Stingless bee 3, f, side, peru_2014-07-30-13.17.15 ZS PMax

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    Melapona species (likely Melipona eburnean, but this needs to be verified by sam) , La Legítima, specimen collected by German Perilla in Peru

    Honey is not the singular creation of Honey Bees, but other, even older lines of bees have been creating honey to get through hard times for tens of millions of years. One such group (Melipona) is resident in Central and South America where they inhabit woodlands and jungles and are the mostly commonly sought after local wild bee for their honey. Larger than most other stingless bees (which can be as minute as half a grain of rice) some species are actually larger than Honey Bees and thus they store larger quantities of honey than their smaller stingless relatives.

    Indigenous peoples throughout the range of Melipona have both hunted wild colonies for their wax and honey (stored in small pots that look like bunches of grapes rather than in honeycombs) and have brought colonies back to villages after sectioning off the hollow logs where the nests occur. The taste and color of stingless bee varies with species and what the bees have been foraging on, but is generally sweet in taste. Unlike Honey Bee honey its higher moisture content causes it to degrade slowly over time, similar to olive oil. Also just like olive oil, there are long lists of purported health benefits accrued to those who regularly eat this tropical honey, and, interestingly, there is evidence that while some benefits are simply imagined others are real, suggesting the need for future pharmacological research.

    The La Legítima is so named by villagers of Comunidad de Chino located in the flood-prone lowlands of Amazonian Colombia. German Perilla at George Mason University is working with the isolated village to create a commercial product from their honey along with other locally collected and created materials as part of a new collective model for non-exploitative commerce in small remote communities.
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    All photographs are public domain, feel free to download and use as you wish.

    Photography Information: Canon Mark II 5D, Zerene Stacker, Stackshot Sled, 65mm Canon MP-E 1-5X macro lens, Twin Macro Flash in Styrofoam Cooler, F5.0, ISO 100, Shutter Speed 200

    Further in Summer than the Birds
    Pathetic from the Grass
    A minor Nation celebrates
    Its unobtrusive Mass.
    No Ordinance be seen
    So gradual the Grace
    A pensive Custom it becomes
    Enlarging Loneliness.
    Antiquest felt at Noon
    When August burning low
    Arise this spectral Canticle
    Repose to typify
    Remit as yet no Grace
    No Furrow on the Glow
    Yet a Druidic Difference
    Enhances Nature now

    -- Emily Dickinson

    Want some Useful Links to the Techniques We Use? Well now here you go Citizen:

    Basic USGSBIML set up:
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=S-_yvIsucOY

    USGSBIML Photoshopping Technique: Note that we now have added using the burn tool at 50% opacity set to shadows to clean up the halos that bleed into the black background from "hot" color sections of the picture.
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bdmx_8zqvN4

    PDF of Basic USGSBIML Photography Set Up:
    ftp://ftpext.usgs.gov/pub/er/md/laurel/Droege/How%20to%20Take%20MacroP hotographs%20of%20Insects%20BIML%20Lab2.pdf

    Google Hangout Demonstration of Techniques:
    plus.google.com/events/c5569losvskrv2nu606ltof8odo
    or
    www.youtube.com/watch?v=4c15neFttoU

    Excellent Technical Form on Stacking:
    www.photomacrography.net/

    Contact information:
    Sam Droege
    sdroege@usgs.gov
    301 497 5840

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