More than 100 bee advocates were invited to participate in a 3-day conference in Marin County, California from December 10-13. The public summary presentation by thought leaders Mark Winston, Tom Seeley, Marla Spivak, Jim Frazier, William Klett, Stephen Martin, Heather Mattila, and Chaz Mraz will be held tonight at Dominican University.
Conference organizer Bonnie Morse would have been hard-pressed to find an opening speaker who could have charged us to be more audacious--Larry Brilliant, the first leader of Google.org and a leader of a public health team that successfully eradicated small pox as a public health threat.
The conference mantra was to be open-minded and think big. Stay tuned for the audacious ideas spawned by both a sense of urgency to reverse pollinator declines and a willingness to listen intently to one another.
Representatives from five Bee City USA affiliates attended: Laura Bee from Ashland, OR; Sharon Schmidt from Phoenix, OR; Bob Redmond from Seattle, WA; Patricia Algara from San Francisco, CA; and Phyllis Stiles, director of Bee City USA, from Asheville, NC.
Researchers Kirsten Traynor, Dennis vanEngelsdorp, Jeffery Pettis, David Tarpy, Christopher Mullin, James Frazier and Maryann Frazier have published groundbreaking research in Nature Scientific Reports that reveals the sum total of the pesticides (insecticides, fungicides and herbicides) a colony is exposed to over its "lifetime" as a superorganism predicts queen failure and colony death. Most noteworthy, although fungicides have been considered safe for bees, they found that "fungicides with particular modes of action increased disproportionately in wax within colonies that died."
The study was designed to "attempt to summarize potential risk from multiple contaminations in real-world contexts." Rather than assessing individual bees, they followed more than 90 hives on their "migration" as they pollinated commercial crops, sampling wax, stored pollen, and bees along the way for pesticide compound content.
The research paper, “In-hive Pesticide Exposome: Assessing risks to migratory honey bees from in-hive pesticide contamination in the Eastern United States,” was published in the online journal Nature Scientific Reports on September 15, 2016.
ABJ (American Bee Journal) Extra released an excellent article about the study on September 14, 2016.
A Mighty Girl: 10-Year-Old Mikaila Ulmer of Austin, Texas is Entrepreneur on Mission to Help Save Honeybees
10-year-old Mikaila Ulmer of Austin, Texas is an entrepreneur on a mission to help save honeybees. This Mighty Girl is taking her social mission-driven lemonade business to the "next level" thanks to a $60,000 investment she received on the show "Shark Tank" earlier this year. Now, her BeeSweet Lemonade company -- which she was inspired to start when she was only four years old -- is on track to sell nearly 140,000 bottles this year!
Mikaila says that the inspiration for her company came at age four when she was stung by a bee twice in one week. According to Mikaila, "I was terrified of bees and I would over react and freak out [after being stung] and so my parents wanted me to do some research on the bees and I did that research and in doing that research I found out how incredibly important pollinators they are and that they're dying. So I decided to create a product that helps save the bees."
After she discovered her great-grandmother's 1940s recipe for flaxseed lemonade, Mikaila decided to start a lemonade business which uses honey from local bees for sweetener rather than corn syrup. As her business grew, she expanded from selling lemonade at a stand to bottling it and selling it in local stores and restaurants. She also donates a portion of her profits to organizations dedicated to protecting honeybees.
Mikaila's dedication and business savvy impressed "Shark Tank" investor Daymond John when she appeared on the show last spring. He agreed to invest $60,000 in BeeSweet and observed, "Partnering with Mikaila made perfect sense... She's a great kid with a head for business and branding. She's got a great idea and I'm happy to help take BeeSweet to the next level."
The young CEO is thrilled at the opportunity her company has given her to help the bees she loves, stating, "It's solving a problem in this world. That's what keeps me motivated to do it." And, she has a little advice of her own on how to be successful in business or any venture: “The more passionate you are about what you do, the better you do it, and the more fun you’ll have watching it, and you need to have perseverance to make your business bigger and better. . .courage, passion, and perseverance.”
To read more about Mikaila's story on CBS News, visit http://cbsn.ws/1Tb0Khh -- or check out BeeSweet Lemonade's website at http://beesweetlemonade.com/
For a helpful guide to encourage your own Mighty Girl's entrepreneurial spirit, we highly recommend the excellent "A Smart Girl's Guide: Making Money" for ages 9 to 13 at http://www.amightygirl.com/making-money
For an inspiring picture book about how real-life Mighty Girl Vivienne Harr used the profits from her lemonade stand to free 550 slaves, check out "Make A Stand: When Life Gives You Lemons, Change The World!" at http://www.amightygirl.com/make-a-stand
For stories for children and teens about entrepreneurial girls and women, visit our "Entrepreneurship" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/general-interest/jobs-money?cat=123
And, for Mighty Girl stories that emphasize the importance of determination in pursuing your dreams, visit our "Perseverance" section at http://www.amightygirl.com/books/personal-development/values?cat=219
On August 21, Minneapolis made a bold move for bees. According to WCCB CBS Minnesota, their resolution means the city will now plant more food for pollinators and decrease pesticide use on land the city owns and manages. Three cheers for Minneapolis!
American Bee Journal Reports Pesticides Found in Most Pollen Collected from Foraging Bees in Massachusetts
According to a new study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, more than 70% of pollen and honey samples collected from foraging bees in Massachusetts contain at least one neonicotinoid, a class of pesticide that has been implicated in Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), in which adult bees abandon their hives during winter. The study was published online July 23, 2015 in the Journal of Environmental Chemistry. Read more at American Bee Journal Extra.
Southern Oregon University is pulling out all of the stops for this year's Arbor Day Celebration. In addition to planting lots of trees, they are announcing that they have been designated a Tree Campus USA and the inaugural Bee Campus USA! Listen to an interview here.
Noted mycologist Paul Stamets will speak on April 8 at 9:30 and the Bee Campus USA announcement will take place at 12:00.
Thanks to all North Carolinans who rushed to wherever the Bee Aware Team were tabling that day to add their order to the stack. Now the kids have enough to ask the legislature to approve their specialty license plate which will support the native pollinator habitat at Grandfather Mountain and bee research at North Carolina State University for years and years to come.
Hopefully by this summer, any North Carolina driver will be able to choose a Save the Honeybee specialty license plate.
Thanks to these kids for inspiring us all.
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
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.
Header photo by: Nancy Lee Adamson
These are the opinions and events of interest to the Bee City USA coordinator and Xerces Society.