Stewards of the Land: Napa Sanitation District Supports Local Honeybees

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NSD and Sola Bee Farms recently created an unorthodox way of helping their local honeybees. Using NSD land already set aside for recycling water, Sola Bee Farms and NSD are able to open up much needed forage for honeybees.

Access to these areas allow the hives to find new forage, and be isolated from other beehives. Both the healthy forage and isolation help prevent the spread of CCD.

The infamous Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) has ravaged honeybees and their beekeepers since 2005. While the cause of this deadly and widespread phenomenon is still under investigation, beekeepers like Sola Bee Farms’ Trevor Tauzer must work tirelessly to find healthy environments for their honeybees. Napa Sanitation District has recently allowed Sola Bee Farms on their land and created an innovative way of helping their local honeybees. Using NSD land already set aside for recycling water, Sola Bee Farms and NSD are able to open up much needed forage for honeybees.

One of the ways Sola Bee Farms has survived CCD is with the help of land managers, property owners, and organizations with a willingness to allow bee hives to be placed on their land. Access to these areas allow the hives to find new forage, and be isolated from other beehives. Both the healthy forage and isolation help prevent the spread of CCD. Beekeepers have to be creative to find agencies like the Napa Sanitation District, which have large pieces of land that can provide habitat for honeybees and foster the health of these important pollinators.

Much like traditional livestock, honeybees need “pastures” to find forage and discover sources of nutrition and water. Unlike traditional livestock however, bees are not dependent on large swaths of open land. Bee hives can make a living throughout diverse terrains; urban, suburban, and rural areas all have the potential for being a great place for bee hives. Good nutrition for honeybees supports a strong immune system, protecting bees from CCD and helping to keep bee hives healthy year around.

NSD manages several properties for beneficial reuse of recycled water and biosolids. These properties are also used to grow forage for livestock, and the flowering plants also provide important forage for honeybees. Beehives are compatible with the District’s land use because they require very little land and don’t interfere with the irrigation, fertilization or harvesting practices.

One of the goals of Sola Bee Farms is to provide their honeybees with diverse forage to keep them strong and healthy. “By teaming up with Napa Sanitation District, SBF honeybees and their beekeepers are able to find healthy forage on land that is already dedicated to serving the local community and the environment,” points out beekeeper Tauzer.

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