NATURA's "BEE CAREFUL" Initiative
It’s widely known that bee populations are declining worldwide, and especially here in the United States. The decline of the honey bee (Apis mellifera) is a major concern, considering that many sources state that one out of every three bites of food we take is made possible by…you guessed it—BEES! (EPA, 2019) To say that bees are an important part of our ecosystem would be a dramatic understatement! They are undoubtedly one of the most necessary and vital elements in the fragile balance of the circle of life.
But what is actually causing the decline in bee populations, and what can one small company do about it? In this article we will discuss:
- Factors related to bee decline
- How does Natura’s Bee Careful Initiative help bees in my community?
Exhaustive research points to a variety of agricultural factors as being key to the ebb in honeybee populations. These factors include shrinking habitat due to agricultural intensification, creation and widespread planting of monocultures (the use of land for growing only one type of crop, such as corn or soybeans), and broadcast use of pesticides over wide areas of farmland. (Kopec, 2017) These factors present themselves on a daunting scale and are spurred on by an agricultural institution that seems resistant to change. One study conducted between 2008 and 2013 found that wild bee abundance declined across nearly a quarter of the US as a result of intense agricultural use. (Kopec, 2017)
Another nasty culprit in the decline of the honey bee is the emergence of a tiny parasitic insect called the Varroa mite. When Apis mellifera was first introduced to America from Europe in the early 1700s, it was parasite-free! It wasn’t until the mid-1980s that the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) was discovered in the US. (Wenner, 1996)
This pesky little bugger can decimate bee colonies, with as few as 3 mites per hundred bees being able to decimate an entire bee colony over one winter. In 2018, US beekeepers lost nearly 40% of their colonies to Varroa destructor! (Neilson, 2019)
Other factors related to bee decline include diseases, poor nutrition, lack of genetic diversity, inadequate bee management practices, and use of pesticides. Honey bees exposed to direct spray, such as widespread crop spraying, or applications to homes and gardens, had the strongest impact on colony health dynamics. (EPA, 2018)
With so many factors affecting bee colony health, you might be wondering if there’s anything that one person, or even one company can do to help?
NATURA IS BEE CAREFUL!
Considering everything that the bees have going against them, we feel like they deserve a bit of a break. Ever since we started servicing our customers’ homes in the Fall of 2013, Natura has been focused on getting rid of the nuisance pests, while working to protect or minimize impact on pollinators. Bees from hobby bee keepers, as well as from commercial hives, often visit the flowering bushes, trees, and gardens of the customers we service. Understanding that our customers’ homes act as roadside diners and rest stops for bees affects our perspective on responsible pest control. Our objective has always been to keep the bees moving along unaffected whenever and wherever possible!
Not all bees are the social, hive-dwelling variety. Most of the bees in the US are solitary, native bees that nest in the ground, in wood, tall grass, and a variety of other places. Overall there are more than 4,000 different species of native bees in North America. In fact, native bees can be more effective pollinators than honeybees! (Kopec, 2017)
NATURA’S BEE CAREFUL PLEDGE
Natura Pest Control is dedicated to doing our part to conserve and protect honey bee and native bee populations in our service area. Natura’s Bee Careful efforts include:
- NOT spraying anything that blossoms or blooms. This keeps flowering plants free from pesticides that might otherwise harm bees.
- Natura will Bee Careful when selecting the products that we apply to a customer’s home, and avoid areas where bees are likely to visit such as bushes, flowering plants, as well as overhead areas above possible bee nesting areas.
- Provide customers with information to promote healthy bee practices around their homes, such as what types of plants and flowers bees prefer. Educate customers regarding bees vs “other flying, stinging thingies”, i.e., bees “good”, wasps “bad”
- Work closely with local bee keeping organizations to preserve active bee colonies whenever safe removal and relocation is possible.
- Help raise monetary funds to support local bee keeping efforts, such as research, support local bee keeping organizations, and training and support for new bee keepers.
Natura is dedicated to providing our customers with a home that is free from nuisance pests, while simultaneously protecting the vulnerable pollinators that are invaluable to our ecosystem and fragile food chain. By choosing Natura Pest Control, you’re supporting a cause that you can feel good about! We look forward to working with our community in our combined effort to Bee Careful!
- EPA. (2018, July 30). Understanding How Pesticide Expousre Affects Honey Bee Colonies. Retrieved from epa.gov: https://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/understanding-how-pesticide-exposure-affects-honey-bee-colonies
- EPA. (2019). Protecting Pollinators. epa.gov.
- EPA. (2019, June 18). Protecting Pollinators. Retrieved from epa.gov: https://www.epa.gov/sciencematters/protecting-pollinators
- Kopec, K. &. (2017). Pollinators in Peril. Center for Biological Diversity, 5.
- Neilson, S. (2019, June 19). More Bad Buzz for Bees: Record Number of Honeybee Colonies Died Last Winter. Retrieved from npr.org: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2019/06/19/733761393/more-bad-buzz-for-bees-record-numbers-of-honey-bee-colonies-died-last-winter
- Wenner, A. a. (1996). Varroa Mite Spread in the United States. Retrieved from beesource.com: https://beesource.com/point-of-view/adrian-wenner/varroa-mite-spread-in-the-united-states/