WBEZ | bees http://www.wbez.org/tags/bees Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Angry beekeepers swarm Chicago garden show http://www.wbez.org/news/angry-beekeepers-swarm-chicago-garden-show-108486 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bees.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>If you attend the garden show at Navy Pier this weekend, you might be offered a honey stick by people dressed as bees. While you are enjoying your sweet treat, they may say, &ldquo;Do you like food? Because if you do, you need to be thinking about us.&rdquo;</p><p>The bees are part of a group of beekeepers and activists who are angry about this year&rsquo;s <a href="http://igcshow.com/igc2013/public/enter.aspx">Independent Garden Center show</a>. They say Bayer, one of this year&rsquo;s garden show sponsors, sells pesticides that harm bees.</p><p>Rebecca Ets-Hokin flew in from the Bay Area to participate. She says she has lost half of her hives in the last five years. But it&rsquo;s not only her garden and honey she&rsquo;s worried about.</p><p>&ldquo;Since I eat a lot of food, like a lot of people do, I have a fear that half of our crops are pollinated by bees and other native pollinators, and they are dying out at alarming rates because of pesticides,&rdquo; she said.</p><p>Bob Montano, head of customer service for <a href="http://www.bayeradvanced.com/">Bayer Advanced</a>, disagrees.</p><p>&ldquo;The studies that we&rsquo;ve done that these products, when used by labeled instruction, do not cause a health hazard to bees,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>The activists say the research is biased and point to <a href="http://www.theguardian.com/environment/2013/jan/16/insecticide-unacceptable-danger-bees">European studies</a> that show the harmful impact of the pesticides.</p><p>The beekeepers and activists say they were denied a garden show booth and have been threatened with lawsuits if they protest.</p><p>They attempted to deliver 140,000 signatures opposing the pesticides into the show but were stopped by security before getting to the Pier&rsquo;s entrance. For now, they are standing in a nearby park.</p><p><em>Shannon Heffernan is a reporter for WBEZ. Follow her <a href="http://twitter.com/shannon_h" target="_blank">@shannon_h</a></em></p></p> Wed, 21 Aug 2013 17:02:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/angry-beekeepers-swarm-chicago-garden-show-108486 What I See: Bike a Bee http://www.wbez.org/what-i-see-bike-bee-107686 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bikeabee hive.png" alt="" /><p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="620" scrolling="no" src="http://storywheel.cc/reallylikeit-1/a-day-in-the-life-of-bike-a" width="620"></iframe></p><p>Jana Kinsman is the&nbsp;creator of Bike a Bee, an urban beekeeping project that places beehives with community gardens all over Chicago and tends to them by bicycle. Here, she documents a day in her life.&nbsp;More info at <a href="http://bikeabee.com">bikeabee.com</a>.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 13 Jun 2013 16:32:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/what-i-see-bike-bee-107686 Federal study finds many causes for dramatic bee disappearance http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-study-finds-many-causes-dramatic-bee-disappearance-107003 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Bees_130503_LW.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>WASHINGTON &mdash; A new U.S. report blames a combination of problems for a mysterious and dramatic disappearance of honeybees across the country since 2006.</p><p>The multiple causes make it harder to do something about what&#39;s called colony collapse disorder, experts say. The disorder has caused as much as one-third of the nation&#39;s bees to just disappear each winter since 2006.</p><p>Bees, especially honeybees, are needed to pollinate crops, and they are crucial to the U.S. food supply. About $30 billion a year in agriculture depends on their health, said Sonny Ramaswamy with the U.S. Department of Agriculture.</p><p>The problem has also hit bee colonies in Europe, where regulators are considering a ban on a type of pesticides that some environmental groups blame for the bee collapse.</p><p>The report, issued Thursday by the USDA and the Environmental Protection Agency, is the result of a large conference of scientists that the government brought together last year to figure out what&#39;s going on.</p><p>The factors cited for the bees&#39; disappearance include a parasitic mite, multiple viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition, genetics, habitat loss and pesticides. The report said the biggest culprit is the parasitic mite varroa destructor, calling it &quot;the single most detrimental pest of honeybees.&quot;</p><p>The report also cites pesticides, but near the bottom of the list of factors. And federal officials and researchers advising them said the science doesn&#39;t justify a ban of the pesticides yet.</p><p>May Berenbaum, chairwoman of a major National Academy of Sciences study on the loss of pollinators, said the class of chemicals known as neonicotinoids hasn&#39;t been proven to be the sole culprit in the bee loss. In an interview, she said she was &quot;extremely dubious&quot; that banning the chemical would have any effect on bee health and that more than 100 different chemicals have been found in bee colonies.</p><p>Dave Gaulson of the University of Stirling in Scotland, who conducted a study last year that implicated the chemical, said he can&#39;t disagree with the overall conclusions of the U.S. government report. However, he said it could have emphasized pesticides more.</p><p>At a news conference with federal officials, Berenbaum said there&#39;s no single solution to the bee problem: &quot;We&#39;re not really well equipped or even used to fighting on multiple fronts.&quot;</p><p>Besides making honey, honeybees pollinate more than 90 flowering crops. About one-third of the human diet comes from insect-pollinated plants, and the honeybee is responsible for 80 percent of that pollination.</p><p>&quot;It affects virtually every American whether they realize it or not,&quot; said EPA acting administrator Bob Perciasepe.</p><p>Zac Browning, a fourth-generation commercial beekeeper, said the nation is &quot;on the brink&quot; of not having enough bees to pollinate its crops.</p><p>University of Maryland entomologist David Inouye, president-elect of the Ecological Society of America, was not part of the federal report. He said the problems in Europe and United States may be slightly different. In the U.S., bee hives are trucked from farm to farm to pollinate large tracts of land and that may help spread the parasites and disease, as well as add stress to the colonies, while in Europe they stay put, so those issues may not be as big a factor.</p></p> Fri, 03 May 2013 15:24:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/federal-study-finds-many-causes-dramatic-bee-disappearance-107003 EcoMyths: Native Pollinators http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/ecomyths-native-pollinators-103489 <p><p style="text-align: center; "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" longdesc="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/RS6607_Me hunting for bees-scr.jpg" style="height: 332px; width: 600px;" title="Rebecca Tonietto, ecologist and conservationist, capturing bees for identification. (Photo by Robin Carlson)" /></p><div><iframe width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F82941028&amp;color=ff6600&amp;auto_play=false&amp;show_artwork=false"></iframe>Did you know that one out of every three bites of food you eat was created, at least in part, by the pollination of a bee?</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Really, one third! I was startled to learn this and many other surprising facts from the bee scientists I have had the pleasure to get to know recently.</div><p>This summer I followed around an enthusiastic ecologist from the Chicago Botanic Garden, <a href="http://www.plantbiology.northwestern.edu/people/students/rebecca-tonietto.html">Rebecca Tonietto</a>, who studies native bees. She is a PhD candidate in the conservation graduate program offered jointly by the Garden and Northwestern University. Her research focuses on how different restoration practices and landscapes impact different species of bees. Since there are more than 500 species of bees in Illinois, that is a tall order!&nbsp;</p><p>On our most recent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/ecomyths">EcoMyths</a> <em>Worldview</em> segment, Jerome McDonnell and I talked with Rebecca and another passionate bee scientist, <a href="http://www.life.uiuc.edu/scameron">Sydney Cameron</a>, a bumblebee specialist from the University of Illinois.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Having never really thought very much about bees before, I just assumed that all bees lived in hives, made honey, and would sting me if I got too close. As is so often true, I had based my assumptions about bees on my own experiences.&nbsp;</p><p>But, as Jerome and I learned from Rebecca and Sydney, most bees do not live in hives&mdash;they live in the soil or in old logs in the tiny holes that have been created and left empty by other creatures. Also, bees are much more interested in flowers than in people and only sting you when they are threatened.&nbsp;</p><p>So I should not have been surprised when our bee experts told us that only honeybees make honey. But then, how was I to know that there are 20,000 species of bees worldwide? Many of these species don&rsquo;t even look like the yellow and black bees that we see in cartoons and in traditional artwork. One of these thousands of varietals of bee species are beautiful little iridescent emerald-colored bees that are as tiny as the tip of a pen. They are called sweat bees because they land on your skin and lick off your sweat! They are not interested in stinging at all, unless you trap them and they can&rsquo;t get out, and then it is just a tiny pinch. Not at all like the sting of a honeybee. &nbsp;I was amazed to hear about the range of shapes, colors, sizes, and habits there are of the many bees, all of which are vitally important for pollination.</p><p><u>Because bees eat lunch, we eat lunch</u></p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/FourBees-5in.jpg" style="height: 338px; width: 300px; float: left; margin: 5px; " title="(Robin Carlson)" /></p><p>Pollination occurs when a bee eats a meal. Bees fly to colorful flowers to drink the nectar and eat the pollen. The pollen also sticks to the tiny hairs on the bees&rsquo; body and legs. Then they fly to another flower to continue feeding, leaving behind some of the pollen from the previous flower, pollinating the second flower.</p><p>Most plants require active pollination by an insect and 99 percent of those insects are bees. Each of the bee species in the world prefers a different type of flower for its food. Some tiny ones pollinate squash plants; some of the bigger ones go to watermelons, tomatoes, etc. Without them, there would be no plant or food diversity.</p><p>Honeybees, which are easily transported because they live in hives they build inside man-made boxes, are trucked around the country to pollinate our industrial crops. But diseases and possibly also pesticides have contributed to population declines in honeybees. This phenomenon is called colony collapse disorder, but it is not yet widely understood.&nbsp; With honeybees under threat, there is growing importance of providing places for native (wild) bees to live. Habitat for native bees is dwindling, as there are fewer patches of bare soil and fallen logs in which to live, especially in developed environments. But with human help, we can create bee-friendly habitats. There are many things that can be done, even in urban environments to provide for native bee food and shelter, including planting native wildflowers and leaving bare patches of soil where possible.</p><p>These practices are detailed more completely on the EcoMyths website: <a href="http://www.ecomythsalliance.org/">www.ecomythsalliance.org</a>.&nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>To learn more and get all the buzz on bees, listen to our latest Worldview segment!</p></p> Mon, 29 Oct 2012 11:39:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/bez/2012-10/ecomyths-native-pollinators-103489 New film looks at the buzz around the worldwide bee crisis http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-28/new-film-looks-buzz-around-worldwide-bee-crisis-85786 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-April/2011-04-28/Honeybee_RGB.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>For years now, the global bee population has been in decline. Some refer to it as <a href="http://www.ars.usda.gov/News/docs.htm?docid=15572" target="_blank">Colony Collapse Disorder</a>, which means the hives and honey are still there but the bee population dwindles. A new film takes on some of the possible culprits – from pesticides to corporate farming.</p><p><a href="http://www.queenofthesun.com/" target="_blank"><em>Queen of the Sun: What Are the Bees Telling Us?</em></a> opens in Chicago Friday at the <a href="http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/features/queen-of-the-sun-what-are-the-bees-telling-us/" target="_blank">Music Box Theatre</a>. <em>Queen of the Sun’s</em> director and producer <a href="http://www.queenofthesun.com/2010/11/taggart-siegel/" target="_blank">Taggert Siegel</a> will be there opening night – but first he spoke to <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em>.</p><p><em>Music Button: Medeski Martin &amp; Wood, "Queen Bee", form the CD End of the World Party, (Blue Note)</em></p></p> Thu, 28 Apr 2011 13:25:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-04-28/new-film-looks-buzz-around-worldwide-bee-crisis-85786