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Tag Archives | bee keeper

Urban Beekeeping’s a ‘Sweet’ Deal—So What’s the Hold Up?


It may be full of potential, but urban beekeeping is a movement that’s still in its infancy in Los Angeles, with many challenges that prevent it from taking off. Cities all over the world are promoting beekeeping as a necessary practice to increase food security and environmental stability. In fact, beekeeping is so hot, even Michelle Obama has christened the White House garden with two healthy hives. So what’s the hold up, LA?
 
From a social perspective, how can we dispel the fear that has long overshadowed the bees’ reputation: the dreaded beesting? And from a political perspective, how do you legalize urban beekeeping in a city that disallows it and instead maintains a policy to exterminate all wild honey bees? 
 
Rob and Chelsea MacFarland think they’ve figured out the answers to these questions, and have set out to eliminate these barriers with their organization, HoneyLove. They believe that the city is actually the last refuge of the honeybee, since our home gardens, unlike farms in rural areas, are generally free of pesticides. Urban beekeeping is thriving in cities across the U.S., from New York to San Francisco, but is relatively new in Los Angeles. And it’s a shame because unlike most urban areas in the country, there is year-round availability of pollen and nectar for them to feed on in the City of Angels. 
 
Despite the hospitable habitat, urban beekeeping is still illegal in LA—and misinformation about the danger of “killer bees” means most people aren’t rushing to put on a bee suit. So in order to help it take off, HoneyLove is focusing its efforts on the legal matter, petitioning to legalize urban beekeeping in Los Angeles. And when they aren’t meeting with community councils and petitioning the city (a hearing date will be set this month), they are educating the wee ones, pushing the idea that bees are a critical part of the ecosystem—and not something to fear. 
 
I had a chance to catch up with Rob, co-founder of HoneyLove. He says the main issue is that people associate anything that is black and yellow with bees; yet it’s the wasp—not the honeybee—that is likely to sting at the picnic table. Wasps are aggressive and omnivorous, whereas honeybees are vegetarian and peaceful, just defensive. Unfortunately, people are likely to call an exterminator if they come across a hive in their yard or compost bin, when they should actually call HoneyLove to rescue those busy bees. 
 
And in case you’re wondering why this all matters, don’t let their small size fool you. Honeybees pollinate one-third of U.S. agriculture, from avocados to berries to broccoli, and they’re dying rapidly.  With worldwide bee populations threatened with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and urban beekeeping more popular than ever, both the policies and the misconceptions around bees need to change. 
 
You can learn more and sign the petition at honeylove.org; and follow HoneyLove on GOOD.
 
Photo courtesy of HoneyLove.org
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Happy Halloween HoneyLovers ?

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beespace

Undergraduate Thesis by Stephanie Newcomb
Project Advisor: Dale Clifford

Beespace is the technical term to describe the space for movement in a Langstroth beehive which is between 3/8” to 1/4”.

“According to Michael Pollan, in his book the Botany of Desire, he places the hypotheses that humans have co-evolved with plants and that maybe instead of humans domesticating the plants for their benefit, it has been the plants that have allured the human for their greatest desire: guarantee their own survival. Through the history of the coevolution between bees and humans there is an understanding of the levels of control, the domestication of the species through its architecture. My intent is to speculate on a cohabitation of humans and bees through a residential architecture. Given the current state of the coevolution, there is a stress not only on the bee population but also on the dependency of the bee. In the last few years the bees have been introduced into urban and suburban environments where it has been proven to be a better places for the bees health.”

[click here to read the full thesis]

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ORIGINAL PAPER: Honeybees can discriminate between Monet and Picasso paintings

by Wen Wu, Antonio M. Moreno, Jason M. Tangen and Judith Reinhard
via JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE PHYSIOLOGY


Abstract

Honeybees (Apis mellifera) have remarkable visual learning and discrimination abilities that extend beyond learning simple colours, shapes or patterns. They can discriminate landscape scenes, types of flowers, and even human faces. This suggests that in spite of their small brain, honeybees have a highly developed capacity for processing complex visual information, comparable in many respects to vertebrates. Here, we investigated whether this capacity extends to complex images that humans distinguish on the basis of artistic style: Impressionist paintings by Monet and Cubist paintings by Picasso. We show that honeybees learned to simultaneously discriminate between five different Monet and Picasso paintings, and that they do not rely on luminance, colour, or spatial frequency information for discrimination. When presented with novel paintings of the same style, the bees even demonstrated some ability to generalize. This suggests that honeybees are able to discriminate Monet paintings from Picasso ones by extracting and learning the characteristic visual information inherent in each painting style. Our study further suggests that discrimination of artistic styles is not a higher cognitive function that is unique to humans, but simply due to the capacity of animals—from insects to humans—to extract and categorize the visual characteristics of complex images.

[click here to view the original paper via springerlink.com]

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Team HoneyLoveThe World Dodgeball Society’s Halloween Spooctacular Costumed Tourney!! 

Yay Bees ?!!!

*If you want to play on Team HoneyLove in our next tournament —> email us!!

[click here to view the full photo album]

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Installing a Swarm Box [via Gardenerd.com]

“As you may know, bees are responsible for pollinating 1 out of every 4 bites of food we eat, so attracting bees to your garden is a really good idea. One way to do it is to put up a swarm box.

Swarm boxes give bees an attractive place to call home. When their hive grows too large, the queen will take some of the bees and leave in search of new digs. If they choose to inhabit your swarm box, they can then be transferred to a proper hive and voila! you’ve got bees.

Inside the swarm box was a place to hang a few starter frames. We were instructed to place a couple cotton swabs with lemongrass oil on top of the frames at the rear of the box. After drawing a line of bees wax across the upper rung of each frame, we placed the bait and closed up the box…

We placed a water dish nearby, because bees need a water source (who knew?). Now we wait and watch for curious creatures to investigate our new bee hotel.”

[Click here to view the full post on Gardenerd.com]

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WATCH: “HoneyLove” 
Directed by Melanie Lim and Ryan Bautista 

Awarded FIRST PLACE at the Public Interest Pictures Non-Profit Film Festival:
http://publicinterestpics.org/film-festival/

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ARTICLE: Thousands Flock to Mar Vista Community Fall Festival

In addition to small business owners, there were a variety of non-profits on hand, including HoneyLove

“We educate and inspire new, urban beekeepers,” explained HoneyLove director Ashley Fontenot. 

She and HoneyLove founder Chelsea McFarland gave away California poppy seeds and did temporary tattoos of honeybees to also try to connect with young children who stopped by the booth with their parents. 

“This year, we got our 501c3 status, and we’re out here gaining more local support,” McFarland said. “We’re expanding in terms of our outreach.”

[click here to read the full article via venice.patch.com]

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Tonight HoneyLove.org was awarded 1ST PLACE at the Public Interest Pictures 48hr Non-Profit Film Festival ?!!! YAY BEES!!! 

Filmmakers: Melanie Lim & Ryan Bautista 

Stay tuned… we will post the film on our YouTube Channel soon!!

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WATCH: The importance of bees
[via tve.org]

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