Looking at your yearly property tax bill can be painful. If you have taken the time to notice where the dollars are going, you’ll see that more dollars are allocated to the Naperville Park District than to the City of Naperville, other than the pension funds for those two entities. Pension funds are to the budget, what the iceberg was to the Titanic.
If you are concerned about the plight of the honey bees, the fact that the Park District gets more dollars than the City is good news, since the Naperville Park District is taking active measures to help our little pollinator friends while the City has done the reverse by placing restrictions on where they live, where they fly, and how many there are.
In an effort to appease one resident’s complaint about a honey bee in her bird bath, and the mistaken belief that the birds and bees can’t coexist, the Naperville City Council ‘put the screws’ to the honey bees. A short lived victory for the city council members, and a long term victory for the honey bees because the council’s actions prompted residents to learn more about honey bees causing a number of residents to place beehives on their property including one in the vicinity of the complaining resident.
More and more cities and towns are supporting honey bees from small town West Dundee to Chicago. Amazing that Chicago aldermen see the benefit while Naperville city officials continue to be short-sighted. Most recently Des Plaines aldermen agreed that their city should allow beekeeping for educational purposes at park districts, schools, and other institutions. This opened the door for the Mount Prospect Park District to support beehives at its Friendship Park Conservatory. Bottom line, thousands more honeybees will be buzzing in Mt. Prospect and Des Plaines by next year.
In contrast to Naperville city officials, the Naperville Park District has been open-minded and has taken an enlightened, rational, and well-informed outlook to the benefits of honey bees. I spoke with Carl Gorra, Park Operations Manager, and he mentioned the Park District has been very active in supporting pollinators with small pollinator gardens throughout the district including the 525 garden plots. Additionally the Naperville Park District has hosted open house and seminars to other park districts in the area explaining why it’s a good thing to do. The park district has identified eight parks for sustainable organic fertilizer with more to follow. Gorra said, “what’s good for pollinators is good for people”.
When asked, what he would do if elected the ‘King of Naperville’, he said he would like it if more people would provide a little space in their yard for a few of the right plants for pollinators.
A few little known facts about honey bees:
- They can fly a distance of six miles and up to 15 mph
- A honey bee queen can lay up to 2,500 eggs per day
- Bee venom therapy (BVT) can be used to treat numerous ailments
- One of every three bites of food is due to pollinators
- A honey bee visits up to 50 to 100 flowers during a collection trip
- Honey bees must gather nectar from 2 million flowers to make one pound of honey
- An average honey bee will make only one-twelfth of a teaspoonful (0.4cc = 8 drops) of honey in its lifetime
- A honey bee lives only four to six weeks, whereas the queen can live up to five years
- Honey is the only food that never spoils
- Remember, honey bees are gentle and have no intention to harm you