Beekeepers face at least two serious problems in maintaining their hives. Many diseases occur when bees are placed in hives more crowded than their natural environment. Consequently, the bees are more likely to die. Fewer bees means fewer colonies of bees, which results in less honey produced and less crops pollinated. Also, the expensive equipment used for beekeeping can easily become contaminated. In many cases, such equipment must be destroyed when contamination cannot be removed. Because of bee diseases and equipment problems, it costs beekeepers more to do their jobs.
In the United States, Africanized honey bees have been identified as a public health concern. (Also called killer bees, these bees are African bees raised for research in South America that have escaped
Nectar: The sweet liquid that flowering plants make to attract insects and small birds, which help to pollinate those plants.
Pollen: Cells of a plant that contain male DNA.
Pollination: Movement of pollen from the male reproductive organ to the female reproductive organ, usuallyfollowed by fertilization.
Thorax: The area just below the head and neck; the chest.
and spread north.) However, since 1990, the number of bee-related deaths in the United States has stayed about the same each year even though more people are stung. More bee-sting deaths have occurred, however, in various countries of Central and South American, especially in Mexico and Argentina. Because of their aggressive behavior, Africanized honey bees frequently attack other bees and humans that they think are invaders. Africanized honey bees were first reported in Texas in the early 1990s. So far, these bees have not seriously harmed beekeepers in the southwestern states. However, beekeepers in Latin American countries have been financially hurt by Africanized honey bees because of the different method of beekeeping that they use.
As habitats of bees are destroyed or changed by human activities, fewer bees and fewer bee species remain. Because bees pollinate so many different wild and agricultural crops and help to produce so many products, their value is important to the health of humans and other living things.
Nectar from some genetically modified crops (rapeseed, for example) is especially attractive to some bees. Scientists are studying the honey made from the pollen of genetically-modified crops to evaluate its safety for humans and its impact on bees.
For More Information
Eastern Apicultural Society of North America, Inc. (EASNA). <http://east ernapiculture.org/> (accessed July 6, 2006).
Horn, Tammy. Bees in America: How the Honey Bee Shaped a Nation. Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 2005.
Matheson, Andrew, ed. The Conservation of Bees. San Diego, CA: Academic Press, 1996.
National Honey Board (NHB). <http://www.honey.com/> (accessed July 6, 2006).
Public Broadcasting Service. NOVA Online. ''Tales from the Hive.'' <http:// www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/bees/> (accessed July 6, 2006).
ScienceDaily. ''Waggle Dance Controversy Resolved By Radar Records of Bee Flight Paths.'' May 12, 2005. <http://www.sciencedaily.com/ releases/2005/05/050512114116.htmgt; (accessed July 6, 2006).
Stubbs, Constance S., and Francis A. Drummond. Bees and Crop Pollination: Crisis, Crossroads, Conservation. Lanham: MD: Entomological Society of America, 2001.
[See Also Vol. 2, Agriculture; Vol. 2, Breeding, Selective; Vol. 3, Cosmetics.]
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Make money with honey How to be a Beekeeper. Beekeeping can be a fascinating hobby or you can turn it into a lucrative business. The choice is yours. You need to know some basics to help you get started. The equipment needed to be a beekeeper. Where can you find the equipment you need? The best location for the hives. You can't just put bees in any spot. What needs to be considered when picking the location for your bees?