According to a New York Times article published November 25, bee specimens collected in North America and Europe and stored in museums and university labs over the past 140 years are shedding light on what's causing the decline of wild bees. "Nearly a third of bumblebee species in the United States are declining. In the Netherlands, more than half of the country’s 357 species of wild bees are endangered. Many species of plants, including crops, depend on wild bees to spread their pollen. When they lose their pollinators, they may suffer, too," says author Carl Zimmer.
All told, scientists studied 30,000 specimens. They found that in the Northeastern United States, the diversity of bumblebee species declined by 30 percent, and the diversity of bee species overall, by 15 percent between 1872 and 2011.
A new study by numerous scientists was published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences this week. One of them, Jeroen Scheper, a graduate student at Alterra, a research institution at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, said, "There were a lot more flowers in the landscape before." In other words, the fate of the diminished or extinct species was tied to the fate of the plants they pollinated, many of which had been replaced by crops.
Mr. Schleper and his colleagues believe that without the preferred kind of pollen, the bee larvae suffered; and that bigger bees were at greater risk than smaller bees. The story cautions that in addition to the loss of food sources, bee declines may also be due to the loss of nesting sites.
Chapel Hill News reported on Carrboro's decision to become an advocate for pollinators on November 4.
A reader commented, "I like this, expanding the definition of who is a citizen of that town ..." So do we.
A Carrboro resident, writer Sami Grover published a Treehugger blog on October 20 that ended with this statement: "...while I might be tempted, at first, to question the value of 'prominent signage' to the health of bees. In actuality, however, this might be one of the most important aspects of becoming a Bee City. By encouraging the community to self-identify as leaders in bee protection, it leverages civic pride, marketing and a generous dose of peer pressure to encourage everyone to do their part, both for bees and for the local community."
Sami Grover is a writer, and Creative Director at The Change Creation, a brand creation agency that works with entities who make the world better, fairer or truer. Clients include Larry’s Beans, Burt's Bees, Canaan Fair Trade and Jada Pinkett Smith/Overbrook Entertainment.
Thanks to Mr. Grover for helping us explain the rationale behind the five standards of being a Bee City USA community.
Jill Warren Lucas recently wrote a spectacular story about the many ways that Asheville, North Carolina, is buzzing about bees from its finest restaurants to retailers and B&Bs (or was that Bee&Bees?)
Asheville Bee Charmer just opened its second location on Battery Park in downtown Asheville, where customers taste honey from around the world. You can also find authentic wax candles, clothes for baby bees....let your imagine wander.
Thanksgiving is the holiday most associated with food. This article in the Asheville Citizen-Times encourages Americans to thank a pollinator during this year's feast. Or you can read the full press release.
Asheville GreenWorks is selling sourwood trees in honor of Bee City USA during September, National Honey Month. Call 828-254-1776 to order your tree and feed the bees during summer.
American Copper Butterfly
WHAT? Asheville celebrates its designation as the inaugural Bee City USA on National Honey Bee Day.
WHEN? Saturday, August 18, 2012, 8:00 am - 1:pm. Pollinator parade and proclamation at 10:15.
WHERE? Asheville City Market, 161 S. Charlotte Street, Asheville, NC 28801.
DETAILS: Children's tent, honey tasting, and scavenger hunt throughout the day. Children are invited to make bee wings and antennae from 9:45 until 10:45, which they can model in a pollinator parade. Learn about relationship between our food and pollinators, and how to make your yard more pollinator-friendly. Beekeeping suits and pollinator costumes are encouraged!
Photo courtesy of US Fish & Wildlife Service, by Brette Soucle
Check out our news coverage of the unanimous vote.
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.