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Why should we care about the honey bee?


Published: 06/21/2016

by Arielle Duke

To find out more information about honey bees and how to help them thrive, visit

Without honey bees, foods like blueberries and apples would be incredibly difficult to grow. Honey bees are responsible for the pollination of flowering plants, many of which can't reproduce on their own. This includes 400 crops, which means the agricultural industry is also dependent on honey bees.

Gathering pollen and nectar from flowers is a process that takes a hive of honey bees the entire spring and summer, and is integral to the health of their colony.

But there are other factors affecting the health of honey bee hives, and they affect them in varying degrees. They include:


Organisms like the varroa mite are parasites that affect honey bees, and they can infect whole colonies. These mites can spread viruses and weaken individual honey bees as the mite feeds on their blood.


The quality and quantity of pollen and nectar are both extremely important to honey bees. Without enough food sources near their hives, a honey bee colony will find it difficult to survive the winter.


The European honey bee evolved in a warmer climate with milder winters than Canada. Due to the extreme cold in many parts of Canada, honey bee colonies can be susceptible to freezing and starvation.


Just like with humans, honey bees can be affected by viruses and bacteria, many with no known cure. In many cases, infected hives have to be destroyed to keep the infection from spreading.


Though pesticides used today are safer than they've ever been, whether they're used in the hive to control mites and disease or on the land to protect crops, if they're used improperly they can affect honey bee health.

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