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‘Citizen Scientists’ To Help Gauge Wild Bee Population
Scientist Gretchen LeBuhn is trying to save the nation’s wild bee population. But to achieve her goal, she’s resorting to some unconventional means, namely the help of ordinary citizens from across the country.
On Saturday 100,000 ‘citizen scientist’ volunteers will spend about 15 minutes counting the number of bees that visit “lemon queen” sunflowers they’ve planted following instructions on LeBuhn’s website,www.greatsunflower.com. Participants will monitor the flowers for bees twice monthly through the end of the summer, uploading the information into a central database.
Studies have shown that pollinators affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, but climate change and a little-understood phenomenon called “colony collapse disorder” are threatening honey bees, a key pollinator. Though researchers have reported a drastic decline in the populations of domesticated honeybees since at least 2006, the statistics on wild bees have remained more elusive.
LeBuhn hopes the new data will help scientists identify where native bee populations are doing well and where they’re doing poorly. Hopefully, the hundreds of thousands of sunflowers planted by volunteers will have the added benefits of providing wild bees with an enriched and expanded habitat.
“We’re really leveraging science dollars to do a survey we could never do using traditional methods,” said LeBuhn, an associate professor at San Francisco State University. “It would just be incredibly cost prohibitive. I was thinking of sending my grad students up to Napa [County] and having them count bees,” she added. “But to do that at any bigger scale than one county would be impossible. So it’s amazing to get all these people participating.”
Participants don’t need to know whether the bee they’re watching is a bumblebee, a carpenter bee or a honeybee, LeBuhn said, though a guide available on her website can help with identification.
There are more than 4,000 different species of native bees in North America, according to Science Daily, but many of them have already disappeared. LeBuhn says that of the nine species of bumblebees known to live in the San Francisco area, researchers have only been able to find four of them in recent years.
People fear that if there’s a beehive on their rooftop, they’ll be stung… [but] Honeybees are interested in water, pollen and nectar… The real danger is the skewed public perception of the danger of honeybees.
Bug Girl writes:
I love books, and I love words, so I was excited to find an website that specializes in breaking down the origins of common catch phrases. Today’s phrase: The Bee’s Knees.
According to that site (and a few other sources), references to “bee knees” occasionally occurred in the early 1900?s: ’Bee’s knees’ began to be used in early 20th century America. Initially, it was just a nonsense expression that denoted something that didn’t have any meaningful existence…..That meaning is apparent in a spoof report in the New Zealand newspaper The West Coast Times in August 1906, which listed the cargo carried by the SS Zealandia as ‘a quantity of post holes, 3 bags of treacle and 7 cases of bees’ knees’…… Zane Grey’s 1909 story, The Shortstop, has a city slicker teasing a yokel by questioning him about make-believe farm products:
“How’s yer ham trees? Wal, dog-gone me! Why, over in Indianer our ham trees is sproutin’ powerful. An’ how about the bee’s knees? Got any bee’s knees this Spring?”
Pretty much everything I’ve read, though, agrees that the likely popularization of the phrase really occurred in the 1920?s, the period of the flappers. ”Bee’s knees” is part of a fashion for nonsense rhyming slang from the Roaring 20s. The common feature of the slang expressions was mention of an animal part with some alliteration thrown in. Some of my favorites: ”elephant’s adenoids”, “caterpillar’s kimono”, “gnat’s elbows”, “kipper’s knickers”, and “eel’s ankle”. You have probably heard another phrase that’s survived from that period: ”The Cat’s Pajamas.”
All of these phrases generally translate to what, today, would be said as “Awesome!” (Although I suspect there is a newer word for that, but I’m just too old and un-hip to know about it.)
The phrase occurs in print in several places in the US in 1922; Newspapers published “Flapper Dictionaries” to explain the strange and baffling lingo of those damn kids. There is a reference to the term in a Flapper Dictionary from Missouri in 1922; The Newark Advocate, (Ohio) in a 1922 piece printed:
“That’s what you wonder when you hear a flapper chatter in typical flapper language. ‘Apple Knocker,’ for instance. And ‘Bees Knees.’ That’s flapper talk. This lingo will be explained in the woman’s page under the head of Flapper Dictionary.”
Alas, while the concept of the phrase referring to the collection of pollen on actual bees’ knees is appealing, it appears not to be the case.
If you want to have a fun 20?s flashback, here’s some Harold Lloyd driving around NYC.
Solace by James Zanoni
Shot on a Canon 7D. Red Rock Micro Custom Rig | Canon 50mm 1.4 | 17-40mm 4 | 100mm 2.8 macro
Today we started setting up a “Bee Nirvana” next to this private bass pond!
The space was generously donated to us by Dr. Robert Cassar to create a
HoneyLove Sanctuary for the Rescued Honeybees of Los Angeles.
Thank you Jeremy for the introduction… and thank you Adam for your help!
….stay tuned for more details and photos!
“Honeylove, written by our dear friends Rob and Chelsea McFarland is another other blog I’m loving these days. Are these two adorable or what? Not only are they incredibly good looking, they are both multi-talented and super sweet. Rob and Chelsea post interesting bee related facts, videos and cute pictures on Honeylove almost daily…”
From an old beekeeping book…How to Keep Bees and Sell Honey:
“This is probably the finest bee hive in the world. It was built by E. S. Williams, St. Petersburg, Florida, who spent 6 months constructing it. It holds two standard 10 frame hive bodies and a bottom board. The second story lifts off for hive manipulations. It is wired for 110 volt current, has window shades and curtains. The front plastic doors swing easily and fit snugly. There is a flag pole, also a sign, that is not pictured here. This has been displayed at the Kentucky and Florida State Fairs. It is unusual items like this that make a few fair exhibits stand out.”
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