It can’t be overstated just
how beneficial bees are to our ecosystem. Bees pollinate an astonishing 80
percent of the world’s plants, including fruits and vegetables that feed up to
90 percent of the world’s population. Certain nuts and beans would likely go
completely extinct, as well as fruits like blueberries and cherries which are
almost entirely pollinated by bees. Meat scarcity could arise as cattle feed on
pollinated plants, and some common medicines may become difficult if not
impossible to manufacture. Life as we know it would become a lot harder to
maintain without our friend the humble bee.
Given the importance of
bees, then, how do you take care of other pests around your home without
putting bees in danger? And what happens if the bees themselves are acting like
pests? Here are a few ways to keep your home safe and pest-free while ensuring
that you don’t put bees in harm’s way.
One great way to get rid of pests without running the risk of
hurting the bees is to keep your yard maintained. Keep flower beds free of
weeds, mow the grass as needed to keep it from getting overgrown and fill in
any rodent or snake holes that you find. This helps eliminate cover and
potential nesting places for unwanted pests including wasps and yellow jackets.
It will also keep weeds under control which might otherwise provide both food
and shelter for these pests.
or Contain Attractants
Trash cans, outdoor pet food, spilled sugary drinks and other food
sources can attract a lot of pests to your property. As much as possible, try
to cover or remove these attractants so the pests don’t arrive in the first
place. If you can’t completely remove the items (such as in cases where you
have pets who live outside and need food and water), try creating an enclosure
for the items or elevating them on stands so they don’t make direct contact
with the ground.
There are some pesticides which aren’t toxic to bees but are
still effective when used against other pests. Substances such as gibberellic
acid pesticides, corn gluten and pesticides made using bacillus thuringiensis
(BT) are not toxic or agents of disease for honeybees, provided they aren’t
used in excessive doses. If you need to use a pesticide, research bee-friendly
options and apply them late in the evening when bees are most likely to be back
in their hives so that you don’t accidentally spray pollinating bees with large
doses of the chemicals.
Catch-All Traps or Baits
It may be tempting to use items such as wasp traps or baits
designed to attract certain insects, but these are indiscriminate and can kill
bees as well. Traps are especially harmful as the attractants they use to draw
in wasps and flies may also attract bees who think that they are detecting
flowers in bloom.
a Local Beekeeper
If bees themselves are the problem, don’t try to get rid of them
yourself. Find a local beekeeper or honey producer and let them know that
you’ve found a beehive or have a number of bees on your property. They’ll come
and locate the hive, capturing the bees and their queen safely so that they can
be moved to a safe hive away from your home. This will not only keep you and
your family safe from bee stings, but it will keep the bees safe, healthy and
happy as well.