About Chelsea McFarland
My Revolution. Saving bees in Central London.
Urban beekeeping is increasingly popular around the world, with many cities lifting bans on inner-city beehives. London, in particular, has made a name for itself as a haven for urban beekeeping—even if some beekeepers are skeptical about the city’s efforts to fund inexperienced bee enthusiasts. It’s not just the city government that is stepping in to support London’s bee population either—in fact a major corporate-sponsored program is helping would-be beekeepers to learn the skills they need…
From supporting research into Colony Collapse Disorder, through distributing wildflower seeds to customers and its own farmers alike, to providing direct funding and support for amateur beekeepers, this initiative always looked like a major step beyond your average corporate outreach effort. The video below would seem to confirm this, visiting urban beekeepers who have directly benefited from the Cooperative Group’s support.
WHO: Melissa Haslam
WHAT: Honey Hive
The vegan ethic is complex and nuanced. Any vegan that says otherwise is itching for a (respectful, intelligent, I hope) fight. So I may as well be calling this piece, ‘It’s actually impossible to be vegan, but we are all doing our best.’ To me, veganism is about trying to live in harmony with the planet. My beekeeping is not an exception to my veganism. It is a well-thought out amendment. It might even make me a better vegan, depending on how much of this you follow along with.
Still, I am a beekeeper and I am a vegan and that is a sticking point for about 50% of the vegans I know. This is my attempt to explain my position. I am vegan because I deeply care about animal rights. I dig the other benefits, but in my heart, I believe eating animals is wrong. My purpose for saying so is that it needs to be clear from the start that I really care about bees. I am not arguing that I think killing bees or treating them with anything but the utmost respect is OK. I don’t keep bees because they fall outside of my deeply felt consideration. In fact, I think bees are amazing…
Whenever I think about the shortcomings of the human species, I always end up being reminded of the near perfection of bees. Selfless, female-dominated, self-reliant, dancing, mysterious bees.
Human life as we know it is dependent on bees. It is true that there are wild bee populations; but they are dying. It is a widely held belief within the beekeeping community, and those educated about what commercial beekeeping has done to the world’s bee population, that small-scale “backyard beekeepers” hold the key to preserving disease resistant stock that can survive to pollinate all the foods upon which vegans and non-vegans rely. About 1/3 of the human diet can be traced back to bee pollinated foods…
The point is vegans need plants, and plants need bees. And bees make honey.
Just finished making our first batch of HoneyLove California Orange Poppy Seed Packets!
JOIN US – JUNE 14TH !!!
We are presenting an “Urban Beekeeping Pilot Project” to the Mar Vista City Council in the hopes of beginning the process of legalizing beekeeping in Los Angeles – COME OUT AND SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR HONEY BEES!!
Tuesday, June 14 · 7:00pm – 9:00pm
Mar Vista Recreation Center Auditorium
11430 Woodbine Street, Mar Vista CA 90066
New York, Seattle, San Francisco… and most recently SANTA MONICA have legalized beekeeping….
Now we NEED YOUR HELP to get Los Angeles up to speed!
If you can’t make it – you can also email Bill Rosendahl to show your support!
bill.rosendhal [at] lacity [dot] org
WHO: Eric Tourneret
WHAT: “The Bee Photographer”
WHY: “I grew up in a village on a mountainside above Annecy. When I learned about the dying out of the bees, my instinct as a child of the countryside told me something was wrong in our relationship with nature. I chose to commit myself to the bee and pass on the idea of a living nature.”
by Sami Grover, Carrboro
When we spoke to the directors of the Vanishing of the Bees documentary as part of Discovery’s Bees on the Brink efforts, they talked about their delight that cities around the world were recognizing the value of bees in the urban environment. In fact, they told us, bees are often doing better in inner city environments than they are in the countryside where monoculture fields of single crops have become all too commonplace. Nowhere is the renaissance of urban beekeeping more noticeable than in New York City, which only recently lifted its ban on city bees. The video [above] gives a glimpse into the life of an urban rooftop beekeeper in New York City.
Honeybees ‘entomb’ pollen to protect against pesticides
By sealing up cells full of contaminated pollen, bees appear to be attempting to protect the rest of the hive.
Honeybees are taking emergency measures to protect their hives from pesticides, in an extraordinary example of the natural world adapting swiftly to our depredations, according to a prominent bee expert.
Scientists have found numerous examples of a new phenomenon –bees “entombing” or sealing up hive cells full of pollen to put them out of use, and protect the rest of the hive from their contents. The pollen stored in the sealed-up cells has been found to contain dramatically higher levels of pesticides and other potentially harmful chemicals than the pollen stored in neighboring cells, which is used to feed growing young bees.
“This is a novel finding, and very striking. The implication is that the bees are sensing [pesticides] and actually sealing it off. They are recognizing that something is wrong with the pollen and encapsulating it,” said Jeff Pettis, an entomologist with the US Department of Agriculture. “Bees would not normally seal off pollen.”
But the bees’ last-ditch efforts to save themselves appear to be unsuccessful – the entombing behaviour is found in many hives that subsequently die off, according to Pettis. “The presence of entombing is the biggest single predictor of colony loss. It’s a defence mechanism that has failed.” These colonies were likely to already be in trouble, and their death could be attributed to a mix of factors in addition to pesticides, he added…
Bees naturally collect from plants a substance known as propolis, a sort of sticky resin with natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal qualities. It is used by bees to line the walls of their hives, and to seal off unwanted or dangerous substances – for instance, mice that find their way into hives and die are often found covered in propolis. This is the substance bees are using to entomb the cells.
WHO: Post Office Films
WHAT: Bee City
WHERE: New York City
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