SouthCoast Bees Are Worthy of More Buzz
Remember what Albert Einstein said about bees? "If the bee disappears from the surface of the Earth, man would have no more than four years to live." Throughout history, the work ethic of the bee has been admired, but how crucial are they for agriculture, fruit trees, plants and flora? Refer back to Einstein for the answer.
Local beekeeper Kitty de Groot, co-owner of Buzzards Bay Bee Company, LLC, had no idea that she would become an apiculturist before attending a social party.
"I was at a gathering and met a young lady who was a commercial beekeeper, which I didn't know anything about, and I started talking with her," de Groot said, who has now been keeping bees for about nine years. "She was leaving for Florida, taking her 3,000 bees, to pollinate the citrus fruits. From Florida, she was flying to California for the almond pollination, and then fly up to Maine for the blueberry pollination, before going home to Minnesota to let the bees rest. She inspired us so much, the next day we bought a hive for our yard."
About 80 percent of all the commercial beekeepers ship their bees in tractor trailer trucks to California and there still aren't enough bees to pollinate all the almond crop. So what's happening to the bee population here on the SouthCoast, as well as across the land?
"Yeah, bees are having a very rough time, from poor nutrition, because they don't have as many floral sources as they used to, pesticide exposure and then there's a very dangerous tiny mite, the Varroa Destructor, that's the bees worst enemy," warned de Groot.
As much as beekeepers try to keep up, a lot of bees are dying. "It's reflective of our environment," she said. "Without healthy bees, we wouldn't have have all the beautiful fruits, and when you go into the grocery store and see all the pretty color items, most of them wouldn't exist if we didn't have pollination."
Many people of the SouthCoast are generally bee friendly.
"The best thing we can do around here is plant lots of flowers and please, let the dandelions grow! Don't use pesticides in your yard, and remember, Roundup is not your friend," cautioned de Groot.