These creatures are known as the bringers of good luck and prosperity and thought by the ancient Greeks and Romans to be the messenger to the gods. I’m your host, Leah…I’m Phil…and I’m Steve. Today’s episode is all about the small but mighty BEE.
Recently my wife and I were walking through a small public park here in the greater Cut N Shoot area when we happened upon a small placard in a flower garden. The notice read, “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left.” Albert Einstein. “Wow, great quote,” we said, and I knew it would fit right into this episode on bees that we were planning. However, upon further research it turns out that Einstein didn’t actually say that. Rather it was invented as an Einsteinism in 1994 by a group of protesting beekeepers in France. OK, they meant well. They were attempting to underscore the important role that bees play in our lives. [Snopes.com]
This episode is dedicated to Gladys Kirk, one of our listeners who suggested the topic of bees. Thanks Gladys!
Why are Bees Important? According to a website called study.com pollen must be carried from the male parts of plants to the female parts located inside the plant’s bloom or flower. The wind can assist in this process, but the main pollinators of plants are insects, and specifically bees. Bees are especially helpful in plant pollination. If you examine a bee up very close you will detect that they contain actual pollen baskets or pockets on their back legs. These enclosures are constructed from hairs which snag pollen when the bee visits a flower. As they move from flower to flower the trapped pollen is released into the female parts of the new plant which allows for reproduction. The reason bees like to hang around flowers is that the pollen and nectar are their entire food source.
So why is this important? Well, plants form the basis of all ecosystems. Everything depends either primarily or secondarily on the plants. Without plants there would be no food for the herbivores, and without herbivores there would be no food for the carnivores. Thus, plants provide 100% of the energy for the ecosystems of the world. Without the bees to help pollenate the plants, the food chain would collapse.
Humans are also very dependent on bees. The crops that our food supply comes from are pollenated by bees. Artificial pollination has been attempted by agricultural researchers, but is nowhere near as efficient as bee pollination.
Of course, bees are also producers of other products that humans use, especially honey and beeswax. But their practical value as pollinators is far greater than the value of their honey and wax production.
So, Go Bees!
Heifer International There is an organization called Heifer International. They work in developing nations around the world assisting farmers to help them to improve the quantity and quality of their crops and to increase connections with markets to increase sales and incomes. As honeybees are essential to healthy crops, this organization incorporates bees and beekeeping into their farm projects. According to their website heifer.org, “Farmers who keep bees see increased crop yields, whether they are growing coffee, spices or vegetables. Plus, they are able to harvest honey during the non-growing season to earn extra income, producing 60 pounds or more of honey each year.”
BEE FOLKLORE According to hobbyfarms.com
“The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that bees were servants and messengers of the gods and goddesses. The Romans believed that a swarm of bees was to be avoided because while the swarm was on the move, they were carrying messages and doing the biddings of the gods.”
In ancient Egypt, it was believed that Ra, the sun god, created the honeybee from his tears. The bee was then seen as the messenger of the gods, falling from Ra’s face, down to earth, where she could deliver the messages from the heavens.
The ancient Celts also saw honeybees as messengers between worlds. They considered honeybees bringers of wisdom and revered them for their role in the metaphysical.”
Stinger In Roman mythology the bee asked the gods for a stinger to help protect her honey from humans. Jupiter, king of the Roman gods, granted that request. His wife Juno, however, insisted on payment for this request for a weapon. So along with the gift of the stinger came the condition that if it’s used then the bee will die. It’s true, if a bee stings you its barbed stinger gets hooked in your skin and is left behind along with part of the bee’s abdomen and internal organs. Nature is lovely isn’t it?
HONEY FOLKLORE There is a lot of folklore surrounding honey. In ancient Egypt the god Ra was the creator of everything and it was said that honey was the tears of Ra.
In our S3E01 episode called STRANGE MEDICINE we talked about how in 16th century China there was a medicinal remedy called Mellified Man which involved turning a person into what was basically a human mummified candy bar. The willing participant would turn to eating nothing but honey until he eventually passed away at which time his body would be immersed in honey for a number of years. After that Mellified Man was then ingested to help alleviate ailments like broken bones.
Honey for some reason has been linked to a number of funerary traditions. From an interesting blog called nourishingdeath.wordpress.com Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Hindus, Chinese and many others, placed pots of honey next to their corpses and on the anniversary of one’s passing, honey was poured over their grave.
Egyptians also anointed the lips of their deceased priests with honey.
The blog post goes on to say “People have used honey, the substance with a seemingly eternal shelf life, to embalm corpses, or as in Burma during the rainy season, to temporarily preserve the corpse until it can be cremated. If the deceased is a monk, once the corpse is removed and prepared for cremation the honey is extracted from the body first. it is then jarred and sold for exorbitant amounts of money, for it is believed that even a single drop will cure any affliction.”
I’ll talk later of another death custom involving bees that is still in current practice.
Bee Cool Facts All right, how about some cool facts about bees. These come from the world wildlife foundation’s website wwf.org and also from Big Island Bees of Hawaii whose website is bigislandbees.com
A single bee weighs .00025 pounds. 4,000 bees together weigh only one pound. A hive that contains 50,000 bees, weighs about 12 pounds.
A single bee can produce 1 tablespoon of honey in its lifetime. It takes 700 bees flying over 32,000 miles to gather 6 lbs of nectar from about 1,200,000 flowers in order to make one 10 oz. jar of honey.
Bees can fly up to 12 mph. On every foraging trip, a bee will visit 50-100 flowers to collect nectar.
The hexagonal shape of the honeycomb is the most efficient shape in nature. The pattern allows for the cells to be packed full of wax and honey with no empty space in between. Though the wax is thin and delicate the structure of the hexagonal cells can hold a tremendous amount of honey weight.
Bees heat and cool their own hive to keep it between 93 and 95 degrees year-round. Bees are cold-blooded and must keep their hive at a constant temperature. In cold weather, bees keep the hive warm by swarming together to generate body heat and by sealing cracks in the hive with wax. In warm weather, the bees collect water and line up in a circle around the hive entrance. Using their wings, the bees fan the water so that it evaporates into the air. They then fan the cool air so that it circulates around the hive as a sort of central air conditioning or better yet, like the swamp coolers people in dry regions use in their homes.
A Queen Bee will lay 800,000 eggs in her lifetime! The queen’s life is dedicated to reproduction, and she only leaves the hive once in her life in order to mate.
Bees are remarkably tidy and meticulous. They groom each other and keep their hive incredibly clean.
Bees have been known to raid other hives and even swipe some honey. This can happen if a beekeeper happens to leave a hive open, or even in the wild if times are lean. For this reason, bees post guard bees around the perimeter of the hive in order to ward off any intruders. If an interloper is detected, there is a fight as the guards will engage them in battle and one of them will die. However if the intruder does make it into the hive, she will gain the scent of the others and learn her way around, and then be able to come and go as she pleases.
Honey and pollen are the building blocks of a bee’s diet. Bees eat honey because it provides them with energy-laden carbohydrates, while pollen’s protein provides bees with essential amino acids. But, the Queen’s diet is richer in honey…which gives her fertility. The queen’s staple food is a special honey and pollen mixture called “royal jelly.” Royal jelly contains more pollen and honey than larval jelly (the food eaten by worker and drone bees). The phrase “you are what you eat” is especially fitting here, since the queen would be infertile and indistinguishable from smaller worker bees if it weren’t for the added carbohydrates in royal jelly. If the queen bee dies in a honeybee hive the workers can create a new queen bee. They do this by selecting a young larva and by feeding it royal jelly. The larva will develop into a fertile queen.
The United Kingdom has a series of Bee Highways which are strips of natural growing flowers and bushes that connect wildlife areas across the country. This allows the bees to travel all over Great Britain with a ready source of flowers wherever they are.
Honeybees have some pretty slick moves on the hive dance floor. Researchers call this the waggle dance. OK, it’s not actually a dance, but is the way the bee communicates with other bees in their hive to tell them where to find the best flowers. It took researchers at Sussex University two years to decode the waggle dance. I think there is a Far Side cartoon depicting this research.
Blue Honey Filed under “Weird News” I found an article in Futurism.com about some French beekeepers that received quite a surprise when they collected their honey in September of 2012. You see, Honey is usually gold in color with the shade depending on the flowers the bees got their nectar from but the honey the French beekeepers were collecting was a surprising blue color.
The beekeepers were confused and also alarmed since this new honey didn’t meet regulations and could not be sold. It was a mystery that needed to be figured out and the situation rectified.
It took some investigative work but it was eventually discovered the source of the problem was at a nearby biogas plant. A biogas plant is an operation that creates Biogas, a renewable fuel created by breaking down organic matter like food or animal waste which can then be turned into fuel or electricity.
This particular biogas plant was using waste from a candy company, specifically waste from M&M candy production. The bees had apparently found the M&Ms and snacked on those instead of getting nectar from flowers. The junk food honey wasn’t considered real honey since it wasn’t produced from flower nectar. The technicolored quasi-honey had to be thrown out.
The good news is that as soon as the problem was brought to the attention of the biogas company they took measures to cover up the candy waste to prevent the bees from binging and the French honey finally turned back to its natural golden color. [Futurism.com]
Killer Bees According to the Smithsonian Institution website si.edu in 1956 some African honey bees were brought to Brazil with the idea of crossbreeding them with local bees in order to increase honey production. The following year several of the bees escaped from their experimental apiary. These escapees began mating with local bee populations creating offspring that were and are unusually aggressive. They became known as the Killer Bees. We mentioned this in our S2E14 about weird monuments as there is a town in South Texas that has a giant statue of a killer bee. Swarms of these bees began spreading north and had reached the southern border of the United States by 1993.
The Killer Bees are dangerous because they attack intruders in numbers much greater than ordinary bees. Since 1957 they have killed more than a 1,000 people with victims receiving ten times the number of stings as ordinary honey bees. They also react to disturbances ten times faster and have been known to chase a person for a quarter of a mile.
In addition to their danger to humans and domestic animals, Killer Bees can decimate local bee populations. When the aggressive bees invade local honeybee colonies, the results can lead to erratic pollination, disorder in the hive, excessive hive abandonment, and loss of survivability in cold weather.
Two methods of attempting to contain the Killer Bee populations are showing promise. The first is called Drone Flooding which means that large numbers of common honeybees are introduced into areas where commercially grown queens mate. This cuts down on the likelihood of killer bees mating with the queen. The other strategy is requeening frequently, where the beekeeper frequently replaces the queen of the colony, thus assuring that the queens are common Honey Bees and that mating has also occurred with common drones.
Treating MS Bee stings aren’t all bad though. The venom from bee stings has been used for centuries to alleviate symptoms of ailments such as joint pain, arthritis, gout, shingles, hay fever, and burns. Today there is something called Bee Venom Therapy and it's being used to help treat victims of MS or Multiple Sclerosis, a long-lasting (chronic) disease of the central nervous system.
According to an article at health.howstuffworks.com, Bee venom therapy (BVT), uses bee venom to relieve symptoms of MS such as pain, loss of coordination, and muscle weakness. The idea is that the compounds found within bee venom works to reduce inflammation and pain and somehow works within the immune system of the body to induce it to release natural healing compounds in its own defense.
The therapy is not for the weak hearted. While reading about it I formed the assumption that somehow the bee venom is harvested and put into syringes. I’m wrong though, that’s not how it works. Patients are actually stung by real bees. According to BeeCulture.com treatment typically consists of a patient receiving bee stings three times a week, about every other day. Stings are applied over the body on a rotating basis so that a former treatment area is not treated again until all symptoms of the previous stings have healed. It seems that stings in one area of the body may alleviate certain symptoms while stings in another area target other symptoms.
Again, according to BeeCulture.com Bee venom therapy is available almost anywhere and, as long as the patient is not hyper-allergic, the treatment is safe without long-term adverse effects even with long-term application of therapeutic doses. While this seems like drastic measures, the symptoms of MS can be debilitating and many patients get to the point of welcoming relief in any form.
While there have been no major studies on the actual effects BVT has on MS patients, thousands of MS sufferers have turned to using the therapy that is currently considered to fall under the category of alternative medicine. This has prompted Georgetown University in Washington, D.C to begin a comprehensive study in Bee venom therapy. I’d like to think that means that in the future we will be able to harvest bee venom in a way to not have to kill off bees and so that the treatment may be given in pill form or even an injection rather than in a bee sting!
ODJ: FOUND MONEY For our ODJ today we found an article from people.com about an inspiring woman named Diane Gordon.
Diane, a 65 year old grandmother of 2, lives in White Lake, Michigan which is near Detroit. A year ago her car gave up the ghost for the final time and thus Diane has had to walk to and from work three miles each day for five days a week. You know it can get pretty cold in Michigan and the weather can be rough, but Diane had no choice but to get out in the elements and walk. It took her close to an hour each direction.
On January 21st of 2023 as she was walking home she stopped into a gas station to grab a snack. In the parking area she noticed something on the ground that looked strange. It was a plastic bag with something green inside. Picking it up, she noticed that the green was cash, lots of it! In fact, $14,780!
Now imagine yourself in Diane’s place. No car, walking to work in the elements each day, struggling to make ends meet. You might have thought Woo Hoo! My prayers have been answered! But that’s not what Diane thought. "This doesn't belong to me, I need to call a police officer," she remembered thinking to herself after finding the $14,780 in cash. And that’s what she did.
When officers responded they were able to find the proper owners of the missing cash. Along with the money, there were wedding cards addressed to a couple who were just married earlier that day. Police tracked down the couple and returned their cash to them. Obviously, they were overjoyed. But then the police turned their attention back to Diane.
The wife of the officer who responded to Diane’s call set up a GoFundMe account to try to collect enough money to buy her a car. After local media picked up the story lots of people donated. Within a couple of weeks over $66,000 had been collected.
On February 3rd police officers surprised Diane with a brand-new Jeep Compass. “I’m floored! I’m having trouble taking it all in!” Diane exclaimed as she saw her new car. “It has a steering wheel warmer and a backup camera and lots of other things I’ve never had before!”
Diane is still quite humble about what she did. “All I did was not keep something that didn’t belong to me, I didn’t do anything special.” While Lake Police Chief Dan Keller disagrees. “This doesn’t happen very often that someone finds a large sum of money and turns it in. We need a lot more Diane’s around!”
Bees Learn Socially An article on bbc.com details a study at St. Mary’s University in London where researchers hid a sugary treat inside a closed container and then trained a controlled set of bees to open up the container. Meanwhile another group of bees was watching from a nearby glass container. When given their opportunity to open the container, 98% of the observer bees got it correct on the first try. They had learned simply by watching the other bees. This demonstration proved that bees learn behavior socially.
Bomb Sniffing Bees Yes, it’s been shown that bees have a knack for learning new things. No doubt you’ve heard of dogs used to sniff out drugs or explosives but did you know that the sense of smell is very distinct in bees as well? According to HowStuffWorks.com Scientists from the Defense Advanced Research Laboratory (DARPA), who have been working with honeybees since 1999, say that bees can actually challenge dogs when it comes to sense of smell. After all, they are able to sniff out molecular hints of pollen in the air. But dogs have been domesticated for several hundred years and are easily trained, how do you go about training a bee?
You do it much in the same way you would train a dog, training is accomplished by linking a reward with a particular stimulus. When the bees do what you want it to do you reward it with sugar water. It apparently doesn’t take that long for the bees to get it either. Scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory developed the Stealthy Insect Sensor Project where they would keep bees in small tubes.
When the smell of the chemicals used to make explosives was introduced, the bees, expecting to receive the sugar water, would extend its proboscis (which is its tongue) and start waving it in the air searching for nectar. The researchers used monitoring equipment to capture this behavior and knew that it signaled the presence of an explosive. This setup works nicely in situations involving airports, subways, and roadside checkpoints as the bees can detect the target chemicals in the air in concentrations as low as a few parts per trillion.
Researchers at Los Alamos are also training bees to sniff out drugs like methamphetamine and cocaine. - https://science.howstuffworks.com/bomb-sniffing-bees.htm
Bee Fence Bees have also been useful in Africa to help ease the tension between neighbors. From one of my favorite poets, Robert Frost comes the line “Good fences make good neighbors” in the poem Mending Wall. In parts of Africa where the expansion of farmland has encroached on elephant territory things have gotten tense as the elephants have fought back by destroying property and crops. Fences used to keep out other wildlife just don't work on elephants who will trample through it.
Elephants do have a healthy fear of bees. While they have thick skin that provides protection from stings, bees have been known to sting an elephant in the eyes or inside their sensitive trunk. In 2010, a researcher named Lucy King determined that East African elephants have a unique sound they make when they come across an area infested with bees. So they are in effect communicating to the rest of the herd the location of dangerous bees.
Farmers have taken to putting bee hives along the perimeters of their properties and attaching them to the fences. When elephants encounter the fence and shake it the bees are disturbed and attack. The elephant then tells all the others to stay away from that location. It’s been a good solution with the added bonus of honey! [NowIKnow.com]
Bees in Popular Culture Speaking of Killer Bees, our older listeners may remember the Killer Bee sketch in the first seasons of Saturday Night Live. Most of the comedy of the sketch derived from the giant springy eyeballs that cast members wore on their heads. But this leads us into the realm of Bees in Popular Culture.
From Utah State University’s website usu.edu we find an interesting article that details the role bees have played in American Popular Culture. Throughout our history the bee has been a symbol of industry and community. Bees were brought to North America by the Virginia Company in 1621 and were vital in sustaining the lives of the early colonists. Soon after independence was gained in 1776 the Continental Congress in Philadelphia put the image of a beehive on the $45 bill as a symbol of stability. (I never knew we had a $45 bill!)
The beehive was adopted as a symbol of the Mormon community which refers to it as a deseret. Beehives can be seen as ornamental decorations on the Mormon Temple in Salt Lake City including on its massive door knobs. The nickname of Utah is the Beehive State and the symbol is part of the state highway system’s signs.
Throughout the years bee idioms have been common in American communication. A particularly industrious person is said to be as busy as a bee. A group of such persons has been detailed as a hive of activity. The NY Times used this expression in a 2017 article entitled “Building a Buzzy Hive of Invention and Collaboration” to describe Brown University as they turn an old building into a nursing school.
Of course bees are small creatures and they have very tiny knees. In the 1800s the expression bees knees referenced something exceedingly small. However, by the 1920s the Roaring Generation reappropriated Bees Knees along with Cat’s Pajamas to mean something highly complementary. A young woman might exclaim, “That cute guy is the bees knees!”
The Queen Bee is no longer just about the insect world, but now is used to describe a woman who is in charge of a group. For example, in the movie Mean Girls, Regina George is called the queen bee of her clique of girls who rule the school. Even the popular singer Beyonce Knowles refers to herself as the Queen Bey and her thousands of fans as her Beyhive, though both are spelled Bey. Beyonce claims that she actually has two beehives on her property, stating that two of her children have difficult allergies and the bees’ honey is healthy for them.
In the 1930s the United States Navy saw a need to develop their own version of the Army Corps of Engineers. The Navy Construction Battalions were developed to provide innovative resources for the construction of landing strips, naval docks, and other projects that might arise. By the time WWII began the men in the Construction Battalions modified the initials CB to become the Sea Bees. They were involved in the reconstruction of Pearl Harbor and gained tremendous fame for their creative and innovative construction techniques throughout the Pacific War often performing their tasks while under fire. And they have the coolest logo! It shows a bee wearing a sailor’s hat flying in as a dive bomber while holding a machine gun, a wrench and a hammer. Underneath the word Seabees is their motto, “Can Do!” Today the Seabees still have some 7,000 active personnel.
And finally we can’t forget about the Birds and the Bees, a euphemism used to talk about sex. In 1965 an artist named Jewel Akins released a song with lyrics that went, “Let me tell you about the birds and the bees and the flowers and the trees and the moon up above, and a thing called love.” My friends and I all loved it even though we were only 8 at the time and had no idea what it was about. That song went all the way to #3 on Billboard’s top 100 chart which was pretty impressive in the era of the Beatles. But this isn’t the only musical reference to the Birds and the Bees. In 1928 Cole Porter wrote the song Let’s Do It, Let’s Fall In Love for a Broadway Musical. The opening line to the song goes, “Birds do it, Bees doe it, Even educated Fleas do it. Let’s do it, let’s fall in love”
To expand on that just a bit, did you know that St. Valentine is also the patron saint of bees? It’s not all that surprising when you think about it. Bees are essential to pollination (or procreation) of flowers and honey was long thought of as an aphrodisiac.
For a long time it was tradition to give newlyweds a bottle of mead, an alcohol made from honey which was supposed to last them a month. This is the origin of the term Honeymoon.
Cupid From [buzzaboutthebees.net] we find that Cupid, the Roman God of Love, is also associated with honey. There's the story that Cupid was getting honey from a hive when he was stung by a bee. When he complained how something so small could cause so much pain his mother Venus reminded him that though he is also small, he and his arrows deliver the sting of love. And in some Cupid stories he dips his arrows in honey before aiming them at an unsuspecting human heart.
Telling of the Bees I talked earlier about folklore surrounding bees and honey but one of the oldest pieces of folklore (and my favorite) is the superstition that if you keep bees then you have an obligation to tell the hive about any major event such as a birth, death, a marriage or a move.
In researching this tradition I found that many people in the U.S. thought it was an old tradition tracing back to Appalachia. That is, the resilient people who have populated the area in and around the Appalachian mountains in the Eastern United States. But the truth is the tradition “telling of the bees” goes back much further than those settlers and is seen in many cultures across the globe.
According to an article by Stephanie Hogan for cbc.ca the recent death of Queen Elizabeth was cause for the royal beekeeper, John Chapple, to carry out the tradition of informing the bees of the sad news.
Mr. Chapple solemnly placed black ribbons on each of the royal hives. He then approached each hive separately and gently knocked on it to get the bees attention before telling them in hushed tones that the queen has died and urging them to be good to their new master, King Charles III.
Mr. Chapple told the DailyMail, ’I’m at the hives now and it is traditional when someone dies that you go to the hives and say a little prayer and put a black ribbon on the hive. You knock on each hive and say, ‘The mistress is dead, but don't you go. Your master will be a good master to you.”
It is superstition that if the bees are not told of major news then there would be an upset in honey production or the bees may even die off or leave the hive altogether.
Telling the bees is a traditional custom of many European countries in which bees would be told of important events in their keeper's lives as the bees were considered a part of the household rather than just livestock.
Besides the UK and the United States, the custom of “Telling the Bees” also has roots in Ireland, Wales, Germany, Netherlands, France, Switzerland, and Bohemia.
[cbc.ca, hobbyfarms.com, dailymail.co.uk]
Threats to Bees According to a study by Ohio State University, bee populations in the United States are declining rapidly. On average beekeepers are reporting loss rates averaging around 30% each year. Twenty years ago the loss rates were between 10 and 15%. Increased use of pesticides and herbicides as well as increased urbanization and air pollution are the most noted causes of the decline. While the problems are complex, there is much that humans can do to help reverse the trend. The OSU article details four things that people can do to support their local bees.
- Provide a honey bee-friendly habitat in your yard or other outdoor spaces. “Providing an abundance of bee-attractive blooms concentrated in a small location, like a portion of your yard, can help,” said Sharon Treaster, a researcher with Ohio State’s Department of Horticulture and Crop Science. “This will create dense forage that lets honey bees build up food reserves for rainy weather and winter survival.” Some specific blooms that bees love are sunflowers, cone flowers, geraniums, poppies, and black-eyed Susans.
- Eat Bee-Friendly foods. Organic foods are generally grown without the use of pesticides. They are healthier for the bees and many believe they are healthier for people too. I’ve noticed more and more organic options even in mainstream stores like Walmart.
- Select carefully when choosing pesticides and herbicides for your own yard. Read labels to make sure that they are safe for bees. Consider not killing flowering weeds like dandelions which provide good nourishment for bees.
- Leave the bees alone. Generally, bees are not aggressive. They won’t sting unless they are provoked. Let them go about their beesiness and don’t kill them. Teaching your children about the importance of bees will help them to respect them.
Along these lines we had an interesting experience on our recent trip to Greece. On our last day there my wife and I along with my sister and brother-in-law stopped into a beautiful restaurant in a small village. The restaurant sat on a slope and had open sides offering a nice view of the area. Beautiful flowering plants were hanging in the open areas. As it was mid-afternoon we were the only ones in the restaurant. It was owned and operated by a woman who had her two children helping her. We ordered a meat sampler plate large enough for the four of us to pick and choose whatever we liked. When our delicious smelling food arrived, so did the bees. Lots of them! I must say they weren’t aggressive, but it was a bit disturbing trying to eat our lunch in a literal cloud of bees. Our host saw our hesitance and so she pulled up an extra chair to our table. “Put a little food in the chair for the bees,” she said. Once we did this, the bees left us alone and mostly hovered around the chair, each taking their turn at tasting the meats and vegetable pieces that we placed there for them. It was remarkable, really they way they left us alone.
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