Honeybees at Home

Honeybees at Home

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Honeybees serve an vital ecological and business position as pollinators. But their numbers have been declining for many years, and restoration will take a very long time. You might help by avoiding pesticides and planting a bee-friendly backyard. You may even host a hive in your personal yard — it takes some work, nevertheless it’s not as harmful as you would possibly assume. But what if you have already got bees, and also you’re not a keen host? A skilled beekeeper can relocate your errant hive whereas nonetheless defending the colony.

How Important Are Honeybees?

It’s laborious to overstate the importance of honeybees. Out of the 25,000 bee species on this planet, solely 4 make honey. Producing honey and beeswax is simply the tip of the iceberg. Although many species of bugs pollinate vegetation, 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.

But populations of honeybees and different pollinators have dropped a surprising 90% previously 20 years. Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) decimated business hives throughout the nation. The sudden die-off continues to be unexplained. Researchers assume it outcomes from a mixture of stressors together with pesticide use and parasites. Rates of CCD are nonetheless excessive however appear to have slowed considerably. Still, it can take years to rebuild the bee inhabitants to wholesome ranges.

Hosting Honeybees

If you wish to contribute on to that activity, internet hosting honeybees is fairly simple — although it does require some laborious work — and the danger of bee stings is quite low, particularly with newer, “hands-off” hive designs. The provides and even the bees themselves could be bought commercially. Early spring is the most effective time to begin a brand new hive. But should you’re keen to attend till the second yr earlier than harvesting honey, colonies initiated later might survive the winter. If you simply wish to encourage pollination and don’t care about accumulating honey, bee hotels for native bees are even simpler to keep up than hives.

You don’t must change into a beekeeper to assist bees. Planting a pollinator-friendly garden is a crucial approach to assist maintain bee populations. In reality, based on the EPA, the most important factor householders can do to guard honeybees and different pollinators is to chorus from utilizing panorama pesticides at any time when potential. Neonicotinoid pesticides commonly used in the U.S. have been banned in Europe after research proved that the chemicals kill bees and decreased their means to breed.

Honeybee hive on tree
Experienced beekeepers can take away swarms and place them in new hives with out harming the bees. Image: Adobe Stock

Relocating Honeybees

Sometimes householders discover themselves in possession of honeybees that they’ll’t preserve — just like the 50,000 honeybees present in a Cincinnati storage. Usually, when a hive will get too massive, half of the bees will swarm to determine a brand new hive. If you discover a cluster of bees hanging from a limb, department, or constructed construction, you will have a swarm. Do not spray it with insecticide, and even with water (which might make the bees aggressive).

Whether you’ve found an unsustainable hive or a swarm has landed in your yard, you may nonetheless assist the bees with out internet hosting them. Experienced beekeepers can take away swarms and place them in new hives with out harming the bees. There is a nationwide on-line listing of beekeepers who take away swarms. Many regional beekeeping organizations, in addition to county extension packages, additionally preserve lists of certified beekeepers.

Beekeepers usually take away swarms freed from cost; nonetheless, it’s at all times sensible to ask about charges upfront. If your “swarm” seems to be a species aside from honeybees, humane removing is normally nonetheless potential. However, fewer beekeepers are ready to take away different stinging bugs, and people who can will nearly at all times cost a price.

This article was initially printed on June 19, 2018.

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