Tuesday, August 16

Across the U.S., People Learning to Live in Better Harmony With Bees

It’s bee season, and many people are taking a kinder approach to the way they interact with nature’s yellow and black pollinator. This week, the NYPD responded to a four-pound bee swarm found in the Upper West Side. The responders captured the swarm, estimated to be composed of up to 20,000 bees, in a box and transported them safely to a more rural location.The move was a positive one for the hive, since it involved both the new queen and most of her loyal drones. Earlier this month in Delaware, several hundred honey bee hives were in danger when a truck carrying them was overturned while on the freeway.

The hives were en route from Florida to Maine when the truck crashed into a guardrail, resulting in the loss of at least 10 million bees. The accident shut down the roads for almost 13 hours and for the first time ever, Delaware’s “honey bee swarm removal plan” was in effect as local beekeepers and handlers responded and attempted to locate the queen bees for the 460 hives. Firefighters kept the bees at bay with water dispersal tactics.

Across the U.S., many people are learning to live in better harmony with honey bees as their role in agriculture becomes more widely known. Bee populations worldwide have suffered from colony collapse disorder over the past several years. Scientists are not entirely sure what causes colony collapse, but it has had a devastating impact on bee numbers, and has made many farmers worried about the future of their crops, which are reliant on the hard-working bee to pollinate them.

How can people create an inviting environment for foraging bees in their backyard? Many bee species appreciate having something to dig around in, which can be a plus for homeowners who use mulch. Use of plastic as a weed-barrier should be avoided, as bees will have difficulty burrowing though it. Mulch is a fairly effective barrier to weeds when kept at least two inches thick.

“Mulch provides three important functions, water retention, weed suppression, and aesthetics,” says Don, President of Saunders Landscaping Supply. “Mulch decomposes naturally and acts as a soil conditioner, which is beneficial for the environment.”

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