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OTS students work with OSU to study bees

3/7/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Photo courtesy of Old Trail School
BATH — Middle school students enrolled in Old Trail School’s (OTS) Farmhands elective class have created a public service announcement (PSA) video about the importance of bees to the environment.

The “Save the Bees — Save the World” PSA was filmed, edited and posted on YouTube by the students as part of their research into the decline of bee colonies, shown at right. This video also has been uploaded to The Ohio State University’s (OSU) Pollinatarium website as a way to help educate Ohioans about the plight of native bees and honey bees, according to OTS officials.

To watch the video, go to www.oldtrail.org and click on the Save the Bees — Save the World link and then on the video link.

The OSU Department of Entomology is in the process of creating a fact sheet outlining the importance of bee pollination to the state. OSU asked for the students’ help to quantify the value of the pollination services that the bees provide for a farm close to the school.

Students learned that many of the crops grown at nearby farms depend on honeybees and native bees for pollination, including blueberries, strawberries, apples and pumpkins.

OTS has a partnership with Brunty Farms in the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, and students went there to conduct research.

Their research included facts such as there are 32,742 bee colonies in Ohio and approximately 2.68 million honey-producing colonies in the United States.

Students also came up with ways to help bees survive, including:

√ Cut back on mulch so ground nesting bees can dig nests.

√ Limit pesticide use because they kill native bees.

√ Don’t mow your lawn so often. Mowing kills bees and it cuts flowers that feed bees.  

√ Minimize your use of plastic weed barriers because bees can’t get to the soil.

√ Install some artificial nests for mason and leafcutter bees.

√ Leave some leaf litter in your yard.

√ Leave some sunny areas of your yard free of vegetation.

√ Provide a source of mud for mason bees.

√ Leave some weeds for the bees, and limit herbicide use.

√ Plant a variety of flowers that bloom from early spring to late fall.

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