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San Diego NAT Hosts Event On Importance Of Bees

San Diego NAT Hosts Event On Importance Of Bees
GUEST:Joseph Wilson, co-author of "The Bees In Your Backyard: A Guide to North America's Bees"

When you heard the buzzing of a be what is your reaction? Do you jump, look around wave your hands, runaway. If you do how important these are to our ecosystem and how threatened many be species are crop you might react differently. An expert on these is giving aid talk today in an effort to replace some misconceptions about these with some well-deserved respect. Joining me now is Joseph Williams -- Wilson that these in your backyard. A guide to North American species. Welcome to the program. Thank you it is good to be here. The US Fish and Wildlife Service announced it's now considering to bumblebee species for inclusion on the endangered species list. We've been hearing about honeybee colony collapse for quite some time. Is the loss of these being taking more seriously? Yes. I think this listing of honeybees and humble bees does show that people and the federal agencies are paying more attention to B's. What it doesn't take into account is the diversity of these in North America. These two bumblebees are two of the 4000 species that live here. Most of those we don't know anything or very little about. We don't know much about what they do or how they are doing in terms of declines. I think a lot more research needs to be done. It does show we are on the right track though. Does the collapse syndrome continue? That is hard to say. It only affects honeybees. Honeybees are on be out of those 4000. They are one of the only social bees and the only ones that make honey. It is hard to say. There are a lot of things that are done -- damaging their populations from pesticides and disease as far as colony collapse disorder, that is only one of many things. EPA regulators ruled that a certain type of pesticide is harmful to B's. The -- is that one of the reasons for disappearing bees? It could be. Most of the research on that is focused on honeybees. Some of it on bumblebees. Yes there is evidence that it is not good for those B's. Likely, it is not good for the other B's as well. It is probably not the only factor that is contributing to the declines. There are a lot of other things. One of the main ones could be habitat changes. As we continued to make agricultural lands or urban lands or suburban lands, we are taking away the habitat that these of lived in for thousands of years. That is a nother factor. How much is the disappearance of some varieties of these or lower numbers of them, how is that affecting the farming industry? California's Central Valley, some almond farmers are moving toward a self pollinating variety. Use it -- do you expect to see more of that? Farmers are looking at many ways to come back these be declines. We have been reliant on honeybees for agriculture for many years. We can bring truckloads of honeybees in when we need them. We can bring the B's in and ship them off to other crops at other times. That is all based on the honeybee. Said the honeybees are having these problems with all these various factors, I think a lot of agriculturalists are looking at other options and so pollen it -- pollinating plants. We can't truck these B's in but we can look at other habitats around the feels. Some of these B's are better pollinators and we need to re--- revise our thinking. One of the myths and misconceptions you will be talking about tonight. One of the first things I'll talk about is, what is a be? You introduce the segment by talking about how people often fear B's or think about getting stung. They blame the the B's for attacking their backyard barbecue. Those are probably wasps. These are more passive. People also see flies and think they are B's. We need to talk about the differences so we know what they are. We need to know about the lifecycle and where they live and what they need. That is what we will be focusing on. What is a be and what does it do? What are some ways to tell them apart? Is that their length or coloring? All of the above. Is a lot of little microscopic things also. There is such a variety of B's, some are as big as a quarter and some of them are as long as George Washington's nose on that quarter. We have any color be you could imagine. There is a big variety. With 4000 species you could imagine they run the gambit of what a be looks like. Absolutely. Dr. Joseph Williams -- Wilson will be speaking today at seven. His book is called the B's in your backyard. Thank you very much.

What is a bee?

Folks who fear the little insects usually have the wrong impression, biologist Joseph Wilson told Midday Edition on Thursday.

“Often, people in their backyard barbecues blame the bees for coming in and attacking their hamburger,” Wilson said. “Those are probably wasps doing that. Bees generally are more passive, and they're not going to come to your hamburger because they don't eat meat.”

The biologist, who co-authored “The Bees In Your Backyard: A Guide to North America’s Bees,” is giving a lecture Thursday night at the San Diego Natural History Museum in Balboa Park.

With bees making the news again, the event is timely.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announced that it's considering adding two species of bumblebees to the endangered species list.

In California, there's a waiting list for sprigs of a new variety of self-pollinating almond tree in Central California called the Independence, which doesn't rely on bees for its crop.

“As we continue to make agricultural lands or urban lands or suburban lands, we're taking away these habitat that bees have lived in for thousands of years,” Wilson said.

Event Information

What: Bee lecture

When: Thursday March 24, 7 p.m.

Where: theNAT; San Diego Natural History Museum, 1788 El Prado

Tickets: $9 members, $12 non-members

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