Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on January 28, 2000 · Page 30
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 30

Ukiah, California
Issue Date:
Friday, January 28, 2000
Page 30
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10—FRIDAY, JAN. 28, 2000 QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS ON THE MARKET Sprinklers will protect homes from fire By POPULAR MECHANICS For AP Special Features Question: We are concerned about fire. What is the absolute safest way to protect a wooden home with standard frame construction? Answer: Affordable and dependable sprinkler systems with low-profile heads are available for one- and two-family homes. A sprinkler system combined with smoke detectors provides the most reliable form of residential fire protection for you and your family. Excluding deaths by explosion or flash fire, there are no known cases of multiple deaths in a fully sprinklerized building due to fire or smoke, according to the U.S. Fire Administration. Though 80 percent of fire deaths occur in residential buildings, they rarely have sprinklers. Residential sprinklers are designed to protect people in the area of fire origin and reduce fire damage. They activate five to seven times faster than standard commercial sprinklers and have a differentspray pattern and droplet size. Also, they prevent fire from growing to the flashover stage. This occurs when gases from burning materials accumulate and explode. Generally, flashover takes place when the temperature at ceiling level reaches 1,000 F to 2,000 F which sometimes takes only two to three minutes. Designers have paid special attention to the appearance of the sprinkler heads. These" project only about three-quarters of an inch from the finished ceiling. Many use escutcheon plates that can be painted or plated. The heads thread into feed pipes. Sprinklers can be installed during Buzz new construction or retrofitted into existing homes. For more information, contact the National Fire Sprinkler Assn., Route 22,, Box 1000, Patterson, NY 12563; 914-8784200. Question: A year ago we purchased a 100-year-old house. The upstairs bedroom and bath have double, exposed brick walls. The bricks themselves are very soft and porous, so I don't believe they were fired very well. I would like to seal the bricks against further deterioration and also to prevent the residue from coming off on anything that touches them. I also want to preserve the red color of the bricks as some sealed bricks that I've seen turn yellow. Answer: The brick deterioration is due to the moisture coming through from the outside. Stop this moisture and the brick deterioration will stop. If the exterior bricks themselves are porous, apply a sealer on the outside only. If you seal the inside surface, you'll trap moisture within the wall. What you can do to the inside wall is apply a waterproof coating. Several of these products are available at hardware and paint stores. They can be sprayed, brushed or rolled on. This will allow the interior surface to breathe, while stabilizing the face of the brick. To submit a question, write to Popular Mechanics, Reader Service Bureau, 224 W. 57th St., New York, NY 10019. The most interesting questions will be answered in a future column. Continued from Page 9 They're also prolific storers of honey." At any given time, a third of honeybees are out foraging for pollen and nectar, Mussen says. Pollen provides bees with protein, vitamins, minerals and fat, and nectar gives them carbohydrates. The foraging bees take the pollen back to the hive for consumption by the worker bees, who then make royal jelly, which is fed to the queen and her larvae. The nectar that bees transport to the hive is converted into honey. European and Africanized honeybee hives function year-round and in great numbers. One European honeybee hive can have from 10,000 to 50,000 bees. Honeybees aren't the only bees to pollinate the garden. Although they aren't as efficient or prolific, bumblebees, wasps and pollen bees also do their share. Bumblebees (Bombus species) live in a similar manner to honeybees, although the hives are much smaller and the worker bees die off during winter while next season's queens hibernate. Most bumblebee hives have just 50 to 75 occupants. Tomatoes, eggplants, chili peppers and blueberries are pollinated by bumblebees. Wasps are solitary or social in habit, depending on the type. The fig wasp lives in fig blossoms, pollinating them and assuring the propagation of this fruit. A big, often overlooked group are pollen bees. There are 4,000 species of such bees in the continental U.S. that don't make honey but do forage for pollen. e "These native bees are the unsung heroes and heroines of pollination," says Stephen Buchmann, co-author with Gary Nabhan of "The Forgotten Pollinators" (Island Press, 1997, $ 17). "There are a wide variety of pollen bees, from those, measuring jwt 2 millimeters • long .to 30 millimeters Idng'a^d'v^ighing mofe\thajrt. the world's smallest hunuwngbirdV' says Buchmann, who is also research entomologist with the Department of Agriculture at the Carl Hayden Bee Research Center in Tucson, Ariz. "Without the pollination efforts of native bees, entire ecosystems would collapse," he says. Unlike honeybees and bumblebees, most solitary bees aren't social. Most live alone but breed in similar habitats near one another. They seek simple nests such as a small hole in the ground or a hollow stem, or very small holes in wood. Using the pollen and nectar they gather, they create a nutritional dough ball. When the dough ball is large enough, the bee lays her egg on it and leaves tor good. The egg hatches and the new bee feeds on the dough ball until adulthood is reached. In some instances, solitary bees are even more effective pollinators than honeybees, Buchmann says. A typical acre of apple orchard would require three to four rented honeybee colonies, which would each have 20,000 to 30,000 bees. That same acre of apple orchard could be pollinated as well as or more effectively by only 400 to 700 female blue orchard bees. Also known as orchard mason bees (Osmia lig- naria), these native bees can be purchased from bee suppliers and released - often with good results - in the backyard. They also do a good job of pollinating peach, plum, almond and pear trees. "With honeybees dropping off like flies, the demand for blue orchard bees has skyrocketed, and a lot of people are starting to use them," Buchmann Madison PACIFIC PROPERTIES HOUSE HUNTING? It's a jungle out therel Ut one of our experienced guides help you avoid the pitfalls. We arelrained to that For qxpert help call tocfey/ Because their living arrangements are much different, Africanized honeybees want nothing to do with pollen bee nests. And although pollen fees can sting, they rarely do. r w GARDENERS' BEE RESOURCES • Eric Mussen, Entomology Department University of California, Davis, Davis, CA 95616 : e-mail address: ecmussen(atsign) Mussen fields questions about bees from M«Ncp&\ v *;^ h ^*ri*K*^^ Buchnwww and fiary Nabhan (feiajid Press, j 99?)

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