News of the Natural World

There is a lot of news of interest to nature and outdoors-types in Science Daily today.

BEES - First there are new reports about the sudden lack of honey bees to pollinate fruits and vegetables. Science Daily reports that "in the United States, half a million to a million colonies out of a total 2.4 million colonies have died this winter."

Habitat loss and disease in Europe together with a 50% drop in managed honeybee colonies in North America created a global phenomenon known as the ‘pollination crisis’.

Cornell and other research universities are making plans to investigate the cause and the federal government is considering investing tens of millions of dollars for competitive grants to programs targeting honeybees' health. Medicare for bees but without the paperwork.

SPIDERS - Entomologists at Louisiana State University report that brown widow spiders are becoming more common in Louisiana. They are as poisonous as the black widows.
brown widow-Dr. Chris Carlton, Louisiana State Arthropod Museum
The brown widow spider has a yellow-to-orange hourglass marking on the underside of its abdomen and hangs out in brush piles.

CARROTS - The seed catalogs are full of carrots in yellow, orange, red and purple but they have not caught on with the grocery buying public, no less the restaurant eating public.
Now that scientists have released study results that indicate these rainbow carrots have more healthful properties than tomatoes and other vegetables, maybe a demand will be created.
Specifically -
Xanthophylls in yellow carrots linked with good eye health.
Lycopene in red carrots is believed to guard against heart disease and some cancers.
Anthocyanins in purple carrots are considered to be powerful antioxidants that can guard cells from the destructive effects of free radicals.

More pressure to eat your carrots. Fall seems to be the best time to plant carrots in zone 7. Next time you see seeds pick some up to plant in September when the remnants of the summer vegetables come out.


Anonymous said…
I found your blog while I was looking for info on transplanting tomatoes (thanks for the link to Renee's Garden), but the bit about honeybees caught my eye too. I've been following the CCD story because I buy a lot of honey and became worried about a shortage. I don't have answers to the larger questions, but in terms of honey supply, I'd say we're in good shape. Here's an article explaining my thinking:

Molly Day said…
Hi Erroll - Glad to be found.
I'll take a look at the honey article link you forwarded.

Did you find my entry about transplanting tomatoes?

Erroll said…
The March 12 article on growing tomatoes from seed? I did! I've been conflicted on transplanting - waiting until the forecast lows get to 50, but worried that I'm losing time (I live near Seattle, WA). It looks like I'll be able to put them in the ground on the 22nd.

Molly Day said…
The March 29th blog entry (click on March in the archive list)has helpful information on transplanting tomatoes.

If you keep them warm until your local soil is over 50-degrees at night they will do better. I put mine out during the day and brought them in at night.

Just have them in pots big enough to accomodate their growing roots.

My local honey providers - here in Muskogee - have all lost their bees. One is buying new ones and the other is going to wait and see what happens. They think more bees will come to their bee boxes.

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