Do We Need Bees?

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Bees: The Stinging Insects That Feed Us

The sound of a buzzing insect approaching you as you rest outside on a summer day is unpleasant for most. The sight of a yellow and black body incites fear, and may even drive you back inside. We’ve all seen what happens to someone if they have an allergic reaction to an insect sting. Because of this, many of us have developed a strong dislike for stinging insects such as honey bees and bumblebees.

doweneedbees

In reality, though, not all flying insects are created equal! While honey bees do have the capability to sting, they’ll only do so if provoked. Meanwhile, honey bees contribute $15 billion to the US economy each year by pollinating our food crops. Around 75% of the world’s most important food crops rely on pollinators such as bees to produce fruit. Honey bees, then, are more than just stinging pests.

Bees happen to be the most efficient and important pollinators, but they’re in danger. In recent years, honey bee populations have dramatically reduced in number. If bees continue to drop at their current rate, we may have to say goodbye to popular food staples such as avocados, almonds, carrots, coffee, and more. Everyone can do a small part to help protect the bees.

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Bees Around the World

One bee can visit almost 2,000 flowers in a day. Many plants produce colorful flowers to attract pollinators such as honey bees. When a bee feeds on the nectar of a flower, the plant’s pollen sticks to its legs. The pollen then falls off of the bee into the next flower it visits, and voilá, the plant is pollinated! Pollination provides the plant with the genetic material that it needs to produce fruit.

Many foods that you probably can’t imagine living without are dependent on honey bees for pollination. Food crops such as tomatoes, strawberries, almonds, and lemons are just a few examples. Almonds trees contribute $4.8 billion to the US each year, and they’re almost entirely reliant on bees.

It’s not just food crops that rely on these stinging insects, though. Nearly 90% of plants around the world require pollinators to reproduce. One such plant that’s relevant to our everyday lives is the cotton plant. Without bees, cotton would be scarce and expensive. Affordable clothing would instead be made from (sometimes uncomfortable) synthetic materials.

It’s up to us to do what we can to protect honey bees in our environment.

 

What’s Causing the Honey Bee Population to Decline?

The recent and widespread death of honey bees is commonly called Colony Collapse Disorder. There’s more than one culprit to blame for this issue. Bee decline is a result of a dangerous combination of three factors: loss of habitat and food sources because of monoculture farming, bee parasites, and the widespread overuse of pesticides. As a result, almost 4 million honey bee colonies in the US have disappeared over the last 60 years. That’s over half of the national honey bee population!

 

What Can You Do to Save the Bees?

Honey bee populations can only bounce back if everyone gets on board. There’s plenty that you can do as an individual to protect the bees. The upside? Saving bees can be fun! If you have kids, make sure to include them in your efforts to help these important insects.

Plant a pollinator garden! This may sound intimidating, but it’s a lot easier than you think. Do a few minutes of research or visit your local garden store to find out which wildflowers are native to your area. A pollinator garden can be as small as a window box or as large as a raised bed in your garden. It’s up to you to decide how many wildflowers you’d like to plant. We recommend planting flowers in patches of the same species. This is because bees prefer to work on one species at a time.

Go the extra mile and plan for blooming flowers throughout the year. When you buy seeds, the package will say which month the flowers usually bloom. Choose your flowers for variation in blooming periods. This will ensure that your local bees have a food source all year round!

If you have issues with stinging pests, bees or otherwise, don’t try to solve the problem yourself! Stinging insects are particularly dangerous and should be handled carefully by someone with experience and proper equipment. Employing a professional is often the safest and most environmentally friendly way to fight stinging pest infestations. Just make sure that the company you work with is trained in environmentally responsible pest control. Here at Home Pest Control, we pride ourselves on our environmentally friendly pest control methods.

How else can you help save the bees? Use your consumer power to support local beekeepers. Rather than buying the cheapest available honey, spend a few extra dollars and buy the local stuff. You’ll be supporting the people in your community who are doing the most to save the bees: beekeepers!

Think about how your actions affect the environment. The choices that you make on your own property and garden can have a serious impact on local bees. Don’t use pesticides that contain neonicotinoids, as these are particularly dangerous for bees. If you have any empty window boxes or bare patches in your yard, remember that you can plant flowers there for the bees.

Lastly, raise awareness. Recommend that your friends use environmentally friendly pest control services. Explain to them how good pest control can save the bees. If you choose to plant a pollinator garden, why not add a little sign to explain to your neighbors that bumble bees are more than just stinging pests?

 

Stay Safe with Environmentally Responsible Pest Control

Protecting the bees doesn't mean that you have to live in close quarters with them. Call an environmentally friendly pest control service such as Home Pest Control for help with any stinging insects you might encounter. If you want to keep them off of your property, we can help. And, if you’re unsure about which type of insect you’re dealing with, we’ll assess the area and devise a comprehensive pest control plan.

Home Pest Control cares about the environment. We continuously look to resources such as Bayer Bee Care and Pollinator Health to make sure that we’re following the safest and most up-to-date protocols on stinging pest control.

Interested in learning more? Download our free guide to identifying, preventing and understanding stinging pests!

 

Sign up now to receive our free guide to stinging insects!

Written By: Home Pest

May 22, 2019


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