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Fwd: Bumblebees in Community Gardens

  • Subject: [cg] Fwd: Bumblebees in Community Gardens
  • From: Adam36055@aol.com
  • Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 18:32:38 EST

Hmmm....

Right or wrong,  bumblebees are often considered a stinging nuisance in 
cities, like wasps and yellow-jackets. But of course their pollination would be 
quite beneficial. 

The problem in cities, with any kind of bee or livestock is the neighbors.  
So you would have to look at your site, and make sure that the bees would not 
be close to open window, alight on people's food, etc.  We've sited our beehive 
next to a six storey high bare brick wall, so we've avoided that nuisance 
problem.  

When you are thinking of re-introducing any species into a city, you should 
think about why it disappeared. 

It's been an  educational process to get our 5,000 garden key-holders to feel 
comfortable with mutally co-exist with the bees.  Great luck with your 
project, 
Adam Honigamn

> Subj: Re: Bumblebees in Community Gardens 
>  Date: 3/9/05 7:23:39 PM Mid-Atlantic Standard Time
>  From: TUFTS@nwf.org
>  To: Adam36055@aol.com
>  Sent from the Internet 
> 
> 
> 
> Adam:
>   
> Thanks very much for your quick response and the information and experience 
> you've had with honey bees. Honey bees do require a lot of care and people 
> often worry about stings, etc.
>   
> What I am especially curious about is whether any community gardens support 
> bumblebees. These native bees, unlike the Old World honey bees, won't provide 
> people with honey. They are however excellent crop pollinators and require 
> no real care although they can be encouraged by providing nest boxes.  Their 
> colonies are annual and rarely ever reach more than a few hundred bees. In 
> many parts of the US their numbers are decreasing. Certain species (unlike 
> honeybees which area s ingle species, there are perhaps 40 species or more of 
> bumblebees)are disappearing. They may be much less prevalent in cities due to 
> rodent predation although they often affiliate with native mice, using their old 
> nests as their prime nesting areas. 
>  
> It will be interesting to see what community gardeners say. If they contact 
> me off-line, I'll try to share with the entire community when appropriate. 
>  
> Craig
Return-Path: <TUFTS@nwf.org>
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Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2005 16:22:35 -0500
From: "Craig Tufts" <TUFTS@nwf.org>
To: <Adam36055@aol.com>
Subject: Re: Bumblebees in Community Gardens
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Adam:
 
Thanks very much for your quick response and the information and
experience you've had with honey bees. Honey bees do require a lot of
care and people often worry about stings, etc.
 
What I am especially curious about is whether any community gardens
support bumblebees. These native bees, unlike the Old World honey bees,
won't provide people with honey. They are however excellent crop
pollinators and require no real care although they can be encouraged by
providing nest boxes.  Their colonies are annual and rarely ever reach
more than a few hundred bees. In many parts of the US their numbers are
decreasing. Certain species (unlike honeybees which area s ingle
species, there are perhaps 40 species or more of bumblebees)are
disappearing. They may be much less prevalent in cities due to rodent
predation although they often affiliate with native mice, using their
old nests as their prime nesting areas. 
 
It will be interesting to see what community gardeners say. If they
contact me off-line, I'll try to share with the entire community when
appropriate. 
 
Craig



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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