While it is common knowledge that bees are a vital part of our ecosystem because of their pollination efforts, their quantifiable impact can be staggering. The World Wildlife Fund states that “one out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators.” WWF goes on to share that “almost 90% of wild plants and 75% of leading global crops depend on animal pollination.” With stats like these, a bee’s place within our collective circle of life goes from vital to essential.
At Mosquito Squad, we’re passionate about helping our customers protect themselves and their families from the dangerous diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks. But we’re also keenly aware of how important it is to protect beneficial insects, like bees, so that our crops and food supply chain can continue to flourish. Mosquito Squad has a proud network of owners who are also beekeepers. “We strive to be good stewards of the environment through education and training,” says Tom H., a beekeeper of seven years and owner of Mosquito Squad of North Jersey.
Our network of beekeepers host annual meetings and provide each other with training tools to help each other’s hives thrive. Many of our beekeepers were initially drawn to the hobby because of the ability to better serve their customers through increased general knowledge. Dave M., a beekeeper of four years and owner of Mosquito Squad of Central MA says “I felt it was important to be able to speak from experience when answering a customer’s questions.” He elaborates further by saying “I also felt the beekeeping knowledge would help train our technicians.” Mosquito Squad of the Triad owner, Hugh J., has been a beekeeper for two years and shares, “as a member of the pest control community I wanted to more fully understand what makes a healthy pollinator community, and how Integrated Pest Management can contribute to, rather than deter from humans and animals living well together.”
Whatever the reason for starting the hobby, the effort has evolved into a beloved pastime for many of our owners. As Dave explains it, “beekeepers are very passionate about their bees and their well-being. The bees almost become pets.” While we’re seeing increased personal interest in beekeeping amongst our owners, public interest in bees has also been on the rise. This is thanks in part to The United Nations declaring May 20th World Bee Day in 2017. The UN declared this formal day to raise global awareness of the importance of pollinators, and the threats they (and our ecosystem) face. The decline seen in the bee population is due to a combination of factors - farming practices and bee habitat destruction due to commercial development, single-crop farming, and diseases like those carried by the Varroa mite.
External globalization factors aside, nature can also take a significant toll on bees, with countless hives succumbing to the difficult conditions of winter. Two-year beekeeper and owner of Mosquito Squad of Hampton Roads, Emily, explains “I understand now why beekeepers are so concerned about preserving the health of their hives because they are so hard to keep alive. Winter hive survival rate is about 50% which is devastating when you see all the work the hive has done to prepare for the winter.”
There’s no denying that we owe much gratitude to bees for their acts of pollination. For our network of dual Mosquito Squad owners and beekeepers, both the profession and the hobby equally contribute to their love of nature and their desire to fully enjoy the outdoors. As Hugh explains “my goal is to continue enjoying the natural world. We are blessed with such an amazing place to live and play." He continues “there is a misconception that mosquito control causes large scale bee mortality. However, when performed correctly the reality is that we can treat for mosquitoes and ticks and protect pollinators at the same time.” Tom echoes this stance with his personal experience: “we’ve seen that If we avoided treating flowering plants, did not spray the hives directly, and watched our drift, we have no impact to our hives.”