Honeybees for the WIN! MVCC voted YES for urban beekeeping. Next up Los Angeles City Council, but for now, we celebrate Thank you for the massive support, none of this would be happening without YOU!!
Seven Billion People Need Bees
“This first week of November (2011) our population surpassed seven billion humans. And in the last week of October (2011) scientists from the University of California at Berkeley irrefutably proved that over one billion temperature sensors registered warming between 1-2 degrees Celsius, in some cases more than three times greater than the IPCCs average of 0.64 degrees Celsius. Humans are forcing the climate by burning carbon-based fuels releasing over 82 million metric tons of greenhouse gases, daily, on our planet.
All life forms are in jeopardy. Our food chain is perilously close to collapsing; yet the lawmakers in Washington regularly ignore this message. My biology and environmental students at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks and I are miffed at why this issue is not front and center in DC…
We all need to be aware of the health and well being of the bees. Because without healthy honey, bumble, stingless and solitary bees there’s no chance that more than seven billion people can thrive especially since the oceans are fished-out and currently feeding, unsustainably, at least a couple billion people, daily — in addition to acidifying (from absorbing rising atmospheric CO2) faster than any time in the last 60 million years…
Surprisingly, bees and humans share a number of similarities. For example, we both require restful and rejuvenating sleep. Sleep deprived bees, just like humans, experience communication problems like finding food and performing an accurate waggle dance to reveal locations of nectar, pollen, water and tree resin. Stressed bees like humans become anxious, depressed and pessimistic; they display emotion-like qualities. Moreover, bees that exhibit a high defensive behavior or optimism are likely to survive a winter rather than perish.
Did you know that humans have been keeping bees in cities for over three thousand years? Bees were kept in the “land of milk and honey” in the Iron Age city of Tel Rehov in the Jordan Valley — the oldest known commercial beekeeping facility in the world. It should then come as no surprise that city councils around the world have recently allowed urban beekeepers to keep hives in Santa Monica, New York, Chicago, London, Melbourne, Tokyo and many other places. In fact, urban beekeepers along with the tremendous support of city dwellers are planting more bee-friendly trees and flowers helping to sustain urban bee populations.
And make no mistake, bees around the globe are dying by the billions from insecticides like neonictinoids, climate-driven mismatches, introduced parasites and diseases, air pollution and habitat loss. In the last four years alone over a quarter trillion honeybees have died prematurely. Of the 100 crop species providing 90 percent of the world’s food — over 74 percent are pollinated by bees…
Help save urban bees — please, do not use herbicides, insecticides, miticides or fungicides in your garden.”
Silence of the Bees (PBS Documentary)
“In the winter of 2006, a strange phenomenon fell upon honeybee hives across the country. Without a trace, millions of bees vanished from their hives, leaving billions of dollars of crops at risk and potentially threatening our food supply. The epidemic set researchers scrambling to discover why honeybees were dying in record numbers — and to stop the epidemic in its tracks before it spread further.”
Ginger-Honey Pumpkin Pie (via epicurious.com)
1 15-ounce can pure pumpkin
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/3 cup honey
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups whipping cream
1 tablespoon finely grated peeled fresh ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
Honey-sweetened whipped cream
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 13-inch round. Transfer to 9-inch deep-dish glass pie dish. Trim overhang to 1/2 inch. Fold overhang under; crimp edges decoratively. Refrigerate 1 hour.
Preheat oven to 375°F. Line crust with foil. Fill with dried beans. Bake until edges begin to brown, about 17 minutes. Remove foil and beans. Bake until golden brown, pressing with back of fork if crust bubbles, about 5 minutes longer. Transfer to rack. Maintain oven temperature.
Whisk pumpkin, sugar, and honey in large bowl. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time. Whisk in 1 1/4 cups cream, ginger, cinnamon, and salt. Pour into crust. Bake pie until set, covering edges with foil collar if browning too fast, about 60 minutes. Cool. (Can be made 6 hours ahead.) Serve at room temperature with whipped cream.
Click here to read more Thanksgiving recipes that support local bees (via Mistress Beek)
Bee Basics (from Bug Girl’s Blog)
“A beautiful publication was recently released by the USDA Forest Service and the Pollinator Partnership:
Bee Basics: An Introduction to Our Native Bees by Beatriz Moisset and Stephen Buchmann.
“The full-color 40 page booklet is jam-packed with information about how representative bees of 3,500 species inhabiting the US and bordering areas make a living, which flowers they visit, whether they nest underground or in hollow stems or wood. The diversity of bees is examined along with notes on their wasp ancestry. The lives of leafcutter, mason, bumble bees, miners and others is explored…. Tips for easy things gardeners, home owners and naturalists can do to protect and conserve bees and their flowers are given. “
It is about as nice an introduction to basic bee biology as you could ask for, with the bonus of beautiful artwork. If you haven’t downloaded your free copy of the PDF, get with the clicking!!”
Mar Vista Recreation Center Auditorium: 11430 Woodbine Street, Mar Vista, CA 90066
Click here to download the agenda (PDF) – We are item 2A on the agenda
JOIN US this SATURDAY as we SWARM LMU!!
FREE film screening and photobooth shenanigans ?
REMEMBER TO WEAR SOME YELLOW AND BLACK!!
Learning to Love the Swarm
Victim of disease and pests, the threatened bee finds a new caretaker in Vancouver’s young and eco-savvy.
“It’s easier than owning a dog,” says Alaina Thebault, East Van gardener and coordinator for the Environmental Youth Alliance (EYA). “But more work than a cat.”
Thebault’s not talking about pet iguanas or even backyard chickens. The next darling of urban agriculture junkies seems to be, well, bees.
“You grow up your whole life being afraid of insects that sting you. I don’t recall ever being stung as a child, but it was always something I was afraid of,” she says. But beginning this year, Thebault’s relationship with the world’s leading pollinators took on a whole new dimension.
“I caught my first swarm back in May,” she explains. “I was at my parent’s house in Chilliwack and my dad found this swarm in the yard.” Faced with a buzzing mass of insects orbiting a queen, Thebault had her first up-close-and-personal encounter with a wild bee colony.
“I was like, ‘Oh crap.’ I had no idea what to do.”
Coached by an experienced colleague over the phone, Thebault took charge of the rogue swarm. “She told me to grab a box and put a little bit of sugar in it. She said, ‘Just be calm.’ I didn’t have anything — no veil, no gloves — I just grabbed this branch, and it was surrounded in this big football of bees.”
While her parents observed in a mild state of shock, Thebault says in that moment she knew she wanted to look after a hive of her own.
“I was like, ‘I’m hooked.’ You know, these things are really special.”
Not many can claim to have maneuvered thousands of live bees with their bare hands. In fact, most people — including Thebault’s own family — would gladly call it crazy. But a little bit of learning has pushed Thebault and dozens more young people like her to think about bees in a new light.
“You might not know this, but bees are incredibly docile when they swarm,” she explains. “They eat as much honey as they can before they leave the hive. They basically gorge themselves, and so they’re incredibly lethargic and harmless.”
For the record, Thebault was not stung once during this entire episode. “Once they swarm, they don’t have any space to protect so they’re not as defensive either,” she adds. “So they’re very easy to work with.”
And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, says Thebault. The more she researched the importance of bees in B.C.’s ecosystems and the threat of colony collapse, the more she wanted to bring the tiny creatures into her own backyard…
Beekeeping: not just for ‘geezers’
In stark contrast to big-time commercial apiaries, urban beekeepers often maintain low-impact organic hives near community gardens. With ecology rather than profit in mind, young people in the city have taken beekeeping into their own hands…
“The commercial industry is still dominated by older farmers but I’ve seen a lot of interest in urban hives,” she adds. Taught at the Means of Production garden in Vancouver’s Strathcona neighbourhood, McKenna’s classes — attended predominantly by 20-something women — show students how to avoid pesticides and antibiotics and employ more sustainable practices.
Garr says he, too, has noticed youth interest in beekeeping grow. “It was geezers mostly,” he jokes about beekeepers’ association meetings in the past. He says attendance at beekeeping functions has jumped to nearly 100 from around 10 in the last couple years. “People are into it now, which was not the case five or eight years ago”…
Mar Vistan Innovators Well Represented at Green Festival L.A.
“Los Angeles’ first ever Green Festival drew thousands of visitors this weekend, and several of the presenters offering up their expertise and tips in sessions came from Mar Vista.
Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa officially opened the weekend festival with a green ribbon-cutting ceremony, and was introduced by festival co-founders, Kevin Danaher of Global Exchange and Alisa Gravitz of Green America.
Speaking to attendees, Villaraigosa welcomed everyone and touted the city’s successful implementation of several clean air and zero waste projects. He also reiterated his commitment to making Los Angeles the greenest city in the country…
Rob and Chelsea McFarland of the Mar Vista-based non-profit conservation organization HoneyLove.org, also spoke at the Sustainable Home and Garden Pavilion on “Urban Beekeeping.”
In their presentation they discussed the main reasons for the decline of the honey bee; why the urban environment is the last refuge of the honey bee; solutions on how people can do their part to help the honeybees; and they gave an update on their efforts to legalize beekeeping in Los Angeles through their initiative in Mar Vista. The couple have been working for six months on a feasibility study to allow beekeeping in R-1 Residential zones in Los Angeles with a possible pilot project in Mar Vista…”
Help us save the honey bees!!
Your contribution directly supports the educational outreach, community action and advocacy efforts to protect the health and well-being of honey bees. HoneyLove is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt organization. Your donation is 100% tax-deductible.