Monday, April 25, 2011

Help Save the Honeybees, And Save Our Plants And Crops. Cargo Trailer.

For "Mammal Monday", let's change to:  MALISSA: in Greek, name meaning “honey bee.”

So for "Malissa Monday":   Preserve Our Ecosystem and Save the Honeybees.
"Honeybees pollinate the crops that we enjoy every day —
if they were no longer around to do so, plants' abilities to reproduce would be decimated.
We need to make sure that the substances we put on our crops are not threatening other species of insects and animals. If we don't, we're simply trading one bad outcome for another.
Honeybee populations are in danger because they are ingesting a harmful pesticide called clothianidin. Take action for the bees!
Preserve Our Ecosystem and Save the Honeybees
Honeybees are vital to our ecosystem.

They pollinate plant species that make up a large portion of the crops we consume. Without bees, plants would not be able to reproduce and the core of our agricultural system would crumble.
Right now is the time to take action in favor of saving our bees. Bee populations have begun to see sharp declines in recent years. There are several theories as to why this may be occurring, but the most widely-accepted is that pesticides meant to protect us from other harmful bugs are having the unintended effect of killing off the bees.

The chemical — clothianidin — is very toxic to honeybees. Clothianidin has not been tested properly, and therefore should not be viable for use as a pesticide. We need to know a chemical's full potential before it is used on the food that we consume
Sign the petition asking the EPA to ban clothianidin until they truly assess its effects on humans and honeybees."

Two pounds of honey requires that bees make about ten million trips to individual flowers.

A Bee Abode

"Give struggling bee populations a break by giving them a home
  • If you are not a do-it-yourselfer, you can buy a bee block, nest, house, or hive online or at garden and specialty stores.
  • If you don’t have dead trees or logs lying around your backyard sanctuary for bees to use as nest sites, you can create the nooks and crannies favored by cavity-nesting bees with an easy do-it-yourself project: a bee block.

Build a bee block

You can buy bee blocks and other bee homes at garden or other specialty stores, but if you want to make your own, here are directions:
  • Into the side of untreated 4 x 6 inch lumber or similarly-sized stick of firewood (the length is not important), drill a range of holes approximately 1/2 inch apart.
  • Drilling at different diameters (about 3/32–3/8 inch) and depths will accommodate different bee species. For example, 5/16-inch diameter and 2–4 inch deep holes will favor mason bees. Don’t drill the holes all the way through the wood, and try to make them as smooth as possible on the inside.
  • Adding a roof will protect nesting bees from rain and strong sun.
  • At a height of about 2–4 feet, firmly attach your bee block to a stake and place it in the garden or affix it to a building, fence, or tree. Face it in an east or southeasterly direction so it catches the morning sun.
  • Line the holes with specially made paper straws or tubes (you can find these online by searching for "bee paper straw," or you can make your own of parchment paper or newspaper) for easy cleaning at the end of the season. Don't use plastic straws; they can allow mold to grow and have been linked to bee deaths.

Maintaining bee blocks

  • To reduce the occurrence of parasites, fungi, and diseases, pull straws out of nest blocks with tweezers at the end of the summer, and store them in a cool place over the winter (shed, fridge) in a ventilated container so mold does not develop.
  • Wash out the block with a mild bleach solution
  • Let it dry and store it for the winter
  • In spring, insert new straws and place the occupied ones you collected the previous season in a protected, east-facing location somewhat near the cleaned out block. Dispose of used straws when the bees emerge. "

Learn more about bee homes

  • Helpful alien: The familiar honey bee is actually foreign to North America.

  • You can find lots of information online about befriending bees. Here are a few places to start:
    »The Xerces Society's Nest for Native Bees factsheet
    » The U.S. Department of Agriculture's page on building a bee (or nesting) block
    »The National Sustainable Agriculture Center's information on helping native bees.
    »The Blog at Help Save Bee's page on building a mason bee house


    Help bees in other ways

    "Bees often get a bad rap because a very few species might sting if they feel threatened near their nests. Actually, the majority of North America’s 4,000 native bee species probably won't sting you under normal circumstances.

    Did you know that bees are nature’s most important and efficient pollinators? But they are disappearing at an alarming rate.

    So get to know your native bees—and learn how to bee-friend them.

    You need bees to pollinate your flowers, but if having bee home in your yard doesn't appeal to you, or if you've set up your block, hive, or nest and now want to do more, you can give them food and a safe habitat."


    "Pebbles" will finally eat kitten food out of a bowl, but as they are orphans, they want some motherly love, so I give her and "Pal", a bottle last thing at night. Puny little "Precious" is growing, but she doesn't want a bottle any more.

    SAM_0847-1 SAM_0848-1
    Today, Jay and worked some more on the little shelf/drawer cabinet by the door, in the cargo trailer. Here it is with 5 drawers installed. I have 8 of these little drawers, but we won't be using all of them. All eight of the drawers would be too high, as one couldn't see in the top one. 
    The drawers cover the seams in the paneling, just like I intended. We cut two sticks 4-1/2' long, (total 6" with the 1 x 2"  ledger boards) to gauge the depth of each cubby hole, to keep them evenly spaced.  It will have a door or two over the drawers and shelves, on the front of this cabinet.

    Ray will still has some more painting to do to it on another day.

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