Bees, Bees Good for the Heart

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Entrance to the Bayer Bee Care Center

Human concern for bee welfare has become an important issue in modern society. It is often cast in political terms, but it is an issue that affects people of all stripes because of the role bees play in keeping us fed! Whether one is an environmentalist, an industrialist, etc., we must understand what it is that affects bees negatively and what we can do to keep honey bees going- to keep them thriving! Thankfully, the folks at Bayer are really digging into this subject and are helping us understand what stresses bee colonies and how we can mitigate those stressors.

Some might be skeptical considering Bayer’s role as a producer of certain pesticides  some blame for much of the stress on honey bee colonies, but it is undeniable that Bayer has stepped up to understand what has caused honey bee colonies their well documented difficulties and what the pest control industry can do to minimize the negative effects our work has on bee colony health. As a pest control provider, Carolina Pest Management is thankful for this as we ourselves are environmentally conscious and need to answer questions of concern from clients.

I think everybody is aware of why honey bees are so important to humans- without honey bees our food supply would collapse since so much of it depends on the pollination of crops by honey bee colonies. If you want to eat your veggies you ought to care about honey bees. If you want to eat meat, you ought to care about honey bees that pollinate plants that help feed livestock. Basically, if you want to eat, you better care about honey bees! And I’m not even talking about how good honey tastes….

A whole bunch of bees

A whole bunch of bees

I have to believe that anyone who pays attention to current news must know that honey bee colonies have been under threat by something called Colony Collapse Disorder- basically a situation in which honey bee colonies die out and disappear. At the very least, we are all aware that bees have had a rough time over the last few years. There have been a lot of theories about what has caused Colony Collapse Disorder, and unfortunately some of those theories are bent too much by the predisposition through which people view environmental matters.

Also importantly, the ways in which theoretical stressors INTERACT have often been overlooked since human nature tends to push us towards seeking overly simple, singular reasons that bad things happen. But the more this topic is researched, the more we are finding that there seems to be a multiplying effect among stressors that harm bee colonies.

It seems that instead of a single stressor causing CCD it is more likely that stressors such as Varroa mites, neonicotonic pesticides, beekeeping practices involving colonies used to pollinate commercial crops, and a few others combine in various ways to harm honey bee colony health. Long story short, there are many things that adversely affect honey bee colonies and anyone who points their finger at only one stressor is telling only a small part of the story. How those stressors interact is a primary focus of much work done in looking at bee colony health today.

Depiction of how large a Varroa mite seems to a bee

Depiction of how large a Varroa mite seems to a bee

I applaud those who put time and money into the investigation of what does harm bee colonies. Bayer has done much to address the issue, including funding studies in Europe regarding neonicotinoid pesticide effects on pollinator health. It is also funding research on ways to rid bee colonies of Varroa mites, developing such methods as the Varroa Gate for use with human tended honey bee colonies. For many reasons, Bayer has recognized that it plays a large role in ensuring that honey bee colony health is respected and promoted.

Those who cast all blame on neonicotonics might be skeptical of Bayer’s efforts in studying bee health, but can it be denied that those in the pest management industry might have an extra motivation to help the bees? I think not. Nobody wants to have blame heaped upon them for harming the environment, the food chain, and by extension human society. Nobody wants to be liable, fiscally or morally, for such misdeeds. Therefore, it can be reasonably said that the pest control industry at its best serves as a SAFEKEEPER of honey bee colony health. We might not be a perfect industry, but we darn well don’t want to cause unnecessary harm.

I would encourage you to read as much as you can on this issue- knowledge is good, and the more knowledge you have the better! Even if studies and articles might at times contradict each other, please understand that we have just recently begun digging into the important issue of honey bee colony health to a significant, scientific degree. We don’t have all the answers yet, but we as a society are in the process of learning how important honey bee colonies are to us and how important humans are in playing the role of bee protectors.

A good place to start learning is here: http://www.beecare.bayer.com/home. But don’t stop there- learn all you can about honey bees, both in the role they play in the food chain and in what we need to do to keep them safe and healthy. The more you know, the more you care….and the more you care, the more you want to know. Learn it, live it….protect the bees. It’s good for the heart ❤️