Local beekeeper brings attention to threatened bee species


MILAN, Ill. (KWQC) – The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now lists seven Hawaiian species of bees as endangered in the United States, a first for any bee’s in the U.S.

Local beekeeper Chris Nordick at Beacon Woods Farm and Flowers sees this as an opportunity to raise awareness in our area to help protect pollinators essential to our ecosystem.

“We have to have them in order to survive,” Nordick said.

Among many things on her farm are half a million honey bees. She says many bumblebees also come through to help pollinate her fruit and vegetable crops.

“They pollinate so many of the things that we eat ever single day so without a bee, you won’t eat,” Nordick said.

On top of the Hawaiian species of bees that are now listed as endangered, Nordick wants to bring attention to the other bees here in the Midwest that are at risk, like the Rusty Patch Bumblebee. She says that bee is one of many that buzz through her fields.

“They are our pollinators, without pollination, you don’t get fruit or vegetables,” Nordick said.

Nordick tries to be as organic as possible, but she says sometimes she has to use natural pesticides. She believes chemicals like these are the number one reason bees are dying.

“I’m not saying that everyone has to not spray, but if you do need to spray, spray wisely and in a timely manner,” Nordick said.

Biology Professor, Dr. Tierney Brosius emphasizes in insect conservation at Augustana College. She says when you spray makes all the difference in the life of a bee.

“Usually bees are out you know in the middle of the day at the warmest point that usually if you can hold off spraying until you either do it early in the morning, or later in the day, that can often help,” Brosius said.

“It only wants the nectar, it only wants the pollen so it’s not going to be not going to have any problems with those chemicals after the chemical is dry,” Nordick said.

That’s something Nordick wants other farmers to be more aware of when they consider spraying pesticides on their crops.

“If we could work together, both the beekeeper and the farmer, the big farmer, the little farmer, the gardener next door, you know we can do this all together, and be successful,” Nordick said.

Nordick recommends using liquid forms of pesticides rather than powders or dusts. She says bees often mistake the deadly treatments for pollen.

For more information about threatened or endangered bee species, visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Website.

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