Saturday, August 1, 2009


Photo © Begoniacrazii, Used with Permission

I am SO excited to see honeybees around my flowers! Today I noticed many of them humming around the huge flowering catnip I planted last year, and a few of them checking out the sunflowers I planted as part of Dr. Gretchen LeBuhn's
The Great Sunflower Project. I wrote a piece about the project here. Dr. LeBuhn is doing a study to determine the honeybees distribution, using what she calls "Citizen Scientists" to participate in the study.

The sunflower used in the study is the annual sunflower, Helianthus annuus 'Lemon Queen' (so everyone is using the same parameters). Mine were planted late and just barely making pollen right now, but seeing a few of the honeybees checking them out is very encouraging!

We owe a large percentage our foods (almost all the fruits and vegetables) to pollination by honeybees, and everyone should be concerned. DeBuhn stresses counting and reporting where the bees are not, as well as where they are. She feels that where the bees are not in evidence are the places the bees might need help, so one of the main goals of the study is to know where the bee count is low or zero.

I did read today that they may have found the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder. The good news is that they can kill the fungus causing it, but the bad news is that treatment doesn't kill the fungus spores.

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