The serious problems of hive collapse with our NC bees is of growing concern. Did you know that in twenty years, the population of honey bees across the United States has been slashed by over 50%?
NC Culture has done a short series on our fb page of what we as residents can do to encourage our bees survival, and learned an awful lot in the process. I am reposting some of the tips we discovered here.
With every one pitching in that can, maybe we can reverse the tide of Colony Collapse Disorder, which is responsible for the majority of the problems.
Although many of us are diligent in supplying water for our birds, squirrels, butterflies, etc, our honeybees also need access. One suggestion I saw doing this series was to put a few small pebbles in your fountain or birdbath to allow these bees access without drowning.
There are several very easy to grow plants that bees are attracted to, and several are ones you may well already have in the yard. Below is a list of just a few suggested plants. Please note: according to one website, it is important to provide volume with the plants..bees prefer several same plant blooms for their forage, and planting a square yard or more with one type plant can provide that.
Suggested list: NC Culture found this wonderful site from Haywood County, NC that provided the following list. Please see Plant a Bee Friendly Garden website for even more information
Asters Calliopsis Clover Marigolds Poppies Sunflowers Zinnias
Buttercups Clematis Cosmos Crocuses Dahlias Echinacea English Ivy Foxglove Geraniums Germander Globe Thistle Goldenrod Hollyhocks Hyacinth Hyssop Lupines Rock Cress Roses Sedum Snowdrops Squills Tansy Tickseed
Blackberries* Cantaloupe Cucumbers Gourds Fruit Trees* Peppers Persimmon* Pumpkins Raspberries* Squash Strawberries* Watermelons Wild Garlic
Bee Balm* Borage* Catnip* Cilantro Fennel* Lavender* Mints* Rosemary* Sage* Thyme* Wormwood*
Blueberry Butterfly Bush Holly Honeysuckle Indigo Privet
Alder Am. Holly Basswood Black Gum Black Locust Buckeyes Catalpa Chestnut Eastern Redbud Golden Rain Hawthorns Hazels Linden Magnolia Maples Mountain Ash Poplar Serviceberry Sourwood Sumac Sycamore Tulip Willows
*Perennial – any long-lived plant from the smallest flower to the largest tree that returns year after year, growing in size and stature until it reaches its full maturity. Most perennial plants can be divided to produce new plants, or they can be grown from seeds or cuttings.
Annual – a plant that lasts only one year, from seed to blooms to seed. Removing the flowers as they fade prolongs the blooming cycle, but if left to produce seeds, many annuals will readily reseed themselves.”
(Plant a Bee Friendly Garden site)
Colony Collapse Disorder:
Although the Colony Collapse Disorder is responsible for much of the honey bee loss, scientists and researchers are definitely divided as to the cause. There is much in the media pointing fingers at pesticides. Although I am a firm believer myself in only using pesticides as a last resort, due to the toxic ingredients, I could not find a single link that supports the claim of pesticides being solely responsible. There apparently are several other possible culprits, such as mites, etc. The bottom line is that the scientists and the researchers just flat out don’t know for sure what is causing it. There is no doubt, though, that overuse of pesticides is a contributing factor, so please consider using pollinator friendly pesticides, vs ones that contain neonicotinoids.
When reading the label, check for these ingredients (this list taken from Soil Association)
“If you’re buying any kind of pest control check the ingredients – anything that
contains acetamiprid, imidacloprid,
thiacloprid or thiamethoxam should be avoided.”
**US Products containing ingredients toxic to bees
The following is a list of common US products that contain these potentially dangerous ingredients. This was the most thorough list I could locate, and was found on the Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation website.
|Neonicotinoid||Garden & ornamental uses||Garden product trademark names|
|Imidacloprid||Foliar spray for turf and ornamental flowers, trees, and shrubs; soil drench for garden fruits and vegetables, and ornamental flowers, trees, and shrubs; trunk injection for trees; granules for turf and ornamental flowers, shrubs, or trees.||Bayer Advanced 3-in-1 Insect, Disease, & Mite ControlBayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Insect ControlBayer Advanced 12 Month Tree & Shrub Protect & FeedBayer Advanced Fruit, Citrus & Vegetable Insect ControlBayer Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care concentrateDIY Tree Care Products Multi-Insect Killer
Ferti-lome 2-N-1 Systemic
Hi-Yield Systemic Insect Spray
Knockout Ready-To-Use Grub Killer
Monterey Once a Year Insect Control II
Ortho Bug B Gon Year-Long Tree & Shrub Insect Control
Ortho MAX Tree & Shrub Insect Control
Surrender Brand GrubZ Out
|Clothianidin||Granules for turf, and ornamental flowers, shrubs, or trees.||Bayer Advanced All-in-One Rose & Flower Care granulesGreen Light Grub Control with Arena|
|Thiamethoxam||Foliar spray for turf and ornamental flowers, trees, and shrubs; granules for turf and ornmanetal flowers, trees, and shrubs.||Amdro Quick Kill Lawn & Landscape Insect KillerAmdro Rose & Flower CareMaxide Dual Action Insect Killer|
|Acetamiprid||Foliar spray for garden fruits and vegetables, and ornamental flowers, trees, and shrubs.||Ortho Bug B Gon Garden Insect KillerOrtho Bug B Gon for LawnsOrtho Flower, Fruit and Vegetable Insect KillerOrtho Rose and Flower Insect KillerOrtho Rose Pride Insect Killer|
|Dinotefuran||Granules for turf and ornamental flowers, shrubs or trees; soil drench for ornamental flowers, trees, and shrubs.||Green Light Tree & Shrub Insect Control with Safari 2 GSafariOrtho Tree & Shrub Insect Control Plus Miracle Gro Plant Food|
Below is a reprint from Wikipedia regarding Colony Collapse Disorder, and below that, I am going to add some links from different beekeeping groups and agricultural sites that address this claim, and also point to various mites, etc, as possible culprits
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or European honey bee colony abruptly disappear. While such disappearances have occurred throughout the history of apiculture, and were known by various names (disappearing disease, spring dwindle, May disease, autumn collapse, and fall dwindle disease), the syndrome was renamed colony collapse disorder in late 2006 in conjunction with a drastic rise in the number of disappearances of Western honeybee colonies in North America. European beekeepers observed similar phenomena in Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Greece, Italy, Portugal, and Spain, and initial reports have also come in from Switzerland and Germany, albeit to a lesser degree while the Northern Ireland Assembly received reports of a decline greater than 50%.
Colony collapse is significant economically because many agricultural crops worldwide are pollinated by European honey bees. According to the Agriculture and Consumer Protection Department of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the worth of global crops with honeybee’s pollination was estimated to be close to $200 billion in 2005. Shortages of bees in the US have increased the cost to farmers renting them for pollination services by up to 20%.
The mechanisms of CCD and the reasons for its increasing prevalence remain unclear, but many possible causes have been proposed: pesticides, primarily neonicotinoids; infections with Varroa and Acarapis mites; malnutrition; various pathogens; genetic factors; immunodeficiencies; loss of habitat; changing beekeeping practices; or a combination of factors.
Please see the Wikipedia link for more specific details.
I would like to add a footnote at this point. As I became more aware of just how serious this problem is (it began for us when we noticed a very marked decrease of bees in our own yard), and by doing the bee series on our Facebook page, I immediately began taking one other easy measure..I cut back our mowing! I now leave huge patches of clover to grow up and planted several of the suggested plants, and this is what I have observed: a very definite increase in our bee population again, and that they seem to prefer the clover right before it turns brown..I am guessing the nectar is at its’ strongest at that point, although I do not consider this particularly scientific.
I also added the pebbles to our birdbath, which we are diligent about keeping filled with clean water, and it has been surprising to see just how many bees are taking advantage of this. In just a couple of weeks, I have gone from seeing almost zero bees in my yard to now having to wear shoes to cross to the garden.
We all remember the birds and the bees from school..the bottom line is that if we have zero bees, we do not have pollination. At one point during the Facebook series, I actually had a follower write in who told us about the local cucumber farmers who had to hand-pollinate this year, as the situation has become so serious in our state. This does not even address the problem of the lack of honey..this is just normal vegetable food production.
upcoming bee events:
2014 Summer Conference
Wilkes Community College, Wilkesboro, NC
July 10-12, 2014
Hosted by the Beekeepers of Wilkes County
some reference links for North Carolina
Center for Honeybee Research in Asheville