day
(Your Own Perfect Medicine? - Natural Health and Longevity Resource Center)
The following are the average quantities of various substances, in 100 milliliters of urine as reported in Introduction to Biochemistry by Dr. Pharon:
Substance Milligrams
1] Urea nitrogen 682.00
2] Urea 1459.00
3] Creatinin nitrogen 36.00
4] Creatinin 97.20
5] Uric acid nitrogen 12.30
6] Uric acid 36.90
7] Amino nitrogen 9.70
8] Ammonia nitrogen 57.00
9] Sodium 212.00
10] Potassium 137.00
11] Calcium 19.50
12] Magnesium 11.30
13] Chloride 314.00
14] Total sulphate 91.00
15] Inorganic sulphate 83.00
16] Inorganic phosphate 127.00
17] N/10 acid 27.80
Some other important urine constituents are:
Amylase (diastase).
Lactic dehydrogenate (L. D. H.).
Leucine amino-peptidase (L. A. P.).
Catechol amines.
Adenylate cyclase.
Sex hormones.

As you can see urine is like a shopping center for the bees ;) lots of goodies to find there. What does this tells us? Do bees find all the minerals they need in the natural nectar? I'm not sure they do even though there are small amounts of minerals in nectar. Lets not forget that bees raise brood which needs much more minerals and electrolytes for bodily cell production than a grown up bee for consumption.

Many beekeepers also assume that feeding sugar syrup is wrong since it lacks minerals found in natural nectar. I agree with the part that bees are to feed on their natural diet but lets assume for argument sake that bees enrich the sugar syrup with all these minerals and salts found in urine. They maybe even enrich the natural nectar with it. This is possible. I dare to think so because I can see my ladies spending lots of time every day on this urine from our composting toilet. There must be a good reason for that since we all agree that bees are highly resourceful creatures and do not waste time on what is not needed.

So next time you say with confidence that you never tasted urine, please do remember that teaspoon of honey you just ate for the breakfast ;)

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