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Colony Collapse Disorder and Vanishing of the Bees

August 24th, 2010

If you know anything about bees, then you’re probably familiar with Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Colony Collapse Disorder is an unusual phenomenon where bees abandon their hives, never to return.

What is frightening about CCD is that we’re not talking about a few thousand bees here or there. Just in the winter of 2006/2007, tens of billions of bees—more than a quarter of the United States’ bee colonies—were lost to CCD, and since then, more than three million bee colonies have disappeared.

When you think about the number of bee colonies that have been lost to CCD then wonder how our agricultural crops will be pollinated should this problem worsen, it’s hard not to think the word “catastrophic.”

In estimation, insects pollinate one third of the human food supply, most of which is pollinated by bees. In case you need a pollination refresher: Bees land on a flower to eat nectar and pollen. While on the flower, the bee will stuff powdery pollen into little sacks on the back of her legs. When the bee flies to another flower, some of the dusty pollen falls off her legs onto the new flower she’s landed on, thus beginning the plant pollination process (fertilization and sexual reproduction). Pollination is vital, because fruiting of a plant is dependent on fertilization.

Imagine the catastrophic consequences if crops such as apples, asparagus, avocados, broccoli, blueberries, cantaloupe, celery, citrus, cucumbers, nuts, peaches, and more were unable to fruit, due to lack of pollination, due to the lack of bees. It’s a very scary thought.

We’ve uprooted a very real bee movie that we hope everyone will get the opportunity to watch: Vanishing of the Bees. Check out the trailer.

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Garden Heroes and Villains

July 12th, 2010

Did you know there are heroes and villains in your garden that come in all shapes and sizes? From villainous whiteflies, which feed off of plants by sucking the plant’s juices, to heroic lady bugs, which enthusiastically eat aphids, learning the difference between good and bad garden animals, bugs, and even bacteria can help you maintain and preserve the healthy foods you grow.

If you’re a current Humble Seed Facebook fan then chances are you’ve seen the questions posted from other fans about some of the heroic and villainous creatures and critters they’ve dealt with, along with our suggestions. Every garden needs insects, because many insects pollinate plants, so one of the best things a food grower can do is to have a better understanding of how to work with the good guys and manage the bad guys.

Starting this week, we’ll be featuring a garden hero and villain every week and posting to our blog and Facebook page. If you have not become a Humble Seed Facebook fan then we encourage you to do so, because we’re here for you, to make your food growing experiences the very best they can be.

Check back soon!

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