Can native mason bees find happiness
Can native mason bees find happiness in little houses made from milk jugs? Lisa Horth, an associate professor in the biology department at Old Dominion University, emailed to say that students in the school’s conservation biology club will soon find out. They’ll be building houses for mason bees, and placing them near strawberry fields in Pungo to attract pollinators to the crops. Mason bees are a native species; honeybees are not. And since honeybees are dying from colony collapse disorder, causing problems for farmers who rely on them, the idea is to help native bees do the job instead. Plus – the houses will be made from empty milk jugs recycled from Borjo Coffeehouse in Norfolk, and filled with straws cut from the hollow stems of phragmites, an invasive reed. OK, that’s two pluses. Mason bees don’t make honey (a minus, if you like honey), but the males cannot sting, and the females seldom do (two more pluses).
In other inbox-related mailings, NASA has released a mosaic photo of Saturn that was shot on July 19 by the Cassini spacecraft. Remember how we all waved at Saturn that day? NASA says it’s the first photo to include Saturn, its moons and rings, and Earth, Venus and Mars in one image. Our home planet is a tiny little dot down there on the lower right of the photo (see it here). It’s pretty humbling to see how small Earth is.
Well, a few people are still holding out hope that Comet ISON will come through with a nice display this year, but their numbers are dwindling, as is anticipation. On the plus side, ISON is getting brighter, according to Sky and Telescope. However, you still need binoculars and a dark sky to see it. Will it brighten enough to be seen with the naked eye in December? Here’s to thinking positive.
- Bee species may help ease worldwide hive problem (adoptahive.wordpress.com)