Honey Bees Are An Invasive Species:
The iconic Honey Bee that we all know and love was actually introduced to North America by early European Settlers.
Per the Iowa DNR website, "there are 4,000 species of bees in North America", and while the, "exact number of species in Iowa is unknown, there are likely between 300 and 400 native species" of bee in the state.
There Are Other Pollinators Besides Bees:
In addition to the Honey Bees, the list of other pollinators includes:
- Native Bees
The Biggest Threat To Honey Bees:
While it is very popular today to talk about Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) and the effects that humans, habit change/loss, and insecticides/pesticides are having on the bees, the main threat to honey bees colonies are the nasty little parasitic mites called Varroa.
These mites were brought in to the US from Africa in the mid 1980's, and as of now the only country without a Varroa Mite infestation is Australia.
The Varroa mite not only weakens hives by parasitizing them directly, they also transmit diseases that can wreak havoc on a hive in short order.
Before the Varroa Mites, average winter losses of bee colonies ran about 2%. After the arrival of the Mites average winter losses are around 40%
While treatments options exist and bees that are bred specifically for Varroa Sensitive Hygiene (VSH) traits are available, there is no really good option for dealing with these parasites.
It was initially thought that Varra fed on hemolymph (Bee Blood), it was recently discovered that Varroa actually feed on fat stores.
Hopefully this discovery will help lead to more effective treatment options for bees and beekeepers alike.
Bees are Natural Hoarders...
At Sweet Endeavors Honey we work in partnership with the bees. The benefit to us is that we can harvest the extra raw honey and bees wax they make.
In return we help protect this important natural resource from starvation, diseases, parasites and predators that can quickly destroy a hive.