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Taking care of honeybees

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

You may not be a fan of getting stung by a bee or even like honey, but no one can question the value honeybees bring to our society.

Obviously, honeybees produce honey many individuals like on their biscuits and toasts.

They are also the economic pollinator of plants and help farmers maximize their crop yields.

To be exact, there are some plants that wouldn't produce any fruit if it weren't for the help of bees.

What you may not realize is there are more than 3,000 species of wild bees found in North America.

Honeybees are considered a social insect. They live in colonies that are made up of one queen and tons of worker bees.

The worker bees forage the area for pollen to bring back to the hive.

Wild bees often only have one specific kind of plant they visit or will only be active during one part of the season.

It is important to protect the North American honeybee population.

Some of the ways you can help protect the honeybee population is by proper and limited use of pesticides and by having your own honeybee hive.

Pesticides used for some crops do cause the death of honeybee hive.

Therefore, if you are going to spray an orchard or a crop field with a pesticide, it is best to notify all beekeepers within two-three miles of the area you are going to be spraying.

One way to locate all beekeepers is to look at the DriftWatch website (http://driftwatch.org).

If you raise honeybees, I encourage you to register your bee hive location on the website in an effort to prevent your hive from being impacted by pesticide.

If you don't have a hive, but would like to get started, then come to the Beekeeping Workshop, which will take place May 10, at the Owen County Extension Office in Spencer.

The program will run from 6:30-8 p.m.

We ask all interested individuals to RSVP by calling 812-829-5020 by May 8.

At this workshop, Larry Kenney, Clay County Beekeeper, will talk about how to start a bee hive and about problems associated with beekeeping.

It will be informative and useful to any homeowner or 4-H'er interested in having a hive.

As always, if you have any questions or would like information on any agriculture, horticulture, or natural resource topic, then please contact your local Purdue Extension office at 448-9041 in Clay County or 812-829-5020 in Owen County, or reach me directly at smith535@purdue.edu.

Purdue University is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative action institution.

Upcoming opportunities available to you through Purdue Extension include:

* May 3 -- Owen County Share-The-Fun Contest,

* May 5 -- Area Share-The-Fun Contest,

* May 5 -- Opening Day for Owen County Farmers' Market, 8 a.m.-noon, near Babbs in Spencer,

* May 10 -- Beekeeping Workshop, Owen County Extension Office, 6:30-8 p.m.

RSVP by May 8 by calling 812-829-5020, and

* May 12 -- Help for Caregivers Workshop, Bloomington, 9:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Register by calling 812-876-3383 Ext. 505.