Sunday, June 24 , 2018, 2:20 pm | Overcast 67º


Georgia Avery: Local Beekeepers Doing Their Part to Keep Colonies Thriving

Would you like to eat only corn and rice three meals a day every day? Because if bees disappeared, only wind-pollinated crops, like corn, would survive. My name is Georgia Avery, and I would like to tell you about the consequences of bees dying off.

Georgia Avery
Georgia Avery

One of the main causes of bees dying is a disorder called Colony Collapse Disorder. CCD itself is caused by a variety of things; the first is travel.

Now, you may not think about it, but how do big commercial growing fields become pollinated? Their fields can’t be pollinated enough by natural forces, and since they are too loud to attract other pollinators, the companies pay beekeepers to load hundreds of bees in trucks and drive them all the way to the fields.

This isn’t very good for the bees, as you might have guessed, and can stress them out a lot.

Another factor is the lack of food diversity. When the bees are trucked to the fields, they pollinate the single crop planted there. Out in the wild the bees get nectar from a broad range of plants, but with one plant growing, they don’t get the necessary protein and vitamins needed to produce good honey and keep the bees healthy.

And think of all the “weed killers” that kill off the plants! That brings me to my next point.

Pesticides. Herbicides. Those two things alone are perhaps the most responsible for CCD. Bees don’t usually fall into the “pest” category, but they are affected by pesticides, too.

There are consequences to having a “pest-free” farm, and it means getting rid of the good as well as the bad. Think, if a plant is sprayed with chemicals that are meant to kill weeds, some of it must get into the plant. So, if the bees collect nectar and pollen from a plant infused with harmful chemicals, won’t that be bad for the bees?

This affects us in more ways than one.

If the bees make honey from plants that have been sprayed with harmful toxins, and we eat that honey, well you may look at your plastic honey bear and think of the pesticides and herbicides that might be inside. Do you want to eat that?

There is a simple solution, and it is closer than you think. There are alternatives to commercially raised bee honey. Big beekeeping hives have lost a range from 30 percent to as high as 60 percent of their bees to CCD.

Local beekeepers have lost a total of 0 percent. They have never had any cases of CCD. The reasons why? Local beekeepers give their bees a wide variety of plants to choose from and never use harmful toxins.

If big bee companies were to stop using certain pesticides, give the bees a more varied diet, and have less travel, they would get the same results.

You can help support sustainable beekeeping by doing something as simple as buying natural honey. In fact, I bet you could find some of that natural honey right now at your local farmers market.

— Georgia Avery is a seventh-grader at Laguna Blanca School in Santa Barbara. The opinions expressed are her own.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Noozhawk Supporter

First name
Last name
Enter your email
Select your membership level

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >