For those of us living in the Empire State this time of year, the classic Beatles’ song “Here Comes the Sun” resonates with a meaning that Americans born in warmer climates can never fully appreciate.
This past winter was like the Vietnam War—long, brutal, and heavily protested. But as we embrace spring with open arms, not all that glitters is gold: we have to worry about insects for the first time in a long time.
Most insects are simply pests—annoying creatures that you (or better yet, a pest-control professional) can exterminate with glorious impunity. But there’s one group of insects that deserves special treatment: bees.
True, bees make an annoying buzzing sound and threaten us with dreaded stings. But as pollinators, they serve an extremely important function that has nothing to do with honey.
Bee populations (both wild and domesticated) have plummeted over the last few decades. But since 2006, this decline has reached epic proportions. We don’t know exactly why. Our systematic use of pesticides and industrialized destruction of bee habitats hasn’t helped. There’s also a deadly virus (to bees) called IIV6 that combines with exposure to a deadly fungus (to bees) called Nosema ceranae—a cocktail that seems to be the bee-equivalent of the Black Death.
Whatever the main cause of the bee demise, it’s a problem that runs frighteningly deep. Macroscopic ecological systems (like the human crop supply) are composed of myriad elements that work together in a delicate balance. One such element of our crop system is bees. The USDA estimates that bees are needed to pollinate 80% of our flowering crops (1/3rd of all human food). Losing bees could mean the decimation of foods like soybeans, apples, strawberries, blueberries, peaches, oranges, lemons, limes, squash, watermelon, nuts, onions, cauliflower, asparagus, coconuts, peppers, avocados, tomatoes, and cucumbers—to name just a few. And it’s not just plants in peril: livestock eat plants. Alfalfa is a feed that’s dependent on bee pollination. So if alfalfa goes kaput, the beef and dairy industries could be jeopardized.
If you have a bee problem, in most circumstances, you may want to contact a beekeeper. The beekeeper will come and take the bees to their premises for breeding—and you’ll have done your part to help save the human food supply. If you have trouble finding a beekeeper locally, your state’s wildlife department should be able to help you out.
If all that fails, call an ethical pest control company like us. We’ll quickly take care of your problem, and may be able to save the bees.
Source 1: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bee
Source 2: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_crop_plants_pollinated_by_bees