As we all know, the environment for honey bees these days seems to be more and more dangerous. Restrictions on harmful pesticides are being lifted and harsher winters are taking their toll. Additionally, honey bees are now dealing with other dangerous insects, such as the Varroa mite, which are threatening the very existence of the honey bee. A bright spot in all of this bad news is a dedicated section of a local park in Virginia.
Honey bees and other pollinators are going to now have their own “home” in the Appomattox County Court House National Historic Park. As a way to help honey bees and other pollinators, pollinator habitats have been installed surrounding the villages in the park.
Helping the Honey Bee Fight Back
Over the last several years, honey bees have been on a rapid decline. As stated above, there are numerous factors that have created a sort of perfect storm impacting the honey bee population. As part of the local effort to help honey bees win this battle, the park announced the 2014 National Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. Since 2015, the park has been adding fields of flowers known to be feeding grounds for pollinators.
What started out as a 14-acre project is now expected to stretch out over 45 acres within the next two years. Additionally, the park has 105 acres of native grasses and grassland that serve as a natural bird breeding habitat. Some of this area is also populated by pollinators. A walk through these areas in the park offers a true showcase of differing songbirds, native bees, and various butterflies.
Can the Honey Bee Survive?
Depending on what article you read, bees are near extinction to an emergency situation to conspiracy theory. The truth of the situation is that while we are not in a “near extinction” state, we are quickly progressing to that scenario, especially if pesticide restrictions are loosened.
Some of the fault also falls on new beekeepers to be better informed on the best practices of beekeeping. There have been numerous reports over the last two years of bees dying simply because newer beekeepers were not educated on how to properly care for bees. Considering the other challenges honey bees face, we need to make sure anyone getting involved in beekeeping as either a hobby or profession has the proper education to ensure they are not contributing to the problem they are actually trying to help solve. Obviously, though, that challenge pales in comparison to both the Varroa mite and pesticides.