By Our View 

Bee aware of the benefits


October 10, 2019

We've discussed honey bees before. Flomaton resident John Sansom invited us to a few meetings to get a better understanding of the importance of bees.

This past week we talked with Bill Blair, Escambia County's only Master Beekeeper, not only about his honey business but the importance of bees.

Granted, most people are scared of bees. We think too many people compare them to yellow jackets and wasps.

But Blair gave us something we all need to think about.

“Humans could not continue to live on this planet if all our bees are dead,” he said.

Think about that for a second or two.

Everything we eat is possible because of honey bees. It's not just the vegetables we like to eat or the flowers we like to see blooming, it's about the whole food chain system.

Bees provide the pollination of plants that allow them to grow. No bees doesn't just mean we have no fruits and vegetables, it also means we have no food for cattle, pigs or chickens.

As Blair explained, it's bees that help trees produce nuts and berries that feed wildlife like deer, turkey, doves, ducks and more.

“At least one-third of what we eat depends on cross pollination from honey bees,” Blair said.

That's why Blair leases out his bee hives to farmers during the growing season and that's why he's producing so much honey.

The scary fact that he told us was that the feral, or wild, bee hives are going away so it's important for people to do what Blair does and create bee hives.

“At one time we had one feral hive per square mile in the United States and now we have some areas with no honey bees,” he said. “Farmer's can't have crops without honey bees.”

If farmers can't have crops, we can't have food.

Blair said a lot of blame has been tossed at insecticides farmers use to cause the decline in wild bees, but he said farmers are the ones who are working with chemical companies to keep bees alive and healthy.

When we were all young we learned about the birds and the bees. We really need to pay attention that that phrase.


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