Today is World Bee Day. This is a day to recognize, and spread awareness of, the importance of bees to the plants and animal of this world. There is a website dedicated to World Bee Day where you can learn more about the ways to celebrate bees. Some suggestions are: visit with a beekeeper to learn about their work; plant nectar-bearing flowers; buy honey; and avoid using pesticides and herbicide or only use those that do not harm bees. Teachers can also spread awareness of the importance of bees in the classroom and educate students on ways to help bees thrive. At SIUE, there is a Honey Bee Association that focuses on learning about and managing the health and wellbeing of the honey bee colonies on SIUE’s campus.
To celebrate World Bee Day, the STEM Center is featuring a prominent melittologist (a scientist who studies bees) for this week’s STEM Like Me. Eva Crane obtained a Ph.D. in 1941 in nuclear physics; however, she became interested in bees after her wedding in 1942 when she received a beehive as a wedding present. She received this wedding gift to help her supplement sugars in her cooking during the wartime sugar rations. Over the next 50 years, Crane wrote over 180 papers, articles, and books. Crane contributed to the writing and editing, Honey: A Comprehensive Survey, a book that was considered and continues to be one of the most significant reviews on the subject. She also has two books that are seminal works in the beekeeping world (Bees and Beekeeping: Science, Practice and World Resources and The World History of Beekeeping and Honey Hunting).
In 1949, The Bee Research Organization (BRA) was formed and was hosted out of Crane’s house: she served as the director. In 1976, the BRA became the IBRA by adding International to the title. IRBA is recognized around the world as the primary source and provider of information on bees. After serving as director for 35 years, Eva Crane retired from this role but stayed on as a scientific consultant. She retired so that she would be able to focus on her own works, and her two seminal works were published after her retirement.
Featured Image: from https://www.evacranetrust.org/page/eva-crane