The Bee Aware middle school science team from Banner Elk, NC, is on the home stretch and they won't give up. They have been at locations in Asheville and Charlotte asking people to order their honeybee license plates since their return home on Thursday from meeting with President Obama.
If you're in Asheville on Sunday, March 29, between noon and 5:00, stop by either the French Broad Food Coop (on Biltmore Ave.) or the Asheville Bee Charmer (on Battery Park) and order your honeybee specialty license plate. Even if you don't order a license plate, you need to meet these incredible champions for bees.
If they don't get 500 orders by March 30, all of their hard work will be for naught. These plates will not only raise awareness about honeybees, they will raise funds for pollinator habitat at Grandfather Mountain and for bee research at NC State University.
Click here for the application, with complete instructions. The cost is $15 which should be paid by check. Bring your registration card for your license plate number, your drivers license number, year/make/model/body style of your car, vehicle identification number, and full name of your insurance company & the policy number.
For more information visit www.beeawarenc.org
National Prize Winning Bee Aware Science Team to Speak at Alternatives to Pesticides Workshop in Asheville on March 27
Need some inspiration? Last September, several people who are passionate about monarch butterflies infected the small western North Carolina town of Black Mountain with monarch fever. In association with The Black Mountain Center for the Arts, Bring Back the Monarchs Black Mountain created an arts and community awareness project to call attention to the drastic plunge in the monarch butterfly population.
Happily, you can catch the fever too by watching the video: Bring Back the Monarchs. The 250 children who migrated through the town square with poster board monarchs strapped to their arms will never forget that experience, and they will plant milkweed so once again we can watch the annual monarch flyover. For more information, go to bringbackthemonarchs.org and monarchrescue.org.
Home to the Clarkson (and now the state's) honey festival for the past twenty years, as well as to a leading national and international beekeeping supplier--Kelley Beekeeping Company, for the past fifty years, Clarkson's city commission enthusiastically voted to accept the responsibilities of being a certified Bee City USA on March 9.
We look forward to what Clarkson's leaders and citizens will do next to improve pollinator habitat and raise awareness about the importance of pollinators.
Purchasing the Wild Bee Gardens app for $4.99 might be one of the best decisions you ever make. The app is formatted for IPhones and iPads to take along on your garden store trips.
The flower and bee photos (more than 300) are stunning and the information about plants and their pollinators is fairly extensive, but very user friendly.
The pollinator information includes when our native bees emerge as well as their size, nesting habits and distribution. Creators Celeste Ets-Hokin and Arlo Armstrong have carefully indicated each plant's native regions as well. They and we hope the app will encourage and enhance even more pollinator-friendly gardens.
Thank you Celeste and Arlo!
The March/April issue of Sierra Club Magazine has an exceptional article on the relationship between honeybee declines and the rise of neonicotinoid pesticide use. Ninety percent of U.S.-grown corn is treated--covering 200 million acres! Other crops treated with neonicotinoids include soybeans, apples, rice, potatoes, sugar beets and citrus fruits.
Researchers around the world have reported that bees' navigational abilities are hampered and their immune systems break down after exposure. Combine neonicotinoid exposure with treating bees for parasitic mites and they can't remember associations between flower scents and food rewards.
The article states that from 2000 to 2011, total U.S. honey production fell one-third from 221 million to 148 million pounds while the three most common neonicotinoid pesticides (imidacloprid, thiamethoxan and clothianidin) grew from about 280,000 pounds to more than 4.5 million pounds. In frustration, some commercial beekeepers are no longer renting their hives out to farmers.
Thanks to author Patrick J.Kiger for his excellent research.
Talent, Oregon, was the second city in the country to be certified a Bee City USA community.
On April 6, naturopathic doctor McClane Duncan will talk about the harmful effects common pesticides and herbicides have on human health and development. Entomology researcher Richard Hilton will discuss bee friendly farming and Integrated Pest Management in local orchards and vineyards. And, Cara Cruickshank will address maintaining beautiful gardens and lawns without synthetic chemicals.
Around the world, airports are recognizing the benefits of sharing their open sunny fields with imperiled honey bees. It all started with Hamburg Airport in Germany in 1999. Today, from O'Hare in Chicago, to Sea-Tac in Seattle, to Montreal and Copenhagen, airports are partnering with local beekeepers to offer bees safe foraging areas. Read Danielle Beurteaux' article in the New York Times on Feb. 19.
At last there's a glimmer of hope for stopping the monarch's death spiral. The US Fish & Wildlife Service is investing several million dollars in partnership projects with the National Wildlife Federation, the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, and others to produce milkweed seeds and to plant vast areas in locally native milkweed along the monarch butterfly's major flyway routes.
Planting locally native milkweed is something each of us can do. To identify which milkweed is local to your area and to find seeds or plants, visit the Monarch Joint Venture. Not only will the monarch butterfly thank you, so will more than seventy other pollinator species that forage on milkweed.
At the recent Plant-A-Rama event in Brooklyn, Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, explained why planting natives in our yards is so important to sustaining pollinators and other wildlife. Read the excellent account in the New York Times here.
Tallamy emphasized that being friendly to bees, butterflies and birds does not mean sacrificing beauty. For example, this stunning locally native aromatic aster (Symphyotrichum oblongifolium) provided forage for bees in Western North Carolina into the beginning of December!
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA director and board.