Insectidote of the Day 2012-09-07
[I'm stickying (ha) this because it's such a neat idea and it's something many of us could do with our gardens. --lambert]
Homemade bee nursery for wild bees
Yes, this is Petidote Friday, but rather than stretch the definition of "pet" to ridiculous lengths, I'm temporarily borrowing YesMaybe's brilliant Insectidote idea, but only because this is important. Wild bees need our help, and one relatively easy thing you can do is set up a plastic package bin or tote (the big plastic containers postal workers often use for packages) for a bee nursery.
Wild bees are needed now, perhaps more than ever, to help with jobs usually handled by America's premier pollinator, the European honey bee, Apis mellifera. Many of the nation's honey bee colonies have been decimated by the puzzling colony collapse disorder or weakened by varroa and tracheal mites or the microbes that cause diseases such as chalkbrood and foulbrood.
A single corrugated plastic tote can accommodate as many as 3,000 young, enough to pollinate one-half to one-acre of orchard. And, unlike bulky or stationary shelters, the tote houses can easily be moved from one site to the next.
Here are more details on building your own bee nursery, using inexpensive, everyday materials. Even if you don't particularly like bees, protecting them and encouraging colonies is extremely important to the future of food production.
A global survey of several studies demonstrated a severe decline of pollinators and provision of pollination services in a wide range of intensively managed temperate and tropical agroecosystems. Considering that global crop production worth 153 billion Euros (for Europe 22 billion Euros) relies on insect pollination, the pollinators' decline has direct impact on the stability of food production and consumer prices, and might also have serious consequences for human health.
I'm going to try this, because there are already quite a few bees in the neighborhood (there are hives nearby), so look for updates at some point. Either that or a story on how I survived being attacked by hundreds of bees after screwing it up.
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