Grow Food Amherst and Sustaining Amherst sponsored Amherst Bee Week from April 24 to May 1, 2015
Each year beekeepers lose anywhere from 30% to 50% of their bees due to parasites, pesticides, and loss of bee habitat. To join Grow Food Amherst and learn how to “help the bees” please make sure you are on our mailing list.
Amherst Bee Week was a unique blend of pollinator-arts, science, education and community-building. See our list of events below. This is the second annual Bee Week in Amherst. We were inspired by Piti Theatre Company’s original play with music “To Bee or Not to Bee” which has been presented at the Amherst Sustainability Festival and many other sites in the U.S. and Switzerland.
In the words of South Deerfield beekeeper Dan Conlon of Warm Colors Apiary, honeybees in many parts of the U.S. simply “don’t have enough to eat.”
Or if you have a lawn, please consider leaving 10% “go wild” for the bees in celebration of Bee Week! When your neighbors ask why you are not mowing part of your lawn, you can tell them about the loss of bees!
UMass students are invited to join the UMass Bee Club. The club manage 3 new hives at the Stockbridge Agricultural Learning Center on North Pleasant St.!
What about pesticides?
That’s simple…. don’t use them! But for those of you who still choose to use pesticides to kill bugs in your garden, please be aware that you may be harming the bees (both native as well a honey bees). According to UMass Extension, some things to consider are:
- Do not treat crops or plants in bloom. Never spray open flowers. Do not allow sprays to drift onto adjacent plants, weeds or inter plantings that are in bloom including ground covers and trees. Be especially careful when treating a bee-pollinated crop.
- Use the least toxic pesticide. Different formulations of pesticides often vary significantly in their toxicity to bees. Dusts are much more hazardous than sprays, and wettable powders usually provide a significantly longer toxic hazard than emulsifiable concentrates because the dry particles cling better to the body hair of foraging bees.
- Adjust pesticide applications in relation to weather conditions. For example, apply pesticides when drying conditions are good to limit the length of time of direct pesticide exposure to bees.
- Apply pesticides when bees are not actively foraging or visiting plants. Many insecticides can be applied in late evening, night or early morning with relative safety to bees.
- Know where bee colonies are in your area. Bees forage up to several miles searching out concentrations of flowers, plants shedding pollen and/or producing nectar. Contact beekeepers if you intend to make a pesticide application that may kill bees.
- Do not place unmarked honeybee colonies adjacent to fields or orchards, which are likely to be treated. Beekeepers should put their name, address, and phone number or approved identification number on hives. Use print large enough to be read at some distance.
And tell the EPA to stop the use of bee killing pesticides! Join with Environment Massachusetts in this email campaign here: STOP KILLING THE BEES!
For a report on the status of neonicontinoid pesticides, see: Beyond the Birds and the Bees.
2015 Amherst Bee Week Activities
The goal of Amherst Bee Week is to raise awareness of the plight of pollinators while giving children and adults tools for helping bees thrive in their communities. Some of the events and activities for Bee Week 2015 were:
- A performance of “To Bee or Not to Be” at the Fort River School on April 10
- An educational display at the Jones Library
- The story of bees at the Jones Library on Saturday, April 18; 11:00am
- A bee theme art project at Judies Art Bar on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:30pm
- Bee workshops at the Amherst Sustainability Festival on Saturday, April 25
- A field tour of the UMass Pollinator Garden at the Agricultural Learning Center, 911 North Pleasant St. at 1PM on Sunday, April 26th led by UMASS Instructor, Jarrod Fowler
- A screening of Queen of the Sun on Monday April 27 at 6:00pm in Amherst Town Hall
- A request to homeowners with lawns to leave “10% for the bees“
- Planting a pollinator garden at the Fort River Farm Conservation Area
If you have other ideas or want to help out, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Piti Theatre’s Bee Week and Bee Friendly Town Program at www.beeweek.org.