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Tag Archives | sustainability

“Bay Area’s ‘urban’ bees like native, diverse plantings”

By Lou Fancher via mercurynews.com

Bay Area's 'urban' bees

Dr. Gordon Frankie said native bees have preferences, and knowing what they like can improve the health of your garden.

“If they have a choice, they’ll go after native plants,” said Frankie, a professor and research entomologist at UC Berkeley. He and Steve Gentry, a founding member of the Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association, teamed up for a recent Lafayette Library Foundation Science Cafe presentation.

Frankie’s point — that local gardeners hoping to attract Agapostemon texanus or Xylocopa varipuncta, two local native bee species, should include native plants in their gardening plans. And mulching should be done lightly because 70 percent of all native bees nest in the ground and can’t burrow through materials heavier than soil.

A project at Frog Hollow Farm and other Brentwood farms is demonstrating the impact of placing native plants between crop rows.

Urban areas are ideal for bees, Frankie claimed, because of the diverse food supply they offer. The Oxford Tract Bee Garden he and his team of researchers planted allows them to monitor and categorize bees’ attraction to native and nonnative plants. A 10-city survey across California is providing a detailed picture of the bee population. San Diego, he said, is the worst city for attracting bees.

“It’s their gardening culture: No one is using diverse, floral plants,” Frankie said.

On the other end of the spectrum, a 30-by-30-foot garden in Ukiah had 68 bee species, and Santa Cruz is a hotbed beehive community. (The Bay Area is fifth on that list.)

Gentry, known by local residents as “Bee Man” — although he is considering an upgrade to “Emperor of Bees” — began the popular event’s 60-minute talk with a bucket.

“All of these products from bees are helpful to humans,” he declared, pulling hunks of beeswax and jars of honey, pollen and actual bees from the container. “Their history goes back thousands of years.”

Within five minutes, Gentry had advocated (beeswax is used for lubricants in cosmetics, candles, wax-resist dyeing and food preserving), acknowledged (“We have some hindrance about eating insects, but watch a bear break into a bee’s nest. He’ll eat the whole thing,” he said), and advertised (pollen is the new superfood, with protein, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, according to Gentry).

He also shared a 30-year-old epiphany he had while watching a black bear and her two cubs demolish a rotted tree while feasting on termites.

“I wasn’t the first person to see natural things. Forty thousand years ago, hunter-gatherers watched bears, bees and insects, too. The timeline is long,” he said.

Skipping through honeybee history, from Middle Eastern origins to monks in monasteries needing dependable light sources to small farmers before World War I who kept just enough hives to feed their families and pollinate their crops, Gentry landed on the contemporary world’s bee dilemmas.

“Industrialization changed farms. They became bigger, and now, large pollination contracts and commercial beekeeping are driving the business. (More than a million) hives are brought into the central Southern California valley for pollinating almonds each year.”

Frankie, whose business is less about keeping bees and more about watching them, asked the Science Cafe audience of gardeners, beekeepers and general science fans a series of questions.

Delighting at stumping his listeners, he said 1,600 bee species were attracted to California’s 5,000 flowering plants, drawing a hefty percentage of the United States’ 4,000 total bee species.

“Notice, you are not on their list,” he said. “Bees are vegetarians. They’re not after you or your burgers. Wasps are the ‘meat bees’ after your burgers.”

Generating a local buzz
The University of California Press will publish Gordon Frankie’s findings in a forthcoming book, “Native Bees and Their Flowers in Urban California Gardens.” Bee appreciators who don’t want to wait can find information at http://nature.berkeley.edu/urbanbeegardens/index.html and diablobees.org.

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HoneyLove featured on Valley View News

Valley View News
*HoneyLove story begins @ 25:58

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HoneyLove featured in “Gardening for Geeks” book!

Learn more here: http://gardenerd.com/gardening-for-geeks/index.html

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Legalize Urban Beekeeping in Los Angeles!!

Legalize Urban Beekeeping

The time has come for everyone to rally – LETS DO THIS!!

STEP 1: Click here to SIGN THE PETITION!!

STEP 2: EMAIL a letter of support to LA City Council!! 
(Click above to view a sample email)

Lorax

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The Harmony of Bees

Harmony Of Bees
Thanks to Donna Strong for donating a copy of her “Harmony of Bees” CD to our HoneyLove Lending Library!

Description:

Bees bring the sweetness of the flowers to us, making the world more fertile and abundant. This bee recording gives us access to sounds of nature that few people will ever hear–the high hum of bees busily pollinating a field full of flowering lavender. It is magical.

This recording has been named The Harmony of Bees; Healing Notes of Nature based on the comments of an Ecuadorian shaman who sleeps atop a hive because he finds the bee sounds so healing. The sound of the bees in a summer field of lavender is a unique experience of hearing a peak moment of pollination in action.

We humans have a new art form to cultivate–appreciating the beauty of the bees as they so productively apply themselves to the work of pollinating. Just as the plants transform sunlight, water and earthly elements into green life and pollen grains of reproductive abundance; the bees continue this caravan of nature’s alchemy through their vital work of pollination.

Bees are threatened by habitat changes, pesticide usage, and stressful commercial practices of trucking them over long distances and feeding them junk food such as sugar water, while expecting them to pollinate and produce honey without the food that nature has intended for millennia–their own honey and pollen.

This recording has been made to increase awareness of these endangered pollinators while helping us regenerate ourselves with this unique healing sound of nature. As you listen to this recording, I invite you to begin a new way to listen and heighten your perception of the bees in a kind of ‘moving meditation’ as it were, of being fully present in the moment as they move in and out of the lavender flowers in the field.

For more information:
www.facebook.com/harmony.bees
info@harmonyofbees.com
Donna Strong @714.235.7346
Available through CD Baby: http://cdbaby.com/cd/donnastrong

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HoneyLovin today @MuirRanch w/ @Cocoxochitl

Mark your calendar folks because today was a big day…
Say hello to HoneyLove’s 1st School Garden with Bees!! Yay Muir Ranch!!

HoneyLove at Muir Ranch  HoneyLove at Muir Ranch

HoneyLove at Muir Ranch

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3rd Sunday Mentoring

Another bee-utiful day up at the HoneyLove Sanctuary!
Join us next month! Learn more here: Meetup | Facebook

3rd Sunday Mentoring 02/13

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HoneyLove Tea Table

We are making a sweet tea table for our office from upcycled top bar hives!! HoneyLove Tea Table

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WATCH: Making a bee hotel

An animation showing you how easy it is to make a bee hotel. These will encourage solitary bees to your garden which are brilliant pollinators! Do it!

Filmed on a Nikon 300s by Alex Lanchester over 4 days in a dark shed!

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Happy St. Gobnait’s Day!

St. Gobnait

St. Gobnait – Patron Saint of Bees and Beekeepers
The tall statue pictured above is of St. Gobnait in southwest Ireland (erected in the 1950s).
She appears with a nun’s habit standing on a bee hive surrounded by bees. [Featured art by sleekitbeastie]

 

“Saint Gobnait’s Day is Feb 11th is still celebrated by the community of Ballyvourney, in County Cork. During a Mass at the well, everyone takes water from it.

Gobnait (Gobnet, Gobhnet, Gobnaid, Gobnata, or Gobnatae), was born in County Clare, Ireland, sometime in the 5th or 6th century. Gobnait is Irish for Abigail (“Brings Joy”). As the patron saint of beekeepers, her name also has been anglicized as Deborah, meaning ‘Honey Bee’…

One of the miracles attributed to Saint Gobnait was that she protected a parish by unleashing a swarm of bees… She had a strong relationship with bees and used the properties of honey in the treatment of illness and healing of wounds.”

[via nbba.wordpress.com]

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