Bees

Struggling Honeybees Get Some Help From Big Data

Oct 6, 2016
Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

 

As prolific pollinators, honeybees are to thank for about one out of every three bites of food you eat. But bees are in big trouble: They’re getting hit hard by pestspesticides, diseases and habitat loss. To help keep tabs on what’s going on with bees, scientists at Grand Valley State University are using new technology to track the health of hives.

WESA/Nicole Fallert

At least 10,000 bees squirmed next to one another fulfilling their duties as housekeepers, nurses and foragers.

The brood surrounded their queen bee in an enclosure, hanging vertically in the SEED classroom at Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Garden in Oakland.

“This is a four-frame, observational hive, it’s a small nucleus colony,” said Christina Neumann of Apoidea Apiary. She’s the beekeeper of the hive, which was unveiled at Phipps this week.

Jonathan Garaas has learned a few things in three seasons of backyard beekeeping: Bees are fascinating. They're complicated. And keeping them alive is not easy.

Every two weeks, the Fargo, N.D., attorney opens the hives to check the bees and search for varroa mites, pests that suck the bees' blood and can transmit disease. If he sees too many of the pinhead-sized parasites, he applies a chemical treatment.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Arsenal Cider House’s new production facility in Penn Hills is still under construction, with nothing produced yet inside the 17,000-square-foot warehouse. But outside, 110,000 workers are toiling away to create something that will one day end up inside Arsenal’s signature “daily rations” growlers.

Matt Nemeth / 90.5 WESA

Gardeners swarmed the Allegheny County Courthouse garden on Wednesday where Pennsylvania State University master gardeners handed out free plants and answered questions during Bee Wise, an annual informational event.

"We are trying to make the community more aware of native plants and pollinators," said Penn State master gardener Susan Mortensen. 

Keith Carver / Flickr

Bees can be pesky, but they're vital to the ecosystem. Take bees out of the equation, and many of the foods on the dinner table disappear.

In an effort to protect them, experts plan to talk about the threats to bees and pollinators at Bee Wise: Plant Natives on June 8, hosted by the Allegheny County Master Gardeners and Penn State Allegheny Extension.

The Buzz Is Building Over 'Other' Bees

Aug 6, 2015
Lou Blouin / The Allegheny Front

If you want to hang out with a bunch of bees, you'd better be prepared for a little pain.

Mario Padilla, a honeybee researcher at Penn State University, can usually tell when his hives are getting agitated. But he’s already been stung three times today. And he’s about to get it again.

Flickr User Jordan Schwartz

Urban farmers rejoice — it might soon become easier to raise farm animals in Pittsburgh, and to raise them legally.

Colony Collapse & the Buzz on Beekeeping in Pittsburgh

Jul 7, 2014
Justin Leonard / Flickr

Two years ago we took a look at the world of urban farming in Pittsburgh, with a focus on beekeeping in particular. As in many cities, those who want to build apiaries in Pittsburgh have had to jump through various bureaucratic hoops and deal with the myths and fears surrounding honeybees.

President Obama recently stressed the importance of preserving our honeybee populations for the sake of food security. And the White House has even announced plans to form a task force to investigate honeybee colony collapse.

With renewed attention on the decline of pollinators, Steve Repasky, President of Burgh Bees and David Tarpy, Professor and Extension Apiculturist in the Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University are working to preserve the honeybees in Pittsburgh and the rest of the country.

Repasky said the local laws for beekeeping have not changed within the last two years, and the rules for keeping bees are pretty strict. But he thinks there has been a good push for positive change in Pittsburgh, and hopes to get a change in the urban agriculture ordinance.

Occupy Monsanto: Protesting Genetically Engineered Food

May 25, 2013
Heather McClain / 90.5 WESA

An activist movement known as Occupy Monsanto staged a global protest Saturday afternoon to raise awareness of genetically modified organisms, also known as GMOs.

A Pittsburgh contingent marched from the Strip District to City Hall chanting about GMOs and the biotechnology company, Monsanto.

Donna Terlecki, who calls herself a “mom against Monsanto,” marched with her daughter Carla Martinez and said she's concerned about the health effects of genetically engineered food.