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Tag Archives | backyard garden

ARTICLE: Honeybees as plant ‘bodyguards’ -

“Honeybees are important to plants for reasons that go beyond pollination, according to a new study published in the December 23rd issue of Current Biology, a Cell Press publication. The insects’ buzz also defends plants against the caterpillars that would otherwise munch on them undisturbed.

The researchers, led by Jürgen Tautz of Biozentrum Universität Würzburg, Germany, earlier found that many caterpillars possess fine sensory hairs on the front portions of their bodies that enable them to detect air vibrations, such as the sound of an approaching predatory wasp or honeybee.

“These sensory hairs are not fine-tuned,” Tautz said. “Therefore, caterpillars cannot distinguish between hunting wasps and harmless bees.” If an “unidentified flying object” approaches, generating air vibrations in the proper range, caterpillars stop moving or drop from the plant…

“Our findings indicate for the first time that visiting honeybees provide plants with a totally unexpected advantage,” the researchers said. “They not only transport pollen from flower to flower, but in addition also reduce plant destruction by herbivores.”

…If crops are combined with attractive flowers in such a way that honeybees from nearby beehives constantly buzz around them, it may lead to significantly higher yields in areas with lots of leaf-eating pests—a notion Tautz’s team intends to test. “Our finding may be the start of a totally new biological control method,” he said.”

[click here to read the full post on physorg.com]

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PLEASE SIGN OUR NEW PETITION : Legalize Urban Beekeeping in Los Angeles!!

Atlanta, New York, Seattle, Portland, Denver, Spokane, Chicago, San Francisco, Toronto, Vancouver and most recently Santa Monica have all taken decisive action and legalized urban beekeeping. Los Angeles currently outlaws beekeeping in residential areas, and the city’s policy is to exterminate all feral honey bees. With worldwide bee populations threatened with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and urban beekeeping more popular than ever, this policy needs to change. We believe it to be a necessary and just measure requiring immediate action.

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gardendog:

Solar Beeswax Melter

I have a bunch of beeswax from cut-outs…so what to do? I came up with this design based on a few I’d seen online and was able to pull together most of the material from around the house. The concept is pretty simple – sun heats up metal, melting wax into a trough. 

Seemed to be working well, though I think it needs a full day of sun to fully melt the wax. It got warm enough today to melt the wax into piles, though not warm enough to make it run into the trough. We’ll see tomorrow after it gets full sun all day. 

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