Agriculture

Why are there few or no honey bees in my yard?

Question

Many readers write Extension asking why they rarely see honey bees in their yards. Some report the only honey bees they find are dead bees.

Answer

Bees are being decimated everywhere. Some are killed by pesticide misuse; some are killed by Varroa mites and the viruses they carry; some are killed by a new gut parasite called Nosema ceranae. Even when we have a large number of dead bees as potential evidence, it is still very difficult to know what actually killed the bees or caused their disappearance.

Sometimes, a beekeeper moves his or her bees out of an area to another part of the state. Someone may cut down an old bee tree and the bees don’t survive. Some bee colonies live in houses and the owner may call Orkin or Terminix to kill the bees.

In most cases, it is nearly impossible to know what may have happened to cause the loss of bees.

You can become a beekeeper and keep your own bees and have them for pollination.
Join a local bee club to find out how to keep them.

James Amrine
Professor Emeritus, Entomology
West Virginia University Davis College of Agriculture, Forestry, & Consumer Sciences