There is a
slow yet methodical attack on honey bees and those who keep them, hidden in the
very words used to garner support for pollinators in this country. And this
attack, is from some of the very same environmental groups, entomologists, and
agriculture extension personnel, whom beekeepers have fully supported for years.
the use and promotion of “Native Pollinators” by many programs. Master
gardening groups, entomologists, and other environmental groups use the term
“Native Pollinators”, in promoting, explaining, and fostering support for pollinators
other than honey bees. Simply put, they do not use the term “Beneficial
Pollinators” which would include honey bees, but use the term “Native
Pollinators” to purposely exclude honey bees. Honey bees by many are considered
an invasive species.
In a recent
article found here, http://www.doorcountydailynews.com/news/details.cfm?clientid=28&id=159078#.VLJ8RZV0x9A the following comment is confirmed "I
don't usually include this in my talks,
but many entomologists are deliriously happy about the decline of honey
bees. Honey bees are invasive species."
The article is written by Coggin Heeringa, Director, at Crossroads at
Big Creek, Wisconsin.
I have had
several conversations with Master Gardeners, academia types, and agriculture
extension personnel throughout the years on this topic. Many are very careful not
to make open comments in regards to honey bees or make controversial comments
seen directly as attacking beekeepers. But make no doubt about it, the disdain
for “Migratory” beekeepers (seen as a nasty disease spreaders), the position that honey
bees are an invasive species, and the uncaring attitude towards beekeepers with no real understanding of
their contributions, is, and has always been, right below the surface. And it
is about time that beekeepers become very aware of those that carry disdain
towards honey bees and beekeepers.
Reality is, in
most states, the vast majority of beekeepers are hobbyists. They are gardeners,
chicken keepers, and nature loving people. Most could be called
environmentalist in their support and positions they keep. In Pennsylvania as
example, out of the nearly 3,000 beekeepers, less than 30 are commercial
beekeepers. 99% are backyard hobbyists. And many are supportive of
environmental centers, gardening groups, and nature programs. Yet others point
to the 1% of large scale migratory beekeepers to justify their positions and
contempt for all honey bees and beekeepers.
So when a
director of an environmental center, such as Coggin Heeringa from Crossroads at
Big Creek, repeats denigrating comments by a narrow minded entomologist who
relishes in the decline of honey bees, it may be time for beekeepers to educate
themselves on this issue. To further repeat these comments in promotion of a
program, entitled “Native Pollinators – Look Beyond the Honey Bees” is
and bee associations need to understand the difference between “Beneficial
Pollinator” programs, which include honey bees, and those called
“Native Pollinator” programs, which exclude honey bees.
needs to keep in mind a few items. Honey bees are vital for food production.
Both in large scale farming, and backyard gardening. Pollination needs in the
radius of 2-5 miles in all directions of a maintained beehive benefits from
honey bees. This includes all fruits, nuts, and seeds for all animals in the
idea of labeling honey bees as invasive or non-native, ironically, is by the very group
themselves that could be called non-native, unless they are native Indian.
Most of your food grown in your garden is non-native to this country. Most of
your spices. And 99% of the population, is considered non-native.
So we can
only conclude that these narrow minded folks, so willing to overlook the many
benefits of honey bees and the sacrifices beekeepers make to maintain hives in
todays’ environment, must be doing this for their own ego or pocket.
need to know the difference between programs supporting “Beneficial Pollinators,
and those programs focused on “Native Bees”. Beekeepers need to support with
their time and dollars, those environmental programs centered on helping the
overall environment, including the honey bees.
cannot stand by while having entomologists and environmental centers openly
state they are “Deliriously happy” for the decline of honey bees, without
taking action. Please do not support any environmental center, gardening
program, or business, centered on the denigration of beekeeping and honey bees.