Renowned entomologist tells beekeepers about the chemistry of honey

May Berenbaum, the Swanlund professor and head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, will give a talk, The Chemistry of Honey, explaining what bees actually do to make honey and exploring the extraordinary chemical properties of honey and its many varieties at the next Back Yard Beekeepers Association meeting.

The association meets at the Norfield Church parish hall, 64 Norfield Road, Weston, on Tuesday, May 29, at 7:30 p.m.

Contact Bobbie Meyzen, [email protected], or Marina Marchese, [email protected], for more information.

Ms. Berenbaum has received awards at the regional and national level for distinguished teaching from the Entomological Society of America.

A fellow of the National Academy of Sciences, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the American Philosophical Society, she served as president of the American Institute for Biological Sciences in 2009.

Her research addresses insect-plant co-evolution from molecular mechanisms of detoxification to impacts of herbivory on community structure.

Concerned with the practical application of ecological and evolutionary principles, she has examined impacts of genetic engineering, global climate change, and invasive species on natural and agricultural ecosystems.

Devoted to fostering science literacy, she has published numerous articles and five books on insects for the general public.

Why doesn’t honey “go bad” even if you leave it in the cabinet for months or years? What are the different viscosities of honey? Does it affect taste? Does the amount of water in honey matter? What about honey’s antibiotic properties? What is the “osmotic effect” of honey and what is manuka honey? These are some of the questions that may be answered at the talk.

The Back Yard Beekeepers Association, with more than 300 members, has been educating the public about honeybees and beekeeping for more than 15 years.

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