Re: Bumblebees in Community Gardens
- Subject: [cg] Re: Bumblebees in Community Gardens
- From: Adam36055@aol.com
- Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 16:11:53 EST
Mr. Craig Tufts, Chief Naturalist and Director of Citizen Science Programs at
National Wildlife Federation in Reston, VA sent me this attached query. As
I'm just a participant on this listserve, I'm passing it on to you all, and to
get the ball rolling, throwing in my two cents.
I am on the listserv and likely met you years ago.Since then we may have
communicated once or twice. Question..
Would it be appropriate for me to put a query out to those on the list trying
to find out how many community gardens in urban areas have bumblebees as part
of the pollinator mix in their garden?
We're considering doing an urban bumblebee project and I am trying to get an
idea if there are bumblebees in city gardens, if community gardeners attempt
to encourage them and if city gardeners know the difference between bumblebees,
honey bees and perhaps carpenter bees. I do recall the bee hive in Liz
Christy years ago and think you might have had one in Clinton, too."
The first beehive was started at the Clinton Community Garden by Phil Tietz,
former ACGA board member and director of Green Guerillas. Phil was also
deeply involved with Liz Christy Garden where he also had a hive, that they no
longer keep. Phil now works as a landscaper/rooftop garden designer for Chelsea
Gardens. There are a few small, commercial beekeepers on the lower east side,
whose hives are in back yards, roof-tops, and who sell their honey at some
Greenmarkets, and privately.
However, for the last 15 or so years, Sid Glaser a retired NYC public school
history teacher, has been our beekeeper and bee volunteer coordinator. Some
photographs from the 2002 PBS "Wild TV" science program segment on vermiculture
and beekeeping in the Clinton Garden can be viewed on this link from our
Unlike composting or other garden skills, which can be learned fairly quickly
and be done by anyone, including sensible children, beekeeping requires a
certain amount of technical skill, smokers, protective clothing and headgear,
calmness around bees, understanding of bee biology, care and treatment of honey
supers, hive diseases/mites, attention to the details of the honey harvest and
a willingness to be stung at times, even by the tame European/Tuscan bees with
which we stock our hive.
And all bees swarm, sometimes once or twice in a season - and the volunteer
beekeeper has to make him/herself available to deal with this natural
occurance. Bees sometimes attach themselves to a tree, forming a new community, and
have to be smoked out and encouraged to either return or disperse - and we know
that many folks are allergic to bee stings, so having an beekeeper on tap
when they swarm is essential.
You need to have a beekeeper/volunteer who really takes on the hive as
his/her major project and a garden that cooperates with the beekeeper, from the
siting of the hive, to funding the expenses this activity entails. We have been
fortunate to have Sid Glaser to do this (he's also the beekeeper for "Wave
Hill", the great Riverdale Garden and Cultural facility) and a number of us have
been learning from him.
Bees are amazing pollinators and really make an organic garden bloom -
enhancing other natural practices like using other beneficial insects for blight
control, composting, and attracting song birds who eat "blight" insects while
chasing after the bees. And honey sales are part of our garden's fundraising mix.
So, what I'm saying is that keeping a successful hive is work, requires care
and organization, an eye to safety in a densely populated urban area, but
can be a real boon to any urban community garden that does it properly.
Clinton Community Garden
> Subj: Bumblebees in Community Gardens
> Date: 3/9/05 5:37:11 PM Mid-Atlantic Standard Time
> From: TUFTS@nwf.org
> To: email@example.com
> Sent from the Internet
> I am on the listserv and likely met you years ago.Since then we may have
> communicated once or twice. Question..
> Would it be appropriate for me to put a query out to those on the list
> trying to find out how many community gardens in urban areas have bumblebees as
> part of the pollinator mix in their garden?
> We're considering doing an urban bumblebee project and I am trying to get an
> idea if there are bumblebees in city gardens, if community gardeners attempt
> to encourage them and if city gardeners know the difference between
> bumblebees, honey bees and perhaps carpenter bees. I do recall the bee hive in Liz
> Christy years ago and think you might have had one in Clinton, too.
> Craig Tufts
> Chief Naturalist
> Director of Citizen Science Programs
> National Wildlife Federation
> 11100 Wildlife Center Drive
> Reston, VA 20190-5362
> phone :(703) 438-6438
> fax: (703) 438-6035
> email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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