Thursday, September 28, 2023

Five things you need to know: Honeybees

Honeybees who travel outside of the hive to collect nectar are called worker bees, and they are all females. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Unsplash)

HISTORIC TRIANGLE — Springtime has finally bloomed and the dusting of green pollen definitely proves it.

So it wouldn’t be too uncommon to see a tiny worker bee making its way around local gardens.

But how much do we know about these snazzy little pollinators?

Andy Westrich is a member of the Colonial Beekeepers Association, a local group for beekeepers and bee lovers. He shared a few facts and tips regarding these buzzing little creatures. 

1. Honeybees are more harmless than you would think. Westrich said that the most common false assumption people make about bees, especially honeybees, is that they are aggressive. He the example of if you can pick a strawberry and there is a honeybee on it, the bee will move to another plant. “It’s only when you accidentally pinch them or possibly step on one will they try to sting you,” Westrich said. 

2. Worker bees can visit up to 2,000 flowers a day. A majority of the worker bees that you see collecting honey are female. Male bees, also called “Drone Bees,” have two purposes: to eat honey and to mate. This brings us to our next fun fact!

RELATED STORY: Is private mosquito spraying killing bees? Yes, beekeepers group says

3. Male honey bees don’t have stingers. Only female honey bees have stingers, so not only do they collect nectar and tend to the queen bee, they also defend the hive when necessary.

4. Find other means of controlling mosquitoes around your property. One of the most harmful things a person can do to bee populations is use harmful pesticides in an effort to control mosquitos. “Don’t hire a company to spray every three weeks when you don’t know what it’s doing to the environment,” Westrich said. Other means of bee-safe mosquito control can be lighting a fire in an outside fire pit, using citronella candles, and dumping out standing water.

5. If you find a swarm of bees on your property, don’t touch them. Westrich said that the best thing to do is not to touch the colony. “Don’t even spray them with water,” he said. Colonial Beekeepers Association offers free removal of swarms. But if a bee colony is established in a structure, then fees may vary. To call and ask about bee colony removal, click here.

So, let’s do what we can to keep the bees buzzing!


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