Category Archives: Pollinators

New pollinator conservation planning services!

bee-habitat-planning

Over the last decade my personal mission in life has slowly evolved into one that is two-fold. One the one hand I’m dedicated to sustainability and all that word encompasses: sustainable energies and industries, sustainable living, sustainable communities─and especially sustainable food systems. On the other hand, and perhaps just a little overzealously─is the part of me which is committed to pollinator… Read more »

Talking pollinators at the Common Ground Fair

pollinator-conservation-in-agriculturefi

At 2pm on Saturday, September 24th I will be in Unity at MOFGA’s annual Common Ground Fair to give a talk Ive dubbed “Pollinator Conservation through Agriculture”. *Insert excited squeal here.* There’s a decided interest from the public in pollinators, I’m excited to be able to say. You see it in the news, in the increasing numbers of backyard-beekeepers, at… Read more »

Teaching kids to tolerate insects

Thank you card

I was invited to speak with the children participating in the Solon Summer-Rec program yesterday, so I pulled a couple of frames of bees and their Queen from a hive and put them into the observation hive and my younger son and I went off to talk about bees. Teaching folks about the importance of pollinators is one of the… Read more »

Plants for pollinators

Plants for Pollinators_FIsm

By now it’s fairly common knowledge that bees and pollinators are in trouble. The media has spread the word of Colony Collapse Disorder and the vanishing bees far and wide; it’s been in the news, in magazines, all over social media, there are several movies, and there are spokespeople who give talks to educate the population. We know now that CCD… Read more »

Promoting native pollinators on your farm

Native Bees on Farms

For farmers and homesteaders, it just makes sense to promote the myriad of busy buzzing insects about your farm.  By promoting native bees you’re effectively promoting the overall health of the  ecosystem that you are responsible for as a farmer–since bees are a keystone species and their health and well-being directly impacts plants and animals all the way up the… Read more »

Why support native bees on your farm?

farming for native bees

Until recently, native and feral bee populations met all of a farmers’ pollination needs.  Farms were smaller, and closer to natural areas where native bee populations could easily recolonize a farm should an insecticide application kill resident bees. But with the advent of the industrial farm, habitat for pollinators has been drastically reduced–today, many of our agricultural landscapes are vast… Read more »

Who are the native pollinators?

who pollinates

Because I love bees and because the act of pollination fascinates me so–it saddens me to think that all too often this crucial event and the animals that make it happen–are overlooked.  It really is amazing to think about how the actions of one animal can affect an entire ecosystem. While honeybees are the most commonly used pollinator in domestic… Read more »

What is the driving force behind the Runamuk farm?

conservation driving runamuk

“What a hideous plant!  Isn’t it terrific!?” “Oh my gawd–check out this spider!  Look at all those long legs!” These are not exclamations of repulsion, but terms of endearment uttered by myself and our family.  We truly love nature.  To us the Earth is a marvel; there is beauty in even the ugliest of plants, the homeliest of animals–even rocks… Read more »

Sustainable beekeeping at the state beekeepers’ conference

deborah delaney ude scientist at msba

I love the assortment of people who are drawn to beekeeping.  Young and old, eccentric and conservative, financially solvent–and bootstrappers like me–those who make do with less.  People from all over the state come together for the annual Maine State Beekeepers’ conference to join together in the spirit of learning; to bask in the feeling of community generated by a… Read more »

UMaine studies how to enhance native pollinator habitat

dr hanes & eric venturini

At the August meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers, we hosted two of UMaine’s academics who have been actively researching native bees in Maine and in the agricultural system.  Dr. Sam Hanes’ is an anthropologist studying the perceptions growers have relating to the benefits of incorporating native pollinators into their farming efforts, and the methods they are using to do so… Read more »

Maine promotes native pollinators

somerset beekeepers

Tuesday night the Somerset Beekeepers met for their monthly meeting, and were joined by a number of the county’s master gardeners in welcoming Dr. Sam Hanes and Eric Venturini, a masters degree student, both of whom came over from the University of Maine at Orono to speak with us. I’ve mentioned before the good work Maine’s academics are doing in… Read more »

Home gardeners beware of pesticides in potting soils & nursery plants

This past Tuesday at the monthly meeting of the Somerset Beekeepers, we hosted Gary Fish from the Maine Board of Pesticide Control to talk with us about “Pesticides and Pollinators”.  We are a small group, so I’m always grateful that any knowledgeable speaker should come to Skowhegan to share their knowledge with us, and I know that our beekeepers are… Read more »

Saving the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee

Bumblebees are the gentle giants of the pollinator world, so big and fuzzy and mellow that you just want to pick one up and give it a big hug! Like other pollinators, bumble bees are in trouble.  According to recent surveys, populations of bumbles have sharply declined since 1997, and none are so rare as the Rusty-Patched Bumblebee. The Xerces… Read more »

3 trees that offer early season food sources for Maine bees

The early spring season is a very difficult time for bees and beekeepers.  When the temperatures start warming the bees begin increasing activity, rearing brood, and flying on warm sunny days.  This is a tricky time for bees because there is not much available to feed the growing population.  Many beekeepers feed sugar-syrup or candy, to supplement the bees’ food… Read more »

“Wings of Life” mesmerizes and inspires

We received the “Wings of Life” documentary on Saturday, I ordered it from Amazon and had it shipped here by mail, but I couldn’t even begin to think about writing a review of the film until just the other day–so mesmerized by the vivid depiction of the one thing that I prize above all others on this planet. The relationship… Read more »

Help Runamuk do more for pollinator conservation!

I’ve been presented with an exciting new opportunity–stumbled into it, really. Our core group of Somerset Beekeepers is made up of members who have been at it for 2 or more years now, and we are ready for some more advanced beekeeping topics–so I’ve been emailing various academics and beekeepers across the state trying to enlist guest speakers.  When I… Read more »

Wings of Life

I’ve been waiting for two years for Louie Schwartzberg’s moving-art documentary featuring winged pollinators at their best and most beautiful. The film was released in Europe two years ago, and at long last will be released in America this year just in time to celebrate Earth Day. April 16th!

Pollinator decline threatens agriculture

sichuan china

As president of the Somerset Beekeepers, people often ask me if it is only the honeybees who are in trouble, or is it all bees? Not only is it all bees–it’s all of our pollinators, too!  Everything from bees to beetles and butterflies, even flies–are all at risk.  And a new study that was recently published in the scientific journal… Read more »

Talking pollinators with the Somerset master gardeners

Last night I had the privilege of speaking to a group of my peers, the master gardeners of Somerset County.  It was an informal pot-luck dinner for the alumni that the folks at the extension office organized to thank those who gathered for their time and dedication.  I was honored that Kathy Hopkins and Tom Goodspeed would think of me… Read more »

Who are the pollinators?

The spectrum of animal pollinators is much broader than most people realize.  With some 200,000 species world-wide, pollinating approximately 80% of all flowering plants, this group of animals has a profound impact upon the functioning of Earth’s ecology.  They are a keystone group of animals and without them our lives would be very different indeed. Thanks to their prevalence in… Read more »

The amazing co-evolution of plants and pollinators

bumble bee

When I took that initial foray into beekeeping, I didn’t realize just how amazing the act of pollination really is.  Ten years ago I was bug-phobic like so many others in our modern society, but through my husband’s affinity for insects I began to see them differently.  I was not a fan, but I learned tolerance and appreciation enough to… Read more »

Bombtastic bumblebees

I am a honeybee beekeeper, but the entire spectrum of pollinators fascinates me (this is the driving force behind Runamuk’s message of pollinator conservation).  Bumblebees are particularly interesting.  Maine is fortunate to have a large diversity of bumbles, like the Orange-Banded and the Rusty-Patch bumblebee.  Several species have gone extinct in states southwards, and while pollinators are becoming more and… Read more »