In the world of gardening, there are good insects, and there are bad insects. You can count honeybees among the good insects. As a matter of fact, Honeybees and other bees are one of a gardener’s best friends. Bees are essential workers in the plant world. They comprise over 80% of the pollinators in the world. Without them, the growth and harvest of many of our fruits and vegetables would be at serious risk.
As honey bees and other bees go about their job of harvesting nectar from flowers, they inadvertently get pollen on their feet and legs. As they travel along, this pollen gets deposited onto the stigma of a female flower of the same type of plant.
Did You Know? About 3,500 honey bees fly 55,000 miles to make 1 pound of honey. It takes 10 pounds of nectar to make a pound of honey.
The Honeybee population in the United States has been decreasing at an alarming rate. This decline could be due to a parasite, climate change, loss of habitat, use of insecticides, or several other reasons. But, the drastic population decline is an undisputed fact.
Consider these statistics:
Since 2006, one-half of the Honeybee colonies have disappeared.
From 2007-2013 over 10 million hives have been lost, over two times the normal rate.
There are some signs that this disorder has bottomed out. Hopefully, a recovery of their population is ahead.
As gardeners, it is vital for us to recognize this problem and do our best to keep it from getting worse.
Insecticides do not discriminate. They kill almost all insects. If you use them during the pollination period, you are killing the pollinator bees along with the bad insects.
We caution all gardeners to be very careful with the use of insecticides. Use it only when necessary, and only in the amounts and frequency recommended by the manufacturer. When you have a choice, use the mildest of insecticide options, or use an insect repellent, which does not kill the insects.