Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BeeAlive @ the Korean Harvest Festival

This past weekend, October 12-13, 2013, we ventured out to Randall's Island Park in New York for the 31st Annual Korean Harvest Festival.

The Festival promotes Korean culture, food and agriculture, and features music, performing artists, celebrities and more. The Korean Harvest Festival is one of the largest Korean-American events in the U.S. The Korean Harvest Festival is organized annually by the Korean Produce Association, serving the interests of Korean-American green grocery owners and the communities they serve since 1973.

We had a great time (despite the increasing fall wind!) and every one loved trying our products. Royal Jelly is especially popular in Asian cultures, as it has been used for various benefits throughout centuries, so almost everyone was familiar with its amazing power.

We even met the U.S. representative to Korean Professional Wrestling, Curtis Johnson! At 7'3", he needs to make sure he gives his body adequate nutrition to be on top of his game. He loved the taste of our Sweet Energy and the effects of Energy SERJ for a quick boost before workouts and matches -- he even wrestled at the Festival!

Stay tuned to watch us #SERJOUT at our next event!
Whether 7'3" or 5'1", Energy SERJ is sure to give
you a natural surge of energy!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

BeeAlive Goes Pink for Breast Cancer Awareness

Breast Cancer Awareness Month | October 2013
We all have a family member, a friend, or know someone who has experienced cancer. Breast cancer awareness is a cause very near and dear to our very own Rose's heart since her mother was diagnosed with (and thankfully beat) breast cancer in 1996. Fortunately, treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation exist to help fight the disease. Unfortunately, these treatments can have unpleasant side effects, especially on the skin, which Rose's mother experienced first-hand.

Rose, her mom and triplets, Evelyn, Julia & Jax!

Through research, Rose learned that when a person’s immune system is compromised by an illness such as cancer, especially while undergoing treatment, the skin is unable to go through its natural reparative process – the result sometimes being dry, rough skin.

However, keeping your body hydrated and skin moisturized before, during and after treatment can greatly reduce these side effects. Rose spearheaded the creation of BeeAlive Spa Essentials™ natural skin care line as a safe, non-toxic alternative for women who desire to radiate natural beauty, in part because of her mother's experience.

That is why this October, BeeAlive has partnered with a local hospital to support its Blow Away Breast Cancer campaign. With each purchase of a BeeAlive Spa Essentials™ Royal Jelly Serum, we will donate one full size Spa Essentials natural skin care product to a woman undergoing breast cancer treatment.

Plus, as our gift to you for helping to support our cause, we will add one FREE Foaming Honey Cleanser to your purchase. Get it here now.

All BeeAlive Spa Essentials™ natural skin care products are soothing, alcohol-free and 100% free of synthetic preservatives and fragrances to hydrate, tone, soften and refresh the skin without stripping it of essential moisture. Key herbs, essential oils and bee products, such as Aloe, Honey, Royal Jelly, Lavender, Rhodiola and Green Tea employ the task of protecting and nourishing your skin so that you and your loved ones can focus on a full recovery.

Harvest Your Authentic Beauty™ and Blow Away Breast Cancer!

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Honeybee Disappearance Worsening

Bees are major pollinators, and without them, we wouldn't have access to some of our favorite foods, as there are different types of bees that can only pollinate certain crops.

What does that mean? Without bees, almonds, blueberries, apples and more would cease to exist. All of these are staple foods in typical diets, and soon there may be a shortage of these commonplace foods, thanks to the decreasing populations of honeybees both internationally and in the United States. The honey bee decline is caused by several factors, including pesticides, sublethal exposure to chemicals, pathogens and parasites, poor nutrition and environmental stressors among other issues.

The ABC News clip below explains how the U.S. honeybee decline has worsened from 2012 to 2013. However, you can help save the bees by planting native vegetation in your yard. We rely on bees for much more than honey, and they need our help! #SaveTheBees!

BeeAlive Exhibits @ Natural Products Expo East 2013

What a fantastic, successful whirlwind of five days we had exhibiting at Natural Products Expo East, the largest natural, organic and healthy products trade show on the east coast.

We were one of 1,200 exhibitors at the Baltimore Convention Center, and although that number could seem overwhelming to attendees, it didn't stop anyone from visiting our booth! Our booth was full the entire time the show floor was open from Thursday, September 26 to Saturday, September 28, 2013.

What did we love about the show?

1. Attendees loved our booth and products. We had one booth that featured our Royal Jelly and Energy SERJ with our BeeAlive Spa Essentials skincare. Most people were attracted to our "Man On Fire" Energy SERJ mascot, while others couldn't wait to get their hands on samples of our soothing natural skincare. Everyone acknowledged that our packaging is beautiful and would stand out on store shelves -- music to our ears!

Our booth featured our Royal Jelly, Energy SERJ and
Spa Essentials natural skincare.

2. Attendees loved our story. While telling visitors to our booth the story of our almost-30-year-old company, many attendees stated that they appreciated such a genuine, inspirational background. Madeline founded BeeAlive at her kitchen table in 1984, passed her wisdom and mission to help others onto her son Jason, and he and his wife Rose, whose son Jax has severe allergies, have been inspired to show others how to help their bodies help themselves ever since.

Rose, Jason, Evelyn, Julia & Jax Balletta

3. Health conscious consumers are growing! According to retailers, their customers are growing more and more health conscious and interested in natural, organic, gluten- and GMO-free and green products. Many store owners loved our healthy superfood supplements, natural skincare and authentic values, and were confident their customers would, too!

Source: Royal Jelly is the perfect addition to a healthy family!

4. People care about the BEES! Colony collapse disorder (CCD) is a tragic reality, but one plus side is that more people than we've ever met at shows before were knowledgeable and concerned about the decline of bees. Consumers are aware that two out of every three foods we eat relies on pollinators, so something needs to be done to reverse this potential disaster. Attendees also appreciated the fact that our Royal Jelly and honey is sustainably harvested and no bees are harmed in the process. We attribute the growing consumer awareness to increased mainstream media coverage of the decline of bees and CCD, more popularly referenced the "beepocolypse" -- even though we have been discussing this issue for years, we are thrilled that awareness is being spread.

Source: Mainstream media is giving more coverage to the
decline of the bee population and colony collapse disorder.

We had a fantastic time, as always, at the Natural Products Expo. Thank you to New Hope 360 for a wonderful show. We'll see you in California for Natural Products Expo West!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Let It Bee

Do you love the song "Let It Be" by the Beatles? We do!

So does Rose. This weekend while sitting down to dinner with Jason and the triplets, Jax didn't like the chicken, Julia didn't like the potatoes, Evelyn just wanted to play, and Jason thought dinner needed more seasoning... the typical life of a mother/wife, right? Anyway, Rose told Jason to play "Let It Be" so that hopefully the song's powerful message of letting go of your troubles and letting peace overcome would resonate.

After dinner, the triplets gave Rose a drawing they had made. "Mommy, we made this for you," said Julia. "It's a letter B, like the song."

"Noooo, honey, I think you meant 'let it be.'" said Rose. "Yes, letter B!" said Julia.

So... right over the head with that one, but cute nonetheless!

Jam out to the classic here:

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

BeeAlive @ the American Health & Wellness Fair

On Saturday, September 14, BeeAlive exhibited at the American Health & Wellness Fair at Brookdale Park in Montclair (or Bloomfield depending on who you ask), New Jersey. The mission of the fair is to educate and inspire the community towards improved health and wellness through interactive demos, free health assessments and the latest in healthy products and food. Since providing top-quality, healthy products and educating individuals on how to care for their bodies is important to us, we knew we were a great fit.

The event was free to the public, and since it was such a beautiful day, it was nice to see so many people outside enjoying the fresh air. Lots of people stopped by our tent to try Energy SERJ and hear about BeeAlive Royal Jelly from Lori, our founder Madeline Balletta's daughter, and about the nourishing properties of BeeAlive Spa Essentials natural skin care from formulator and third-generation organic farmer Petra.
The best part was meeting all the people who have been BeeAlive Auto Ship customers for years and remember listening to Madeline on the radio when she first started the company.
We can't wait to participate next fair!

Monday, September 9, 2013

BeeAlive 'Bee'dazzles Brooklyn @ NYC Honey Fest

On Saturday, September 7, Team BeeAlive 'bee'dazzled the crowds at the third annual NYC Honey Fest, hosted by Brooklyn Grange Rooftop Farm and Rockaway Beach Club at the 86th Street Boardwalk at Rockaway Beach, recently rebuilt post-Hurricane Sandy.

Seven of us took on the beach wind with two booths on the boardwalk -- one showcasing our Royal Jelly supplements and Energy SERJ, and the other displaying BeeAlive Spa Essentials natural skin care. Alongside our booths were various bee-inspired honeys, beers, arts and crafts, candles and even pickles!

We loved meeting bee lovers, beach bums and passersby at the Boardwalk. Visitors couldn't get enough Energy SERJ and loved it as a natural alternative to their regular energy drink or coffee afternoon pick-me-up. Many women visiting our Spa Essentials booth have been using honey on their skin for years, and were so happy to find a natural skin care line that incorporates not only honey, but Royal Jelly, propolis and pollen, as well!


Can't wait for next year!

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Labor Day Appreciation

This year, before you think about Labor Day as the start of a new school year and the end of summer vacations, think about it as a day to honor all the workers who help you somehow in your life, but don't always get the proper recognition. 

Labor Day is a useful day on which to contemplate how much we all depend on the labor of others, without which we really could do nothing. Think about the food you buy that's grown by farmers, delivered by truck drivers and sold by store clerks -- or the Internet we access because someone somewhere is handling the servers -- or the garbage collectors who ensure we aren't sitting our own messes! Almost all labor is invisible, but we depend on it and would soon notice its absence.

Honor yourself and the jobs you do on this day, as well. Whether a lawyer, a gardener or a mother, your contributions make the world go round.

At BeeAlive, we are so blessed to work among a team of intelligent individuals who all bring something unique and valuable to the table. Just as Steve Jobs, Martha Stewart and Mark Zuckerberg could not have created their brand empires alone, we at BeeAlive rely on all members of the team to accomplish our mission to positively impact the health and lives of our customers through our products, messages, interactions and commitments.
BeeAlive would not be possible without our knowledgeable sales and caring customer service representatives, efficient distribution employees, high-integrity accountants, savvy technology, creative marketing and cutting-edge R & D teams, precise formulators and founders with vision.
Each employee of BeeAlive is considered an asset and integral part of our success. We are especially grateful to the many BeeAlive employees who have been here for almost 30 years (including those who could have retired long ago)! Why do we love working here? BeeAlive offers a positive and supportive environment that makes us eager to come in to work and dedicate our time and energy every day. Maybe that's why the people who matter most to us -- our customers -- have consistently praised our employees as “considerate” and even “compassionate” -- because when you're happy, you bring it to all aspects of your life! 

Great leaders recognize their dependence on the gifts and talents of people around them and work hard to diffuse the applause. This isn't just modesty. Great companies are built through collaboration, argument, debate, and dissent that take good ideas, test them and stretch them to achieve successful outcomes. 

So this Labor Day, while you're not laboring (if you're so lucky), spare a thought for all those people, seen and unseen, known and anonymous, on whose work you depend. They're everywhere you go and inside everything you do. The next time you see one of them, shoot 'em a smile and "thank you." That appreciation means more than a day off!


Monday, August 26, 2013

The Battle Over Energy Drink Safety: Doctors vs. Beverage Industry

As energy drink-related emergency room visits among children and adolscents continue to rise, the medical community remains adament that energy drinks, the sugary, highly caffeinated beverages like Monster, Bawls, Red Bull, 5-Hour Energy and RockStar, are unsuitable for young people. The companies, conversely, fire back that their drinks are safe and contain no more caffeine than the cups of coffee millions consume every day at Starbucks. This is not always the truth.

Most energy drinks list caffeine at 70 to 80 mg per eight-ounce serving. But caffeine counts of 350 mg have been registered in some products -- the equivalent of 10 cans of caffeinated soda.
The Food and Drug Administration imposes a limit of 71 mg of caffeine per 12 fluid ounces of soda but energy drink manufacturers can circumvent this limit by touting their products as “natural dietary supplements.”

In addition, energy drinks often add hidden caffeine through “energy blend” additives like guarana, glucose, kola nut, yerba mate, L-carnitine and cocoa. Monster’s “energy blend” mix in a single eight-ounce can is 2,500 mg, not counting the 27 grams of sugar. (The recommended intake of sugar is 40 grams -- for the entire day.)

A gram of guarana can contain 40 to 80 mg of caffeine but companies are not required to list the caffeine content from these additives. So, the caffeine count can be much higher than the can’s nutritional label, according to a 2012 University of Miami study of energy drinks and their health effects on children, adolescents and young adults, published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Academy of Pediatrics.

An analysis of energy drink toxicity in the National Poison Data System by a team of doctors from various universities and hospitals was published in June by Informa Healthcare. The report said the threshold of caffeine toxicity for healthy adults is 400 mg per day and the numbers decline the younger one gets. An adolescent’s threshold is 100 mg per day; children younger than 12 should tolerate no more than 2.5 mg per day. Energy drinks top most of these numbers.

Caffeine intoxication is a clinical syndrome marked by nervousness, irritability, anxiety, insomnia, rapid heartbeat, or tachycardia and stomach upset.

A recent report from the American Medical Association supported a ban on the marketing of energy drinks to children younger than 18. The American Academy of Pediatrics added that “energy drinks have no place in the diet of children and adolescents.”

“The industry says they don’t market to kids but it’s totally marketed to kids,” Dr. Steven Lipshultz argued, noting names like Rock Star and Monster that appeal to a young demographic.

“People buy them because they have an effect on the body but none of the effects are therapeutic for kids,” he said, rebuking the drinks’ promises.

“‘Take this, you’ll be more awake,’ but we found medical studies suggesting that taking energy drinks all the time reduced the amount of REM sleep, so you get more tired. ‘Take this, it will help you lose weight.’ But with all the sugar, you get all these unneeded calories so you don’t lose weight.

“The issue is, for a lot of kids this may not necessarily be harmful, but, on the other hand, if you’re a child who has an unhealthy heart, even if you don’t know it, we don’t think it’s a good idea to take stimulants. A lot of people who get sick are not just the average but there are vulnerable populations,” Lipshultz said.

“It’s not like we take every child in school and do an ultrasound on their heart to see if their heart is normal or not.”

Myerly Kertis, a pediatric registered dietician for Holtz Children’s Hospital, says that parents need to read the labels for products they have around the house that can prove attractive to little fingers.

“I know a lot of times there’s sugar in there and sometimes added herbs or various things. As far as the clinical side, some of these herbs can harmfully interact with medications,” Kertis said. “Some are fine, but read the label and be knowledgeable about what you are putting into your body especially if you are on medications and taking things with herbs. Always check with a doctor.”

For a safe and caffeine-free surge of natural energy, check out Energy SERJ!


Monday, July 22, 2013

Recipes with Rose: Sweet Summer Snacks to Stay Cool

It's been a while since we shared a recipe, but Rose arrived at BeeAlive this morning raving about the deliciously sweet, healthy desserts she and the triplets indulged in this weekend to stay cool during the heat wave.

What's so cool about them? Besides being frozen, each treat contains Royal Jelly to pack in extra nutrients. Pretty cool if you ask a health nut like me!
Without further ado, here are Rose's recipes for Fruity Royal Jelly Ice Pops and Royal Jelly Chocolate Shakes!

Fruity Royal Jelly Ice Pops

  • Half medium seedless watermelon*
  • 1/2 c. strawberries*
  • 1 ripe banana*
  • 1/2 c. frozen blueberries*
  • 1/2 c. frozen raspberries*
  • 4 tsp. BeeAlive Royale Raw Royal Jelly
Yields 12-16 ice pops.
*Ice pops may vary. Add whatever fruit you desire!

Cut watermelon into bite-size chunks. Add ingredients to blender. After fully blended, pour contents into ice pop mold tray, filling each mold completely. If you don't have a tray, you can fill small paper cups. Insert ice pop sticks and freeze until solid (usually about 6 hours). If you have any leftover liquid before freezing, drink as yummy juice!

Royally Chocolate Shake


Yields approximately three 6 oz. servings (one for each triplet!).

Add ingredients to blender. Pour contents into tall glass and enjoy! Feel free to add garnishes such as a frozen banana, chocolate chips or sprinkles.

Monday, July 15, 2013

BeeAlive SERJ(es)OUT at Rockland Road Runners Race

At BeeAlive, we love getting involved in our local community. This past Saturday, July 13, BeeAlive participated in the Women's Distance Festival 5K run/walk at Rockland Lake in Congers, NY. For 26 years, the Women's Distance Festival 5K, presented by Rockland Road Runners, has been the only women’s running or walking event in Rockland County. All proceeds benefit the Rockland Family Shelter, now known as the Center for Safety and Change, a community organization that serves victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and other violent crimes.

Team BeeAlive arrived at the race bright and early to greet runners with vials of Energy SERJ, BeeAlive's natural energy shot, for a quick, caffeine-free pre-race boost. We "SERJ"ed out a table near the finish line, where race finishers quickly ran to rehydrate with Energy SERJ!

It was a great day. Thanks to Rockland Road Runners for hosting a fantastic race! We can't wait to get involved in more events! Check out photos of the event on our Facebook or the Rockland Road Runners site.
Tommy with his cousin!

Aimee with Evelyn & Julia!

Jen pumping up before she ran the race!

Proud mama Rose raced with her kiddies!

Our Energy SERJ table-topper poster!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

In Wake of Massive Bee Kills, Oregon Temporarily Bans Some Pesticide Uses

Bees and other insects can breathe a little easier in Oregon -- for now. The Oregon Department of Agriculture (ODA) has temporarily banned the use of dinotefuran pesticides responsible for the recent bumbleocalypse in Wilsonville, OR and another massive bee die-off in Hillsboro, OR.

For the next six months, it will be illegal in Oregon to spray Safari or other pesticides containing dinotefuran neonicotinoids. Oregon’s ban comes after more than 50,000 bumblebees and other pollinators were killed when Safari was sprayed over blooming linden trees to control insect plagues in a Target parking lot.

Environmental advocates sued the EPA earlier this year "for its failure to protect pollinators from dangerous pesticides," particularly neonicotinoids.

ODA Director Katy Coba said in a statement that she has directed the ban to help prevent further such “bee deaths connected to pesticide products with this active ingredient until such time as our investigation is completed. Conclusions from the investigation will help us and our partners evaluate whether additional steps need to be considered.”

Somewhat contradictory if you ask us, despite the fact that it will be illegal for landscapers and gardeners to use these pesticides, retailers will still be allowed to sell the products. From The Oregonian:

“We’re not trying to get it off the shelves, or trying to tell people to dispose of it, we’re just telling people not to use it,” said Bruce Pokarney, an ODA spokesperson.

While Pokarney acknowledged it would be difficult to cite individual homeowners, he said licensed pesticide applicators would be violating Oregon regulations if they use dinotefuran-based insecticides on plants in the next 180 days.

The temporary ban only affects pesticide use that might harm pollinators, like bumblebees. Dinotefuran use in flea collars and ant and roach control will still be allowed.

Guess who thinks the ban is not such a good idea?

“We do not believe the scope of these measures is necessary with the information available,” Safari manufacturer Valent said in a statement, “and we will work to get the restrictions lifted as soon as possible.”

At BeeAlive, we think the temporary ban is a step in the right direction. However, we feel a prudent course of action requires sales of the pesticides to be completely suspended until the ban is lifted to prevent uninformed consumers from unknowingly violating the law. At the bare minimum, all products on the shelf should be clearly marked about the restriction on their use.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Six Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated

With summer comes the hot hot heat! Hydration is essential to our bodily function when enjoying the active (and sometimes lazy) days of summer. According to the Institute of Medicine, on average, men need about 12 cups of fluids per day, and women need about 9 cups of fluids. Keep in mind that this is just a general rule of thumb; individuals' fluid requirements will vary depending upon body size, activity level, climate, fiber intake and a number of other factors. Follow these six easy tips to make sure you have the energy for a fun, healthy summer, free of any H-2-Oh-No moments!

Six Easy Ways to Stay Hydrated

1. Create a routine! Try to create “re-hydrating” rituals centered around breakfast, lunch and dinner. Plan to drink eight ounces after a workout, or sip while you do the dishes. Whatever activity you do regularly, associate drinking fluids to it and you’ll be much more likely to follow through.

2. All fluids count! We have all heard about the importance of drinking water, but rest assured that fresh juices, smoothies, protein shakes, milk, seltzer, tea and coffee (in small amounts) are also efficient hydrators. However, try to drink water most of the time -- it's naturally calorie-free, sugar-free and super refreshing.

3. Load up on fruits & veggies! According to the Institute of Medicine, 20 percent of your water intake comes from food sources. Many fruits and vegetables, such as watermelon, grapefruit, broccoli and tomatoes, contain 90 percent or higher water content by weight. These foods can act as an all-in-one meal and beverage, providing essential minerals, natural sugars, amino acids and vitamins that are all lost when dehydrated.

4. Add some flavor! You can infuse water with many fruits and veggies listed above, or jazz your beverage up with a squirt of lemon or lime, or a sprig of mint. Still bored? Create a spritzer by adding a dash of lemonade or limeade to sparkling water or a bit of fresh fruit juice to plain water.

5. Drink in style! Splurge on a fun water bottle you'll want to carry around with you everywhere.

6. Keep it handy! Where do you spend a lot of time? At your desk, in the car, chasing the kids or reading in bed? Keep a glass handy at each location and make a point of filling it before you settle in. Sip while you work, wait, chase or read, and you’ll stay hydrated without even knowing it. Better yet, keep a 20 ounce water bottle at your side and you'll consume even more!

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Celebrate Freedom from Mosquitoes this Independence Day!

It doesn't fully feel like summer until the Fourth of July. Whether you're leaving early to stake out a spot at the local fireworks show, splashing in the pool or grilling with friends and family, you're most likely going to be outside, which means falling prey to mosquitoes. Remain mosquito-free while you celebrate your freedom with these tips to combat mosquitoes naturally.

Freedom from Mosquitoes... Naturally

1. Turn On a Fan
Mosquitoes are lightweights. A fan blowing at a speed of two miles per hour is overpowering to a mosquito. Strategically place fans around your deck or patio to get a good bug-free breeze going. Your guests will thank you!
2. Plant Lemon Grass
Thai lemon grass contains citronella oil, which has a strong scent that makes it more difficult for mosquitoes to find you. Lemon grass also happens to be a beautiful mounding perennial. Plant some on your property wherever your family and friends like to hang out for a beautiful, bug-free zone.
3. Dress Appropriately
Certain species of mosquitoes are attracted to dark colors like black, blue and red (which can limit your Fourth of July fashion choices). They are also attracted to heat. Stay cool by wearing lighter colors. While you're at it, avoid wearing any scented perfumes or lotions (whose artificial fragrances are not the best for you anyway!).
4. Change Your Lightbulbs
Mosquitoes are not attracted to all kinds of light -- just some. Instead of standard bulbs, opt for LEDs, yellow "bug lights" or sodium lamps to reduce the number of mosquitoes swarming as you go in and out of the house during evening hours.
5. Apply Catnip Oil
The essential oil in catnip, nepetalactone, repels mosquitoes more effectively than the unhealthy chemical DEET. We can't promise it will keep your neighbor's cat away, but it does serve as an effective insect repellant.
6. Build a Bat House
A bat can eat hundreds of insects, mosquitoes included, in under an hour. Build or buy a bat house, hang it in a well-ventilated area, and let those web-winged creatures become your private body guards.
7. Spray On Garlic
That's right -- garlic not only repels vampires, but insects, as well. Mix one part garlic juice with five parts water. Put the solution in a spray bottle and spritz yourself as needed.
8. Remove Standing Water
Standing water is where mosquitoes breed more mosquitoes. Avoid by clearing your gutters of clogs, filling in sunken parts of your lawn and regularly changing the water in your bird bath or kiddie pool.
9. Use A Natural Insect Spray
Before heading outside, put together your own natural bug repellant or pick up some at your nearest health food store. Essential oils and vinegar are great natural alternatives to chemical-based bug sprays that will keep sneaky mosquitoes away -- as long as you reapply every two hours.
These tips are a sure-firework way for you to stay safe, happy and healthy this Independence Day... the American Dream!



Friday, June 21, 2013

Friends of the Flowers

Most people think of yellow jackets and hornets when they see bees, but before you run in fear or take out the insecticide, take a moment to learn about the many more pollinators out there that are essential to food production AND rarely sting! (Don't worry -- pictures not to scale!)

According to Doug Tallamy, author of Bringing Nature Home, "Native bugs met North America's pollination needs long before Europeans imported honeybees. To entice them, start by planting native species: After all, local flora attract local fauna. In honor of National Pollinator Week, check out some pollinator favorites below!

1. Common Eastern bumblebee // Bombus impatiens
Traits: Large, fuzzy, with yellow or orange and black bands. Females' legs have pollen baskets. Noisy.
Favorite flowers: Clover, rosemary, sunflower, willow.
Fun fact: They rest on leaves' undersides.

2. Native bee // 4,000+ species
Traits: Vary by species.
Favorite flowers: Not picky; they love anise hyssop, blazing star and fruit crops.
Fun fact: They don't live in large hives, are solitary and often burrow underground.

3. Pollen wasp // Pseudomasaris genus
Traits: Clubbed antennae.
Favorite flowers: Western wildflowers such as beard-tongue and scorpionweed.
Fun fact: They're vegetarians! Unlike other wasps, they feed their young pollen instead of critters like spiders and insects.

4. European honeybee // Apis mellifera
Traits: Fuzzy, about a half-inch long, smaller than the bumblebee.
Favorite flowers: Sage, verbascum, lemon balm.
Fun fact: After they use their stingers, they die. Need a hand with pollination from native bees, due to their declining population.

5. Hoverfly // Syriphidae family
Traits: Resemble yellow jackets. Can hover and dart forward and backward quickly.
Favorite flowers: Yarrow, coyote brush, buckwheat, feverfew, wild mustard.
Fun fact: Their larvae often prey on aphids and other pests.

6. Bee fly // Bombylidae family
Traits: Fuzzy like bumblebees, but with two wings (rather than four) and large, faceted fly eyes.
Favorite flowers: Desert and alpine flora, such as scrub mint and penstemon.
Fun fact: Females lay eggs in other bees' nests.

7. Drone fly // Erisalis tenax 
Traits: Like stingerless honeybees, these hoverflies have only one pair of wings and an hourglass pattern.
Favorite flowers: Alyssum, cosmos, Queen Anne's lace, statice, lupine.
Fun fact: They mimic bees by shuttling between flowers.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Get a Buzz-Worthy Garden!

The June 2013 issue of Prevention magazine includes some great tips on gardening for healthy bees that we had to share as part of National Pollinator Week!

Choose the right colors and blooms.
Yellow, violet, orange and blue flowers are especially attractive to bees. Plant borage, a honeybee favorite with ultraviolet flowers that bloom for months at a time, or other long-lasting bloomers such as coneflower, coreopsis, Russian sage, bee balm and black-eyed Susan. Bees also love cosmos, lavender, calendula, sunflowers and asters.

Keep shape in mind.
Be sure your garden's mix includes more than the trumpet-shaped blooms that attract butterflies and hummingbirds. Bees have short tongues, so they can't get as much food from trumpet shapes.

Get more out of your grass.
Consider letting the white clover and dandelions grow in your lawn by going herbicide-free. These give honeybees seasonal food sources for a balanced diet when other blooms are scarce.

Give them a place to drink.
Decorate your backyard with a birdbath or dish to serve as a rehydration station. Stack some large pebbles until they reach just above the waterline to prevent honeybees from drowning when they drink up before returning to the hive. Change the water regularly to avoid attracting mosquitoes.

Avoid pesticides.
Pesticides -- even formulas labeled "bee friendly" -- can be toxic to honeybees. Steer clear of using any chemicals in your garden. An insecticidal soap such as Safer brand shouldn't hurt honeybees, as long as you don't spray them directly. But remember to use it only in the early evening when bees aren't visiting flowers.


Monday, June 17, 2013

Happy National Pollinator Week!

Six years ago, the U.S. Senate’s unanimous approval and designation of a week in June as “National Pollinator Week” marked a necessary step toward addressing the urgent issue of declining pollinator populations. Pollinator Week has now grown to be an international celebration of the valuable ecosystem services provided by bees, birds, butterflies, bats and beetles. The growing concern for pollinators is a sign of progress, but it is vital that we continue to maximize our collective effort. The U.S. Secretary of Agriculture signs the proclamation every year.

Pollinator Partnership is proud to announce that the U.S. Department of Interior and U.S. Department of Agriculture have designated June 17-23, 2013 National Pollinator Week.

Pollinating animals, including bees, birds, butterflies, bats, beetles and others, are vital to our delicate ecosystem, supporting terrestrial wildlife, providing healthy watershed and more. Therefore, Pollinator Week is a week to get the importance of pollinators’ message out to as many people as possible. It's not too early to start thinking about an event at your school, garden, church, store, etc. Check out some events near you on the Pollinator Partnership website. We'll be posting tips all week on how you can get involved to help.

Pollinators positively affect all our lives -- let's SAVE them and CELEBRATE them!