Bee On Purpose

Why Protect the Bee?

Picture
Honey bees are one of the best pollinators on the planet. Over 90 plants require insect pollination and the most easily manipulated pollinating insect for the largest variety of crops in which man has been able to control is the Honey bee. Without the pollinating service of Honey bees the cost of fruit, vegetables, legumes, nuts and many other foods would be many times more than what it is today. 

There are many by-products of the hive that humans use besides honey including bees wax, propolis, royal jelly and pollen.  For instance, beeswax is used in many cosmetics, for candles, soaps, lip balms, in water proofing leather and wood, or to clean up an oil spill ! (see: http://techtran.msfc.nasa.gov/at_home/environ1.html)

Bees in Decline

The honey bee populations have been in decline over the last several years.  Scientist are baffled as to the specific cause or causes for the death of many bees.  Due to the extent of this decline over a broad spectrum of the country they have termed the decline "Colony Collapse Disorder" or (CCD)*  (See below for Wikipedia definition).  Some of the various causes for the bees decline have been linked to pesticides, genetically modified crops and to various diseases and pests including the varroa mite. Below are some links to explain the scope of this problem.  It is the goal of  Bee On Purpose to educate the public to the issues facing the bees and help turn the tide in the bees favor.  The threats facing the honey bee can be linked to the threats that are facing us all.  As Albert Einstein stated " If honey bees become extinct, human society will follow in four years"    Many organizations are taking action to the curtail this possible crisis: View "Bee The Change National Campaign" trailer at:  http://kck.st/9F8jL4  for more compelling information.

As honey bee populations dramatically decline, native species of bees are needed to offset this decline and can be considered 'alternate pollinators' and assist with the important job of pollination.  However, native bees are facing problems as well. Conversion of the landscape to residential and commercial uses eliminates natural bee habitats.   Some native bees, such as the alfalfa bee are more efficient pollinators than even the honey bees.  Farmers and individuals can foster and encourage native bee populations in several ways, including creating housing for the bees, planting a variety of crops and leaving some weeds and undercover in their orchards and in their fields and leaving ditch areas and boundaries around crops where native plants can grow.  We can enhance the habitats of native bees, providing nest sites and forage plants, to help them to survive, thrive, reproduce and pollinate. Such habitat management will benefits honey bees and native bee alike.   For more information on steps that are being taken to make this happen Heifer International has just published an article about bee declines and efforts to increase on-farm habitat in their magazine, World Ark. Link:   http://www.heifer.org/site/c.edJRKQNiFiG/b.6079379/

ADDITIONAL LINKS pertaining to Bees Decline & Importance of promoting Native BEES:

Backyard Bee Hive Is In Reach

Picture
As the threat to the existence of the honey bee persists, many are taking up beekeeping to tip the balance and protect the honey bee populations.  It is the goal of Bee On Purpose to introduce others to the hobby of backyard beekeeping and make it easy and understandable and mentor others so that they too can have a backyard bee hive ....
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/beekeeping/7724559/Beekeeping-attracting-younger-generation.html

Wikipedia Definition of CCD

Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) or sometimes honey bee depopulation syndrome (HBDS) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, the term colony collapse disorder was first applied to a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honey bee colonies in North America in late 2006. Colony collapse is economically significant because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by bees. European beekeepers observed similar phenomena in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree, while the Northern Ireland Assembly receives reports of a decline greater than 50%. Possible cases of CCD have also been reported in Taiwan since April 2007.

The cause or causes of the syndrome are not yet fully understood, although many authorities attribute the problem to biotic factors such as Varroa mites and insect diseases (i.e., pathogens including Nosema apis and Israel acute paralysis virus). Other proposed causes include environmental change-related stresses, malnutrition and pesticides (e.g. neonicotinoids such as imidacloprid), and migratory beekeeping. More speculative possibilities have included both cell phone radiation and genetically modified (GM) crops with pest control characteristics, though experts say no evidence exists for either assertion. It has also been suggested that it may be due to a combination of many factors and that no single factor is the cause.