Bee season is here. Newly awake, they're browsing for pollen and starting to swarm. We talk to a local beekeeper about how to ensure that local populations of bees - and other pollinators - stay healthy.
Spring is an important time for bees and other pollinators. They’re awakening from their winter slumber and looking for food. That means browsing early-season flowers like dandelions and starting the swarming process around their queen.
We may consider dandelions to be a nuisance weed, but they're important early springtime pollen source for bees and other insects, according to Carbondale beekeeper Mark Burrows. Because of that, he stressed the importance of not using pesticides on dandelions. A single infected bee can wipe out an entire hive if it surives exposure long enough to return.
Another common occurance this time of year is swarming, when a large mass of bees clusters on a tree, in a bush, sometimes a car bumper. Burrows noted that swarms never last long and play an important role in keeping the hive healthy.