Protect Pollinators and Their Habitat
As part of President Sandra Robinson's focus on Preserving Our Pollinators, the NGC partnership with Crown Bees and their BeeGAP program will continue to be an important focus for her 2015-2017 term.
Native honey bees are in peril, their populations experiencing significant declines in the last few decades. In turn, their decline threatens our food supply. THe NGC program, BeeGAP (Gardeners Adding Pollinators) is a partnership with Crown Bees, a gentle bee provider of mason bees. Mason bees are native to North America and are an excellent supplement to the troubled honey bee. When teamed with mason bees, honey bees are more efficient pollinators.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture:"Honey bees, which are a critical link in U.S. agriculture, have been under serious pressure from a mystery problem: Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), which is syndrome defined as a dead colony with no adult bees or dead bee bodies but with a live queen and usually honey and immature bees still present. No scientific cause for CCD has been proven.
But CCD is far from the only risk to the health of honey bees and the economic stability of commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in the United States. Since the 1980s, honey bees and beekeepers have had to deal with a host of new pathogens from deformed wing virus to nosema fungi, new parasites such as Varroa mites, pests like small hive beetles, nutrition problems from lack of diversity or availability in pollen and nectar sources, and possible sublethal effects of pesticides. These problems, many of which honey bees might be able to survive if each were the only one, are often hitting in a wide variety of combinations, and weakening and killing honey bee colonies. CCD may even be a result of a combination of two or more of these factors and not necessarily the same factors in the same order in every instance."
The BeeGAP program therefore plays a critical role in the NCG's efforts to protect pollinators and their habitat, help to increase the populations of mason bees and healthy native bees, bring more colonies into communities to contribute their gifts to agriculture, and create healthy, thriving eco-systems where we live.
For those of you that have been participating in the Mason Bee Project's BeeGAP Program, we encourage you to continue with the program! For those that haven't yet given BeeGAP a try, we suggest you give it a try! How-to videos and instructions can be found at http://www.crownbees.com.
For more information, contact our project Chairmen:
Jacqueline Connell, Chairman: President's Project Crown Bees
Bud Qualk, Chairman: NGC BeeGAP Partnership
Videos and instructions can be found on the Crown Bees Website (http://www.crownbees.com)
Click here to download the NGC Crown Bees BeeGAP Brochure