Institute for International Cooperation and Development

IICD Michigan was incorporated in 1997 as a not-for-profit organization in the state of Michigan. IICD Michigan is an independent non-profit. The Internal Revenue Service has determined that IICD Michigan is an organization as described in the revenue code 501(c) 3. This means that IICD is exempt from federal taxation of its activities and that donors can deduct donations to IICD from the income declared in their tax return.

 

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The Bees
bees bees bees

Since last year IICD Michigan has taken another step in fighting global warming. Our action: bring bees to live at IICD.

Pollinators strongly influence ecological relationships, ecosystem conservation and stability, genetic variation in the plant community, floral diversity, specialization and evolution. Bees play an important, but little recognized role, in most terrestrial ecosystems where there is green vegetation cover. In tropical forests, savannah woodlands, mangrove, and in temperate deciduous forests, many species of plants and animals would not survive if bees were missing. This is because the production of seeds, nuts, berries and fruits are highly dependent on insect pollination, and among the pollinating insects, bees are the major pollinators. In farmed areas, bees are needed for the pollination of many cultivated crops and for maintaining biodiversity in ‘islands’ of non-cultivated areas. The main role of bees in the different ecosystems is their pollination work. Other animal species are connected with bees: either because they eat the brood or honey, pollen or wax, because they are parasitic to the bees, or simply because they live within the bees nest. The reproduction of plants is simple as vegetative reproduction – a new tree could just come from a root shoot. The new tree would then be genetically identical with the mother tree. Vegetative reproduction alone would be no problem if the environment were stable, but most environments are not stable over time, they change. It can be climatic changes or new diseases and pests. To be able to adapt to environmental changes there needs to be genetically different plants. In that way there will always be some plants, which are better adapted than others because of special genetic characteristics. The only way to constantly mix the genes for the plants is by cross-pollination, where pollen from one plant is transported by bees to another so that the offspring become genetically different. In that way, there is a greater chance for at least some of the offspring to survive in the competition of life. In this we find the bees as one of the most important factors. (ftp://ftp.fao.org)

Bees in the US are despairing and one of the theories is because deforestation and mono-cropping. This last means that there is no variety in crops and these crops have been genetically modified so they are sterile. The consequence of this: bee population is decreasing in an alarming amount.

From 1972 to 2006, there was a dramatic reduction in the number of feral honey bees in the US (now almost absent) and a significant though somewhat gradual decline in the number of colonies maintained by beekeepers. This decline includes the cumulative losses from all factors, such as urbanization, pesticide use, tracheal and Varroa mites, and commercial beekeepers’ retiring and going out of business. However, in late 2006 and early 2007 the rate of bees disappearing reached new proportions, and the term “colony collapse disorder” began to be used to describe this sudden rash of disappearances, (sometimes referred to as the Mary Celeste Syndrome in the United Kingdom) (Wikipedia).

Recent studies say that Bumble bees’ population has declined by 96% due to pathogen infections, but for sure it also has to do with climate change and all the causes that climate change produce.

When we found out about this last year we were very concerned so we decide to have bees here at IICD. Being a little bit selfish we also thought that by having them our garden would benefit.

We started with two beehives and they were fine until winter was over and we discovered the bees didn’t survive. But we didn’t give up. On May 4th we receive with joy our new 30,000 bees!!!!

We have now three brand new beehives. We learned a lot from the ones last year and for sure we will improve the treatment we’ll give to them. We are sure our garden will show the benefits of having the bees and we are happy for that and for contributing to preserve one of the very important beings on the planet.