Please Get Involved Citizens of the “Bee World.” We are all citizens of this “Bee World” not just the beekeepers. I say yes there are many causes for honeybee confusion. Friends and also my honey customers regularly ask me if the honeybee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is still affecting honeybees. I then explain there is a complex of reasons which collectively are causing our honeybees the distress that results in bee colony failure. Colony Collapse Disorder is likely caused by a variety of interacting factors, including pathogens, loss of habitat and increased exposure to systemic and other pesticides. As a beekeeper I am quite aware of these factors because they directly affect my precious girls. I try to spread the word to my customers and friends in hopes they will join me and other advocates for the Honeybee in this critically important fight for protecting and saving our precious Honeybee resource.
We love and use lots of honey so most can appreciate the value of good honey for its taste and health benefits; as well as those who don’t use honey for health reasons still appreciate honey’s value as a money making commodity. So I vote that we all from honey lovers and users to honey brokers and sellers benefit from honeybees in some tangible way, join forces to save our Honeybees. Is there a way for everyone to participate in the fight to save our precious honeybee? Yes! Yes! As Citizens of the “Bee World” we owe it to each other to help in every little way we can so that our collective small efforts could combine into a saving achievement for our honeybees. How do you join the fight? Check out these details to get involved.
Reason one: Pesticides: These chemicals are designed, of course, to kill insects. But some systemic varieties specifically Neonicotinoids are worse for bees than others. The EPA allows the widespread use of this class of insecticide as a seed coating on crops like corn and soy; in fact, seed treatments are so common that farmers report it's nearly impossible to purchase commodity crop seed that is not covered in Neonics; poor Honeybees! The EPA does not count seed treatments as a “pesticide application,” therefore they do not track or regulate this use. Neonics are also added to many home use pest control products so unsuspecting Citizens buy these products and use them around their homes and gardens, thus unknowingly adding to the demise of neighborhood insects; so Honeybees continue being exposed in local communities and on farmland across the country. How can we help? We can make sure we purchase plants that are not pretreated with pesticides by asking questions when we shop for seeds and flowers. We can let our lawns grow a bit longer and leave the blooming clover for bees to enjoy. We can ask our elected officials to pass Town and County ordinances which minimize pesticide spraying, and we can also urge Corporations to stop making and selling Neonicotinoids.
Reason two: habitat Loss: As rural areas become urban, the patches of green space that remain are often stripped of all weeds and their flowers, which bees rely on for food. Anyone with outdoor space from a container garden to a large lawn can create a pesticide-free safe space for pollinators that will encourage native bees and other beneficial insects; Honeybees in your neighborhood will love you for it. Create a “Bee Haven” by having a yard or plants on your front step? Grow bee-friendly plants such as, Heathers (calluna), white clove (Trifolium Ripens), and keep the space pesticide free. Urge your Town or City to pass a resolution and become a “Bee Haven too!” Record your Haven on the map.
Reason three: Disease Pathogens carried by mites weaken bees which make them more susceptible to pesticide poisoning. On the flip side, if bees are already weakened by pesticides, they are more vulnerable to demise by bee disease. This vicious cycle combined with the previously mentioned factors above creates continued beekeeper losses of their Honeybees stock. We beekeepers find a big challenge to maintain our colonies free of pests and pathogens because of constant increased in resistance of honeybee pathogens to developed treatments. As a local hobbyist beekeeper I try to minimize the amount of “hard chemical treatment” I use with my girls even though this calls for great vigilance and diligent dedication to proper hive husbandry and management. I pledge to raise my girls with good husbandry and minimal deliberate chemical exposure.
Reason four: Climate change: Unusually warm winters have caused plants to shift their schedules. When bees come out of hibernation, the flowers they need to feed on have already bloomed and passed bloom to fruit. My girls find they are too late for dinner. I am afraid this will be a major challenge this season for bees and beekeepers. So many plants are already blooming due to these unseasonably warm days we are receiving here in the Southeast. This bloom usually occur during the first weeks of March after the bees have began building up so there is adequate pollen available to feed baby bees; when these plants bloom now before the bees buildup has began my girls and those of the other beekeepers close by would find a reduced supply of fresh pollen to feed their babies; real sad. There is also the case of a reduced supply of pollen available for collection by foraging bees to be stockpiled for winter survival. I say a resounding Yes to Honeybee confusion at this point in this Southeast region of our country the bees have been jumped by the plants; we have no control on Mother Nature we as beekeepers will just have to do the best we can to supplement our girls for any natural shortcoming caused by this “haphazard winter weather.”
It’s hard to imagine a world without bees, but we know the impacts on our food supply would be significant. Please join the fight to save our Honeybees!! Check out “The case of the vanishing bees.”