Pollinator Awareness

McCloud Services Joins in National Day of Service to Raise Awareness about the Importance of Protecting Pollinators; August 22 also marks National Honey Bee Day 

McCloud Services, a leading pest management company servicing Illinois as well as Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Tennessee, Ohio and Wisconsin, is joining the National Pest Management Association’s (NPMA) efforts to call attention to the importance of pollinator health August 22. Pollinators include honey bees, butterflies, birds, bats and beetles.

Concern for insect pollinators, like the honey bee, has been highlighted in the news over the last few years and the debate continues regarding whether pesticides are impacting pollinator health.  The issue involves primarily commercial honey bee hives but also extends to wild populations of different species of bees.

“Honey bees have a positive image in society and are contributors to human food supplies through their honey production and pollination services.  Many fruits, nuts and vegetables need insects as pollinators.  Foods like almonds, blueberries and apples rely upon bee pollination.  Bees are responsible for the pollination of 16% of flowering plants, which through their beauty, contribute to the quality of our lives.  The concern for the livelihood of bee keepers and their hives is important however, scientific answers for the decline have yet to be determined,” said Patrica Hottel, technical director of McCloud Services.

The survival of honey bee hives is a complex issue which has been studied heavily but not resolved.

“We do know that historically, the range of honey bee hive loss over the winter averages 10-15% yet North American bee keepers are seeing losses in the 35% range,” said Hottel.

Hottel added there are many theories why bees are not thriving.  Among them include:  parasite related issues including the varroa mite, nutritional issues due to decline in flowering plant availability (weeds like clover included), bacterial or other diseases, warmer weather, bee keeping practices, genetic weaknesses and pesticides.  It certainly may be a combination of causes which makes it even more difficult to pinpoint.  However, the varroa mite is considered the leading cause of over winter survival problems for commercial honey bee hives.  Countries which do not have varroa mites or have strains more tolerant to varroa mites are not having similar declines in overwintering bee populations.

“While there are a number of factors that threaten honey bees and other pollinators, one of the threats is the lack of available nectar and pollen sources, and certainly something that many Americans can assist in solving. With increased urbanization, natural habitats for foraging pollinators have become scarce, and in turn so have their nutrition sources. Community and private gardens that contain flowers and plants attractive to pollinators can be extremely beneficial in providing new food sources,” said Hottel.

McCloud Services is encouraging awareness to the importance pollinators play in our environment by providing pollinator-friendly wildflower seeds to its employees. They can then plant these flowers in an effort to provide diverse pollen resources for bees.

NPMA and McCloud Services offer the following ways the public can help pollinators in their own communities:

  • Create a bee-friendly garden with flowering plants, herbs and vegetables, including wildflowers, lavender, sunflowers, golden rod, honey suckle, chives, oregano and thyme. To keep family members and pets safe, these gardens should be planted away from the home or outdoor seating areas.
  • Buy local honey and support community beekeepers.
  • Do not attempt to remove or eliminate swarms, nests and hives – instead contact a licensed pest professional or beekeeper who can do so safely while preserving the bees.