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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

Friends, 

Mr. Craig Tufts, Chief Naturalist and Director of Citizen Science Programs at 
the
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. 

"Adam:
  
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."
 
Dear Craig, 

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 
website: 
http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/garden_photo_album.htm

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. 

Best wishes, 
Adam Honigman
Volunteer
Clinton Community Garden
http://www.clintoncommunitygarden.org/












> Subj: Bumblebees in Community Gardens 
>  Date: 3/9/05 5:37:11 PM Mid-Atlantic Standard Time
>  From: TUFTS@nwf.org
>  To: adam36055@aol.com
>  Sent from the Internet 
> 
> 
> 
> Adam:
>   
> 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.
>   
> Thanks.
>   
> Craig 
>  
>  
>  
> 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: tufts@nwf.org


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