Friday, March 27, 2009

Bees coming to a park near you!

My aunt sent me this article from the SF Chronicle about a proposal before Berkeley City Council to create bee habitats in public parks by planting native "pollinator-friendly" plants. Concerned by news reports of declining global bee populations, Berkeley wanted to do something to help. Did you know former City Councilwoman Betty Olds was a beekeeper? She was one of the first to support this notion. Mayor Tom Bates also came out in support of it, saying that it won't cost more than the regular landscaping budget.

Some people are concerned about their kids or their picknicks, but as you all know, the bees at CPS are not even noticeable from on campus. They disperse, and although there will be more bees visiting the plants, they won't be attracted to the barbeque or the watermelon like Yellowjackets would be. And many Berkeley residents and parents are looking forward to it. One father of a three year-old in North Berkeley's Codornices Park, said, "bring on the bees. Definitely more people will get stung. Bees are vital to the world, and we need them."

Here is the update from yesterday:

Berkeley to draw bees with plantings in parks
by Carolyn Jones
Thursday, March 26, 2009

The bees are coming to Berkeley.

At its meeting Tuesday night, the City Council voted unanimously to create bee habitats in city parks and open spaces by planting "pollinator-friendly" landscaping. The intent is to help pollinators, particularly bees, whose numbers have been rapidly declining worldwide due to habitat loss and pesticides.

Park staff will plant native, flowering plants at least 30 feet from children's play areas, garbage cans and restrooms to minimize the risk of bee stings. Nests will be removed.

The city's gardening superintendent will decide how, when and where the landscaping will be planted, but the plan should get under way within the next few weeks.

New research on CCD

K.O. sent me this interesting article about the connection between pesticide use and CCD. The pesticide Fluvalinate is commonly used against Varroas. Shockingly, the concentration of toxicity has increased dramatically over the past twenty years, and with no new warnings or instructions for use. According to the article, the chemicals are now 300 times more toxic to the honey bees, not to mention the traces that get into honey we consume.
(Israeli Acute Paralysis Virus and electromagnetic radiation from cell phones are also discussed in the article.)