What to do about bees? TextAudio

Many farmers, gardeners and homeowners are worried that honey bees are being threatened with extinction due to the spread of mites and parasites. Insecticides and pesticides may also harm bees and other pollinators.

So homeowners are often encouraged to plant flowering bushes and desert plants that will attract bees and butterflies and encourage pollination of fruits and vegetables. Some favorites for bees may already be in your yard depending on where you live – plants like cat’s claw acacia, lupine, desert ironwood, fairy dusters, ocotillo, Parry’s agave, and even saguaros and chollas. The app BeeSmart can help you identify good pollinating plants for your region. There are many lists of possible plants online that will attract bees, including www.feedabee.com.

However, as a homeowner you also have to be alert to possible problems with Africanized honey bees. These aggressive bees began migrating to the United States in the 1990s and have been mating with European honey bees to produce hybrids. Most of these Africanized bees and hybrids live in southern states ranging from California and Arizona to Georgia. It’s impossible to tell Africanized bees apart from other more friendly bees just by looking at them.

Precautions from our friends at Blue Sky Pest Control:

Dealing with Africanized Honeybees is very serious and should only be attempted by professionals.  They are very aggressive and deadly. Please take some time and read through this behavior and background summary we put together.

Spring and summer, you can find feral bees building hives in attics, under eaves of houses, in mulberry and cottonwood trees, in doghouses, water meter boxes and even in stacks of discarded tires.

Don’t try to tackle those hives by yourself, says Brett Cameron, an official with the state Department of Agriculture, who has raised honey bees for more than 50 years. He urges homeowners to keep an eye on their yards and call an exterminator if they spot a hive in the area. There are also bee experts that will remove the hives and relocate the bees.

Somehow we have to strike a balance to help keep bees alive and yet protect ourselves and our families.

Radio Podcast: What to know about Bees and how to survive a bee attack.

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