Investigating the importance of honey bees

LUDLOW, Mass. (WWLP) – Recent warmer temperatures have brought the bugs out, including bees.

Bees are incredibly important for agricultural reasons, and while you might be seeing lots of them now, their numbers are shrinking.

“Temperatures are appropriate. It is their season to get going and start building nests. Temperatures overnight are appropriate, daytime temperatures are high enough and the food resources are available for them to get going and start their colonies,” said Bob Russell an Entomologist at American Pest Solutions in Springfield.

The food they’re after is the flower nectar, which they bring back to their hives and turn into honey to feed their young. In the process of gathering nectar, they pollinate flowers which is very important.

“All the flowers and the trees and the apples and the almonds and blueberries, all those things they need pollination so without pollinators-and honey bees are a very important pollinator-they would produce so little that we probably wouldn’t survive,” said Jeffrey Rys the President of the Hampden County Bee Keepers Association.

Rys believes certain pesticides are killing bees, causing “colony collapse disorder” across the country. Reducing pesticide or fertilizer on flowering plants and trees can help bees pollinate safely.

Bees are also known for their sting, but it can hurt them more than it does you. The only real reason honey bees would sting you is if they feel that their hive is threatened, but unlike other bees, if a honey bee stings you then they die afterward.

Now is the time that we’re also seeing carpenter bees, which drill into your home, and paper wasps which are more aggressive.

As temperatures warm up, we’ll see the yellow jacket bees, which build nests in the ground.

In case you’re worried about the honey we take from bees: When bee keepers extract honey from a hive, they leave enough to satisfy the needs of the colony.

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