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Bee Safe While Gardening to Protect Pollinators

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Bee Safe While Gardening to Protect Pollinators

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April 28, 2015

Five words or less(NewsUSA) – Stinging insects such as bees and wasps play a vital role as pollinators that maintain the national food supply. However, a multitude of factors, including the lack of available natural habitats for foraging pollinators, diseases, harmful mites and improper pesticide usage, have threatened pollinator health in recent years.

As a result, many people have realized the importance of protecting pollinators and even developed gardens geared toward providing safe sources of nectar and pollen. The National Pest Management Association (NPMA) wants to remind homeowners that while creating pollinator-friendly habitats is largely beneficial for both people and pollinators, it is important to keep in mind that some stinging insects can pose significant health and safety risks. In fact, stinging insects send an estimated 500,000 people to the hospital every year.

People with known allergies to insect stings or with asthma should be especially careful around pollinators, as stings could trigger a potentially life-threatening reaction. There is also a common myth that bees and wasps can only sting once before they die. This only holds true for some species of stinging insects, and people should always be cautious around hives and nests. If a person comes in close contact with a stinging insect, swatting at it will often provoke it to become more aggressive. The best course of action is to remain calm and slowly walk in one direction until the insect loses interest.

Maintaining a garden that serves as a welcome oasis for wild bees or community bees that are being raised by local professionals is a great way to protect pollinators. Without proper beekeeping training, however, homeowners should never allow stinging insects to take up residence on their property.

If a hive is spotted in or around the yard, a pest management professional or professional beekeeper should be contacted to safely remove it and, if possible, move it to a safe location where the bees can be allowed to thrive without posing any dangers to the public. If the hive is located in a building, utilizing a professional is also critically important to ensure every part of it is removed; any leftover combs could contain honey that can ferment and cause serious damage, as well as attract pests to the property.

For more information on stinging insects and the best ways to protect pollinators while keeping your family safe, visit www.pestworld.org.

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