VIDEO: Cultivating bees on the rise in New Jersey
VIDEO: Cultivating bees on the rise in New Jersey
“Not just for farm folk these days, keeping bees is becoming a popular urban activity.
In fact, as more big cities legalize beekeeping — especially with New York’s much-publicized reversal of its urban beekeeping ban in 2010 — and with growing concerns about food safety, long-distance transportation of food, and awareness of the importance of pollination, small-scale beekeeping on city roof tops and in suburban backyards… urban beekeeping is all the buzz!
In addition to the environmental and nutritional benefits to keeping bees (whether you want to pollinate your vegetable garden for greater harvest, or produce your own sweet natural honey, or both), experienced beekeepers will tell you there’s a “spiritual” benefit to keeping honey bees.
The comforting hum and orderly activity of a well-functioning colony of Apis Mellifera, and the remarkable sense of being part of a centuries-old tradition of insect husbandry – well, there’s just no better fix for our stressed-out busy modern lifestyle!”
“Honeybees play a vital role in many areas of our lives – they pollinate our crops and medicinal plants – but their population has decreased by 30% since 2008. Could our towns and cities now provide them with a safe haven?
Major cities around the world such as London, New York, Hong Kong and Paris are encouraging bees to set up home in the city. Rooftops, small urban gardens and even balconies are providing potential safe-havens for honeybees, our newest and, in many ways, most-important urban dwellers.
The future of mankind is dependent on the survival of the bee.
Honeybees are responsible for pollinating 80% of our food crops worldwide, therefore risks to their health threaten our own food security. Many medicines, an enormous part of our textile industry and, of course, perfumes and cosmetics also rely on flowers and plants that are pollinated by bees.
In short we have the honeybee to thank for the basic components of our daily lives, from the food we eat and the drugs we need, to the clothes we wear – and that’s without beginning to consider items of luxury.
However, the honeybee population has decreased by 30% since 2008 and the reasons for their poor health are multifaceted. Today the rural environment poses severe health risks to bees through intensive farming methods and the use of pesticides.
“Mono crop” farming means that many bees now have a “mono pollen diet”. This could be detrimental to their health as pollen provides bees with protein; as each pollen variety contains different nutrients that are needed to maintain good health, missing out on certain nutrients leaves bees vulnerable to diseases.
Bees that miss out on a balanced diet can also become more susceptible to parasites, such as the varroa mite, or colony collapse disorder, which is believed to be caused by a combination of fungal and viral infections.
Such threats mean the honeybee could potentially have a better chance of survival in urban environments.
City living potentially provides a rich and varied source of pollen that gives bees all the nutrients and enzymes they require for their good health.
Bees that live in the city may also benefit from new kinds of beehive designs that have been created specifically for urban bees.
This growth in the urban honeybee population, and the need for it to be encouraged, calls for not only new type of homes which are suitable for beekeeping, but also a complete re-examination of our relationship with honeybees where they live beside us and we welcome their presence.”
Questions for HoneyLove from the 2nd graders at Wildwood School in Mar Vista:
Are pesticides bad for bees?
How long does a queen bee live?
How do you raise a baby bee?
Why do bees buzz?
What do bees eat?
What is their life-cycle?
Do they go through metamorphosis?
Why are the bees dying?
How are the bees dying?
How do bees make their hives?
How long do bees live?
How do you take a bee out of a yard?
What tools do you use?
How do you keep them from running away?
How do you know if they are your bees?
Why are people killing bees?
How do bees make honey?
What types of bees sting?
What eats bees?
What time of the day do bees go to work?
Where are beehives located?
If the beekeepers have questions, who do they ask?
Do all bees really die if they sting you?
How do beekeepers keep from getting stung?
How fast do bee wings move?
How many types of bees are there?
Who is their enemy?
Does every bee have a hive?
Is there a king bee?
What plants do bees like most?
How big can bees get?
How many bees can there be in one hive?
What do you do if a bee stings you?
How much nectar can one bee collect?
Why do you use a steamer?
Who makes baby bees?
What’s your favorite kind of honey?
What’s your favorite kind of bee?
and my favorite…
Why do bees have fuzzy tummies?
BACKYARD BUZZ URBAN BEEKEEPING
“Urban farming is becoming more and more a part of food culture in Vancouver, and beehives are popping up alongside backyard and community plots. What with the important role bees play in gardening – that would be pollination, for the uninitiated – this makes perfect sense. Of course, beekeeping isn’t exactly as accessible to a first timer as planting a row of peas.
Enter Melissa Cartwright and Backyard Buzz. Working with her elementary-school classmates and the Inner City Farms project that has them transforming backyards around Vancouver into small-scale organic farms, Melissa installed beehives in a couple of the yards.”
“A few days ago I visited a friend of mine who runs a farm on the outskirts of Nairobi. Su Kahumbu is an organic farmer who does amazing work with farmers across Kenya promoting sustainable agriculture and innovation…
One of the crops growing at her beautiful model farm are raspberries.
These delicious fruits are one of my favourite desserts… And of course in order to have raspberries on the table you need to have raspberry bushes. The raspberry bushes have flowers that need to be pollinated in order for the beautiful and yummy fruit to develop…
Raspberry flowers are composite flowers – which means that they are actually made up of many tiny individual flowers all joined together.
In order for a flower to set fruit, it needs to be pollinated. On Su’s farm these free services are provided to her raspberry bushes by several different kinds of bees. One of the most common pollinators is the honeybee…
As these are composite flowers, every single tiny individual flower, called a floret, needs to be visited and gently dusted with pollen by a bee. Otherwise there will be no fruits produced.
…The quality, shape, flavour and size of the raspberry fruit are all directly tied to the efficiency of the pollinators. Too little pollen and the fruit is pale, small and not very sweet. It takes many visits by many bees to make a fruit round and sweet..
It is the actions of all these bees who make the delicious raspberries happen!
Please think of the bees that put the food on your table next time you enjoy some raspberries for breakfast or dessert…”
Now, Mumbai tunes into urban bee-keeping buzz
Soon, Colaba and Capitol Hill could have something in common. The city is the latest to join the elite company of London, Paris, San Francisco, Washington, Toronto and Chicago, among others, by embracing the trend of urban bee-keeping.
For the first time in India, an urban bee-keeping training program is being conducted at different locations in the city by Under The Mango Tree (UTMT), an NGO. “The need for such a program arose when we realized that there is little awareness, especially in urban India, about bees and their crucial role in the environment,” said Sujana Krishnamoorthy, program head, UTMT. “Bees are nature’s most prolific pollinators and a way for plants to continue their lineage. A majority of the fresh fruits and vegetables we eat rely on pollination by bees,” said Gurushabd Khalsa, coordinator for the program.
Technical experts from Uttarakhand have been roped in to conduct the training. “We will use apis cerana indica bees, which are locally available and most suitable for Mumbai’s environment. The bees’ home will be a box made of wood and has frames where the bees build their honey comb,” Khalsa explained.
Los Angeles Councilmember Bill Rosendahl addressing the crowd last Saturday at HoneyLove’s National Honey Bee Awareness Day Event!!
Where: Mar Vista Public Library, 12006 Venice Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90066
Date: August 20, 2011
Join us at a FREE Mar Vista Screening of Vanishing of the Bees! Join bee lovers at the August 20th screening at the Mar Vista Library as we wear yellow and black – feel free to dress up like a beekeeper or even a bee! Come get your picture taken on HoneyLove’s HUGE YELLOW CARPET!!
**Sustainable yellow carpet sponsored by bentleyprincestreet.com
2-3pm Photobooth Flashmob Outreach
3-5:30pm Film Introduction & Screening
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