Thank you to everyone who made it out to “Bee Informed” last night! We raised $600 for the UC Davis Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre public garden that provides a three-season food supply for honey bees. In addition to providing nutrition for the bees and an excellent site for field research, Honey Bee Haven also serves as a teaching resource for schools and the general public.
We had two fantastic speakers last night–apiculturist Dr. Eric Mussen and third-generation beekeeper Stephen Covey. Here are a few things we learned:
- One-third of America’s honey bees vanished this past year due to the mysterious CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder), characterized by almost total hive abandonment.
- Bee eggs, larvae and pupae have to stay at a constant 94 degrees. If it’s too hot, they drop pollen in the hive and fan wings to cool the hive.
- When it’s consistently over 100 degrees, bees only forage for water and can use a gallon a day to stay cool.
- In a CCD hive, the queen continues to lay eggs every day, but without worker bees the temperature isn’t maintained and the hive cannot continue.
- What can you do to help bees? Provide clean water and flowers, no pesticides and consider becoming a beekeeper!
- Where to start beekeeping? Buy a book. Befriend an apiculturist.
- Keeping bees on a farm isn’t much different from a rooftop, you just have to deal with neighbors who might not like it.
- For more information on CCD, watch Eric Mussen’s lecture here.