Thursday, July 31st, 2014

Non-Native Honey Bees Still In Decline

Honey-BeeHoneybees are still in decline across the United States, according to a report from the USDA that points to pesticides, parasites, poor diet and lack of genetic diversity as some of the problems.  

The situation has piqued interest in native bees, which did all the pollination work until industrial mono-crop farming. Scott Black at the Xerces Society – which promotes the conservation of natives - says it comes as a shock to many folks when they learn honeybees are not native.  They came from Europe with the settlers.

Black says it is estimated there are at least 4,000 species of native bees, and they are responsible for most pollination outside of crops.  He cites studies that show even when hives are trucked in for pollination; natives mingle with the honeybees for the job.  The key is to provide habitat – which includes a variety of native plants, a seasonal series of flowering plants and very little pesticide use.

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