Helping the Bees with Science in your Backyard

...tive Great Sunflower Project, enlisting gardeners around the country to plant sunflowers and count the number of bees that visit them in a set period of time. We participated this summer, planting the sunflower seeds provided by the project. It’s too late to start this year, but you can sign up for next year’s project here. When we last did an observation, we counted five bees within ten minutes visiting the flower we chose to watch....

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Michael Thiele and the Love of Bees

...f you can. Erik has seen Michael Thiele speak, and says he is mesmerizing. Michael Thiele is the founder of Gaia Bees, and co-founder of The Melissa Garden (a honey bee sanctuary and resource center). His approach toward bees is deeply respectful and non-exploitative. He views honey as a gift and a medicine, not as a crop. In the video above he is demonstrating a hive of his own design, the Sun Hive or Haengekorb, the shape of which reflects the...

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Does the scent of compost make bees angry?

I think I’ve stumbled upon a strange phenomenon: the smell released by turning compost pisses off bees. Yesterday was the third time this has happened to me. I took a sting just underneath my eye and another one to my right hand when I was turning a pile located about 15 feet away from a hive. Coincidentally, the same thing happened to a friend yesterday: he got stung while working with compost near a hive. Ordinarily our bees are reason...

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Bees Like Mochi

This viral video proves two things: 1. Bees like sugar. 2. Foraging bees aren’t likely to sting. And I love the way this street vendor keeps on working. If this were the US, there’d be a major freak out, the fire and health departments would be called and an exterminator would show up to spray poison. If you keep calm and carry on you get your mochi and the bees get a free lunch. Thanks to Winnetka Farms for the tip. ...

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Ask Lowes and Home Depot to Stop Killing Bees

...informed consumers in big box stores.  If you want to read more about the relationship between these poisons and bees, check out this Wikipedia article: Imidacloprid Effects on Bees The Valentine’s Day stunt is just that, a stunt, but a cute one, and a worthwhile one, too. We’re going to send our Valentines off this year, and we hope you’ll join us. If you give Friends of the Earth your email address, they’ll send you a re...

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The Brooklyn Bee

...ld prove to be a huge economic and ecological disaster since many crops including almonds and avocados depend on bees for pollination. Howe himself has lost one hive. Read more about this depressing story on the BBC and it that ain’t enough doom and gloom, there’s the tale of an insecticide called fipronil, sold in the US under the brand names MaxForce and Combat, which is suspected in the deaths of billions of bees in France. Speakin...

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Book Review: Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat

How can we save the world? Simple. Get everyone to read and understand the contents of a new book, Attracting Native Pollinators: The Xerces Society Guide to Conserving North American Bees and Butterflies and Their Habitat. Why? There’s the obvious–pollinating insects provide a huge amount of our food–but they also have a few unappreciated roles. Without pollinators, plant communities that stabilize river banks disappear. Ma...

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Looking for the Union Label

...derwear on the internets recalled a highly catchy ad jingle from the roller disco era, “Look for the Union Label” (youngsters can watch it on youtube here). We looked for the union label and we were surprised to find it via a company called Union House which carries a functional, if unexciting line of apparel. Unless hipsters take to golf shirts in an ironic fashion judo move, these offerings will never be cool like the domestically m...

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The Smell of Bees

Image: Wikimedia. A friend called me over to her house today after her gardeners complained about a beehive. We both marched around her yard peering at the eaves of her house. All we found were a handful of wasps. Then I smelled it–that distinctive, slightly sweet but hard to describe smell that beehives put off. I looked up through a bougainvillea bush and found the hive–living in a garage wall next door to my fri...

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Colony Collapse Disorder “Solved”

...rch, in general, is a whole systems approach to the problem. Not only are commercial beekeepers trucking their bees thousands of miles, but they are using miticides, not allowing the bees to form their own comb, limiting the numbers of drones, breeding weak stock and exposing the bees to pesticides such as imidacloprid (manufactured by Bayer!) to name just a few questionable practices. All of this bad beekeeping promulgates bees with weaken...

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