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Tag Archives | pollinators

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The City of Los Angeles will be spending up to $400,000 to re-sod their lawn….
Please take 30 seconds to sign the petition that asks them to plant sustainable landscaping instead of grass!!

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Hotels get into beekeeping business- LA Times

Upscale hotels are using on-site beehives to bring locally sourced honey to guests and to save dwindling colonies of honeybees…

From Honolulu to Paris and from Vancouver, Canada, to the Florida Keys, honeybees have taken up residence on hotel ledges, rooftops and balconies and are busy doing what they do best: pollinating plants and making honey.

The hives are part of a beekeeping movement that has a two-fold purpose: to save the species, which has been decimated by colony collapse disorder; and to bring hyper-local honey to guests staying at these hotels.

Urban beekeeping has been growing in popularity for several years. Opéra Garnier, the Paris opera house, has kept hives humming on the roof for more than a quarter of a century.

The Obamas hopped on the bandwagon earlier this year when they served White House Honey Ale, home-brewed by their chefs with honey from the White House beehive.

But the loudest buzz comes from the hospitality industry, where hoteliers have found on-site beehives another prong in the movement to localized sourcing. Hotels are adding beehives to their properties to produce organic honey for use in a variety of areas, from spa treatments to cocktails.

At the Montage Deer Valley in Park City, Utah — the Beehive State — dandelion and lavender honeys are popular and are served at Buzz, the resort coffee shop (montagedeervalley.com).

Eighteen Fairmont Hotels have added apiaries, mostly on rooftops. At the Fairmont Washington D.C., the hives are named Casa Blanca, Casa Bella and Casa Bianca; at the Fairmont Newport Beach, executive chef Chad Blunston works with beekeepers to extract honey for use in Bambu Restaurant; and at the Fairmont San Francisco, 50,000 honeybees produce honey to be used at the afternoon tea service.

Last month I stayed at the Fairmont Waterfront in Vancouver, British Columbia, where I could look down from my 20th-floor room and see six hives — and about half a million bees — in the center of a third-floor balcony herb garden. The bees quietly went about their business within 20 feet of the hotel pool and within 50 feet of the mammoth Vancouver Convention Centre. Meanwhile, I snacked on a selection of the hotel’s delicate honey truffles, Bee’s Knees. In the dining room, I found a small jar of honey on the table at breakfast.

Despite the interest in saving bees, their numbers continue to dwindle.

In March, the United Nations sounded the alarm, seeking international efforts to save bee colonies, which have declined as much as 85% in some areas, particularly the industrialized Northern Hemisphere, according to a report by the U.N.’s environmental agency.

The causes: pesticides, air pollution, parasites, the loss of flowering plants and a decline in beekeepers in Europe.

“The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st century,” said Achim Steiner, executive director of the United Nations’ Environment Programme.

“The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the world’s food, over 70 are pollinated by bees.”

In the greater scheme of things, the hoteliers’ beekeeping efforts probably aren’t “a blip on the radar for honey production or pollination input,” said Kim Flottum, editor of Bee Culture magazine.

“But the promotional value far outweighs the practical application value,” he added. From the standpoint of the beekeeping community, the hotel trend is appropriate because “it keeps honey bees in front of people all the time, and featured in a very positive light.”

The bottom line, Flottum said: “The hotel wins, the bees win, beekeeping and beekeepers win, the local flora thrive, folks who never thought about where their food comes from get a little insight into that side of the business. It’s all good.”

John Russo, the beekeeper at Carmel Valley Ranch, couldn’t agree more. He runs a program there called the Bee Experience that introduces guests to beekeeping. “When people get enthused about the bees, and want to have their own hives, I feel like I’ve made a few more converts,” he said. “That’s a terrific feeling.”

[click here to read the original article on latimes.com]

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http://i.cdn.turner.com/cnn/.element/apps/cvp/3.0/swf/cnn_416x234_embed.swf?context=embed&videoId=living/2011/11/08/urban-beekeeping-nyc.cnn

VIDEO: City-dwellers swarm to urban beekeeping

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Article by N’ann Harp:

“When early colonists first sailed to the New World in the 1620s, they brought along their cherished European honey bees, introducing Apis mellifera to the North American continent. Here, while sowing the seeds of statehood, our pioneer forebears continued to practice the customs of rural England, where honey bees had long been treated as family members. “Telling the bees” about births, marriages and deaths and including them in special occasions was part of the fabric of family life.

“Today, small-scale, organic beekeeping is making a timely comeback, with renewed interest in and respect for these lost arts from a simpler time…

Humans share with honey bees an ancient, intimate and symbiotic relationship of mutual benefit. Although the fossil records indicate that honey bees were thriving on the planet for an estimated 70 million years prior to the appearance of man, human beings and these highly-evolved social insects quickly developed an enduring affinity for each other.

Our interconnectedness goes back at least 10,000 years, when humans began to record their honey-hunting activities in charcoal and chalk pictographs on cave walls. Honey was a valuable food source for our ancestors and they collected it avidly.

As the hunter-gatherer societies settled into self-sustaining family groups, small garden plots became a familiar center of agriculture and social stability. Honey bees adapted to the increasingly organized agricultural system, attracted to the flowering fruit and vegetable crops that sustained their own hive and honey production needs. In return, the bees enhanced pollination and increased harvest yields for their human partners.

Over the intervening millennia, this interspecies friendship has evolved into the practices of modern beekeeping, generating dozens of crop-specific industries. Roughly 100 of the world’s favorite food crops are now directly reliant upon honeybee pollination, which translates to about 40 percent of the human diet.

Today, however, the very capacity for cross-species cooperation that gave rise to the human-honeybee relationship has also given rise to a host of unintended consequences, including a phenomenon dubbed Colony Collapse Disorder, in which resident honey bees simply vanish from hives.

Something is seriously wrong and scientists are stumped. Some observers call the situation the “perfect storm” of circumstances, which includes the proliferation of pesticide and chemical use in mono-crop production; poor queen breeding practices; loss of genetic diversity; immune system weaknesses; global trade expansion, introducing alien pests against which local bees haven’t had time to develop resistance; mystery viruses; and the usual pests, threats and challenges of sustaining healthy, resilient colonies that can produce strong queen bees.

Hope for saving the world’s hardest-working pollinator may lie in finding ways to dramatically increase honeybee research funding, which is being decreased in some states, due to budget cuts…

A powerfully positive alternative action, encouraged by under-funded researchers, is for private individuals to take up small-scale beekeeping.

“An army of amateur beekeepers could become part of an eventual solution by helping to collect field data in a wide array of microclimates and conditions,” suggests David Tarpy, Ph.D., the state apiculturist and an associate professor of entomology at North Carolina State University…”

Click here to read the full article by N’ann Harp on voflnatural.com

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WE JUST REACHED 700 ONLINE SIGNATURES!! Please help us to legalize beekeeping!!
http://www.change.org/petitions/help-legalize-beekeeping-in-mar-vista 
(you do not need to live in Los Angeles to sign – please pass it on!!)

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Un-BEE-lievable: NYC Fines Man $2,000 For Not Watering His Hive

Click here to read the article on cbslocal.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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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 20sThe 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.

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Backwards Beekeepers: Hollywood Hills cut-out

Backwards Beekeepers: Hollywood Hills cut-out

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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 

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