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Friday Links To Pest Control News

Black Light ScorpionFriday Links To Pest Control News

Black Lighting Scorpions For Scorpion Control

Are you the adventurous type, always looking for something to do at night? Try something new… Try black-lighting scorpions. It’s a fun nighttime activity that can also help keep your home and property free from stinging scorpions. More…

Avoiding Mosquito Problems in the Summer Months

For some tips on how to keep mosquitoes from breeding, and how to keep these blood-sucking pests from biting you, click here.

Austin Bats In Danger?

Every year some 100,000 plus people visit Austin’s Congress Avenue Bridge to witness one of nature’s marvels. During summer evenings, upwards of 1.5 million bats emerge from the crevices of the bridge. It’s a magnificent sight; a sight that many are worried may be no more now that White-Nose Syndrome has hit the state of Texas. More…

Squirrel Damage

While observing squirrels on your property, be weary. These pests can cause some serious damage. More…

5 Tips To Control Colorado House Spiders

House spiders are some of the biggest and ugliest home invaders out there; and apparently they are a big problem in Colorado. Here are a few tips on keeping House spiders out of your home. More…

Western Honey BeePest Of The Week: The Western Honey Bee

Our pest of the week this week really isn’t much of a pest at all; but is considered quite beneficial to our ecosystem. I’m of course referring to the Western Honey Bee. These bees are sometimes referred to as European Honey Bees, because they were introduced from Europe. Most of us just call them honey bees because they create sweet honey—a multi-billion dollar industry here in the United States. Honey bees make their honey when they regurgitate nectar, adding an enzyme. In addition to making honey, Western Honey bees also pollinate flowering plants.

Generally speaking, Western Honey bees measure ½ inch to ¾ inch in length. They have banded abdomens, covered in a very fine hair, and are a combination of yellow and black. A single colony of Western Honey bees can reach numbers of 100,000 members; gathering in a hive. Each hive consists of a caste system with the queen, drones, and workers. The queen lays the eggs, the drones mate with the queen, and the worker bees feed the colony. It’s these worker bees that most of us encounter as they’re gathering pollen. These encounters can sometimes result in painful stings, leading some people to believe the Western Honey bee to be a pest.

Saving The Bees: How EU’s Pesticide Ban Affects The US

Bees pollinating a basil (?) plant. I had a ha...

Pollination plays a crucial role in food production, which means that bees are intricately tied to the success of the process. Over the last decade, however, concern for these small pests has grown increasingly urgent, as bee colonies continue to see huge hive losses. The EU took action recently decided to ban neonicotinoids, the most popular insecticide in the world, for two years. Many believe that neonicotinoids are linked to the hive losses, including the European Food Safety Agency.

Beekeepers, charged with the task of moving hives into California to fertilize almond trees this year, scrambled to make that process happen. The situation on the west coast highlighted an issue that could have far-reaching consequences around the world. What does it all mean?

California Almond Orchards

Almonds are big business in California; they are the number one overseas agricultural export. The orchards are laid out across hundreds of thousands of acres, and in order to make sure the trees are pollinated properly, approximately one and half million bee colonies must be brought in to do the job. This year, because of the hive losses, the pollination process was only achieved through a nationwide plea to bring in the necessary number of bees.

Bee hive

Concerns For Food Production

The almond orchards are unique, in that they need a significant number of bees in order to complete the pollination process. Therefore, although other crops have not yet been affected by hive losses, they will be if the current trend does not begin to reverse itself soon. Some beekeepers reported losing half of their hives this year, and the bees that were left were not always as efficient and effective as bees from previous colonies.

The European Commission is certainly taking the situation seriously. They recently decided to ban neonicotinoids, the most popular insecticide in the world, for two years. Many believe that neonicotinoids are linked to the hive losses, including the European Food Safety Agency. The move comes as scientists are speaking out about how a shortage of bees will affect worldwide food production. While neonicotinoids are certainly not the only factor in play, they do seem to confuse bees and make them less likely to find their way back to their hives. They could also make the pests more susceptible to diseases. Still, there is some debate about exactly how harmful neonicotinoids really are.

The queen bee in a hive.

U.S. Reaction

In response to EU’s ban and concerns raised by a number of commercial beekeepers and environmental advocacy groups, the Environmental Protection Agency is taking a second look at neonicotinoids. One way they hope to protect bees is by cutting back on how much neonicotinoid-contaminated dust is sprayed at planting time, since bees are particularly likely to come across the insecticide at that time.

Neonicotinoids are used prominently in the United States, particularly on corn, cotton, rice, grains, fruits and vegetables. The insecticide was widely accepted in the 90s because the risk of human exposure is low compared to previously used products. However, neonicotinoids remain present as plants grow and develop, which means there are a number of ways that bees could be exposed to them, something that was not considered when the insecticide was first introduced. Because of how frequently neonicotinoids are used, wild and domesticated bees are exposed to the insecticide often, which makes for a very uncertain future. Still, while neonicotinoids were present in damaged hives, the exact reason for hive losses can’t yet be pinpointed.

The only thing we know for certain is that there will be fewer bees this year than in years past. As the issue becomes more serious, both private citizens and Odessa pest control technicians are doing their part to help. Wild bees making a “nuisance” of themselves are more likely to be relocated than destroyed, which certainly helps. However, the losses of domesticated bees may be too great to overcome.

About the author: Chris is a blogger for a Texas based pest control company.

Published by Thomas Ballantyne