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What's The Buzz About Honey Bee Production?

Posted by Jennifer Smith on

Honey Bee production accounts for over $20 billion in U.S. crop production. And, for growers interested in starting a pollinator garden, spring is the time of year to start planting pollinating flowers into fall. 

According to the American Beekeeping Foundation, some fruits including blueberries, apples, citrus, pears, pumpkin, strawberries and cherries rely predominately on bee pollination. Other plants, such as almonds, rely entirely on pollination for growth. Pollination not only helps to produce delicious tasting fruits; but it also leads the way to the next generation of plants. Honey bees survive on pollen from flowers and have to fight off deer to eat. 

Honey makers have noted that deer will not bother bee hives, for the most part; but the concern is the deer reaching flowers which bees rely on for food. 

In Pennsylvania alone, beneficial insects (bees, butterflies, hummingbirds) contributed to $260 million annually in crops; however, the challenges and competition with deer and other wildlife have led to a major decline in production. We're talking 52% loss of bee colonies in 2016-17!

Deer drop ticks around hives, as well; and this heightens the concern for tick-borne diseases such as Lyme Disease. 

Bees are attracted to certain flowers including:

  • Bee balm 
  • Black-eyed Susan
  • Stonecrop
  • Goldenrod
  • Butterfly Bush.
  • Purple coneflower
  • Joe-pye weed 
  • Lavender

These are the types of flowers to grow for bees to pollinate. Even better, some plants can be used for deer-resistance including lavender and Black-eyed Susan. Planting these flowers will not rid deer from gardens completely; however, bee pollinators will see a dramatic reduction in deer activity around gardens. Building deer fence around hives and raised beds will also keep stop the spread of deer ticks around growing areas.