Honeybees: Protecting our pollinators

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Researchers from N.C. State University have found that urban environments reduce honeybee survival. This is probably not a surprising revelation to you, but it raises the question, as urban areas continue to grow, how can we protect our bees?

Many crops require insects to move pollen from one flower to another. Pollination ensures fruit set, proper development, more fruit and viable seed. Honeybees are the most important insect pollinator for crops grown in North Carolina. Some of the vegetable and fruit crops that require honeybees include cucumbers, blueberries, watermelons, apples, squash, strawberries, melons and peaches.

Since the mid-1980s, honeybees have been plagued by two parasitic mites that can kill entire colonies if left untreated. The result has been a dramatic drop in the state’s honeybee population. Most wild honeybee colonies have been wiped out by these mites.

One way we can help our bees is to plant bee-loving trees, shrubs and flowers. We also need to consider adding plants that bloom during the early, mid, and late season.

The Wilson Botanical Gardens and the Wilson Extension Master Gardeners are offering “Protecting our Pollinators” seminars.

Join us on March 18 at 3 p.m. at the Wilson Botanical Gardens in the Agricultural Center auditorium, 1806 SW Goldsboro St., as Vivian Lamm, Master Gardener and beekeeper, speaks on how to plant and protect our honeybees. The presentation will be offered again on March 28 at 2 p.m. at the Wilson County Public Library. To find out more call 252-237-0113 or visit the Wilson Botanical Gardens Facebook page or website at wilsonbotanicalgarden.org.

For more information on honeybees or any gardening-related topic, please call our trained Master Gardener Volunteers at 252-237-0111 on Wednesdays or email at wilsonemgv@hotmail.com.