Demise of the Honeybees?

By Genevieve Bohnak, The University of Akron Intern


We have all seen the 2007 family film the Bee Movie starring Jerry Seinfeld as Barry B. Benson, who takes us on a journey on the life of a honeybee.  As we saw in the movie, the work of the honeybee is vital for humans and for nature. Honeybees are responsible for the production of honey but also responsible for transferring pollen from one plant to another – often fostering new life for many agricultural species. As well as pollenating flowers, honeybees also pollenate crops that we eat every day. Honeybees help pollinate more than 900 commercial grown field crops, citrus and other fruit crops, and vegetables and nut crops.

However in the recent years, scientist and environmentalist hhoneybeeave found a decline in the honeybee population. Commercial beekeepers in the United States have reported death of tens of thousands of honeybee colonies. 90% of wild bees populations in the United States have disappeared according to Target Heath Inc. Bees in the Netherlands and United Kingdom have also declined dramatically while some have even become extinct!


Since 2006, millions of honeybees have died off due a phenomenon called Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD. CCD is the absence of adult honeybees in a colony with few or no adults remaining. Worker bees simply disappear leaving behind the queen and vulnerable developing young. This type of behavior is unusually for honeybee – to leave the hive unguarded. Similar disappearances have been documented in the last 100 years but these incidents have grown considerably within the last years.


Officials of the United States Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency have not been able to determine why the honeybee populations have been declining but some believe that a combination of factors could be responsible. These factors include parasites, lack of genetic diversity, poor nutrition, and pesticides. Examination of dead bees have found residues of more than 100 chemicals, insecticides, pesticides, including some that are used to control parasites in beehives.


Another factor that comes into play is the climate changes that affect wildflower production. Rainy, wet, or overly dry weather can wreak havoc on the landscape resulting in fewer flowers which results to a smaller bee population. Besides the smaller amount of flowers, crop yields would decrease significantly and some of those crops might not even exist! Without the help of the honeybees, food production would decease while price of production would increase significantly!


Scientist are currently still studying the situation and working toward a solution to restore the honeybee population.  Individuals can do their part by keeping plenty of blooming flowers in their yards, never killing honeybees found on property, and not disturbing an establish hive that would lead to the bees abandoning their work.  We certainly do not want a similar situation like in the Bee Movie  when all bees stopped working and all plant life died do we?

Bee Movie a world without bees

6 Tips to Make Your 4th of July Greener

fireworks2By Genevieve Bohnak, The University of Akron Intern


Tomorrow we celebrate our nation’s 238th anniversary of our independence. As we start to the celebrate the summer’s biggest holiday, review these 6 tips below that will help keep your red, white, and blue holiday a little more green.


 1. Grill Green

It wouldn’t be a Fourth of July celebration without barbecues and backyard parties. To help reduce your grill’s carbon footprint this Independence Day, make sure to grill with propane – it burns the cleanest, which causes less smoke. It can also help to keep a fire going longer, which is obviously a classic grilling goal. Propane tanks can be returned and refilled whereas charcoal is thrown away. If charcoal is your only option, use a charcoal chimney started instead of lighter fluid.


2. Think Local

Every 4th of July, Americans consume 150 million hotdogs, 700 million pounds of chicken and 150 million pounds of pork and beef. Your average meal travels around 1,500 miles before it reaches your plate, producing a whole lot of CO2 emissions that could be reduced by buying local. This holiday consider using locally grown organic food. Farmers markets are a great local alternative than shopping at the grocery store as it reduces carbon footprints and chemicals used in processed foods.


3. Dine differently

Plastic plates, cups, and utensils are convenient for large gathering but not for our environment. This holiday consider using your own dishes, glasses, and silverware that can be washed and reuse to reduce the waste that goes along with disposable dinnerware. If you do opt for disposable dishware, choose products made from compostable materials. Plates made from all paper can easily be composted at home or in a commercial facility. You can also clean them up (they’re often washable) and use them at your next big gathering. Make sure you recycle the plastics that are not reusable anymore.


4. Fireworks

Fireworks are hardly environmentally friendly but it’s a traditional event for the holiday. To help make this tradition more eco-friendly, gather your friends and visit your local firework display. It’s a great way to see a much bigger fireworks show and prevents you from harming the environment with your own personal display. For those who do want to put on their own display, use fireworks that are rich in nitrogen. They may be a bit more expensive but they put out less smoke. An even better firework display alternative would be to use biodegradable floating lanterns.


Lock 3 in downtown Akron puts on their own display of fireworks on the 4th of July. The show starts at 9:45 p.m. but come out earlier to enjoy the beautiful music of The Akron Symphony Orchestra perform their 4th of July Pop Concert of American Classics. The pops concert begins at 4 p.m. Both of these events havee free admission!


Click the link to find 4th of July firework shows in Ohio: 


 5. Save and Reuse Party Decorations

Most of the holiday décor for the 4th of July haven’t changed over the years. Instead of disposing your decorations, this year store and save your decorations for next year! Not only does it reduce unneeded waste but it also saves your wallet from having to purchases decorations for the next year!


6. Use Large Water Containers

Plastic water bottles are just as convenient as disposable dinnerware for large parties. However, they too can add to large amounts of waste. Instead of supplying your guest with water bottles this holiday, store water in a large container that guest can re-fill their reusable cup or reusable water bottle. If you must use plastic water bottles, be sure to encourage your guests to recycle them.


As we engage in all types of different events to celebrate this glorious holiday, keep in mind these tips so that we and future generations can continue to celebrate this traditional holiday for the next 238 years.



Historic Wash House Repainted

By Genevieve Bohnak, The University of Akron Intern

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Keep Akron Beautiful (KAB) and the Summit County Historical Society teamed with employee volunteers from FirstEnergy Corp. on Friday June 20, 2014 to paint the historic Wash House at the Perkins Mansion.

Over 60 volunteers came out to not only repaint the 119 year-old wash house but also painted the gazebo and the interior of the 177 year-old Perkins Mansion located on 550 Copley Road.

The project was part of United Way Day of Action Friday and made possible by the National Painting Week Ohio Grant that Keep Akron Beautiful and the historical society received from Keep Ohio Beautiful. The grant enabled volunteers to renew a community structure, acquire 40 gallons of exterior paint, paint supplies, and free advice from Sherman Williams employees.

Four groups in Ohio received painting grants, which only two of those groups will receive another $500 gift card from demonstrating best visual impact and revitalization story. Both KAB and the Summit County Historical Society officials took before and after photos in hope that they are one of the groups to receive the gift card. Jacqui Flaherty, Keep Akron Beautiful Program Manager said “We have a lot of painting to be done.”




Read the article in the Akron Beacon Journal: