While there are many out there who understand that honeybees are endangered and are currently losing many of their populations globally, there are still those out there who remain uninformed on the growing crisis with honeybees and their continuing rate of decline. There are also those whose first instinct upon finding a swarm (half the bees from a hive that has grown too large, in search of a new one) is to kill the bees and prevent them from “attacking” people who get too close. It is true bees can produce painful stings in defense of a hive, but other options include a beekeeper or a similar professional extracting the bees without harming them, considering how important they are in general.
Such is the rate of growth for this practice that up north in our neighboring country of Canada, there are certain professionals now offering such a service. Environmental Pest Control (EPC), which is considered a leader in pest control services for southern Ontario, has long had a Green Pest Management System, and it’s now expanded its services to include honeybee extraction, but even more than that, they are also raising those honeybees to contribute something in the name of the bees’ preservation.
Established in 1988, EPC is known for its passion for the environment, as it is reportedly embedded into the company’s core values. Beyond simply lightening the stress for business and homeowners, EPC uses its well-trained hand for pest management issues without relying on pesticide products—which is also why EPC is dedicating its efforts to do what it can to help honeybees. “Bees play a crucial role in our environment and livelihood,” said Paul Terhart, EPC owner and president. “They pollinate 80% of vegetable and fruit crops like apples, blueberries, strawberries, onions, broccoli, and alfalfa. Western nations depend on honeybees to keep commercial agriculture productive.”
Given the threats facing honeybees like CCD, pesticides, and pathogens as well as the devastating impact they’ve had, EPC has also stepped up to make sure the honeybees it relocates have a safer, more ideal spot to live in to make their honey stores (rather than the shed or bicycle they were in before). EPC began raising honeybees in June 2016 at Smith Farms in Keswick, Ontario, and it now has five colonies under its care after extracting them from populated areas. Honeybee extraction can be a complicated process, as it involves safely removing the nest and live honeybees and taking them as safely as possible without any harm to them or the pest control professional—for already fragile insects, it can be stressful but is admittedly the right course of action.
“Our care for the environment is deeply rooted in the entire team and in the service we deliver,” Terhart said. “For us, offering honeybee extraction services and raising colonies is the natural, right thing to do. If anyone is seeking methods for killing bees or how to get rid of bees, we always encourage them to consider extraction.”