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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.

Click here to read the full article by by Lucia Graves on huffingtonpost.com

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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.

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HoneyLove.org

Please sign our petition online to legalize urban beekeeping in Los Angeles!
http://www.change.org/petitions/help-legalize-beekeeping-in-mar-vista

You do not need to live in Los Angeles to sign! Thanks!!!

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How doth the little busy bee 
Improve each shining hour 
And gather honey all the day 
From every opening flower!

Isaac Watts

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Photo by teetooblog.blogspot.com

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WHO: Laguna Bees
WHAT: NEW BEEKEEPERS! 
WHERE: Laguna Beach

from lagunabees blog:

Day 1- Beekeepers Extraordinaire (well at least we like to think so)

Rob and Chelsea went last night and rescued our new swarm from a pine tree over looking the water in Pacific Palisades. Rob captured them in a one foot square cardboard box and had duct taped the flaps so that the bees were locked in for the night. 

Rob and I nailed and glued the 2 hive boxes and 20 frames and then we put on our beekeeper suits. The photo below is of us – just before Rob cut open the cardboard and got the bees settled into their new hive. It’s on the deck facing north so they can “enjoy” the afternoon sun and cool sea breezes. 

The colorful gardens below have a huge variety of native plants and trees including sage, lavender, mint, goldenrod, daisies, bougainvillea, pine, yucca, olive and many more. 

Leslie and I hope our transplanted bees like their new home… can’t imagine its TOO hard to adapt from their ocean view in Pacific Palisades to their brand new home overlooking the ocean in Laguna Beach. Rob says we have a 50% chance they’ll stay. He said it usually takes about three weeks to know…. personally I think they already know that they have found “the good life”.

https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-5JzZyTtH6oo/TezhYgYOf8I/AAAAAAAATCg/qn2sdMz6Cf4/tumblr_lmc5ozolOW1ql40bmo1_500.jpeg

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