Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Busy Bees and Honey Bees

First to the busy bee. That would be me. This week is absolutely crazy and, I am sorry to say, there probably won't be any more posts for the rest of the week. Here are some of the things on my plate:

- Finishing up the first tranche of companies for my other blog: The Good, the Bad and the Tacky. (It is part of a project I need to finish for school.)
- Getting ready for my parents' visit for Graduation this weekend (read: serious house cleaning).
- Getting ready for a round of second interviews (cross your fingers).
- Getting ready for an awesome community yard sale on Saturday morning in Bloomingdale. We will have all kinds of goodies. I will be selling some vintage clothing (I will definitely post some pix later this week - there is a bright yellow suit and a gorgeous tailored dress-coat with flowers all over it), furniture, home decor, etc. Get details here. And PLEASE come by!! (PS - my boyfriend will be selling many bike parts and accessories, if you are into that whole thing.) Here is the location. (Crispus Attucks Park). 8Am - 2PM on Saturday, 5/17.

And on to the honey bees. Did you know that honey bees are dying out all over the place and that no one really knows why? Even if you don't like honey, you should pay attention to this. Honey bees pollinate fruit, vegetable, tree nut and berry crops - yep, no matter how advanced our agricultural technologies get, we still need to depend on the little honey bee to get things started. Some beekeepers say that they have already lost one-half to two-thirds of their colonies to what researchers are calling "colony collapse disorder" (CCD). Although you may not think that you can do anything to help the bees in such an urban area as DC, you can!! Here are a few suggestions:

1 - Don't kill the bees! Acquaint yourself with what a honey bee looks like versus yellow jacket wasps, etc. More on this here. Here is some visual guidance (but you shouldn't really kill the wasps either as many of them kill the insect pests that often eat up your plants):

Honeybee (left).................................................................... Yellow Jacket Wasp (right)

2 - Plant some helpful flowers: Honey bees need good flowers. If you have a patch of yard or even just room for some pots, plant the following: Rhododendron, Honeysuckle, Sunflower, Butterfly Bush, Pineapple Sage, Rosemary, Thyme, Poppy, Calendula, Shasta Daisy, Lance-Leaved Coreopsis, Plains Coreopsis, Purple Coneflower and Sweet William Catchfly. For more suggestions (like honey bee friendly trees), look here and here.

3 - Support organic agriculture: Buy produce from farmers that don't use chemical pesticides on their crops. Bees fly around and gather nectar and pollen from various plants that they then turn into honey. If those plants have been treated with pesticides and insecticides, then there is much more chance that the bees will be negatively affected or even killed.

4 - Don't use pesticides/insecticides on in your garden/on your grass: For the same reasons as above.

5 - Buy local honey: Instead of buying honey from South America (where most supermarket honey comes from), support your local beekeepers. They need your help now more than ever!! Dupont Farmer's market has a stand as do many of the other neighborhood farmer's markets. Here is an article from the Washington Post on local honey producers from whom you might be able to order on-line.

6 - Donate to research:
- UC Davis Honeybee Research
Penn State's Entomology Department
- Pollinator Partnership



AJ said...

Hi there! I just stumbled upon your blog. Oh my! So much toe-curling happiness. I love it! You're an instant favorite! :-)

GFS3 said...

It's not just honey bees. In New England there is an epidemic killing bats. The theory is that pesticides and chemicals may have weakened them to the point where they can no longer survive. One wonders if we've reached a point of no return on the environment: http://tiny.cc/PYyR6

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