Photographs of readers

Well, I’ve run out of readers with fancy sports cars, but we have plenty of other interesting people on tap. One is Ron Miksha, who shows us that you can be a grad student at any age. All it takes is curiosity.

I’m a bee ecology grad student at the University of Calgary. I am  working with Lawrence Harder, a bee and plant ecologist, investigating  the effects that non-native honeybees may have on native bees. Here in  Calgary, the urban honeybee hobby grew from 120 backyard bee hives to  about 1300 in the past ten years. That growth may be displacing local native bees. We are measuring bee reproductive success compared to honeybee colony density around the city. We are also researching direct resource competition.

Although I am getting up in age and using a wheelchair to get around, this photo shows me doing what I like best.  It was taken in one of the 85 urban backyards that are part of our laboratory. I am collecting honeybee pollen directly from honey comb cells near the bees’ broodnest. The pollen is analyzed to determine floral source, then compared with pollen I’ve gathered directly from native bumblebees.

I thought you needed a hazmat suit and gloves to do what he’s doing!

Don’t forget to send in your photos (maximum of two, please).

25 Comments

  1. Howard Michael Ziman
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:02 pm | Permalink

    Is this the new facebook?

  2. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Bravo, Ron – Bravo!

  3. Steve Gerrard
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Ron is evidently a bee whisperer. More power to him, I don’t think I will be joining him.

  4. GBJames
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Do you steal just a little bit of honey from time to time?

    • Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:02 pm | Permalink

      Yes, I steal a bit of honey from time to time. It’s like the bees are my friends with benefits.

      • Jenny Haniver
        Posted August 21, 2019 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

        “Let us celebrate the hive of Venus, who rose from the sea: that hive of many names: the mighty fountain, from whence all kings are descended; from whence all the winged and immortal Loves were again produced.”

      • Posted August 24, 2019 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

        Wonderful work, Ron. I enjoyed the photo and the description of your research.

  5. Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Nice doing something worthwhile outdorrs. Looks like a happy man, too.

  6. Bruce E Lyon
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    I did a postdoc with Laurence Harder 20 years ago! I heard he has just retired. Please say hi to him for me, Ron.

  7. Bruce E Lyon
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    I did a postdoc with Lawrence Harder 20 years ago! I heard he has just retired. Please say hi to him for me, Ron.

    • Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:06 pm | Permalink

      Hi Bruce, Lawrence is brilliant and I’m lucky to be working with him. He is sort of retired, meaning he only works 12-hour days now.

  8. phar84
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 2:59 pm | Permalink

    Timely studies, thanks Ron

  9. stuartcoyle
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    It’s good to see another beekeeper hare. I must confess to being more timid and using a veil and gloves with my bees. Bravo Ron!

  10. Charles Sawicki
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Neat Ron! Keep having fun!

  11. rickflick
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    A very cool lived experience.

  12. Michael Fisher
    Posted August 21, 2019 at 3:55 pm | Permalink

    JAC:

    “I thought you needed a hazmat suit and gloves to do what he’s doing!”

    These are Canadian bees Jerry. Well done Ron

    Note that Ron has a Norwegian extreme metal band from Trondheim, Norway named after him – for a spurious reason. Miksha had their Half the Battle video played more times** than the contemporaneous Britney Spear’s video!!!

    HERE’S Ron’s Bad Beekeeping Blog

    ** on Norwegian MTV that is

    • Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:11 pm | Permalink

      As Andy Warhol said, “In the future everyone will have a Norwegian heavy metal band named after them.” I’m just the first, I guess.

      By the way, you are right – these are Canadian bees and they always apologize if they accidentally sting.

  13. Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:15 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on Bad Beekeeping Blog.

  14. Posted August 21, 2019 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Ron, you are a legend!

  15. Posted August 21, 2019 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    I love reading your posts, so thank you! I plan to audit an entomology class at our local university in Boulder, CO, but if I were in Calgary, I would be right there with you. How do we send you a photo?
    https://www.instagram.com/beefarmgirl/
    https://www.instagram.com/beechicas/

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted August 22, 2019 at 4:51 am | Permalink

      If you are talking to Jerry Coyne re sending a photo, then click on “Research Interests” [top right of this page] & his email address is after his phone number.

    • Posted August 22, 2019 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      Hi BeeFarmgirl,
      I’m not sure if you are addressing your comments to Jerry or to me. It is Dr Coyne who runs this website. If you would like to be added to his new series of Photographs of Readers, you will need to contact him directly. Meanwhile, Calgary is just a couple thousand kilometres north of Boulder, so drop by anytime. (Email ahead to catch me at home – I might be in a Chilean beeyard or something.)
      – Ron

  16. Mark R.
    Posted August 22, 2019 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    Bravo! Good luck in your endeavors Ron!


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