Recently, my family was visiting upstate NY when we were approached by some college students who were going to ‘Save The Bees’. As a company, we absolutely care about our pollinator population. So, as I listened to what these students had to say, I decided that I needed to inform our readers about pollinators because there is so much mis-information out there.
As reported by NC State, (https://sustainability.ncsu.edu/pollinators-welcome-here/ ) “every third bite of food consumed by humans is linked to the work of bees, ants, birds, butterflies and other pollinators that help seed approximately 80 percent of all plants.” Pollinators are absolutely important to the survival of our planet. For instance, they pollinate all of the fruits and vegetables that we eat, but they also help pollinate plants that are used to sustain our wild animal and livestock population. If we no longer had pollinators, we could lose fruit orchards, tree nut groves, farm fresh produce, etc. So, it is of dire importance that we do all that we can to save our pollinators!
However, many people think that the decline of our pollinators is only due to pesticides. There are other reasons for their decline. In the 1980’s, a parasitic mite, the Varroa mite, was introduced to the United States from Asia. These mites feed off of honey bees and cause virus and disease in the population. Another problem is that we have a lack of flowers to feed our pollinators. This is due to large fields of one flowering species as well as the increase in flowerless landscapes. In many areas, there is also a lack of a year round food source. An acceptable winter loss of honey bees is 15% or less. In 2013-2014, it is estimated that we lost as much as 23%. Due to a shortage of bees in California, bees are brought in to pollinate the almond orchards. However, they then move them out because there is no other food source.
So, what do we do, as a company, to help our pollinator population? For starters, we are careful not to spray insecticides on flowering plants. We also make sure that wind does not drift insecticides into pollinator-populated areas. We are very careful not to overspray pesticides. In other words, we do not use more than absolutely necessary and we are very aware of areas that we need to steer clear of. We have also changed our program to use products that are less toxic to our pollinator populations. We make sure that our technicians are trained on the products we use as well as make sure they know when and where to spray as well as not to spray to help our pollinators.
There are also things that you can do to help pollinators including honey bees! For starters, you could include pollinator friendly plants in your landscape. If you have questions about plantings, feel free to give us a call and we will help you identify the best flowering plants to add to your landscape. If you spray insecticides, READ THE LABEL!! The ones that are most toxic, the EPA has required that they have a ‘Bee Advisory Box’ on the label so that it is easily identified. Never spray these insecticides when the plants are flowering because that is when the pollinators will be on the plant.
If you have questions regarding the products that we use or you would like help selecting the right plants to help sustain and grow our pollinator populations, please give us a call at (336)854-7999.