As we are all aware, there is a current decline in pollinator (bees, butterflies, birds, bats…. the list goes on and on) populations. Because of this, there is a great deal of research into the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD – a disorder that causes entire bee colonies to die or disappear) among honey bees.
Studies about the disappearance of honey bees and other pollinators are of extreme importance, as most of the plants that are used for food production are pollinator dependant. This means without bees, birds, and other pollinators these plants do not reproduce and that there is a risk of decreased crop production for the foods that we eat.
The North American Pollinator Protection Campaign (NAPPC) has issued a request for proposals to research honey bee health. A proposal is being written to fund the New Orleans Urban Pollinator Initiative – a study where bee boxes would be placed at as many growing sites in the city as possible to collect information that would be useful in the study of honey bee health. The funding would cover the installation of the bee boxes, equipment, signs, and safety fencing.
Questions that study will try to answer:
- Do any of growing sites currently house a bee box?
- Do any currently use any chemical pesticides/herbicides?
- What are the floral resources (food sources like nectar) for pollinators at sites?
If a growing site chooses not to place a bee box on their site then they would still be asked that they consider participating in the study as a (control site) a site to use as a comparison.
Finally, another purpose of this study is to promote pollinator health through community outreach and education.
How will this study benefit growing sites? Many of the urban gardens produce fruits and vegetables for sale at local markets. By introducing bees to the garden you will also increase the production of fruits and vegetables. Also the gardeners can take advantage of all of the honey, pollen, and the propolis. All of those products can be used by the gardeners. The only thing this study wants from the garden is information. This information is vital to the protection of pollinators that provide food worldwide.
What about personal safety? If you are concerned about the safety of beekeeping in a garden please remember that the only reason to be concerned is if you have a known allergy to bees. In general, as long as you aren’t aggressive towards the bees they have no reason to sting you. The study will stake all precautions to insure your safety while working in the garden.
Please email JenniferBlanchard@live.com at your earliest convenience if your site would like to participate in this study.
The research proposal must be submitted by December 19th 2012. The study would begin in April 2013.All sites are encouraged to contact us, even after the deadline so that we can connect with as many sites as possible.
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