Here’s the latest buzz! Abell Pest Control and the University of Guelph team up to save the bees!
Toronto, Aug. 18, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — The Varroa destructor is as potentially harmful as its name implies.
An ectoparasitic mite that preys on honey bees, this minuscule menace is a threat to the world’s food system, reducing the lifespan of honey bees — critical pollinators in the growing of food for human consumption — by as much as 50 percent. The varroa mite has been considered a main threat to honey bee health worldwide. It vectors and transmits viruses such as the Deformed Wing Virus (DWV) and is associated with high rates of colony losses in North America.
According to the Canadian Honey Council, in 2022 beekeepers in Quebec lost about 60 percent of their honey bees at the start of the season. Ontario, Alberta, and Manitoba lost an average of 40 to 45 percent of their honey bee populations — the situation in Ontario resulted in an appeal to the provincial Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs for help rebuilding the hives.
While many things can affect bees’ ability to reproduce, experts agree that the varroa mite has been particularly destructive as of late.
After one fateful visit made by an Abell Pest Control representative to take care of a honey bee swarm, it was clear to the organization that they must be proponents of the movement to save the bees and do something about the destruction of the population. Since 2017, Abell has been promoting greater awareness, and directly engaging Abell employees to help increase bee populations with their Bee’cause We Care initiative, including setting up its own bee hives and relocating bee swarms to new and safe homes where they can grow and thrive.
One program Abell takes particular pride in is the $25,000 in scholarships offered over five years as a part of Abell’s ongoing University of Guelph Bursary Program. This program was created to support students conducting research in Pollinators. It supports our commitment and desire to find the solution to the bees’ plight and attempts to truly understand the nature of the problem they face.
“As pest control professionals, we know a lot about insects. While we’re often charged with controlling insects that pose potential risks to humans, we’re also highly educated and fascinated with the ones that are beneficial,” says John Abell, President of Abell Pest Control, “The launch of Bee’cause We Care has not only been great for the bees themselves — and in turn, humans — but we’ve seen the incredible way the cause has rallied our employees together and brought us closer to the communities we’re in.”
For the past three years of his academic life, Alvaro De la Mora, recipient of the Abell Pest Control in Pollinator Research Scholarship, has been focusing on breeding colonies of honey bees that have been showing a natural resistance to the varroa mite. A Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre, De la Mora is now completing his final year of study.
“One out of three food items all over the world either indirectly or directly benefit and end up on our kitchen tables because of the pollination process,” he says. “Focus on research is essential to bee health and thus, the survival of humans. Personally, I am incredibly grateful to Abell for seeing the importance of the work we’re doing at the Centre, and I know the entire team here appreciates their involvement that goes beyond funding.”
On an individual level, amateur beekeeping is a viable option and a noble pursuit that can reap many benefits — when done correctly. In fact, the University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre offers courses on beekeeping, and if you’re interested you won’t be alone — about 70 people take this course a year, and also more than 800 University of Guelph undergraduate students are registered in the Apiculture and Honey Bee Biology course per year. Additionally, Ontario Beekeepers Association is another excellent place to find a course at ontariobee.com
But we can’t all just suit up and start tending to hives on the side. So, for those interested in learning about more ways to help, consider the below:
- Research some bee-friendly, native plants to grow in your garden or in patio planters that promote pollination. Some perfect examples include coneflowers, sedum, lavender, marigolds, milkweed, and sunflowers.
- Limit the use of harmful pesticides in gardens.
- Support local beekeepers and buy local honey. Products are even available at the Honey Bee Research Centre at shophbrc.com.
- If you notice a beehive located in an area that is not ideal, call a service that can relocate the hive. Abell Pest Control aims to connect beekeepers with people who have a bee swarm on their property through their website to enable safe and humane removal and relocation. They even help cover the cost to ensure bee colonies are moved safely rather than harmed.
Honey bees play a key role in agricultural productivity and ecosystem sustainability by providing pollination services to crops and wild plants. To help learn more about the work Abell does to save the bees, please visit https://abellsavesbees.com/.
More information on the updates of the University of Guelph Honey Bee Research Centre can also be found here: hbrc.ca.
Since 1924, Abell Pest Control has provided quality services, protecting our customers and their patrons from coast-to-coast. Prouder yet, they are members of your community, ready to service your home or business 24/7. Abell Pest Control prides itself on providing innovative and technologically advanced solutions for pest prevention and management on a national level. They believe knowledge is strengthened through partnerships and that giving back to the industries they serve by maintaining a strong network of alliances them to serve customers better. Abell is the recipient of the NSF-GFTC’s Allied Trades Food Safety Award and a member of the National Pest Management Association (NPMA) and Canadian Pest Management Association (CPMA). In 2023, they were recognized by Great Place to Work as a Best Workplace™ for Women and one of the Best Workplaces in Canada 2023. You can find out more about them at: www.Abellpestcontrol.com and follow them on social media for pest control tips on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.