July 17, 2012
Honey bees: Nuisance, Necessity, and What’s Happening Now
Why we need honey bees:
Honey bees are pollinators and vital to our ecosystem. They are responsible for pollinating nearly one-third of the food we eat. This is an estimated value of 15 billion per year.
Without a sustained bee population, produce could dramatically raise in cost and the food industry would risk losing billions of dollars. Bee extinction will cause a severe food chain collapse. Honey bees are known for their production and storage of honey and beeswax. Honey is made from the nectar of flowers and used in a variety of foods and sweeteners. Honey has a variety of medical applications and can be used as a healthy antioxidant, allergen reducer, and cough suppressor. Beeswax is used in food production, pharmaceutical cosmetics and other common products such as candles, shoe polishes, and lip balms. In brief, we are reminded how honey bees are an asset to our way of life.
Factors affecting the honey bee population:
Since 2006, there has been a major disturbance to the bee population. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a hive abruptly disappears. The actual explanation is somewhat undefined, but water pollution, parasitic mites, pesticides, disease, and urbanization have been documented as contributing causes. A highly toxic clothianidin (insecticide) marketed by Bayer CropScience is a suspected agent responsible for the worldwide honey bee demise.
Our climate changes and unpredictable weather patterns in the recent years has disrupted the natural cycle of honey bees. Warm weather disturbs the feeding cycle, putting hives at risk by supplementing natural food sources. Higher temperatures may increase the growth rate of fungi and viruses that wreaked bee colonies. The mild winter and extreme heat has enabled honey bees to swarm at a higher rate than usual. The NY Times recently reported an unusual number of active swarms around the city this spring as a result of warm temperatures and beekeeper’s poorly managed hives.
What’s Happening Now:
Did you know that honey bees are not native to our country? The species can be traced back to South Asia where most of the the known fossil deposits originated from. In 1999, the Giuliani administration added honey bees to the list of prohibited (exotic and dangerous) animal list. In efforts to keep the bee population thriving, beekeeper Andrew Cote waged a successful campaign against the city’s ban which was lifted in 2010. This year, more than ever Westchester Wildlife LLC has come across dozens of nests and swarms in our service areas.
If you or someone you know needs assistance with Bee Removal and you are in one of our service counties, Westchester, Putnam, Duchess, Rockland, or Fairfield please contact Westchester Wildlife to schedule an inspection today!
Call: 914-760-5713 or 800-273-6673