From Scarlett Johansson, to Sylvia Plath to Aristotle to Sherlock Holmes, what do all of these famous people have in common? The answer is, they’ve all been bee keepers. Otto Plath, Sylvia Plath’s father an Entomology professor at Boston University, was considered an authority on bumblebees. His book Bumblebees and their ways written in 1934, is still highly regarded to this day. History this all may be although, urban bees are indeed part of modern day.
It’s said that Sylvia Plath later on in life, had taken up beekeeping and wrote about her honeybees. Her sensual, intimate manner with her words, seem to be lending themselves to her innermost thought and feelings. "The bees are all women maids and the long royal lady. They have got rid of the men " , and “The box is only temporary”
Aristotle, back in the day kept honeybees in primitive hives and observed their behavior. He was indeed the first person to note “The Waggle Dance” in 330BC. "The Waggle Dance", is the method of communication used by returning scout honey bees, after a successful forage out in the field. It gets the buzz out in the hive, about the location of the newly found fresh flowers.
Amazing to watch and ridiculously, logistically accurate, honeybees have no ears and rely on vibrations to communicate. Even so within thirty minutes of "The Waggle Dance "being performed, worker bees have flocked to the site of the nectar rich flowers. Honeybees are way cool dancers.
Its a Urban Bees wild life
Lately, there's been a lot of concern and talk about the effects of chemical pesticides, herbicides and insecticides on our eco systems. Consequently, neonicotonoids found in Bayer insecticide, has been linked to queen bumblebees unable to lay enough eggs to start a colony. Furthermore, the No 1 cause of Colony Collapse Disorder amongst honeybee populations has been attributed to glyphosate an ingredient found in the herbicide Roundup by Monsanto, now owned by Bayer.
Astounding to even utter, yet most of the research done regarding declining bee populations, is paid by Monsanto/Bayer. This multi national conglomerate, holds patents on world GMO’s, thus promoting the overuse of chemicals in modern day agriculture. Hence the huge migration of rural bees to urban habitation. Where as rural bees have to deal with foraging on excessively sprayed mono crops, urban bees rather are exposed to a healthier diet.
Say no to drugs
The best thing you can do for our precious wildlife, is to throw away the chemicals. Instead, ideally adopt organic sustainable practices in house and garden. However, Monsanto (now Bayer) and Scotts have targeted the home gardening industry, home gardens now use ten times more chemicals per acre of lawn than farmers use per acre of crops. You can get that perfect lawn without dosing is with chemicals. Additionally, it's so easy to harvest a successful veggie patch in a pot, planter, or backyard, without the use of chemical fertilizers. Buy your vego - garden raised bed here.
keeping Urban Bees
It's official, bees have taken strongly to urban living. Safer sucking on nectar from an organically grown wildflower than what they are in heavily sprayed agriculture areas, city life is a healthy bee habitat. Meanwhile beekeeping at home and office, has rapidly grown over the last 20 years. For instance New York has legalized beekeeping in 2010 and has hundreds of registered hives. Look up the bee association in your state to find out more info.
No backyard? No worries! Rooftops, patios, decks and balconies are all hive havens. Bumblebees, may not need a hive but they do need a home. Partial to abandoned bird boxes, they're also well known for taking over mouse holes. To keep bumblebees, build them a box with a safe entry point and be as riveted by their buzzing activity as was Otto Plath.
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