Hooray for the European Honeybee
Hello Gardeners, I’m Amanda McNulty with Clemson Extension and Making It Grow. The European honeybee, Apis mellifera, is the workhorse for commercial pollination. Historical documents tell us that Colonists from Europea brought this insect to the New World in 1622. Most of the two and half million honeybee hives in the US are transferred back and forth across the country to pollinate almonds, melons, cucumbers, apples and other crops that must have an intermediary take pollen from the male flower structure and put it on the female part of the flower. The value of these crops is 19 billion dollars. In 2006, bee keepers across the country reported large numbers of colony failures – a situation now called colony collapse disorder. The reasons are numerous but include a fnew oreign parasite, the varrora mite which attacks larval and adult bees and also unintended pesticide exposure – particularly a new group of systemic insecticides called neonicotinoids.