- Author: Aubrey White
September is national honey month, a time when pollination season has largely ended and many commercial beehives are harvested for their honey. Now for the first time, beekeepers have a new tool to track just how much energy their efforts take, and the amount of greenhouse gases those efforts emit. With growing consumer interest in the carbon foot prints of products and cap-and-trade legislation under AB32, emissions-tracking is becoming increasingly important for agricultural producers - including beekeepers and honey makers.
Beekeepers are trucking some 1.5 million bee colonies around the state to help pollinate California’s 760,000 acres of almond orchards and 50 other fruit and nut crops. They continue to...
- Author: Shannon C. Mueller
Spring brings an abundance of phone calls with often panicked people wondering what to do about masses of bees that have moved into their neighborhoods. The arrival of a swarm of bees isn’t really great cause for alarm. Swarming is a natural means of colony reproduction. That’s how bee populations expand and move into new areas. Honey bees swarm when their hives become congested due to the rapid buildup of bees and stored food as temperatures warm in the spring. Swarms are usually gentle and beekeepers may come collect them to build up their own apiaries.
To learn more about swarms and what to do if a swarm moves into your yard or neighborhood, click this link -
- Author: Janet Byron
A lack of pollination by honey bees — brought on by increased insecticide use to control onion thrips — was linked to a sharp decrease in yields of California onion seeds, according to research published in the July-September 2011 issue of the University of California’s California Agriculture journal.
“Honey bee visits to onion flowers were negatively correlated with the number of insecticides applied per field and field size,” wrote the study’s authors, Rachael F. Long of UC Cooperative Extension in Yolo County and Lora Morandin of the Department of...
- Author: Ann Brody Guy
As it turns out, the farmer and the cowman should be friends, as the classic “Oklahoma!” song suggests. According to a just-published UC Berkeley study, wild bee species pollinate California crops to the tune of $937 million to $2.4 billion per year. That amounts to more than one-third of all pollination “services” to the state’s crops.
Many of those crop-pollinating wild bees live in rangelands – chiefly ranches that graze cattle.
“This means that preserving rangelands has significant economic value, not only to the ranchers who graze their cattle there, but also to farmers who need the pollinators,” said Claire Kremen, UC Berkeley associate professor of environmental science, policy and management,...
- Author: Kathy Keatley Garvey
We're in the midst of a housing crisis, so why not build a 30-unit, high-rise condo in your yard?
No, not for people--for native bees.
We just installed a bee condo for leafcutting bees (Megachile spp.), on a five-foot high pole overlooking catmint, lavender and salvia. The "housing development" is actually a wooden board drilled with small holes to accommodate our tiny tenants. Comfy and convenient. Rooms with a view. No housing permits or EIR required. Rent-free, mortgage-free.
Leafcutting bees, aka leafcutter bees, are about the size of a honey bee but darker, with the characteristic light-banded abdomens. They are important pollinators.
Why are they called leafcutter bees? Because the...