now browsing by tag
By Amanda M. EllisUniversity of GeorgiaWhen a honeybee buzzes the blooms in your garden, give it somerespect. The pollination it and other honeybees are providing issupplying an estimated one-third of the world’s food. In the United States alone, honeybee pollination provides a$20-billion boost to agriculture. And we may be in danger oflosing these vital pollinators.Over the past 20 years, some exotic honeybee pests have beenintroduced into the U.S.The most devastating of these is the varroa mite. To a bee, thismite is like having a basketball-sized tick attached to yourside. You can imagine the damage it causes as it sucks thehoneybee’s blood.Varroa mites transmit viruses to the bee, too, causing evengreater sickness. These mites have all but wiped out wild U.S.colonies of honeybees. As a result, the honeybees in NorthAmerica are virtually all domesticated, relying on beekeepers tomanage the devastating mites.Garden pollinatorsAnd just when overall bee health is at its lowest, we needhoneybees more than ever. Honeybees are important pollinators forgardeners at all levels.Pollination is the movement of pollen from the male part of aflower to the female part. It’s vital to plant reproduction. Mostplants need pollination to produce fruit. Some even requirecross-pollination to set more and larger fruit.Other types of native bee pollinators are out there. But habitatdestruction and urban development have reduced their populations,too, in many areas.Honeybees fill the pollination void left by native species.They’re excellent pollinators because of their generalistforaging habits and large colony sizes, with 30,000 to 60,000bees per hive.Honeybees visit plants to collect both pollen and nectar to useas food. They use pollen as a protein source for rearing babybees. And nectar, which they process and store in the hive ashoney, is their primary energy source.Bee dancingTo “tell” one another where pollen and nectar-rich plants are,honeybees use a special dance language known as the waggle dance.During spring and summer, forager bees work from sunup tosundown, working themselves to death in only six weeks.Pests such as varroa mites bring bees’ death even faster, makingthis valuable pollinator scarce in many areas. The honeybee laboratory at the University of Georgia is at theforefront of honeybee research. The lab’s primary researchemphases focus on controlling bee pests and studying pollinationecology.Scientists are making strides in both areas. And just in time.Honeybee health is at an all-time low.Honeybees are a vital component not just of a successful gardenbut of agriculture, too. So, support and promote honeybees andbeekeeping in your area. After all, honeybees give you one-thirdof all the food you eat.(Amanda Ellis is a graduate student in entomology with theUniversity of Georgia College of Agricultural and EnvironmentalSciences.) Volume XXXINumber 1Page 11
A TEAM of twenty-nine swimmers departed yesterday with the aim of flying the Golden Arrowhead high at the Goodwill Swim Meet which begins today at the Rodney Heights Aquatic Centre in St Lucia.The team which also includes five officials, met with Director of Sport Christopher Jones prior to departure.Jones, wished the team well conveying to the athletes that there can be as limitless as they want to be and can even reach the heights of celebrated multiple Olympic Games gold medallist Michael Phelps.The sport director said, “The sky is the limit, you could even reach the stats of Michael Phelps or even go above and beyond him. I am confident that each and every one of you have the ability. Congratulations for making the team, being part of the delegation that represents Guyana, because I know there were others who were attempting to make timings and so forth but didn’t make it.”“I encourage you to emulate what you saw at the Olympics like Michael Phelps and so forth because in years to come they could very well be representing Guyana at the Olympics.” Jones said.Jones also offered words of encouragement to the coaches and manager of the team. To the parents of the swimmers Jones said, “This is not only an opportunity for your child to go abroad and that’s the end of it, continue to encourage them in their sport disciplines, not forgetting to also encourage them in their academics.”’The current team represents a change from the initial 28 selected by the Guyana Amateur Swimming Association (GASA), with Boys’ 11-12 swimmer Sekhel TSedeq no longer going, and Boys’ 8-and-under swimmers Jeremy and Jeron Sookram being added to the team.The team, however, marks a reduction from the thirty-two-strong contingent that represented Guyana last year in Trinidad, but is equal in size to that of the 2014 unit in Suriname.In Suriname, the team finished in the cellar position with 26 medals, which included four gold, six silver and eight bronze individual medals and eight relay bronze medals.Guyana have continued to do poorly at the meet, almost always finishing in last place among the competing countries which include Trinidad, Suriname, Barbados and St Lucia but did manage some positives in 2015 where they finished in the penultimate position.Despite Guyana’s continued dismal performance at the developmental meet, national coach Sean Baksh said that concrete results have been forthcoming from Guyana’s sustained attendance at the meet.He cited the example of last year’s leading gold medallist, and 8-and-under age-group champion Aleka Persaud, who did not medal at the meet until some years later.“We’re at the bottom of the pile and we’re trying to take ourselves out of that. Every step for us is developmental at the moment. Every time they go they may not come back with a medal but they’re improving on their times. We still have to tread along the course with the athletes and hope that down the road they will do what they have to do. Nothing happens overnight.” Baksh remarked.The government of Guyana through the National Sports Commission (NSC) and Ministry of Education donated over $4M in funding to the team.The Meet is scheduled to run until August 21.