Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nesting Blocks - Quick and easy way to attract bees

Our "new" bee nesting block

Over this past weekend, we decided to build a small bee nesting block with the hope of attracting some solitary bees to help pollinate the garden.  I read that there are over 5000 types of solitary bees and 1500+ here in Nevada.

Solitary bee (Zool.), any species of bee which does not
        form communities.
Solitary bees are pretty neat little things.  After they find the nesting block, they will choose a hole size they like and move in.  They go to the very back and start building egg cells and laying eggs as they move their way back towards the entrance.  They then packing in some pollen and nectar and seal the hole up.  When the eggs hatch, the larva will eat the polling/nectar.  Once they turn into a bee, they will dig there way out into the open and join the world.

Building a nesting block is pretty simple.  I grab a piece of unpainted/unstained/untreated scrap 4x4 and then drilled lots of different sized holes into it with my drill press.  I then added a slanted roof to help keep the rain off and hung it on the wall near the garden.  Two days later, the bees have moved in!

A nice thing about solitary bees is that they are not very aggressive because they have no hive to defend.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Dear Old Spice Man, will using your product make me, um, less manly?

I read this letter to the Old Spice man this morning on Grist and I thought I'd repost it here for others to see. If you don't read Grist, you should check them out at

Dear Old Spice Man, will using your product make me, um, less manly?: "
by Tyler Falk.

Dear Old Spice Man,

I see you a lot on TV lately, running around with your shirt off telling me that I won’t be a man if I don’t use Old Spice Body Wash.

I hate commercials that blatantly play at gender stereotypes. But I’m not gonna lie, these ads (and your response videos) do make me chuckle. However, I’m worried that your “manly” line of products may actually make me less manly.

According to the Environmental Working Group, all but one of the 92 Old Spice products pose a moderate or high health risk to consumers, or all those men you say smell like ladies.

And one of the products in the After Hours line that you are promoting is one of your company’s worst. Ingredients in it are linked to cancer and may harm the brain, and, yes, the reproductive system. The ingredients in that product can lead to infertility, reproductive organ cancers, and birth defects. Doesn’t sound so manly to me.

To be fair, the body wash you hold up in the commercials is free of the harmful ingredients linked to cancer and reproductive toxicity, but it still contains stuff that can harm the brain, nervous, and immune system.

So I’m asking you, Old Spice Man, please make this right. Encourage Old Spice to use ingredients that keep our reproductive systems performing! In the mean time, I’m on a Crystal.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How big is the BP Oil Spill now?

I heard about this great website the other day while listening to the BBC.  The site is called: (If It Was My  All you have to do is plug in your city and state and it will overlay the oil spill onto your hometown (or whatever city you pick).  You can pick any city in the world.

Here's what it would look like if the oil spill had happened where I live.