Warm and clear. Our most fog-free month. Our warmest month. Nothing in the yards and gardens wants to quit. The fauna, the flora, they just keep going as the light gets shorter, the dark gets longer, the world cools toward what even here we call winter.

Bees in Berkeley: A Theme

vanishingofthebees.jpgWell, maybe it’s only a two-day theme, but a neighbor who saw Tueday’s post about the bee hive-let in a local utility pole sent along an announcement to an event tonight at Berkeley’s Hillside Club: the showing of a documentary called “Vanishing of the Bees.”

The essentials:

The film will be shown tonight (May 25) at 7:30 at the club, located at 2286 Cedar Street (at Arch) in beautiful, bee-friendly North Berkeley. Admission is $8 (or $5 if you’re a club member. A discussion will follow the showing. Advance tickets available from (800 838 3006), a service that charges a small service fee.

Description from movie site: “Bees are responsible for apples, broccoli, onions, cherries and a hundred other fruits and vegetables. Commercial honeybee operations pollinate crops that make up one out of every three bites of food on our tables. Vanishing of the Bees follows commercial beekeepers David Hackenberg and Dave Mendes as they strive to keep their bees healthy and fulfill pollination contracts across the U.S. The film explores the struggles they face as they plead their case on Capital [sic] Hill and across the world.”

The movie is narrated by Ellen Pageof “Juno” and “Inception” fame.

There you have it.

Berkeley Infrastructure Notes: Apiary Edition

beepole052211.jpg beepole052211a.jpg

A sharp-eyed dog-walker of my acquaintance (I’m married to her) spotted something a little unusual near the bottom of a utility pole a couple blocks from our place. Bees were flying in and out of a cavity about three and a half feet above the sidewalk. A honeycomb was visible. They had a full-fledged if rather small hive going, right out in plain sight. My acquaintance took my out to the scene so I could document the scene. (Click the images for larger views of the pictures.)

An unaddressed question: Does this little insect colony pose a danger? The pictures show evidence of boring, probably by powder-post beetles. Is the pole going to snap off? Except for this one area, it appears pretty solid. (The question brings up some interesting issues, such as who’s responsible for fixing or replacing a damaged pole. A friend who works for the city and is generally pretty well informed tells me that the last utility that attached something to the pole generally bears responsibility.