Bee Saving Paper — You Guessed It! — Saves Bees Globally

Unable to resist our sweet stripey friends — and of course, the danger to our food resource brought about by the dwindling of their populations — different sectors have already been participating in bee saving initiatives. There is the UK’s ban on harmful pesticides. There is the transformation of empty lots into bee farms by a group of Detroit locals. Recently, there is free ice cream from food company Häagen-Dazs to promote the bee saving advocacy.

The latest to join the hive is a Polish startup company that created a biodegradable paper from energy-rich glucose that may feed bees. Not only is it definitely usable for us humans because the material isn’t sticky at all, Bee Saving Paper is very nutritious and delicious for our pollinator friends.

The material is made by dissolving a special kind of sugar into water, making a paste that beekeepers use to nourish their hives during the winter. According to the paper startup’s website, only 0.5 kilograms of the substance is enough to feed several thousand bees.

The paper is also made with honey plant seeds, which means that once the bee eats up all the glucose, the paper’s biodegradation will grow another “rest stop” for bees in its place.

Now you might ask: why would any creature want to eat paper? What could make it seem sumptuous? Well, the designers have also come up with a solution to make the Bee Saving Paper look yummy.

Since bees see fields of flowers as circles of colored light on the ultraviolet spectrum, the engineers used water-based UV paint to cover the paper with colored circles that are only visible — and attractive — to bees.

Since last year, the startup has already successfully executed its first field test. They helped out a Polish beekeeper whose bee farm populations were rapidly decreasing. Now, the company aims to promote their bee saving products to large brands and businesses that need paper. Which could be every business out there, really.

[A]ny business or manufacturing company using paper can start making their products out of materials that are environmentally friendly and nourishing to pollinators — from paper bags to parking tickets and picnic plates.

I can’t imagine how exciting it would be to do everyday chores. Shop with a paper bag, read food labels printed on paper, drink from a paper cup, write love letters on paper… do pretty much everything as a bee saving hero!

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Free Ice Cream to Help Save Honey Bees

Bee populations are known to be on a steep decline. And it’s worrisome because the many benefits given to us by the cutesy bugs (please click at your own risk, lest you faint of cuteness) are no secret to our generation, to environmental activists and non-activists alike. Some people already act of their own volition, like communities turning empty lots into bee homes and repairing beekeeping equipment. The UK has even banned pesticides that are harmful to bees.

Another stint in the bee-saving movement comes from ice cream company Häagen-Dazs, as they give away free ice cream cones to promote the advocacy.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the Häagen-Dazs Loves Honey Bees campaign . . . Since starting 10 years ago, Häagen-Dazs has donated over $1 million to bee research and planted over 11,000 plants. If you want to help the bees too, the ice cream company asks that you donate to the Xerces Society—they have a goal of planting 1 million acres of habitat for bees.

A third of Häagen-Dazs products apparently depend on the honey bees, and so does a third of our entire food intake, which makes their decreasing population truly alarming.

The annual Free Cone Day serves as a recognition of whom Adam Hanson, President and General Manager of the food company, calls “pollinators that make our ice cream possible.” Of course, the event doesn’t stop at recognition of the hard-working bees. It is, more than anything, a call for help.

“With this year marking the 10th anniversary of the brand’s honey bee support, we wanted to build on that information and encourage everyone to band together for this important cause.”

Many people want to save the honey bees, not just for their general cuteness, but for their steadfast role in our food supply. And come on, let’s just be honest here. Who wouldn’t want to help in the name of free ice cream?

 

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Detroit Natives Turning Empty Lots Into Bee Farms

After a months-long bout of trending, #SaveTheBees is finally making an impact on beekeeping communities. Where locals have banded together to repair equipment, governments have banned harmful pesticides. Building even greater hype for the movement, Detroit natives are transforming vacant lots into bee habitats.

“I thought that it would be new and different in the city of Detroit,” [beekeeper Timothy Paule] said. “We want to educate people about bees and spread the knowledge of medicinal properties of honey, and to preserve the bee population, all while removing blight.”

Paule, along with partner Nicole Lindsey run Detroit Hives, dedicated to honeybee preservation. The pair have purchased their first lot for $340 and neighbors are all for it.

“This is important because we’re changing the city, we’re cleaning out the blight in Detroit turning into beautiful bee farms with gardens,” Lindsey [said]. “We’re also helping save the lives of the bees… educating the community on the difference between honey bees and wasps and how important honeybees are to our lives.”

Remember, kids — honey bees are friends. Protect their hives and forget stinging!

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Community Helps Repair Beekeeping Equipment

With bee populations at risk, moves to ban pesticides and upgrade beekeeping technology are on the rise. Still, in spite of such grand efforts, trouble loomed over Wild Hill Honey. Vandals ransacked the business of $50,000 in damage, unrecoverable — at least until the community stepped in.

“Some vandals came up and they destroyed all of our beehives and most of our beekeeping equipment. They tried to batter their way into our shed but eventually they piled some stuff up and went in through the window,” says [owner Justin] Engelhardt.

Legally, bees can’t be insured, and repairs are covered by personal expenses. But, in just a few days, neighbors raised $35,000 for the Engelhardts — over half of what was needed. Even better, police easily secured a lead.

“The police response was fantastic. We called and they came right away and they dusted for fingerprints at the shed, and there are some footprints that they’re using to try to further the investigation and hopefully that leads somewhere,” says Engelhardt.

Thanks to the donors, Wild Hill Honey will resume operations in the spring. A buzzing little heart sure does go a long way!

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Beekeeping Is Going High Tech

If there is one animal we don’t give enough credit to, it’s the humble bee. It is a little-known fact that bees are vital to the food industry. Not only do they produce honey, they are also responsible for pollinating our fruits and vegetables. While there are ways we can contribute to the save-the-bees campaign, we rely mostly on beekeepers. To make their jobs easier, Open Source Beehives has come out with the BuzzBox, helping beekeepers to better manage their bees.

The BuzzBox is a solar-powered plug-in beehive sensor that enables users to monitor the activities in their colonies by listening to and analyzing the sounds in the hives. Along with tracking the internal and external temperatures of the hives, and the humidity and barometric pressure, a microphone monitors a hive’s sounds and passes those “honeybee audio signals” on to a real-time audio analysis system that delivers “hive health updates” to the user’s smartphone via an app.

To analyze beehive behaviors, Open Source Beehives compiled hours of beehive audio. With this new technology, BuzzBox can identify regular and irregular noises. Now that’s high tech.

“The goal is two-fold. By identifying when colonies reach a state of near-collapse, we can correlate their signals with hypothesized causes, such as pesticide exposure and parasite infestation. And we can warn beekeepers of imminent danger so they can intervene and attempt to save their hives.”

That’s quite the buzz for today.

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