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August 8, 2014
It may seem hard to believe, but honeybees contribute $15 billion each year to U.S. agriculture. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), one out of every three bites of food can be attributed to honeybees. What’s more, bees produce approximately $150 million worth of honey annually.
What makes bees so valuable? Bees are in a family of animals called pollinators. Pollinators transfer pollen and seeds from one flower to another, which fertilizes plants and allows them to produce food. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, this cross-pollination helps at least 20 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of wild plants thrive.
Here are just a few foods and crops that bees pollinate:
Quite simply, without honeybees, our economy and our food sources would take a major hit.
Unfortunately, these busy bees are in danger. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) was first detected in 2006 when beekeepers reported unusually high losses – 30 to 90 percent of their hives.
Bee colonies have continued to dwindle, spurring action from government and environmental groups. Experts suspect that pesticides, bee pests and other maladies are at the heart of CCD. The USDA is leading a CCD action plan, conducting further research on the effects of pesticides, environmental and nutritional stress, various bee pests and mitigation strategies.
The USDA encourages the public to take honeybee survival seriously. As such, they recommend not using pesticides indiscriminately, and to avoid applying pesticides during midday hours when bees are mostly likely out looking for nectar and pollen in flowering plants. The USDA also recommends planting pollinating plants that bees love – like foxglove, bee balm, and red clover. These could be planted in your yard but at a distance from common areas like patios and porches.
If you notice a beehive in close proximity to your home or children’s play area, give us a call. We may have some environmentally friendly solutions to protect you and these valuable pollinators.