Monthly Archives: February 2017

Bees on the Endangered Species List

Rusty Patched BumblebeeIn 2016, for the first time, bees were added to the endangered species list in the United States.  7 species of Hawaiian yellow-faced bees, native to Hawaii, were added.  Then in early 2017, the first bee to be placed on the endangered species list by the Fish and Wildlife Service in the continental US was the rusty patched bumblebee. At the time of this writing the new administration in the White House had put this one on hold.

The Rusty Patched Bumblebee

Rusty patched bumblebees are the first bee in the continental US to be placed on the endangered species list for federal protection. This species has undergone an incredibly rapid decline by almost 90% in the last two decades. These large, furry-looking bumble bees used to be a common sight in most of North America, but this is no longer the case.  They are essential pollinators of tomatoes, peppers, blueberries and other important crops.

Bees on the Endangered Species List

According to the Fish and Wildlife Service, once a species is on the list, it is easier for them to create partnerships and gather resources towards the goal of saving the endangered population. In the case of bees, this is no simple task. The decline of this bee (and also that of many other bee species worldwide) is thought to be caused by a combination of factors: diseases, lack of habitat, climate change and, of course, harmful pesticides and insecticides especially neonicotinoids. Neonicotinoids are used in products for gardens, farm crops and pets. Continue reading Bees on the Endangered Species List

Share

A First Attempt at Making Beeswax Candles

beeswax candlesLuckily there are lots of places online where you can see gorgeous pictures of people making flawless beeswax candles. This post will not be that. Despite all the easily accessible information out there, I decided to go at it blind. I ordered 5 lbs. of pure beeswax from a local online retailer. It arrived at my house in a bag of little yellow pellets. How hard could making beeswax candles be? Well it turns out it was a lot more difficult than I thought.

Making Beeswax Candles

I had a vague memory of making lovely odd-shaped candles as gifts while in college. They were smooth, pear-shaped lovelies. My plan was that my daughter and I would whip up a quick batch as holiday gifts. I dove in blind, melted the wax in an old pot and started dipping away. It quickly became clear that we were missing some key piece of information that would have allowed our candles to look like, well, candles. Instead we got charming, but very lumpy blobs that I tried not to refer to as turds. Continue reading A First Attempt at Making Beeswax Candles

Share