Are Bees Going Extinct?

There are several factors that affect a hive of honey bees.  The most problematic issue is the use of pesticides.  Some farmers spray their crops with neonicotinoids, made from the most toxic substance nicotine.

Raw Honey - Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash
Photo by Boris Smokrovic on Unsplash

This pesticide is toxic to all insects (e.g., honey bees, wasps, hornets, butterflies, etc.) that pollinate crops.  There are many other pesticides that are toxic to honey bees.  It is important that pesticides are applied according to the directions and should NEVER be sprayed on a crop if it is blooming.  

My Beekeeping Story

When I started keeping bees when I was 12, 1974, there was one bacterial infection that we had to worry about, American foulbrood.  Now, there are many pests and diseases that have been brought into the United States from other countries, (i.e., varroa mites, hive beetles, two types of fungal infections, as well as bacterial infections).  

This has made keeping honey bees much more difficult. Beekeepers want to manage the pests and diseases as naturally as possible.  There are many more natural treatments for the pests and diseases now than in previous years.  

If nothing is blooming that the honey bees will pollinate and gather nectar from, then the honey bees can starve.  In Florida, we have to feed our honey bees during the summer and late fall.  It is hot in the summer and very few plants flower for the bees to gather nectar and pollen from.  

Each hive has a queen who is the only female in the hive that can lay eggs, that become worker bees in the hive. If the queen is lost through swarming, death, or supersedure the hive is in danger of being lost.  It is important that the beekeeper monitor his hives closely to ensure that each hive has a healthy queen.

What Can You Do?

It is important for individuals to plant bee friendly plants, (google bee friendly plants) and then plan some in your yard.  Also, helpful is to control pests in your yard as naturally as possible. 

If a feral hive arrives at your home, it is imperative that you contact a beekeeper who has the skill to remove that hive.  This keeps the local bees in the area, thus insuring the pollination of plants and the making of local, raw honey.

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