The Buzz on the Busy Bees at Capitol Bee CARE
Published on May 20, 2015
Sean McKenzie is a beekeeper in America's Washington, DC area.McKenzie, 38, has been a beekeeper since 2006 and helped to look after an apiary in the White House grounds."Bees play a major role in our ecosystem. About a third of the foods we eat are pollinated by bees," says McKenzie."They pollinate the trees to produce fruits which feeds birds, which feeds humans. Without the bees, many organisms wouldn’t have the ability to procreate."Bees have been dying because of lack of habitat, pesticides, herbicides and a problem known as colony collapse disorder. "You have longer winters. With the climate changes, you have too short of a spring," McKenzie says."It’s a crisis because there aren’t enough bees to carry out the job of producing the number of bees needed for pollination each year.We’ve seen a 30 per cent loss."McKenzie has been trying to combat the problem by breeding local strains of bees."What I do is try to select for genetic diversity and also adaptability so that we can have better bees," he says."Bees are our friends, they’re our pals. They are wonderful creatures."Subscribe to our channelhttp://bit.ly/AJSubscribeFollow us on Twitter https://twitter.com/AJEnglishFind us on Facebookhttps://www.facebook.com/aljazeeraCheck our website http://www.aljazeera.com
In DC beekeeper Sean McKenzie, President of President of Capital Bee Care LLC has been witness to the bees’ struggles for many years. His academic research has been ongoing since 2010 and his research has been published in the proceedings of the 2012 conference of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the 2013 conference of the National Institute of Science, and the 2013 conference of the National Scientific Honors Society.
Sean McKenzie explaining bee facts to visitors at the USDA farmers market.
This year’s data was dramatic. The 30 packages of bees McKenzie ordered from a breeder in Georgia last year did not overwinter very well – 28 out of them did not make it through the cold. By contrast, 95% of his locally-raised queens flourished and are going strong in their hives all around DC.
His goal is to create a sort of Consumer Reports or “Angie’s List” report for beekeepers. “I take the losses for everyone,” Sean told me with a smile.
Read more: https://www.beaconreader.com/alison-gillespie/another-bad-year-for-honey-bees?ref=profile
Plants that bloom early in spring and late in summer are especially helpful to honey bees. This was the theme at our first annual Bee Friendly Flower Day event. Rebekah Newbie from the School Without Walls had the idea to create this event as part of her Senior project. Washington Parks and People were very generous in letting us take over their garden for a day and plant things that will help the bees to build up in the early spring. At the event we also built bee hive boxes and painted them the Capitol Bee CARE signature colors of blue and yellow. All participants young and less young made seed bombs using clay, milkweed seeds and worm poo. We asked participants to plan where they would bomb before they left the event. Thank you Rebekah, Steve Catts (Washington, Parks and People), and all the folks that came out on a bluster beautiful morning in March to support their local pollinators.
Snow coated the bee hives this winter. The ground was frozen up to two inches deep and a few of the clusters were too small and too cold to move to the food that was all around them. This is a critical time and bees may need supplemental feeding. The food should be placed above the cluster.
It may be a bit early to count the bees but so far our locally adapted bees are hanging in there.
For two weeks in July 2013 Sean McKenzie volunteered in Haiti to put on the first ever Beginner Beekeeping Class conducted by the Farmer to Farmer Program. This course has been a long time in the making, satisfying the demand to bring new beekeepers - especially more women and youth - into the trade. With this training, those who formerly did not have access to this type of training received the information needed to embark on a new environmentally-friendly economic activity, and help revitalize the beekeeping industry in Haiti.
to learn more visit: http://farmertofarmer.blogspot.com/2013/08/first-f2f-beginner-beekeeping-class-in.html#comment-form_8951345176335139436
By Kathryn McConnell | Staff Writer | 10 July 2012
At the 2012 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, Sean McKenzie talks about his passion for bees. He is next to one of his hives. Washington — America’s diversity in agriculture and culture was on display at the recent 10-day Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington.
One popular exhibit highlighted the contributions that bees make to agriculture. Wearing a cap adorned with a large stuffed bumblebee, Sean McKenzie described his passion for raising bees and efforts to teach others about the value of the flying insects.
“There is a stigma about bees,” he said. “People usually think of them in terms of honey and stings. But bees are a main pollinator of all the crops we eat.” McKenzie, a keeper of 12 hives, volunteer bee educator for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and student at the University of the District of Columbia, pointed to the queen bee in a hive that he hopes will produce five gallons of honey in 2012.
Read more: http://iipdigital.usembassy.gov/st/english/article/2012/07/201207108740.html#ixzz3bHnIJHaH