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Hooray for the European Honeybee

Making It Grow Minute

  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 Historical documents tell us that Colonists from Europea brought this insect to the New World in 1622.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.

Amanda McNulty is a Clemson University Extension Horticulture agent and the host of South Carolina ETV’s Making It Grow! gardening program. She studied horticulture at Clemson University as a non-traditional student. “I’m so fortunate that my early attempts at getting a degree got side tracked as I’m a lot better at getting dirty in the garden than practicing diplomacy!” McNulty also studied at South Carolina State University and earned a graduate degree in teaching there.