Honeybees are important. They serve as pollinators for crops and native flowing plants. In fact, one third of agriculture crops depend on pollinating insects like bees. Arizona agriculture celebrates our honeybees!

In recent years, changes in colony health and fluctuations in bee numbers have caused concern. Multiple influences have challenged hive health and honeybee populations. The list follows.

  1.          Parasitic Varroa mite (largest contributor to bee loss)
  2.          Disease
  3.          Loss of forage diversity
  4.          Pesticides
  5.          Adverse weather conditions
  6.          Bee nutrition

Despite this, bee colonies are growing as can be seen in the nearby chart, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.


Although some believe that honeybee decline is a result of the use of genetically modified organisms (GMOs), there is no scientific evidence to support this.

How You Can Help the Honeybee

Most importantly, to keep honeybees buzzing, plant flowers. Honeybees love flowers, so grow a native pollinator garden! A variety of plant nursery stores have native seed mixes to choose from.

Or, create a bee bath! Bees, like people, drink water. In a shallow dish or bowl, add some rocks that sit above the water line to allow for the bees to land for a drink.

Finally, be responsible with pesticides. As you treat your home and yard for insects be sure to closely follow the directions on the label.

What Farmers are doing

Farmers are very thoughtful. They attempt to use biological methods of pest control, which are harmless to pollinators, before using pesticides. This can be accomplished through integrated pest management (IPM). Farmers only use pesticides after pest monitoring shows that treatments are needed to prevent significant crop losses. And, then can often select pesticides that do not harm bees. Pesticide treatments often are targeted at problem pests. They are applied in a manner that minimizes risks to other organisms such as beneficial insects like honeybees.

Finally, farmers are careful to follow pesticide label directions especially when it comes to environmental safety.

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