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Q. What type of bee is this?


is this a wokrer european honey bee_.jpg

The Buzz Around Bees

Q. Why is it important to help honey bees?

A. Honey bees contribute about 24 billion dollars in the USA to agriculture each year, by pollinating crops and allowing fruit and seeds to grow. Beekeepers harvest over 160 million pounds of honey each year in the US, as well as other important products such as beeswax. Native bees are also very important for our ecosystems, as many plants have coevolved with these native pollinators and are dependent on them for their own reproduction.


Q. How do beekeepers help bees?

 A. Beekeepers help honey bees by giving them a safe place to live, medicine when they have diseases or parasites, new queens when a queen fails or dies, and protection from predators like bears and skunks. But isn’t taking the honey our bees worked hard to get bad for them? Honey bees often make a surplus of honey, and by harvesting responsibly we ensure they have enough to sustain the hive. If the bees wanted to, the colony could leave the hive and set up somewhere else in the wild. Us beekeepers just do our best to make the hives appealing to them so they are better able to do their little bee activities. 


Q. How can you help bees?

 A. While native bees are the ones in desperate need of our help, helping native bees also can benefit honey bees. Not using insecticides is beneficial for all bees. Pesticides can linger on flowers, leaves, and even the soil, so when bees land on them, not only does it harm them but they may also bring the pesticide residue back to their colony, which can end up in the honey people consume. Planting a pollinator garden with native flowers, especially planting a variety so that there is always something blooming throughout most of the year, gives native bees as well as honey bees a food source and helps reduce competition between them. Creating a “bee house” for native bees, such as mason bees, if well maintained and cleaned, can provide important habitat for these solitary bees. 

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