By Vern and Lori Gieger
Another year gone by and as usual we too were very busy. Our education and public awareness projects have been a huge success. Though we are no Longer affiliated with “Lakeside Friends of the Animals” nor receive any financial aid from them; we have partnered up with “Wild Travellers.org”. Although we don’t receive financial support from “Wild Travellers” it has opened many doors that will benefit our cause and we look forward to working with like minded people. Without a doubt we will enlighten more people of the importance of protecting our wildlife and their habitat.
This past year’s national science week at the Technological school on the libramiento was bigger and better than ever, approx. 3,500 children attended the event. Our joint projects with Club de Atlas of Guadalajara, and Profepa far exceeded our expectations. Our wildlife protection posters and fliers have been distributed throughout the republic of Mexico. Now we are ready to jump into 2010, with new creative projects and ideas.
One reoccurring question we received this past year was about bees. It seems they do like to set up housekeeping in chimneys etc. We are happy to inform everyone that we now have contact with a local bee keeper who speaks English and has the ability to safely relocate a hive.
Bees are fascinating creatures and very beneficial. Bees pollinate a large variety of plants; bees are used extensively for commercial pollination of crops and other plants. The value of these pollination services is commonly measured in the billions of dollars. They ensure plants and flowers are pollinated, which in turn provides a bountiful harvest of fruits and vegetables for human consumption, but it does not stop there, people also consume honey. Honey is the complex substance made when the nectar and sweet deposits from plants and trees are gathered, modified and stored in the honeycomb as a food source for the colony.
Worker bees secrete beeswax from glands on their abdomens. They use the wax to build the walls and caps of the comb. Like honey, beeswax is gathered for various purposes. We use beeswax for everything from candles to cosmetics. But it doesn’t stop there bees also collect pollen, in the hive; pollen is used as a protein source during brood-rearing. Excess pollen is collected from the hives and is often eaten as a health supplement.
We have all heard of Propolis sometimes called bee glue which is created from resins, balsams and tree saps. Bees use propolis to seal cracks in the hive and to defend against ants by coating the branch from which their nest is suspended to create a sticky moat. Like pollen, propolis is consumed as a health supplement and also used in cosmetics. So as you can see we do reap many benefits from the bee.
Like any wild animal, or in this case insect, they will vigorously defend their hive. All honey bees live in colonies where the worker bees will sting intruders as a form of defense, and alarmed bees will release a pheromone that stimulates the attack response in other bees. Despite their ability to deliver a painful sting we need to protect them. Honeybee colonies are dying or disappearing in record numbers, with potentially devastating effects. Just what is causing the dramatic decline of honeybee populations; scientists are still investigating.
For more information about Lake Chapala visit: www.chapala.com