Saturday, August 1, 2009

Help Bees

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Bumblebees are in danger in many developed countries due to habitat destruction and collateral pesticide damage. In Britain, until relatively recently, 19 species of native true bumblebee were recognised along with six species of cuckoo bumblebees. Of these, three have already become extinct, eight are in serious decline, and only six remain widespread.
A decline in bumblebee numbers could cause large-scale sweeping changes to the countryside, leading to inadequate pollination of certain pla
nts. The world's first bumblebee sanctuary was established at Vane Farm in the Loch Leven National Nature Reserve in Scotland in 2008. (previous post taken from wiki)

There are Many ways you can support bees in your area. While the causes for Colony Collapse Disorder are unknown, we do know that forces like habitat destruction, misuse of pesticides, invasive species create risks to honeybees.
There are many places on the web to learn more about honey bees and to help out in whatever way you can.
Maybe like most of us, you don't have a lot of extra dollars but you can help the bees (not just honey bees) by planting local wildflowers or supporting your local organic farmer...... and if you do have a few dollars to spare, you could host a nesting site. You can purchase a bee colony box from OR if you're handy, you can make one yourself! :) see instructions and pic below

click on pic to go to pin-feathers
To build your own simple bee blocks, start with pieces of untreated scrap lumber and use drill bits of different sizes from 1/8-inch to 5/16-inch in diameter.
Drill holes 3 to 5 inches deep in your scrap block of lumber ... but not all the way through the wood block. Space the holes about 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch apart.
Nail your bee blocks up securely in places protected from direct sun and rain, such as under building eaves, in the early spring. It's also good to have a source of water nearby as well as those flowers and plants that you chose to attract the bees. Use perennial wildflowers and plants local to your can check with your local nursery :) This will attract Mason bees which are great pollinators.
Here's a link to a 'youtube' vid which helps explain the goings on with your homemade or purchased Mason Bee type boxes.

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