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more reasons why bees are awesome

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L0008282 The drawings of a bee and its parts.

Bees are awesome. Full stop. Yet here’s more reasons to marvel at our bewinged friends: despite their tiny little brains, they can adapt their behavior, make use of “tools”, and solve more complex problems than we humans originally thought. All with the help of fellow bees or puppets.

Yes, you heard right. Puppets!

In findings recently published in Science, cognitive scientist Clint Perry demonstrated that bees could learn to roll a ball to a designated location in order to receive a delicious reward of sugar water. And if they couldn’t work it out themselves?

If a bee couldn’t figure out how to get the reward, a researcher would demonstrate using a puppet — a plastic bee on the end of a stick — to scoot the ball from the edge of the platform to the center.

“Bees that saw this demonstration learned very quickly how to solve the task. They started rolling the ball into the center; they got better over time,” says Perry.

What’s more, bees watching their cohorts receive these rewards would then adapt their behavior and find ways to get that sweet sugar water faster and more efficiently.

“It wasn’t monkey see, monkey do. They improved on the strategy that they saw,” says Perry. “This all shows an unprecedented level of cognitive flexibility, especially for a miniature brain.”

Click HERE to read or listen to NPR’s story on these smarty bees. They even suggest bees could learn to fetch!


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md is the first state to ban bee killing pesticides for consumer use

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Neonicotinoids are a newer class of insecticides that are chemically related to nicotine. Like nicotine, they act on certain receptors in the central nervous system. In insects, they cause paralysis and death. After becoming concerned about the use of neonicotinoids and the health risks they pose to bees, as well as local waterways and other wildlife, the state of Maryland recently decided they’ve had enough.

Research shows that toxic neonictinoid pesticides not only kill and harm bees, butterflies and birds, they also pose a serious threat to food, public health and other wildlife, and they are playing a significant role in bees dying at alarming rates around the world. According to the Maryland Pesticide Network, beekeepers in Maryland lost 61% of their bees last year, which is about twice the national average.

n an effort to save the honeybee population, the Pollinator Protection Act was created. The act aims to curb consumer purchases of products that contain neonicotinoids, and ensure that consumers are informed when plants have been grown or treated with them.

Maryland lawmakers recently passed bills that would ban stores from selling products laced with neonicotinoids to homeowners. The two bills, SB 198 and HB 211, are expected to be combined into a single piece of legislation for Governor Larry Hogan to sign within the next two weeks. Hogan’s signature would turn Maryland into the first state to ban the harmful pesticides from people who aren’t using them properly. When the law takes effect in 2018, farmers and professionals who have a better understanding of the pesticides and how to apply them in a way that poses a lesser threat to bees would be exempted.

 

To read more, click HERE


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sting of the bee, canton, ny, feb 24

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Join us for this informal monthly gathering of bee enthusiasts – a chat fest of beekeeping information!
We meet on the LAST Wednesday of every month – mark your calendars!  See details below.

All are welcome!  No experience necessary, though if you’re really new to it, reading up some before you come is a good idea so you can have questions in mind to share.

SPECIAL PROGRAM for FEBRUARY 2016 GATHERING:
Apitherapy:
Beehive Benefits to Human Health including Bee Sting/Bee Venom Therapy

During the first half of the usual bee group discussion we will have a special presentation by Bee Group member Sandy vonAllmen!
In the second half we will also discuss the annual co-op purchase of bee packages and nuc’s to restock hives in the Spring.

Presention By: Sandy VonAllmen
Biography:
Sandy VonAllmen is a retired RN who has kept a few beehives since 1998 in order to make good use of some of the health benefits associated with keeping bees.  As her interest in bee venom therapy grew, she took an online Apitherapy Course with a Romanian doctor that expanded her awareness of its benefits.  Sandy will discuss the many benefits to health of many byproducts of the hive and, of course, the most interesting to her being the Bee Sting (Bee Venom) Therapy that she also has the most experience with.

*  “Bee” on the lookout for more in our series of beginner to advanced workshops throughout the year.
*  In Winter we also coordinate a co-op purchase of bee packages and nuc’s to restock hives in the Spring.
*  Check out  “The BeeHive,” our Resource Page!

“Bee” in touch — join us!
Email us at LocalLivingVenture@gmail.com to receive notice of workshops and events.

DONATION
The Discussion Group is on a pass-the-hat, free-will donation basis to support the club and the Local Living Venture workshop programming.  

LOCATION
Betty Evans Community Room in the new wing (left hand door) of the E.J. Noble Medical Bldg., 80 E. Main Street, Canton, NY. (next to the Best Western, across from the Price Chopper on Rt. 11, Canton.)  Usually we post an orange ‘Local Living Workshop Site’ lawn site near the door.

Novice to advanced levels are welcome to attend and share their questions, successes and challenges in a casual group setting. 7 PM, 1 to 2 hours.

Things change.  Please get on our mailing list for the most up-to-date information.
Write to LocalLivingVenture@gmail.com and mention Bees to sign up!


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monsanto’s plan to help the honeybee

In 2011 Monsanto, the maker of herbicides and genetically engineered seeds, bought an Israeli company called Beeologics, which had developed an RNA interference technology that can be fed to bees through sugar water. The idea is that when a nurse bee spits this sugar water into each cell of a honeycomb where a queen bee has laid an egg, the resulting larvae will consume the RNA interference treatment. With the right sequence in the interfering RNA, the treatment will be harmless to the larvae, but when a mite feeds on it, the pest will ingest its own self-destruct signal.

The specificity and precision of topical RNA interference could be used for other agricultural tricks, including perhaps making weeds once again sensitive to a Monsanto herbicide that they have developed resistance to.

To read one side of the Monsanto bee debate, click HERE. Just be wary.


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2016 apprenticeships in regenerative agriculture in the american west

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Starting a career in regenerative agriculture? Want to develop technical skills in grassfed beef production, dairy management and cheesemaking, or heirloom fruit tree cultivation and holistic orchard management?

The wonderful folks at the Quivira Coalition are seeking applicants for their New Agrarian Program‘s eight-month (March to Nov 2016) on-site apprenticeships at San Jaun Ranch in Alamosa, CO; James Ranch Artisan Cheese in Durango, CO; and Tooley’s Trees in Truchas, NM. All of these positions explore sustainable agriculture in the new American West and include a monthly stipend, housing, some food, and an education fund.
For more info contact: Sarah Wentzel-Fisher, Quivira Coalition New Agrarian Program Coordinator at sarah@quiviracoalition.org. Full position descriptions are available after the break.

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a photo essay: what’s killing all the bee’s?

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Photo Credit Chris Jordan-Bloch, Earth Justice

The Perfect Crime: What’s Killing all the Bee’s?

Honey bee colonies have experienced widespread die-offs in a phenomenon known as Colony Collapse Disorder. Many beekeepers believe a class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids are weakening their bees. Mega-corporations are making a killing off their pesticides—but are they also getting away with murder?

A beautiful 22 photo essay by Chris Jordan-Bloch explores explores this issue. See the full essay here.