The Billion Bee Project

Sebastian Wright has two goals: to save as many bees as he can, and to get others to do the same.

Wright, 12, has spent the last three years installing and tending beehives in Milton, Mass., his hometown. So far, he has launched 13 hives, each with about 60,000 bees, according to an article by Bret Hauff in The Boston Globe.

Wright, co-founder of the Billion Backyard Bee Project, says his plan is to set up 20 hives and sell the honey that the bees produce as a way of defraying his costs, notes the article. He recently placed two hives with the nearby activity-oriented New England Base Camp so that kids who attend can get first-hand knowledge of bees and the dangers they face from Colony Collapse Disorder.

Wright began to get serious about his project after his first hive failed three years ago, the article says, adding that part of Wright’s program is trying to discourage the use of pesticides. Many beekeepers contend that pesticides used by the agricultural industry are one of the major contributors to the dramatic decrease in our bee population over the past 10 years, although other factors – such as parasites, fungi, mites and climate change – are also seen as adding to the decline.

To find photos and more information about Wright’s project, visit https://www.facebook.com/miltonbillionbees

Bees on the Wall? How about 50,000 of them?

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Photo by Mark Schultz

 

Matthew Willey, a 46-year-old muralist, has made it his goal to paint 50,000 honeybees on murals around the world, according to an article this summer in the Raleigh, N.C., News&Observer. Willey wants to highlight the dangers that bees are facing in today’s environment.

Correspondent Steve Bydal accompanied Willey to Estes Hills elementary school in Chapel Hill, N.C., as he started painting the bees on an exterior wall of the school’s gym. Estes Hills has had a pollinator garden since 2014 that is taken care of by the students and teachers, according to Bydal.

Willey plans to do murals in Durham, N.C., British Columbia, Nepal and Australia. He chose the number 50,000 because it represents the number of bees often found in a bee hive. Read more about him here.

Hats Off to Ground Bees

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It’s hard not to be alarmed when hundreds of ground bees suddenly pop up out of their holes and start to fly around your garden in late spring. But an article in Modern Farmer by Alison Gillespie says we should welcome these insects, not try to kill them.

Ground bees, Gillespie says, are excellent pollinators and they rarely sting. They don’t make honey, they are solitary — one bee lays eggs and cares for them in her own ground nest — and they are plentiful, making up “more than 70 percent of the 4,000-plus bee species native to North America.”

Yellow jackets also make their nests in the ground, but they can sting you if disturbed. They enter their nests through one large hole, Gillespie writes, while ground bees enter and exit from tiny openings that “look more like ant hills or teeny chimneys” — a good way to decide if you’re looking at the home of wasps or of ground bees.

For more information, click here.

 

New Bee Habitat

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Children’s Discovery Museum of San Jose, Calif., is creating 3,600 square feet of bee habitat where kids and their families can observe the lives of honeybees and other pollinators. For the next month, the Museum is conducting an online fundraising campaign whose proceeds will support three beehives and a pollinator garden. Check out the site below and see how you can contribute to the effort.

Share the Buzz and Help Create 3,600 Sq Ft of Bee Habitat!

 

Blueberry Pie

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Just wanted to remind everyone — now that we are winding down the summer season with all its wonderful fresh  fruits — that desserts like blueberry pie, strawberry pie, apple pie, and cherry pie could become less available if bee colonies continue to dwindle. Not to mention all the vegetables, nuts, flowers, and trees that will also suffer if we don’t take care of our most industrious pollinators. Bees have been around for millions of years and have never needed our help to survive. Now they do.

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