Tag Archives: Bees

Bees are your Buddies

Do you like to eat fruit? Bees are YOUR best friends. Parents – please teach your kids to respect Bees! Each year I read to Kindergartners – and each time I read books about BEES the kids say ” I hate Bees”. It stuns me and it starts at home. Teach your kids that insects, bees, butterflies provide honey, pollination and ultimately food for us. We LOVE BEES!!!

Bees and other pollinators play a vital role in our food production system by enabling the production of many of the nuts, fruits and vegetables in our diets. In total, pollinators make possible an astounding 35% of global food production and contribute more than $24 billion annually to the U.S. economy.But the number of managed honeybee colonies in the United States has declined from 6 million in the 1940s to just 2.5 million today – jeopardizing our food supply and domestic agriculture industry.3

FLASHBACK from 2014 – That’s why President Obama tasked the Secretary of Agriculture and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency with co-chairing the Pollinator Health Task Force and leading the federal response to the devastating decline in populations of bees and other vital pollinators.

So far, both the USDA and EPA have displayed a disturbing lack of urgency when it comes to saving bees from deadly pesticides. In fact, the EPA’s current plan is to continue studying neonicotinoid pesticides until 2018 before it takes action to save our pollinators.

It’s 2018 and the story continues.Each person can CHOOSE to not use pesticides, like Round-up, and make their garden inviting to bees. We can make the difference. Round-up is still sold at COSTCO in gigantic containers… right next to the NATIVE BEE HOMES….. Let’s get smart. Don’t buy that toxic junk.  Besides- dandelions are great food for bees, their flowers bloom early and give the bees food when it is winter.   –The editor

 

Real Garden Schools

Not many nonprofit organizations listget your hands dirty” as one of its core values.

For REAL School Gardens, that’s exactly what it’s all about. Since 2003, the organization has built more than 100 learning gardens at low-income elementary schools throughout Texas. It then implements a multiyear training program on how to best use the garden as a teaching tool, based on each school’s unique design.

According to the organization, schools with gardens have seen standardized test score pass rates increase by 12-15 percent.

When I first started reading to kids we often read stories about gardens or growing plants. When I asked them about BEES, they often yelled “I hate bees” or “I’m scared of bees”…. this lead me to talk more about gardens and add information about pollination. We also discuss how bees navigate, where honey comes from, what the Queen and Workers do! It is a great way to learn science. When they start their spring time gardens at school, I have noticed that they are more curious. Gardening opens minds, inspires kids and encourages curiosity. — the editor

The gardens also have a number of immeasurable outcomes, “from the teacher who can truly engage her students in a meaningful way, to the student who maybe doesn’t get some of the teaching when it’s in the classroom, but out here (in the garden), boom, a light bulb comes on — and they know what it means because they can see it, touch it and feel it,” said Lannie McClelen, senior project manager for REAL School Gardens.

Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact

Extended!… more Bees! The exhibition is extended now through June 2017.

Odell Hussey Photography

Buzz on in to OMCA’s Gallery of California Natural Sciences for the can’t-miss, family-friendly exhibition, Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact. Immerse yourself in the wildly diverse and intricate world of one of the most exciting creatures we know, with exciting activities in the gallery:

  • Touch on topics of Bay Area beekeeping and the diversity of bee species by trying on a beekeeper suit and examining real bee specimens under a giant microscope.
  • Put on your research cap to contribute to citizen science projects at home, like counting bees in your backyard or hunting “ZomBees.”
  • Discover the similarities and differences between bees and humans while you crawl through a person-sized honeycomb.
  • Check out a beautiful handcrafted bee hotel installed in the OMCA Garden and plan your own bee-friendly garden.
  • Explore the causes of bee population decline, learn about the significance of bees to California’s economy and ecosystems, and discover how your own actions can help bees to survive in a changing world.

Bring the whole family to see Bees: Tiny Insect, Big Impact, and take a closer look at one of the most important creatures to human agriculture and the natural environment.

DROUGHT-PROOF LANDSCAPE

BAY AREA STORMWATER AGENCIES URGE RESIDENTS TO GARDEN WITH NATIVE PLANTS

Natives require less water, and can attract beneficial bugs! 

Plant the right plants in the right place! That’s the key to a successful and attractive garden and using native plants can get you there. The Bay Area Stormwater Management Agencies Association (BASMAA) is encouraging the region’s residents to consider native plants in lieu of lawns and other plants. The impact can be dramatic: natives require less watering, and many attract beneficial bugs, reducing the need for pesticides and chemical treatments.

“It makes sense at an intuitive level,” said Geoff Brosseau, executive director of BASMAA. “Plants that are native to the region were meant to be here, and thrived here. They require less maintenance, water, and other resources than non-natives we may choose to plant based on aesthetics alone.”

Native plants are especially important right now because of California’s drought. Although a green lawn is no longer an option, natives are a great alternative. “Most natives use much less water than non-natives once they are established,” explained Brosseau. “That alone is an excellent reason for anyone to make changes to their garden.”

There are more benefits, too: Native plants can provide year-round color in a garden and can also attract butter?ies, birds, bees and other beneficial insects, allowing for less-toxic gardening. That’s something BASMAA always encourages because of stormwater pollution from yard and garden chemicals.  When used on lawns, in gardens, or even just around the perimeter of a home, pesticides can cause water pollution. Once pesticides and fertilizers wash off lawns from rain and watering, they flow into storm drains, polluting local creeks and the Bay and harming fish and wildlife.

Some Bay Area native plants include California buckeye, yarrow, white alder, Western azalea, and briar rose. A full list can be found on the California Native Plant Society website. Residents should look for plant recommendations for the part of the Bay Area they live in because the region’s microclimates vary and, consequently, so do the plants that thrive in different parts of the region.

Resources for getting started with or learning more about native plants and less-toxic gardening:

Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World

Bees, pollinators, and the environmental challenges they are facing have been much in the news lately, and there’s a new book about them that’s piquing, much interest.

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Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World  is unlike any book on the subject, presenting more than 100 of the most eye-catching bees from around the world as you’ve never seen them: extremely up-close and with stunning detail in large, full-color photos.  You’ll stare at alien-like faces, get lost in mesmerizing colors and patterns, and find each bee puts forth a sense of “personality” in the photos. Some of the bees you can legitimately call cute. Above all else, the photos are truly fascinating.

This is an AMAZING book. The photographs are mesmerizing. You’ll see bees not only as our beloved pollinators but as the incredible insect they are. I have never seen pictures like these colorful ultra-close ups, this is a book to refer to and learn from!  — the editor

Co-author Sam Droege is a wildlife biologist with the US Geological Survey and has recently been the go-to expert in the national press coverage around the U.S. government’s announcement of the National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators.  The book evolved from photos Droege posted last year to the USGS Bee Inventory & Monitoring Lab’s Flickr page, and thanks to some bee fans at Reddit, the page went viral, being shared and viewed hundreds of thousands of times.  Droege’s work has been featured on NPR, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and just recently, the book was featured at Popular Science.

Bee News – What they Need!

Whether we know it or not, we’ve declared war on our native bees. Habitat destruction, overdevelopment, and shrinking plant diversity all impact native bee populations. At a time when honeybees are disappearing, we need our native pollinators more than ever.

If you’re a gardener or homeowner, you can make a difference. Here are 12 things you can do to help native bees thrive.

1. Plant a variety of flowers that bloom from early spring to late fall.

Don’t expect native bees to wait around until your vegetable crops bloom. Bees need pollen and nectar to live, and if they can’t find flowers in your yard, they’ll move elsewhere. Digger bees begin foraging as soon as spring arrives, while bumblebees and dwarf carpenter bees are still active in the fall. Plant a variety of flowers to provide blooms from early spring to late fall, and you’ll keep native bees happy all year.

2. Cut back on the mulch.

Gardeners love mulch, and it does have its benefits. But look at the mulch from a bee’s perspective. Ground-nesting bees dig nests in the soil, and a layer of mulch will discourage them from taking up residence in your yard. Leave a few sunny areas free of mulch for the bees.

3. Minimize your use of weed barriers.

Ditto on the weed barriers. If you don’t like to weed, barriers of black plastic or landscape fabric may be an easy solution for keeping the garden weed free. But bees can’t tear through these barriers to reach the soil surface, so rethink your weeding strategy. If you must use a barrier, try laying down newspapers instead – they’ll biodegrade over time.

4. Leave some sunny areas of your yard free of vegetation.

Many native bees nest in the ground; these bees usually seek out loose, sandy soils free of vegetation. Leave a few patches of ground so they can burrow, and they won’t have to travel so far to pollinate your flowers. Remember, bees like it sunny, so try to designate plant-free areas where there’s enough sun exposure to please them.

5. Provide some wood for carpenter bees.

Carpenter bees look for soft wood, such as pine or fir, in which to make their homes. While you might consider them pests when they burrow into your deck or porch, they rarely do any structural damage. Carpenter bees don’t feed on wood (they feed on nectar and pollen!), but do excavate nests in lumber. Let them be, and they’ll pay you back by pollinating your fruits and veggies.

6. Plant pithy vines or canes for dwarf carpenter bees.

Dwarf carpenter bees, which grow to just 8 mm, spend their winters nestled inside hollowed out canes or vines. Come spring, the females expand their pithy burrows and lay eggs. Besides providing these native bees with homes, you’re providing food; dwarf carpenter bees love to forage on raspberries and other cane plants.

7. Limit pesticide use.

This much should be obvious, right? Chemical pesticides, particularly broad spectrum pesticides, can negatively impact native bee populations. Use pesticides conservatively, or better yet, not at all. By doing so, you’ll also encourage beneficial predators to stick around and feed on your insect pests.

8. Leave some leaf litter in your yard.

Digger bees burrow in the ground, but they don’t like their homes exposed. They prefer to make their nests in places with a little leaf litter to camouflage the entrance. Put down that rake and leave a few areas of your yard the way Mother Nature intended it. 

9. Don’t mow your lawn so often.

Bees like to hang out in your lawn, especially when on warm, sunny afternoons. Many “weeds” provide good sources of nectar and pollen, so bumblebees and other native bees may be foraging underfoot. Mowing kills bees, and trims the flowers that feed them. Try to let your lawn grow a little longer before you mow. When you do need to trim the lawn, do it during the cooler parts of the day or when it’s cloudy to avoid killing foraging bees.

10. Provide a source of mud for mason bees.

Mason bees are known for their skilled nest construction. They look for existing holes in wood, then carry mud to the site to craft their nests. If you’ve got some exposed soil in your yard, keep it moist for these native bees. You can also provide a shallow dish of mud to encourage mason bees to make their home in your yard.

11. Leave some weeds for the bees, and limit your herbicide use.

Pollen bees don’t discriminate between your prized perennials and the weeds in your lawn. Weeds are wildflowers! Bumblebees love clover, so don’t be so quick to break out the weed killer when clover invades your lawn. The greater the diversity of flowering plants in your yard, the more native bees you’ll attract to pollinate your plants.

12. Install some artificial nests for mason and leafcutter bees.

Both mason bees and leafcutter bees make tube-shaped burrows, in which they lay their eggs. These bees don’t usually excavate their own burrows, preferring to find existing cavities and build within them. Fill a coffee can with a bundle of drinking straws, mount it to a fence post in a protected area, and you’ve got yourself an artificial nest for these efficient pollinators. If you’re handy, drill some holes in a block of pine or fir wood instead

This list is brought to you by ABOUT EDUCATION.

The Bee Coalition Calls for Action

Global Review of Pesticides Shows Extent of Threat from NeoNicotinoids

The Bee Coalition formed in 2012 when the UK’s main environmental groups joined forces to call for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides that are toxic to bees and pollinators. Since 2012, a core group of eight organisations (Buglife, ClientEarth, Environmental Justice Foundation, Friends of the Earth, Natural Beekeeping Trust, Pesticide Action Network, RSPB and Soil Association) have been working to bring attention to the plight of bees and pollinators and specifically to engage policymakers, industry and the public about their respective roles in ensuring their protection.

A new report released today confirms harm to bees from neonicotinoid insecticides and suggests the risks may be far broader.The “Worldwide Integrated Assessment” reviewed 800 studies covering birds, animals, soil and water as well as bees. The conclusions are startling:  neonicotinoids pose a major threat to a wide range of invertebrate species in soil, vegetation, aquatic and marine habitats. The authors recommend a complete global phase-out of neonicotinoid use, or at least a significant reduction.

Conclusive evidence is lacking for vertebrate species such as birds and mammals, but here too there is cause for concern. The Worldwide Integrated Assessment was produced by an independent Task Force on Systemic Pesticides and is the most comprehensive review of evidence on neonicotinoids to date. The Bee Coalition will be urging the Westminster government to take account of its conclusions in the upcoming National Pollinator Strategy for England, expected in autumn 2014.

“The evidence is clear: neonicotinoids are harming our pollinating insects and could be causing damage to many other species and habitats. Regulators must take a much more precautionary approach to pesticide authorisations.” — Vanessa Amaral-Rogers of Buglife

“The widespread use of neonicotinoid seed treatments is not compatible with sustainable farming.  Pesticides should be used only when they are really needed, not as an ‘insurance’ against possible pest damage.  We need to see a wholesale shift to more bee-friendly ways of farming.” — Paul de Zylva of Friends of the Earth

“The inappropriate use of pesticides has the potential to cause massive damage to the natural environment and through this to jobs, employment and income. Clearly the impact of neonicotinoids on bees and other pollinators has just this potential. We need to see a wholesale shift in how we conduct our agriculture to get rid of harmful chemical inputs and to build and reinforce sustainability. Failure to do this is likely to see the further decline of invaluable species like bees.” —Steve Trent of Environmental Justice Foundation

“This overwhelming scientific evidence of the dangers of neonicotinoids follows a pattern. Classes of pesticides, previously claimed to be safe, are being found to be dangerous and subsequently banned. Farming urgently needs to learn the lessons of organic farmers, in the way they succeed to manage pests and benefit wildlife without the use of dangerous pesticides”  —Helen Browning, Director of the Soil Association

•       Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust is the only charity in Europe devoted to the conservation of all invertebrates, and is actively working to save Britain’s rarest bugs, bees, butterflies, ants, worms, beetles and many more fascinating invertebrates.www.buglife.org.uk  @buzz_dont_tweet
•       ClientEarth is an organisation of activist lawyers committed to securing a healthy planet. They create practical solutions to environmental challenges, like climate change, deforestation, toxic chemicals and the destruction of habitats. www.clientearth.org/@clientearth
•       Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is a UK-based non-profit organisation working internationally to protect the environment and defend human rights. www.ejfoundation.org/bees @ejfoundation @steventrent
•       Friends of the Earth. For more than 40 years we’ve seen that the wellbeing of people and planet go hand in hand – and it’s been the inspiration for our campaigns. Together with thousands of people like you we’ve secured safer food and water, defended wildlife and natural habitats, championed the move to clean energy and acted to keep our climate stable. www.foe.co.uk @wwwfoecouk
•       Natural Beekeeping Trust is a UK charity that develops and promotes pesticide-free, bee-centred methods of beekeeping.
•       Pesticide Action Network UK (PAN UK) is the only UK charity focused solely on global pesticide issues. www.pan-uk.org@PAN_UK
•       RSPB speaks out for birds and wildlife, tackling the problems that threaten our environment. Nature is amazing – help us keep it that way. www.rspb.org.uk/join @Natures_Voice
•       Soil Association is a membership charity campaigning for planet-friendly food and farming. We believe in the connection between soil, food, the health of people and the health of the planet.  www.soilassociation.org @soilassociation

Honey Bee Info & Bee Raw

The bees are dying off, and no one really knows why—not even the beekeepers.

Follow Bee Raw Founder Zeke Freeman on his journey to one of Bee Raw’s local apiaries in Maine for a “Hive Dive” in this recently released video.  You will learn more about the mystery behind the disappearance of bees and the complex issues that may be causing the die-off

Zeke’s journey takes him to three cities in Maine—Machias, Albion and Portland—where he visits local beekeepers to see how the bees are doing, takes us around a Bee Raw bottling facility and talks shop withFore Street Restaurant’s pastry chef, Brant Dadaleares.

Did you know it takes 100,000 bees to pollinate a single acre? Or that a third of the honey bees in America have died off over the past year, and we can’t determine a sole cause of this massive loss?

In addition, September is National Honey Month and Bee Raw is partnering with the Northern Spy Food Co. in New York.

For every Bee Raw dish and drink sold during September at the Northern Spy Food Co., one dollar will be donated to Bee Raw’s Save the Bees Fund, which was launched earlier this year to help research and combat the global die-off of the honey bees.

Saving the Honey Bees

TED DENNARD, FOUNDER OF SAVANNAH BEE COMPANY AND

 “THE BEE CAUSE PROJECT,”

HELPING SAVE THE HONEYBEES

 
A study published Wednesday in the journal PLOS ONE by scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Department of Agriculture stated, “Recent research is uncovering diverse sub-lethal effects of pesticides on bees.” Earlier this spring, the USDA released a report stating its fears that the U.S. does not have enough honeybees to pollinate crops this year, meaning our nation’s food supply could be at risk.

Long before colony collapse disorder hit national news, Ted Dennard, lifelong beekeeper and owner of Savannah Bee Company, made it his personal mission to protect these vital creatures. Last week he officially started The Bee Cause Project: a not-for-profit that teaches children the ABCs of honeybees, beekeeping, and the importance of both. The goal of The Bee Cause Project is to put observation hives in 1,000 schools, instilling a sense of responsibility for our environment in our nation’s children.

In his retail stores, Dennard started a “God Save the Queen (bee)” campaign to raise awareness. He supports local beekeepers and their honeybee-friendly methods of beekeeping and produces products made with the finest ingredients from the hive. His body care products are made with real honey and everything he sells goes to perpetuate honeybee life and activity.
Current non-profits and initiatives surrounding CCD are great for aiding our immediate problems; however, Dennard recognizes the importance of raising future generations of honeybee advocates. He educates children in local and regional classrooms, at science fairs, and on field trips. “I want to raise a generation of kids that know how important the honeybee is,” Dennard said. “A generation that when someone says ‘bee,’ they don’t think ‘sting’ but they think of the wonderful little pollinator and its role in the ecosystem and our lives.”

About Ted
Ted was introduced to and developed a passion for the magical world of honeybees at age 13 by longtime beekeeper Roy Hightower, who kept bees on the Dennard’s land for its abundance of Tupelo trees. After college, Ted served in the Peace Corps teaching beekeeping in Jamaica. After returning to the U.S., he bottled honey in his kitchen and garage. Today, Savannah Bee Company continues to grow, but Ted’s passion for honeybees, education, and commitment to creating the highest quality products hasn’t changed. He lives on Wilmington Island in Savannah, Ga., with his amazing family, which includes thousands of bees, several chickens, four kids, two dogs and one beeutiful wife.

 

https://www.facebook.com/ted.dennard * www.savannahbee.com *www.thebeecause.org

Bee Raw & Photo Contest

BeesBee Raw, an American honey company, is hosting a Flower Power Photo Contest, in its ongoing mission to bring awareness to the many ways you can help save the bees. This social media-driven contest concentrates on the importance of planting bee-friendly gardens.

Contest:  Simply take a picture of flowers that bees will flock to, or even better, include both the bees and the blooms! Share your snapshot on Bee Raw’s Facebook page, and get friends and family to “like” the post. The bees are all out working, and on these sunny days it is easy to catch them in action!

The entry with the most likes on July 30 will win a Manhattan Rooftop Honey Flight, which recently won a 2013 Gold sofi Award for the Best Food Gift (also known as the Oscar of the specialty food world).

 

You’ve heard of wine tasting….. try having a honey tasting! I get my local honey from Filoli Nature Center, that’s fun because you can talk to the Honey Man himself! And the you’ll see the bees all over the acres of plants at Filoli.  Make sure to click the link for the Manhattan Rooftop Honey Flight – it does taste different – depending on where the pollen comes from, clover, eucalyptus, flower, all are good!  For More Information on pollinators, click here, I have gathered resources for you!  -editor

 

The next five photos with the most likes will be awarded Bee Raw’s Good Bug Blooms seeds to start their own bee-friendly garden.

Bee Raw will donate one dollar for each photo entered in the contest to the Bee Raw Save the Bees Fund, which was launched to raise awareness and help solve Colony Collapse Disorder—the global dying-off of honey bees.