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Vandals attack bee hive at Tricycle Gardens in Manchester

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http://hillsandheights.org/2014/01/27/vandals-attack-bee-hive-at-tricycle-gardens-in-manchester/

Vandals attack bee hive at Tricycle Gardens in Manchester

Photo courtesy of RTD

Photo courtesy of RTD

Tricycle Gardens in Manchester has a bee hive that in the summer months is the home to upwards of 20,000 bees. The bees carry on the crucial task of pollinating local plants and of course the happy side benefit is honey. Unfortunately for the local plants and the workers of Tricycle gardens some vandals decided it would be fun to knock over the hive.

Stover, a beekeeper, went to work righting the hive that had been knocked over in the night at the Tricycle Gardens Urban Farm in Manchester. He collected the broken comb and surviving honeybees and set about putting their home back together.

If the queen survived — something Stover won’t be able to determine until spring — then the hive’s residents just might make it. If the queen was among those crushed, Stover will need to find a new swarm to populate the hive. Either way, he wanted to make a point by hand-lettering a message on the roof of the hive:

PLEASE DON’T HURT THE HONEYBEES

“I painted that on there,” Stover said, “so if somebody came back and wanted to do the same thing they would stop for a moment and think.”

Here’s what Stover would want someone to think about:

“That there are bees here, and they’re very docile, nonaggressive little insects,” he said, “and they do a lot of good.”

It’s not just in Manchester that bees are facing an uphill struggle.

Over the past six years, on average, 30 percent of all the honeybee colonies in the U.S. died off over the winter. The worst year was five years ago. Last year was the best: Just 22 percent of the colonies died.

“Last year gave us some hope,” says Jeffrey Pettis, research leader of the Agriculture Department’s Bee Research Laboratory in Beltsville, Md.

But this year, the death rate was up again: 31 percent.

Six years ago, beekeepers were talking a lot about “colony collapse disorder” — colonies that seemed pretty healthy, but suddenly collapsed. The bees appeared to have flown away, abandoning their hives.

Beekeepers aren’t seeing that so much anymore, Pettis says. They’re mostly seeing colonies that just dwindle. As the crowd of bees gets smaller, it gets weaker.

“They can’t generate heat very well in the spring to rear brood. They can’t generate heat to fly,” he says. [via NPR]

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Written by vaphc

January 28, 2014 at 5:41 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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