Are Your Honeybee Hives Harming Native Pollinators?

Are Your Honeybee Hives Harming Native Pollinators?

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. This page may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a commission if you click a link and purchase something that I have recommended. There is no additional cost to you whatsoever.

When we hear the phrase “bees,” most individuals consider honeybees, however there’s much more to the bee world than simply honeybees. And as great as yard honey is, honeybees aren’t all they’re cracked as much as be. Could your yard hive be hurting native pollinators? And are you able to defend wild pollinators with out giving up your honey? The reply to each questions is sure.


You have in all probability heard of colony collapse disorder and the decline in honeybee populations that has taken place in latest a long time. It is definitely trigger for alarm, as a result of people are remarkably depending on honeybees. Out of the 25,000 bee species on this planet, solely 4 make honey. Besides offering honey and beeswax, honeybees contribute to the pollination of 84% of the crops grown for human consumption (a 3rd of all of the meals we eat) in addition to many crops grown for livestock. The commercial value of honeybees within the U.S. alone has been estimated at over $15 billion per yr.

Colony collapse appears to be the results of a complex of causes that features pesticides, lack of habitat, local weather change, and illness. We can all assist preserve the well being of business and wild honeybee populations by avoiding pesticides in our gardens – particularly neonicotinoids – and cutting our own carbon footprint. Many of us are additionally inclined to assist honeybee populations by sustaining our personal backyard hives – an environmental motion that comes with the numerous aspect advantage of honey.

Beyond Honeybees

Unfortunately, many actions we take that appear environmentally pleasant aren’t essentially helpful. Although few species make honey, honeybees are removed from the one insect species that pollinate crops. And not like some 4,000 other bee species within the United States, honeybees aren’t native. Our interest hives and reliance on honeybees for agricultural pollination can harm native bees in two methods. First, the eye to honeybees distracts us from the true hazard of extinction confronted by native pollinators and the steps wanted to guard them. And even tougher to quantify, however probably extra vital, bee-keeping locations honeybees in direct competitors with native bees for the floral sources they should survive.

mason bees on blue flowers
Recognized as highly effective pollinators, many species of mason bees are native to North America.

Pollen for All

Fortunately, we don’t have to decide on between having our honey and defending the atmosphere. In environments with ample – and sufficiently numerous – sources, each honeybees and wild bees can thrive together. Responsible beekeepers must actively work on behalf of untamed bees in addition to their very own hives. In addition to sustaining your honeybee hives, think about including bee houses for wild species to your backyard as effectively. Also, think about offering supplemental food sources in your hive bees, particularly throughout seasons and in places the place pure forage is restricted. If your hive is having issues with illness, robbing conduct, or elevated defensiveness, your bees could not have sufficient forage. And in case your honeybees aren’t discovering sufficient forage, wild bees are doubtless struggling as effectively.

Especially in an city atmosphere, beekeepers should be conscious of the quantity of forage that each sorts of bees want. Create a bee-friendly garden crammed with plants that pollinators need. If you don’t have a backyard and maintain hives on a balcony or rooftop, add as many container plantings as doable to your out there house. While your honeybees gained’t care concerning the origin of your flowers, wild bees want native plants. Whether you will have loads of house or a bit, maximize the range of flowering crops and attempt to lengthen the blooming season as a lot as doable – bees must eat exterior of the height bloom season. You can do that by planting a wide range of flowers with overlapping bloom cycles.

But keep in mind that showy flowers aren’t the one good meals supply for bees; chances are you’ll not even discover when native timber are in flower however a single mature tree produces an acre’s price of flowers throughout its bloom time. Because timber take so lengthy to succeed in maturity, avoid removing trees every time doable. Even fallen timber can profit wild bees as a nest website.

Expanding Access

A single honeybee colony requires an acre’s price of flowers. But few beekeepers have that a lot house to work with. That’s why it’s essential to suppose past your personal fence line when planning your city hive. Learn as a lot as you may about native pollinators from the Xerces Society and think about making a donation. Support laws or HOA tips that ban dangerous pesticides in your group. Communicate along with your neighbors concerning the significance of native crops, mature timber, and pesticide-free gardening. If they’re resistant to alter, you may at all times sweeten the take care of a few of your personal yard honey.