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Tag Archives | plants

Pesticides (from the Ocean Friendly Gardens - book

Pesticides, like other residential flotsam, are swept off our properties during periods of rain and over-irrigation. These pesticides pose a threat to aquatic life and ground water supplies. Yet every landscape has pests: unwanted weeds, bugs, and animals. How you perceive and manage these pests determines, in part, the amount of pesticides swept off your property. A gardener practicing CPR may be more lenient with some pests, may seek less toxic alternatives for others, and may change the composition of their landscape to deter particularly destructive and determined pests.

Listed below are a variety of plants that either repel unwanted bugs, or attract beneficial insects, all of which reduces the need for pesticides.
Yarrow, Ornamental Allium, Chives, Angelica, Southernwood, Wormwood, Borage, Coreopsis, Cilantro, Buckwheat, Garlic, Lavender, Lemon balm, Pennyroyal, Spearmint, Rosemary, Blue Elderberry, Santolina, Mexican Marigold, Marigold

[click here to view the original post on ofg.surfrider.org]

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California Farmers Plant Bee-Friendly Habitat to Bolster Populations

“Farmers in California and other states have begun planting bee-friendly flowers and shrubs to attract bees, whose populations have been severely declining in recent years under a complex set of circumstances. Farmers hope to sustain native bees and strengthen dwindling honey bee populations as well as lower their pollination costs. For many farmers that rely on bees to pollinate their crops, creating safe bee habitat and reducing chemical assaults can help stem the tide of declining pollinator populations…

California farmers are provided seeds for native plants like wild rose, aster, sage, manzanita, and other shrubs and trees to entice bees… The effort comes as honey bees, maintained by beekeepers, and native, or wild, bees are perishing in great numbers. Bees are essential pollinators of about one-third of the U.S. food supply, and they’re especially important in California, the nation’s top producer of fruits and vegetables. This makes the pollinator problem dire in this state, where large farms often grow single crops that rely on pollination and don’t offer bees a varied diet.

The die-off is blamed on colony collapse disorder (CCD), in which all the adult honey bees in a colony suddenly die. The disorder has destroyed honey bee colonies at a rate of about 30 percent per year since it was recognized in 2006, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Before that, about 15 percent of colonies died per year from a variety of pests and diseases. Researchers aren’t sure what causes the disorder, but they suspect a combination of stressors, including pesticides, mites and parasites, and lack of proper nutrition…

Read Beyond Pesticides’ factsheet: “Backyard Beekeeping” on what you can do to boost pollinator populations…”

[click here to read the full article on enewspf.com]

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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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List of crop plants pollinated by bees

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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“Finding a Home” Night at the Mar Vista Community Council
“Rob and Chelsea McFarland spoke for another creature in vital need of a home: bees. Said that a world without bees is a world without food. The best way to protect bees is to give them homes wherever possible. The Council approved a pilot study for their bee program.”
Article by: Andy Shrader / Photo Credit: Roy Persinko

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Attracting Pollinators With Native Plants (pdf)

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Southern California Coastal Pollinator Planting Guide (pdf)

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Life without bees…. 

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