Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Honey, It’s Just Poop! Urban Bees a Net Positive for the Community

Two new hives this year!
It was going to be just one, but my empty hive box in my neighbors yard had a swarm voluntarily move in a few weeks ago! (after I had already ordered bees to replace the hives I lost 😢)

Check out these two school assignments: Lena's persuasive essay and soap for chemistry.  I give her an A+!!

Mix lye, several different oils, essential oils,
and, of course, honey and bees wax!
Stir in a little lavender from the Land...

Pour it into the molds....

Several weeks later you got soap!

5th period English 
Mr. Slayton
April 3, 2017

Honey, It’s Just Poop!
Urban Bees a Net Positive for the Community

The benefits of keeping bees outweigh any inconveniences caused by their feces and stings. The European honey bee, Apis mellifera, originates in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa, but has been spread by humans, and now occurs in every continent except for Antarctica (Mortensen, etc). Although many humans appreciate bees, and amateurs even keep one or two hives of bees in their yards, there are many people who are frustrated with local beekeepers and beehives because of the stings they receive and the messes the bee feces makes on their houses and cars.

Apis mellifera is not only colonized in the gardens of amateurs, but used on a much larger scale to pollinate crops globally. Bees pollinate 30% of global crops, and almost $15 billion of the crops of the United States of America (Mortensen, etc). Without bees, Earth’s food system would be very different. However, in the US and other areas, Apis mellifera is not native, and, in some cases, is causing a decrease in the population of native bees (Hammond/Blankenship).

Local beekeeping is often a way to bring communities closer together. Beekeepers will open up their homes to sell honey when they have excess, and neighbors who barely know each other will come together and talk, all because local honey is being sold. And the local honey is good for the health of the people in the community, as well as building up the community itself. Although official tests have not been conclusive, many people have found that if they eat local honey, their allergies to pollen are less apparent. Because local honey is not filtered as much, small amounts of pollen remain in the sticky substance, and when people ingest it, those small amounts are like allergy shots (Nall), which are injections with a tiny quantity of the allergen in them (Mayo Clinic Staff). Honey can also help with digestion problems, and is soothing to burns. The propolis (a gooey substance bees produce to keep the hive clean) that beekeepers collect also has healing properties (O’Connell). And, as many parents and children know, a spoonful of honey will sooth a sore throat.

The environment benefits from local hives as well. Honey from beekeepers with only one or two hives does not often come from flowers soaked in pesticides. Thus, the honey, the flowers, and the bugs in the area are healthier. And, as with all local food, the honey was not shipped in from a farm far away, and so greenhouse gasses and other pollutants are not emitted by trucks hauling barrels of commercially collected honey. Local honey brings awareness to the people affected by the beekeeping, teaching them about bees. People learn about both Apis mellifera and the bees native to the area, and awareness is raised.

In a good situation, people get used to the bees, and even come to enjoy the quiet buzz that can be heard when no cars are coming past. But in a bad situation, neighbors are annoyed by the bees. In an even worse situation, beekeepers answer a knock at the door to find a disgruntled neighbor complaining about the stings their child has gotten, or the bee poop on their car. As one person said to the author of “Bee - neighbor issue,” “ son has had 4 bee stings this year. ...I deserve a better quality of life. Look, my son has bee poop on his head right now!” And in a more recent situation, a beekeeper in Sunnyside, San Francisco read a post on a local website that said, “Took my car to the car wash... They ran the car through twice but were unable to get the crud off.” That poster claimed that the bee poop on her house and car was a nightmare, and soon after the situation arose, she began truly investigating, and caused the displacement of three local hives. Angry neighbors are a bad thing, but it is also a pain when people who are perfectly happy to have bees in the neighborhood are inconvenienced by the bee poop too, as it leaves yellow stains on white cloths that are hung out to dry near bee hives (Rusty).

Bee stings are something that should be taken into consideration; however, Apis mellifera do not sting without reason. If they feel that their hive or their life is in danger, they will sting. These stings are not dangerous, unless the person stung is allergic to bee venom (Hammond/ Blankenship). And while bee poop is very difficult to remove from cars and houses, it is harmless, and the only problem it causes is a dusty, somewhat streaked appearance. That can become an annoyance to people who enjoy the cleanliness of their cars, but it is not a big deal. The reasons for people pushing for bees to be removed from their neighborhoods are minor, and the things gained by the presence of bees are more important. Local bees cause a positive environmental impact, and the products they create help the health of individuals.

Mortensen, Ashley/Schmehl, Daniel/Ellis, Jamie/Entomology and Nematology Department, University of Florida. “European honey bee.” Featured Creatures. University of Florida, August 2013. Accessed 23 March 2017.

Hammond, George/Blankenship, Madison. “Apis mellifera honey bee.” Animal Diversity Web. 2009. Accessed 23 March 2017.

Nall, Rachel. “Honey for Allergies.” Healthline. 10 March 2016. health/allergies/honey-remedy#Overview1. Accessed 23 March 2017.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “Allergy shots: Definition.” Tests and Procedures. 10 February 2015. http:// Accessed 23 March 2017.

O’Connell, Danielle. “Benefits of Local Raw Honey.” 16 August 2013. http:// Accessed 3 April 2017.

Brenda. “Bee - neighbor issue.” Mary Janes Farm: Farmgirl Connection. 24 July 2011. http:// Accessed 23 March 2017.

Hartsough, Chester. “bee poop.” The Brew and The Bees. 16 November 2016. http:// Accessed 23 March 2017.

Rusty. “Sticky yellow bee droppings are a good thing.” Honey Bee Suite: A Better Way to Bee. 10 June 2010. Accessed 3 April 2017. 

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