Worker bees star in community garden

A bee at work (top) in the Frankie Machine garden; an insect trap amid the sage.By Marjorie Isaacson 

Consider the honeybee: It may be a humble insect, but food production depends on the work of these pollinators. In recent years, honeybees have become the subject of considerable attention from scientists and food policy experts.

They've observed a phenomenon called colony collapse disorder. Worker bees suddenly die off and whole hives disappear. This is a big deal for agricultural crops worldwide.

However, honeybees work in the city too, and this year they’re being studied right in our neighborhood.

A University of Illinois researcher is evaluating the honeybee population in a number of Chicago area sites, including the Frankie Machine Community Garden at Wood and Haddon. Four monitoring stations have been established in the garden, and once a month collection containers are set out to catch insects.

Then the contents are shipped to the U. of I. for analysis. Additional data are collected on plants that are in bloom within five meters of the monitoring stations.

I’ll report the results on the study when they are available.
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